After their previous project, The Delphines, split up and faded away, singer/synth player Cat Ries – along with Harrison Colby, Lucas Riddle and Jeremy Ault – rose to the occasion and assembled a new band. Thus, NO/NO was born, and, not even three months later, the quartet had produced its initial self-titled EP.
The band hasn't shown any signs of slowing down from that fast start in 2014 either, continually growing as a group and, most recently, dropping its first full-length album, "Sound and Light," this past May – one put together in an all new way for its members.
"The album grew out of experiments and loops, and then the songs were pieced together through recording and sampling," said Colby, the group's guitarist and vocalist. "There wasn’t any live recording; it was all being written as it was being recorded. So, no demos exist, I think, except for one song."
Although they all have different musical tastes, the quartet found a way to bring its various musical interests together to create a unique electro-pop-rock sound that is like few others. When they first came together, NO/NO found common inspiration.
"We all really like a lot of different styles of music – I know Cat really likes goth and industrial – but we were all kind of inspired by late '70s and early '80s punk and new wave," Colby said, "bands like The Cure, Depeche Mode, New Order and Wire."
The reconstituted group first graced the Milwaukee music scene two years ago, and, ever since, it's been embracing the city's diverse music scene and genres, as well as getting to know fellow local artists who've inspired the band over the last few years.
"It’s this city’s [music] scene that fuels a lot of what we do," Colby said. "It’s our support system."
Since hitting the scene, NO/NO has performed all over the city, but you can usually find the band performing at its favorite venues: Riverwest Public House, Linneman’s, The Mad Planet and Cactus Club. This weekend, however, you will be able to see them as one of the many bands performing at the third annual Rock the Green Festival, playing on the pedal-powered stage Saturday at 2:20 p.m.
The members were unsurprisingly excited to be part of a music festival that featured what Colby called some "killer bands in the lineup." But what made the gig an easy yes for NO/NO was the green, environmentally friendly element of the event, with a dual purpose of bringing big artists to the stage while also teaching and demonstrating sustainability in action. One example of this is the stage itself, which is powered by cyclists – something that sold the band completely on Rock the Green.
"I think global warming is an issue that can’t be discussed enough," Colby said. "Rapid global warming affects different ecosystems' ability to adapt naturally. Human beings are either stunting the growth of or killing these environments through basic consumerism and waste."
These issues and more will be addressed Saturday at Rock the Green. Of course, there will also be plenty of rocking music, so join the conversation with NO/NO and the other bands jamming out at the pedal-powered stage this weekend.