It’s a rarity in the current market to find a dance music act that is dissatisfied with merely DJing, but NYC-based duo and childhood friends Greg Paulus and Nick DeBruyn AKA No Regular Play are an anomaly amongst the mass of electronic music artists out there — incorporating live vocals and instruments into nearly every set. As an enigma to the norm, No Regular Play have been recognized for their unique style and performance, joining the Wolf+Lamb family at the notorious Marcy in New York, with additional releases on reputable imprints like No. 19, Supplement Facts, and Leftroom. With a forthcoming EP due out on Justin Miller’s HAKT along with a very cool outdoor show in Grand Park in Downtown LA this Sunday, we had a chat with Greg and Nick about their creative processes, live performance, daytime parties, and much more.
Info on Sunday’s free show Downtown here. Read on…
GDD™: You both have been friends since childhood and evolved musically together – including studying music in Cuba and NYC. Clearly you both share a lot of musical passions – but where do you diverge as individuals in terms of musical passion and taste?
No Regular Play: We really don’t diverge much at all, growing up together allowed us to really build our musical tastes together. We were always trading and sharing all the music we bought, and along with a couple other friends we kind of came up with a style of music that we all listened to which really ranged from jazz to hip hop to afro-cuban to folk, etc.
GDD™: You read a lot about electronic music artists that are classically trained musicians. How hard is it to incorporate that instrumentation into a show? It seems that few dance music acts have a truly live show with organic instruments, logistically is it just a huge pain in the ass?
NRP: It can be very difficult mainly due to financial reasons. We would love to have a full band for the shows but financially it’s not something we can really do yet, unless anybody out there is really talented and down to work for free??? We’ve recently added john camp to the mix, he’s playing his nord keyboard on some New York shows with us which has been great and it’s something we plan on expanding on. It ends up being a different kind of show, definitely not one that fits around the cdj’s in a dj booth so it’s something that has to be planned on and accounted for, more of a stage show. Just having a full band in general is very tough to organize all the travel, transporting the gear, extensive sound checks, etc. but it’s definitely worth it, you just have to be ready for the inevitable storm that comes along with it.
GDD™: Do you think you would be satisfied if you DJ’d instead of playing live night after night?
NRP: No definitely not. Playing live is what we do. DJing is an art and an experience like no other and it’s something we’ve come to learn and love after creating the NRP project. but the main agenda is our live show playing original material.
GDD™: We saw you guys play an amazing afternoon set in Detroit at Movement last year. Next week you’ll be playing a daytime party outside in LA at Grant Plaza. I guess circumstances are everything, but do you have a preference over day and night parties? If you had to pick the perfect environment to perform your music what would it be?
NRP: Playing outside, especially when the setting has a great scenic view is unlike anything else. You’re not really going to get the best sound environment, especially when playing an instrument like the trumpet, but when the view is great and the wind is blowing it tends to sound good no matter what. Playing in a dark club, however, when everyone is going crazy is a feeling that is almost impossible to achieve in an outdoor show. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks.
GDD™: You have a new EP coming on Justin Miller’s label HAKT. Justin used to manage DFA Records, how did you hook up with him and get involved with HAKT?
NRP: I think we first met justin at the museum of modern art in new york, I (greg) was playing a show with a band upstairs and Justin was djing downstairs. also, he played a few Marcy parties and we always loved his vibe and his attitude so we naturally became friends. Zev and Gadi (wolf + lamb) were not really living in New York anymore and it was very important for us to keep this strong NYC vibe going with like minded individuals, and we instantly connected with Justin on this. We began hanging and playing together at HAKT parties and eventually he told us about his idea for a label. He has a great aesthetic and great taste so we were obviously on board from the get go.
GDD™: Last’s year Endangered Species was your debut album. How was that creative process for you? Was it something you had wanted to do for some time? Did it feel like a fuller representation of No Regular Play than you are able to get across over a number of singles and EPs?
NRP: It was definitely something we were always looking to do. We just wanted to wait until we felt ready to take on such a task. It would be a shame to do something like an album way before you’re ready and end up with an incomplete piece. We were able to get across much more of our full musical influence in the album, not just the dance side of things. The thing is we’re pretty fond of all music, so we really enjoy putting out full on dance music and we really enjoy making home listening tunes or music for driving or meditative music. The difficult thing is when you start making dance singles and then get into other styles, even though you may have been well versed in these styles for ages, the music gets analyzed specifically for the dance/club scene that it might not be intended for. But making an album really opens up your options to a larger audience and gets your music/message out in a much more complete format which is fantastic.
GDD™: Finally if we see you at the bar on Sunday, what will you be drinking?
NRP: Well, we love campari! and we love tequila so maybe one of the two, or you can mix them and create sort of a “bitter margarita”. it’s always good to remember campari is actually good for you!