Los Angeles is a town where bands break up, form and then break up again over the course of an hour so it goes without saying that it takes a true commitment to music and a bond that runs deeper than pure aesthetic to stay together for over six years. Oh No Not Stereo is such an LA anomaly and one that you should be listening to, if you’re not already. Comprised of two core members: Skyler Nielsen and Mykul Lee, Oh No Not Stereo were formed in 2003 and have collaborated with numerous other talented musician throughout their career. Presently, Marc and Jussi have joined the duo to create “003,” their most recent, self-released, LP.
BeatCrave was fortunate enough to talk with Skyler Nielsen about the formation of Oh No Not Stereo, their creative process, the story behind some of their work and the five albums he would not be able to live without. It was really fun learning more about this band whose rock sound is so fun and infectious that you’ll quickly find yourself playing air guitar and singing along. We hope you enjoy getting to know Oh No Not Stereo as much as we did.
How did you guys end up meeting and forming Oh No Not Stereo?
Myk and I met in a music store in 2003 and within weeks we were jamming and writing songs together and coming up with the concept that would soon become Oh No Not Stereo. When we met, Myk was playing guitar in a band and I was playing drums in a band, so when we switched it up all the time we both realized that there was nothing the two of us couldn’t do by ourselves… so we did. We toured for 18 months as a duo, in promotion of our first record (LP-001\2005) and then added a bass player to the band in 2006 before recording our EP (002\2007).
Why did you choose to name yourselves Oh No Not Stereo? What other band names you were considering?
I was in a serious ATV accident when I was 11 and lost the hearing out of my right ear, so my whole musical life since then has been an exercise in adapting to living in mono. When we started the band as a duo, there were a fair share of haters and people who didn’t understand the concept of a high-energy rock duo doing everything themselves and running their own enterprise in every regard like we were. At that point the name had taken a double-meaning: Some people were simply afraid of being open to something new.
The video for “Fast Life” has LA fanboys and fangirls chasing you around town which looks both fun and frightening. What was your most intense and/or interesting fan experience?
That video was a lot of fun to shoot, we did it all guerrilla style with no film permits or anything, which made running down Hollywood Blvd. and Downtown LA with tons of people feel like quite the rush. Frightening experiences seem to always happen in Albuquerque for some reason. (i.e.- Having a drunk girl slithering around on the floor after the show, needing an exorcism- just for attention.) It was really interesting in Vancouver when we were driving across the border and the Customs Agent who stopped us said, “Hey! You guys are great! I saw your show last night!” Little random moments like that make us realize that our lives are one gigantic interesting experience, exactly like they should be.
Why did you choose to name all of your LPs and EPs, except for “The Oh No Not Stereo,” 001-003 in chronological order?
When we made our first record in 2005, we titled it ’001′ in symbolism of it being the first of hundreds of things to come… In 2007 we self-titled our EP, but it still had the nickname ’002′. We followed suit with our new record ’003′, which we just independently released on March 10th! Even if future ONNS records are formally titled, I’m sure they’ll definitely still follow the tradition of having a numeric nickname.
The song, “All You” is one of the most listened tracks on your MySpace page and also one of your guys’ most catchy. Who or what inspired the lyrics to that particular song?
That song was inspired by a girl that I met in Arizona when we were there writing the record last summer… even though we had the demo from AZ, it wasn’t a candidate to be re-recorded for the record until the very last minute when we were in the studio.
What other bands/singers have had the greatest influence on the sound of Oh No Not Stereo?
I can credit several influences off the top of my head: The Beatles, Local H, Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, Muse, Nirvana, The Matches, The Zombies, Mott The Hoople, etc etc etc…
What other bands/artists are you guys presently listening to that you would highly recommend to your fans?
The Photo Atlas, Manchester Orchestra, The Matches, Jack’s Mannequin, and all of the bands above that influence our every headbang and air guitar solo.
How was it touring with the All American Rejects in the UK this past January? What was one of the most memorable moments over the course of that three day tour?
That was an awesome tour and we all can’t wait to go back out on the road with them… We built a solid fanbase in the UK in December when we went over there with Bayside and Hit The Lights, so to return to Scotland and England with the Rejects six weeks later was a sweet follow through for us. The most memorable moment on that tour was when we played a sold out show at Shepards Bush Empire in London. It was such an amazing venue, and the response from the crowd will permanently be imbedded in my memory.
If you could only listen to five albums for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
The Beatles – “Revolver”
The Zombies – “Odyssey and Oracle”
Refused – “The Shape Of Punk To Come”
Foo Fighters – “The Colour and The Shape”
Manchester Orchestra – “Mean Everything To Nothing”
Photography courtesy of Oh No Not Stereo