Former FIDLAR drummer Danny Nogueiras started NO WIN as a 100-percent bullshit-free project after going through the strenuous ups and downs of being in a rock band. He invited friends to his L.A. recording space Balboa Recording Studio, taught them the songs on the spot and NO WIN was born.
“I wanted to do something that I didn’t think about the recordings or agonize over the process,” Nogueiras tells BTRtoday. “I just wanted to plug stuff in and make music really simply.”
NO WIN, “Vision”
Their debut album Downey came out in March and bursts with intricate instrumentation and melodic vocals. The lyrics are sad, but the music thrashes. You can hear it clearly in tracks like “Vision” and “Outsource.” “Vision” hollers the sad lyrics, “does it feel insane how I always complain?… I guess I have no vision, I am blind” along to a catchy riff. On “Outsource” he achingly sings, “Outsource your misery and write another song for me, I need your voice in my ear…I feel alive and I feel useless” while a wave of distortion washes over you.
“There’s an underlying theme of self-hatred—it’s becoming very clear during this interview,” Nogueiras says.
Bassist David Jerkovich says making the album almost felt like improv because Nogueira taught him and the drummer the songs right before recording them. “It was just, DO. And that was refreshing,” he says. “We consciously make it comfortable for ourselves now [to play/ record songs].”
Jerkovich didn’t even play bass when Nogueiras enlisted him for NO WIN. Nogueiras loved the band that Jerkovich use to play guitar for, Kind of Like Spitting. When they met they knew they had to play music together.
“[Kind of Like Spitting] was like music for sad people,” Nogueiras says. “I went to their show and I met Dave outside.” The two instantly hit it off and started playing together when they returned to the West Coast. They opened a studio called The Ocotillo. While The Ocotillo closed, the pair still work together with Jerkovich as the head engineer/ producer at Nogueiras’ Balboa Recording Studio, where they recorded Downey.
Downey’s opening track “After Your Legs” was the first song written and recorded as NO WIN. Nogueiras calls it the band’s mission statement. It was pure agony” to write but was hassle-free to record.
NO WIN, “Carbar”
“I’m constantly going like, ‘does this suck, I fucking suck.’ Art’s the worst,” he says. “Then at one point, something happens and you’re like, ‘oh, my god, this is fucking good; I’m great; this is what I was meant to do.’”
“2 Real” is their favorite song to play. Since neither of them wrote it, they have less on the line. Live, “2 Real” offers a welcome break from the jangled nerves of baring their emotions to strangers.
“It’s so fun to play something you didn’t write,” Nogueiras says. “It takes away that self-consciousness of it.”
Jerkovich adds: “Yeah, you can breathe for a second and not hate yourself.”
NO WIN is working on new music and recently released a new single, “Blood On Your Tooth.” They plan on announcing new tour dates soon but in the meantime, listen to the entire in-person interview with NO WIN’s Nogueiras and Jerkovich on this week’s The Music Meetup with selections from Downey and NO WIN’s singles.