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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

For Now, Now, it all comes naturally

KC Dalager and Brad Hale of Now, Now have been performing together for 17 years. PHOTO COURTESY OF NOW, NOW.

Indie pop band on their new sound and new tour

After meeting as teenagers at marching band camp in 2002, Cacie Dalager and Brad Hale went on to form the indie band Now, Now. They established a unique sound well-loved among their dedicated fanbase, signed onto former Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla’s label Trans Records and in 2012 released “Threads,” later selected by NPR as one of the best albums of 2012.

In 2017, Now, Now’s guitarist Jess Abbott announced on Facebook that she would leave the band to pursue a solo career as Tancred. The band became a duo comprised solely of Dalager and Hale, and Abbott’s departure wasn’t the only change the band has recently experienced.

The six-year period between “Threads” and 2018’s “Saved” saw the Now, Now’s official genre shift from alternative to indie pop. By “Threads,” their second album, Now, Now had become reliable for their introspective lyrics and slightly melancholy sound. The gentle acoustics of “Dead Oaks” and low, reverbing piano interludes of songs like “Magnet” were nowhere to be found on Saved, released May 2018.

The songs on “Saved” still hit hard and stick, but they are unmistakably pop. The first single “SGL” (an abbreviation of “shotgun lover”), retains Dalager’s distinctive vocals and the band’s guitar-heavy approach, but the song’s tight, punchy lyrics were hints that Now, Now had shifted gears creatively.

The Hawk spoke with Dalager and Hale about their new song “Enda,” their ongoing tour with Foxing and Daddy Issues, and what has kept them producing music together for 17 years. Now, Now will perform at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on April 30.

How did you choose the opening act for your current co-headlining tour with Foxing?

Hale: We got a bunch of submissions for support bands, and we just really liked Daddy Issues.

Dalager: I probably spent a solid day going through every single band on the list of submissions, stalking their social media and watching their YouTube videos. They seemed cool to me, they seemed nice, and that’s beyond them making music that I feel like will fit the tour. They checked off boxes in that way.

What do you want people to take away from your new song “Enda”?

Dalager: I wanted to step outside of how we wrote “Saved.” I’d been so meticulous about my work with “Saved” and I wanted everything to be as simple and as clear and as concise as possible. For “Enda,” [I approached] it from a place of “this is entirely a feeling thing.” I’m not going to overthink any of the things that I usually overthink. My diction isn’t perfect, but it was more about a performance of those feelings and lyrically capturing my feelings with more abstract words. I’d never said exactly what I wanted to say with anything, so I had this principle for myself: “No, you’re going to say exactly how you feel, you’re going to say exactly how it is, you’re not going to try to make everything a poem.”

How would you describe the process of developing your sound from “Threads” to “Saved”––was it natural or more of a concerted decision?

Dalager: We are always working on music, whether it’s released or finished or not. Obviously, I can understand why “Saved” feels different than anything else, but for us, it sort of just happened. We hadn’t disappeared for six years from us. We didn’t see that time go by and catch up at the next starting point. Over the last four or five years of writing, it kind of happened.

What did that six-year timeframe represent for the two of you personally, and how did that impact writing “Saved”?

Hale: A lot of that time was about getting over our insecurities and centering ourselves and just remembering why we do this. For me, this industry is full of a lot of distractions and it pushes and pulls you and throws you all over the place. It’s super easy to feel like you’re serving other people rather than doing it for yourself. There’s this balance of, at least for me, feeling like I want to please everyone with a new record and fulfill their expectations of what we’re supposed to be. Exploring anything new felt scary and maybe selfish, to me. It was a lot about remembering that the only reason we do this is because we enjoy it and it does something for us.

Dalager: I think Brad and I––we had similar emotions, but were kind of on opposite ends of the same spectrum. I’m kind of the opposite of Brad in that I really don’t care what anyone else’s opinion of anything is, maybe to a fault at times. I would rather like [our music] than have anyone else like it. It took us a while to land where we landed with Brad being afraid of too much change, and I was going the exact opposite way. I was running as far away from our last album as possible. We had similar breaking points, but we fractured and split up and ran in different directions. We each had to find our confidence again, and we each had to get over our own insecurities about writing.

How did you reconcile those individual directions into this one, unified record that is “Saved”?

Dalager: Song to song, it kind of varied how they happened. There are a bunch of them where we’d be in a room, and Brad would make a loop, and we would just work from there. “Can’t Help Myself” and “Knowme” I wrote without any track. I just had one ambient sound going that was to give me a key and wrote those sounds without any sort of composition to them at all, just a bunch of vocal ideas.


Hale: I think the way that it’s unified is that anything the two of us do will always fit together in a certain way.


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    Tim ZebowakiMay 1, 2019 at 10:38 pm

    These two “musicians” are total jagoffs. The way they interact with their fans is absolutely deplorable. Rockstars without the fame. Don’t support obvious industry plants.