The Non
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The Non

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
Band Rock Avant-garde

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"Live Music: The Non"

Zachary Zeller, Mack Hawkins, Wil Norton, and Tom Bishop, are a four-piece from Edmond that specializes in dropping your jaw. They claim to have been to space, and they call themselves The Non. If you’ve not seen them about, it could be that they’re not quite old enough to join you at your local tavern, but they’re perfect for the Electric Chair, which is and always has been conveniently located between Edmond and Norman. The Electric Chair may not provide the easiest access to Norman bound college students, but the site has been attracting both local and touring acts to its industrial-yet-intimate setting for some time now, while simultaneously allowing patrons to look through used CDs, take in eclectic art and photography, and browse the largest and best selection of new and used books that OKC will ever offer.

Electric Chair owner and proprietor Shilo Brown shows true pride in our red state in giving countless local bands the chance to try their hand live. Recently I caught myself at an EC show watching this Non band and was taken aback far more than usual. Such a young group processes it sound in a way that seems beyond their possible years, yet everything is succinct and deliberate. Upon first listen, it’s obvious that The Non worships at the alters of all post rockers that have come up in the last decade: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Sigur Ros, and Explosions in the Sky to name a few of the more recognizable. Sounds as bombastic as those used by this local group are trademark for such bands. But The Non immediately display a further sense of understanding, one that at times seems to delve deeper than even their influences. These players seem to remember the side of post-rock that reaches back to such names as Tortoise and Slint, groups common in the idea that music in its most expressive form need not be bound to the simplest of melodies or structures.

Over the course of the set that I witnessed The Non play, they demonstrated a clear ability to incorporate various melodies and sounds, using the ambient style of delayed guitar to full effect only behind a direct sense of bass and drum. Percussion here was lent to a sense of randomness that was, in truth, focused; changing time signatures to signify, at one moment, a classical rock exploration, and at the next, a completely left-field run through funk. Throughout all, the idea of standard post-rock climax is kept, but only utilized when actually necessary, making the entire affair seem deliberate and forceful in a way that many such bands could only dream of, let alone ever achieve.

The various musical influences that became apparent in The Non’s instrumental musings kept the set I witnessed tight, and things surprisingly never once fell into the trap of simply wandering or searching without aim. This is an added shock to me when I learned the band has no recorded material, only demo’s that we’re taken while playing live and simply “jamming”. For a band that created their music in such a way, it’s amazing to hear that The Non’s actual live product has zero to do with the trappings of a jam band, and everything to do with style and consistent delivery.

Other then a refreshingly professional live sound, the band offers its own visual tricks. Watching the guitarists interact with each other and their pedal boards is a sort of science. And when they channel live cell phone chatter through their guitar pickups, it would almost seem like a gimmick if the resulting sound didn’t reverberate through you and around you. Bassist and Drummer never had to search for each others cues, instead relying on the instant knowledge that everything is in its right place, and the resulting music exudes this confidence.

The Non are a band that are still striking out, yet despite the reality that they’ve only been playing together since the early months of 2006, they’ve already found an astonishingly beautiful sound to call their own in an area of very repetitive music. They’re currently booking shows wherever they can, and will be playing The Conservatory with touring act, Tenebre, and local band, Tyler’s Stereo, on July 27th. They are also planning to play the reverb-friendly Electric Chair again as well. They’re evolving schedule can be checked out at www.myspace.com/thenonband.

-Nathan Lofties

- NONzine


"The Non tap professor Carl Rath to conduct a 12-piece orchestra"

Old growth is scattered across Oklahoma City in the form of empty buildings whose original tenants have moved on, moved out or just ceased to be.
COMBINE CULTURES
NONSTANDARD
As economic interests spread outward from downtown and the entertainment district, creative tactics to further spur urban renewal have emerged, such as the Resound Downtown Music Project. The brainchild of Paul Wilkes and Chad Mount, Resound was conceived to bring local and regional bands and musicians to a unique venue for one-off concerts that, when mixed with the distinctive look and acoustics of the building, create a memorable concert.
The first Resound experiment is 9 p.m. Thursday and features Oklahoma City’s all-instrumental atmospheric rockers The Non, who will join a 12-piece orchestra conducted by Carl Rath. The concert is inside the Dean Motor Company Building, 806 Dean A. McGee, which once warehoused an auto parts manufacturer and is currently undergoing renovations to turn it into a commercial space.
The building was among a handful of finalists for the first Resound concert, but ultimately won out because it had been well-maintained and would be the easiest place to put on a quality show.
“It was in much better shape than the post office was ahead of the ‘Momentum’ (art) show,” Mount said. “Its shape should create pretty decent acoustics, especially with that wood ceiling. Part of this idea is to create a unique experience, but also fuse cultures and build community, all while embracing urban renewal.”
COMBINE CULTURES
Linking The Non with Rath, a music professor at the University of Oklahoma, was part of an effort to combine different cultures for the concert. Rath and The Non’s Zach Zeller collaborated on the musical arrangements, and Wilkes hopes that the band’s local popularity and Rath’s respected classical career will provide an interesting cross section of listeners.
“We will have a wide demographic for the first one,” Wilkes said. “Even though our online marketing and posters are very youth-oriented, once you throw in the orchestra and Carl, it pulls in a completely different audience. The hope is that we won’t just be getting 20-year-olds with 10 bucks in their pocket to spend on a show, but we will also get some people that might be looking for real estate to buy.”
Resound isn’t the first ambitious project for either Mount or Wilkes. Mount helped found the progressive venue Uptown United and helped organize the first two years of the Canvas Art Show. Wilkes worked on The Helium Project, which professionally recorded local concerts and then offered the media to the artist and public for free.
If all goes well with The Non performance, Wilkes and Mount hope other Resound shows will follow, perhaps two to three a year, Wilkes said. Eventually, the pair would like to book regional and national artists that otherwise might skip the metro on their way to Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa. The payoff for participating musicians is a concert setting unlike anything else on their tour. For the venue, it is exposure, and for the audience, it is the experience.
“When the people who go to the show drive by that space in the future, regardless of what it transforms it into, they will always have that interesting memory,” Mount said. “It will always be the Resound building where they saw the orchestra.”
NONSTANDARD

Finding space in The Non’s catalogue for a 12-piece orchestra was not a simple task for guitarist Zeller. Rather than just shoehorning in some stings, brass and woodwinds, he decided to tap the expertise of Rath, who also performs with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.
Zeller composed the scores and then passed the compositions back and forth with Rath until they came up with a complete arrangement. When choosing the songs to rework, songs off the group’s 2007 album were used rather than songs off a forthcoming album due out in late November or early December.
“Our older songs are a bit more expansive and repetitive, not as fast-paced and complex as our new songs,” Zeller said. “That space allowed for new, creative ideas to come out on the orchestral side. So, when we have a song that has a lull or come down on a certain section, that will be made into a highlight section for the orchestra to play an original part that wasn’t on the album.”
Zeller also said the band will have to turn down the amps on Thursday since the venue is likely to produce a lot of reverb, which is good for the classical instruments, but hard to manage for electric instruments.
“We will sometimes get pretty raucous, which might still happen, but the music will focus more on pleasing sounds rather than rock tones,” he said. “We are playing the more orchestral-type songs, the prettier ones, which is different because we normally play our more rock tunes that punch harder.”
Resound featuring The Non perform at 9 p.m. Thursday at Dean Motor Company Building, 806 Dean A. McGee. —Charles Martin - OKGazette.com


"Gazette Woody Award Winners Named"

http://www.oklahomarock.com/blog/?p=844

The Oklahoma Gazette came out with their annual Soundcheck issue today.

The 2008 Woody Award winners were also announced in the issue:

Best Rock Band - The Non (pictured)
Best Folk Artist - Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers
Best Emerging Artist - Hush Hush, Commotion
Best Jazz Band - Chris Hicks Band
Best Blues Band - Dan Danger and the Danger Zone
Best Metal Band - Horse Called War
Best DJ - DJ Switch
Best Electronic Artist - John Bourke
Best Record Store - Guestroom Records
Best Live Music Venue - The Conservatory
Best Hip-Hop/R&B Group - ImaGe Boyz
Best Cover Band - High Speed Boom
Best Country Band - Travis Linville
People’s Choice Award - The Oh Johnny! Girls

Congratulations to all the winners!
- oklahomarock.com


"The Daily interviews the bands of the Norman Music Festival"

http://oudaily.com/news/2009/apr/24/daily-interviews-bands-norman-music-festival/

The Non

The Daily: What makes your live show special?

Wil Norton of the Non: We have a lot of energy, and we are pretty all over the stage considering we’re an “ambient” rock band. We are probably fun to watch if you enjoy studying music and structures as well.

What plans do you have for the future?

We’re moving into a house this summer in Norman and are going to finish writing and recording our next album. After that, we’re going to tour in August.

What other bands influence you the most?

We tend to be inspired by innovative music in general. Stuff that makes you think “how did anyone possibly come up with that?” is usually the kind of music that gets us really excited.

Who else will you personally be seeing at Norman Music Festival?

Man Man, because they terrify me and I think their music is nearly unbearable to listen to. That said, I think they will be great live for the same reasons.

Any memorable concert/tour stories/moments?

We had a tour with Ali Harter two summers ago that was fairly epic... as far as best memories, hmm. Probably staying with State Bird in Ohio.

This band let us stay in their house at a trailer park dealership and we rode on our bellies on longboards. Tom hit a spike in the road and flew off and scraped up his chin really bad. He had to sleep vertically all night for some reason.

What was the best moment in your band’s history?

Getting to play shows like DFest and playing in cities like Austin, Lawrence, and Chicago.

Favorite Norman restaurant?

I’m pretty partial to the Library. They have excellent pizza and the atmosphere is intellectual yet fun-loving and a little irreverent. Perfect for me. - The Oklahoma Daily


Discography

Paper City LP - 2007
Tadaima LP - 2010

Photos

Bio

The Non is a high-energy experimental quartet that shares musical touchstones with bands like Battles, Grizzly Bear, and The Octopus Project to name a few. We've been around for four years, and in the last two we have been playing sold-out shows in Oklahoma City, Norman, and Stillwater, routinely playing for crowds of 200 (which is impressive for OKC), and John Estus of arts magazine LOOK@OKC calls us "one of the top creative entities in Oklahoma of any kind."

We have played music festivals such as SXSW (Austin), Denver Post Underground Music Showcase, DFest (Tulsa), Norman Music Festival, and LIV Music Festival (Wichita), and this year at Norman Music Festival we headlined the Sooner Theater, accompanied with a 20-piece orchestra that performed for over 800 people, including a fist-pumping Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips. At this festival, security had to turn away over 200 fans due to capacity (resulting in two arrests unfortunately), and the performance caused OU Daily's Joshua Boydston to call us the Oklahoma band "Most Likely to Succeed" and LOOK@OKC's Nathan Poppe called us "Oklahoma's Most Important Band."

We've gone on two national tours, and are working on material for our third album. Look for us this next summer as we head out on another tour of the Midwest and West Coast.