Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – No Thee No Ess

Photo courtesy of Beast PR.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

Formed from their shared love of artists like The Beach Boys, Neil Young and West Coast psychedelia, Cardiff, Europe-based alternative psych-rockers No Thee No Ess dropped their eight album ‘Dimmer Switch’ via Surk Records last month.

Inspired to put a more experimental spin on their sound, members Paul Battenbough (The Cosmic Array, King Of Despair) and Andy Fung (Derrero, Cymbient) hit the studio to record ‘Dimmer Switch’ with musician/producer Frank Naughton at his Cardiff studio, ‘Ty Drwg.’

The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with No Thee No Ess about ‘Dimmer Switch’ and more.

Music Bugle – How did you decide on the band name?

Paul Battenbough – We were going through lots of ideas for band names as one does and after loads of not-great suggestions, someone said, “How about that, but with no ‘the’ and no ‘s’! So, we became the words in-between the band name – “no thee, no ess.”

Music Bugle – What was your goal for the album ‘Dimmer Switch’?

Andy Fung – With ‘Dimmer Switch,’ we wanted to make an album that was more experimental and one that flowed as a whole piece. We worked with producer Frank Naughton out of Ty Drwg studios in Cardiff, Wales on it and he played keyboards and is a genius at mixing and helped bring out the psychedelia that we wanted.

Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?

Andy Fung – The most exciting thing about working in this way is the complete freedom we allowed ourselves. Our working method is generally like this, where we have no preconceived ideas before going into the studio and just go for it as the spirit leads, as it were. This allows for very eclectic stuff to come out. 

Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from?

Andy Fung – I’m not a patriotic person generally, nor Paul, but I really appreciate Wales and we’ve both been making music based in Wales for decades now. I love how much creativity comes out of this relatively small country. There are so many interesting bands and composers coming out of here. It’s great. 

Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?

Paul Battenbough – At the moment, I’m listening to all sorts as usual – Wooden Shijps, Ween, Billy Cobham, Shellac, Gruff Rhys, Luke Vibert and Cate Lebon. 

Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Paul Battenbough – We were affected by the pandemic just by not recording or gigging much during it. 

Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?

Paul Battenbough – “It’s just a ride,” by Bill Hicks.

Music Bugle – What was the moment that made you want to become a musician?

Andy Fung – Buying my first drumkit with paper round money at 16.

Music Bugle – What do you hope for by the end of 2021? 

Paul Battenbough – To play a great album launch in December. 

Music Bugle – What’s something that people might be surprised to know about you guys?

Andy Fung – I sail a mirror dinghy and Paul supports Swansea football club.

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