The six piece band from Los Angeles formed at a local diner, where vocalist Bradley Hanon Carter and bassist Sean Danielle Stentz first met through mutual friends. The band’s debut full length El Prado was one of the most anticipated albums of 2014. The recognition comes as little surprise as the band has been buzzing since their 2011 EP release of Don’t Worry, You’ll Be Here Forever. The band quickly became local favorites and on everyone’s list of bands to look out for. The success continued into 2012, where the band toured along side Best Coast, Father John Misty, Smashing Pumpkins and The Naked and Famous. Their debut mixes heartbreak and optimism and continues to receive the highest of praises.
mxdwn had the chance to speak with bassist Sean Daniel Stentz about El Prado, Echo Park, and their upcoming tour with Yann Tierson.
Can you tell us a little bit about the album? Is there an overarching theme for the album.
I think the idea behind the album walks through the feeling of loneliness, whether from a demised relationship or the feeling of disconnect with the people in your surrounding. It’s the idea that everyone around you is experiencing to whatever degree that feeing of loneliness. We are all lonely together. It is a universal theme that everyone goes through and just how in a lot of ways technology or just in the way we deal with people and our expectations affect our relationships.
Is El Prado in reference to the bar in Echo Park?
The direct translation of el prado is “the meadow.” The bar was named “El Prado” because its in Echo Park. I really liked the translation of that because we try to use a lot of local landmarks, the houses we lived, the places we play to represent our where we come from. We are really about our neighborhood. We love our neighborhood, there are so many great bands here. Naming the record El Prado really represents where we are from. We are from Echo Park. All of the stories that are on the record have come from living in the area.
How has living in Echo Park influenced your music and yourself as an artist and the band as musicians?
We really came together in this neighborhood. It is really is great to have such a communal feeling. There are so many great venues that have their own niche of music where people can support each other. You can see bands perform every night of the week and get inspired. Watching other musicians and artists in this area lets you go back to your own music and gives you a fresh perspective and push you harder. I think that’s what we did from the EP to this album. We pushed ourselves a little further.
Did you face any challenges while recording the first full album in comparison to the EP (Don’t Worry You’ll Be Here Forever)?
No, the way we recorded the EP was very similar to the way we recorded the album in that we did it ourselves. The locations were different, we recorded the album in various locations. When we came back home, we put everything together and it was done in a very formal manner.
Going back to the origins of the band. How did the band form? Where did the name, “No” come from?
The band formed when Bradley and I met. We met through a mutual friend at a diner and we started to hit it off. We began sharing songs and decided to put together an EP. Once the EP was done, he really wanted to strengthen the songs we had by adding people to the group. The name of the band came from Bradley. We wanted a really strong powerful word to represent the band. The more we thought about “No” as a potential name, the more it stuck. We liked the idea of taking the definition of the word and applying a positive spin to it. There is still a lot of power in this word, even if its only two letters.
What can fans expect to see during a NO live performance?
We always had the goal to inspire people. Whether its musically where the song moves you, or lyrically. We really hope people listen to our songs and feel a connection and help them overcome whatever they be dealing with. Whenever we play we really like to have everyone participate and make it very communal experience and have a big sing-a-long (laughter).
You’ve got a lot of tour dates coming up. The band also announced that they will be playing Sasquatch in July. Are there any particular cities/venues you are looking forward to play?
All over the place! I am really excited to play in Canada again. We played a few festivals last year in Canada, and that was once of the first times we played together as a band. So it will be fun to play there again. Our drummer is from there so it should be really great to see some family on the road. Beyond that, the last time we did a U.S tour was about a year and a half ago. Going back to places where we performed before the album will be really exciting. Revisiting these places and seeing fans know the lyrics to the songs off the album would be an amazing experience.
Anything planned after the tour?
Once the record is released, we will get a better idea of what the next step will be. Right now, we are just focusing on the album and the upcoming tour.
One last question. If you can go back in time and give yourself advice ten years ago, what would it be?
I for a long time performed with other people and thought that that I was not for song writing. As I became a better musician, I think that changed. If I can go back in time, I think I would go back and try my own thing a lot sooner.
Check out their tour schedule to catch them near you! The tour with Yann Tiersen begins May 28th at Washington, DC’s 9:30 Club!