No Regular Play

by Matthew Bedard

A Pair of Sexy Motherfuckers Take Time for Tea with their Mums
Written by Matthew Bedard, Photographed by Dorothy Hong
The artsy birthing of anything via ESL SMS is an indisputable effort worthwhile. Presenting horn-wielding, Afro-Cuban-trained, NY-based, vocal cavern creating, electronic dance lads: No Regular Play. See—Greg Paulus and Nick DeBruyn’s moniker derives from a Colombian pal’s incoming text message which short-handedly described the special nature of a conjugal roll a night prior: No Regular Play. Thematically, then, the two are here at the Marcy Hotel—another tongue-in-cheeker that’s not actually a hotel, but rather the recording studio/party space run by their label mates, Wolf + Lamb—considering their very own artsy birthing via conjugal rolling about long before the days of No Regular Play. The responsible parties are, of course, the only two whose say on regularity and playtime hierarchically proceeds that of the band’s own—their mothers, Patty and Nellie.

Paulus and DeBruyn, who’ve kept it “not regular” since meeting at age eight in Minnesota, debut their LP Endangered Species in November. The results are sexy and delicious. And fittingly, with tea and cakes and fashion fabulosity, the two share, over the odd bronchial tickle [part and parcel, readers, to the global wiggle circuit] about their new opportunity for melodic structure, the brass-prohibitive quarters of an int’l DJ booth, and the most important thing in getting thumpy with jazz: sincerity.

FLAUNT: Gents, Endangered Species could certainly be described as upbeat and quite dance-centric, but there are a few sort of pensive or dreamy, gauze-like interludes, such as the opener, “Birdfeathers.” After releasing a few short but sweet EPs [W+L’s Owe Me and Doesn’t Matter; also Serious Heat on No. 19 Music and Fall Up to the Sky on Supplement Facts], how’s it differ to structurally assemble a full album?

Greg Paulus: Conceptually, I think there’s lots of colors—things at once dark and beautiful… But it’s a thin line to try and make something beautiful that doesn’t cross over into cheesy. For a while we were just doing tracks that were kind of weird and jazzy, but with this there’s a lot more emphasis on dance and song-based structures.

Lots of folks associate a music experience with a particular sentiment, or perhaps a period of time that suits the songs. What feeling might you be going for with this? Might your mothers, who’ve graced us with their presence today, have anything to do with it?

GP: I guess, in a way, it’s a certain feeling that you get when you’re driving around in a car at night, and the city is in a certain light, and it’s just this special moment. That’s what we’re going for.

Nick DeBruyn: It’s funny because one of my earliest memories that relates to music is my mom always driving us around, singing along to Prince in the car, from a really young age, so maybe there’s something there. I mostly remember “Sexy M.F.” because that was kind of an awkward one to hear.

Jazz is certainly one of those influences in your guys’ tunes that gives you a lot of directional play. John Coltrane once said that you can play on a shoestring if you’re sincere. True for No Regular Play?

GP: No matter how much I try, every track has pretty distinct references to jazz. All the rhythms from the bass notes to the chords I play on the keyboard are derived out of the jazz school of thought. Maybe “Kickback” is most directly derived out of jazz with its freeform improvisatory style and incorporation of extended harmony—melody notes that are outside the chord changes.

ND: In a figurative sense, it’s a little hard for us to kick it from a shoestring.  We’ve been trying to get more instruments involved in the live show but a lot of the time we’re stuck in a tiny DJ booth. In a literal sense, we haven’t used shoestrings but certainly we’ve used some unusual items to make music, such as a shaker made out of goat toenails, pennies, a cardboard box. I think as long as something sparks creativity, that’s being sincere and true to the music making process.

Photography: Dorothy Hong at DotHong.com.

Style Director: Long Nguyen.

Assistant fashion editor: Zaquan Champ.