Landing back into our dimension, these experimental experts have a huge future ahead of them. Starting off the year strong, they hit the road for 15 West Coast dates with Wild Wild Wets, joined by Stranger Liquids providing visuals along the way.
Straight out of Pomona, the No. 44's lineup features Daniel Gee, Dustin Fernandez, Evan Lomnitzer and Evan Achen. These guys have been playing together since 2017 and they don't plan on stopping anytime soon. It's not an easy thing to pinpoint the kind of music the band plays. They kind of throw every style of music into a blender and come out with a phenomenal product. A perfect escape that lets your mind space travel through different galaxies.
I had the opportunity to catch up with the fellas as they were coming to an end of the tour, in support of their first full-length album.
Supply & Demand has become a hot spot in the city of Long Beach and I couldn't be happier to have caught them live there on February 13, 2020.
"Tour has been going really great so far" the band says. "We've gone as far as Seattle for this one." Being on the road can't be an easy thing. Always on the go, trying to make destinations on time. I've always wondered what bands do if they ever get any free time while on the road. Dan speaks on what the band likes to do — "Build Legos. We actually built some sick Legos in Berkeley. We stayed at Evan's (drums) parents house so we dug up some Legos and did that there." Some wholesome fun indeed.
Dan adds more to what the band does on tour – "Sleeping. Sleeping is a good one. We like to hit record stores, thrift shops, vintage stores. Although we didn't hit any on this tour, guitar stores are also places we like to visit. I've been looking for a 12-string for 6 years now. Haven't found the right one."
I imagine that tour doesn't work unless you are in the presence of others who you can enjoy some laughs with. Talking with the band, I can tell they definitely enjoy each other's company. "We have some pretty crazy stories from tour but I don't think we can say some" (band laughs). "We have a funny story involving Andrew from Stranger Liquids. He's been on tour with us throughout this whole thing. We were building a Lego and his phone was right next to me" says Dan.
"I was building this ship and I built it with his phone inside of it. I was so excited I thought it was so fucking funny. We get to the end and it's been like over an hour. He's not even aware of where his phone is. He doesn't care really. I kept trying to get him to call it so it can ring inside of it. It didn't work (Dan laughs) so in the end I finally had to tell him where it was." Evan(drums) adds, "Andrew was the wrong person to do that to. Anyone else would have been freaking out about their phone."
The band's most recent project, Reflexive // Repeater is a true work of art.
First off, if you haven't heard it yet, go check it out immediately. We did you the favor of putting the Spotify link above. Enjoy. In terms of the themes and inspirations behind the record, Dan says, "It's two records really. A duality. Reflexive is waking/conscious life. Emotional life, terrestrial life, day. Repeater is sleeping/unconscious life, spiritual life, cosmic life, night. I hope people get what we are trying to do with that."
There is a mystery to the No. 44. From the lyrics, even right down to the name. Out of curiosity, I asked if the name was inspired by Mark Twain's The Mysterious Stranger, in which No. 44 is also referred to as Satan. If you look into it, you'll find the complexity behind the whole thing. "It is indeed an inspiration for the name" says the band, "We'll just leave it at that." And so the mystery continues.
This isn't the first band for these four dudes. You can tell from the amount of talent that oozes off the stage whenever they hit it. "This is the biggest project any of us have done together" says Evan(drums). "In terms of most touring and releasing music. You know, doing the whole deal." Safe to say everyone hopes for this band to reach even greater heights.
Speaking of reaching great heights, Socal Psycheout is a DIY festival out in Joshua Tree area that has become a renown meeting grounds for the modern psych rock community. The weekend-long fest brings together some of the best psychedelic bands from all corners of the world and pairs them with a great list of local acts. The No.44 previously performed at this one of a kind jamboree back in 2019. According to Dan, "it was amazing. We love that team and all the bands that played. Frankie and The Witch Fingers, we all love that band a lot so it was cool playing right before them." As for 2020, maybe the band can hop on the bill now since the festival has been rescheduled from March to September. We shall see what the future brings.
Sweeping the local scenes of America, psychedelic music continues to grow at a rapid pace. Some say it's bigger at this moment while other might say it peaked a few years ago. Which ever boat you reside in, it's definitely still out there going strong. The No. 44 shares their thoughts on the subject, "We love it. I think it's kind of winding down at the moment from what it was 2-3 years ago. We still think it's a great thing though, you get all these unique sounding bands coming out. People aren't trying to do the same thing anymore."
After this night, the band played a show in Vegas and one in TJ with James Supercave. Plans to go to Austin for SXSW didn't go through due to the global pandemic, so you might guess a nice comeback is in store after all of this. They hope to hit up places like Montréal and just about anywhere that'll have them. Perhaps they'll get their wish of touring with Ty Segall someday soon. We could only hope on our end.