Portland, OR locals No Plug. have been writing and performing music for a while, but the band is taking it to a new level with the release of their EP, ‘U don’t care, U should’, out April 5th. Austin Frost, frontman and lead composer of the alternative group, was able to answer some questions for Alternative Sound, and talk about the new release, what it’s like to be in a band, and the inspiration behind making his music. Read below for the full interview, as well as a review of the EP.
Who is No Plug.?
We are a Sad Boi Alternative band from Portland, OR!
How long have y’all been playing music?
We’ve been playing as a band for almost a year now.
How would you describe your sound?
Like if you were to take the drama of My Chemical Romance and package it up like Catfish and the Bottlemen, that’s probably close to it.
Where did the name ‘No Plug.’ come from?
I watch a lot of comedy shows/movies…like a LOT. But I was watching an episode of the Daily Show where Jon Stewart was going off on news anchors who deliver “news” that’s passed down from wealthy network CEO’s. The day after that, I saw a bumper sticker that said something like “Y’all are plugged into the media”. It was just a weird coincidence and got me thinkin on how raw and real people (and by extension, art) should be. Be you. Make your own decisions. Nobody knows what’s going on so just be yourself.
‘No Plug.’ used to be a solo project, right? Can you talk about the evolution of the lineup and what made you decide to add more members?
Totally. Before No Plug. started I was really into Robert Delong. He’s a crazy alternative/edm performer and is a genius when it comes to live performances. I had been playing acoustic shows by myself for years and was so drawn to how Robert’s show worked that I wanted to try something like that. The problem is, I LOVE playing shows with my homies. Being a solo act is something else, man. Mad respect to dj’s and other once piece artists!
Which musicians/groups inspire you the most in music? Is there a particular act that has been especially influential to you?
Growing up, Green Day was hands down the first band to make an impact on me. High energy, pissed off, but in a catchy enough way to remember why they are. Technicality wise I really admire Synyster Gates from A7X’s work. That dude is a legend idgaf.
The lyrics you write are very emotionally driven – they’re definitely one of the most compelling things about your music. What’s the lyrical process like for you?
I wish I had a super cool process lmao. It starts with just writing my emotions in the moment. Then I try to translate that into emotion that actually makes sense for other people. Sometimes it’s easier to do that in a story, sometimes I just like to leave it as untouched as I can.
What does the perfect song sound like to you?
Haha perfect? I really dig Hitchin a Ride by Green Day. It’s weird and interesting lyrically and the melody is just too dang catchy
You seem extremely dedicated to your music, and to this project especially. Running a band like this can be a full-time job, on top of everything else that goes on in life. How do you manage to balance the work/social/music/etc grind?
It can be a struggle sometimes. But I love playing music, I love my day job, and I try to surround myself with positive people. It’s always super cool seeing interviews with bands/people I look up to and hearing about their struggles too. A lot of times it’s really similar to experiences I’ve gone through and it’s reassuring to be reminded I’m not the only one dealing with stuff like that!
The music industry can be difficult to be a part of – you face a lot of rejection, and sometimes you put in a ton of work for little (or no) payoff. What keeps you motivated through trying times? What does ‘worth it’ look like to you?
For me it was about shifting my mindset. Yes I want to play bigger stages, sell out huge shows, open for my favorite bands, but if I’m playing music just for those achievements then I’m bound to be disappointed. Worth it for me is meeting new people, performing on stage, and seeings friends have a good time at shows.
Are there any particular moments that you recall feeling extremely happy, proud, excited, etc, while playing in No Plug.?
Our very first show as a band we played the Paris with a super interactive crowd. Honestly if the audience is vibing, I am too. We were able to put our logo up on the big screen, had so many friends out there and it was just a really great time. I am super proud of the record we just recorded too!
Which do you prefer: studio or stage? Why?
Stage! Studio is really cool because you get to flesh out the demos that you work so hard on, but the stage is where I’m the happiest.
No Plug. has the EP ‘U don’t care, U should’ coming out on April 5th! How has the process of creating this EP been? How do you feel now that it’s finally being released?
Making this record has been incredible. This is our first EP and I couldn’t be more proud of how it turned out. Mark Muusse was a beast on the drums and our engineer Brandon Eggleston is super talented. We got to experiment with stuff like literally swinging microphones in the studio. Haha i won’t forget the time we spent there!
Where does the name of the EP come from?
”U Don’t Care, U Should” just means what it says. It’s our debut EP, nobody is waiting for it. But there’s a sense of so much pride and love that we put into this, you should care…at least a little.
What is your personal favorite song off ‘U don’t care, U should’?
Haha that’s a toughy. I really like Sanguine though!
Besides this new record, what else does ‘No Plug.’ have coming up?
More shows, new merchandise, and we’re working on our next EP!
If you could give one awesome piece of advice to musicians just starting out, what would you say?
Don’t let the idea of failure hold you back from trying any crazy idea you feel compelled to try! Everyone shakes their head until you do something they like.
What is the number 1 reason why everyone should check out No Plug.?
CUZ RYAN IS CUTE AND AUSTIN IS WEIRD.
REVIEW – ‘U don’t care, U should’
APRIL 5TH, 2019 – an important date for Portland, OR’s alternative band ‘No Plug.’, as it marks the release date for their new EP, titled ‘U don’t care, U should’. The 6-track banger features frontman and main composer Austin Frost honing his craft with instrumentals to keep you on your toes, and hooks to die for, topped off with compelling lyrics ready-made for tattoos dedicated to your ex-lover.
The EP starts with the punchy ‘In My Head’, setting the fast-paced and sometimes heart broken tone for the record, an out-of-the-box blend of moodiness and major keys, equal parts frustrated and ready to kick ass. Next, the very danceable ‘Sanguine’, filled with unexpected musical transitions and my personal favorite guitar work of the whole project, transports us to the punk rockier days of our youth. It’s in this song that listeners start to hear some familiarities in the music, specifically from influences like Green Day and Blink 182, as well as some poppier favorites like the All American Rejects. Songs ‘Amara’ and ‘This Blur’ follow up with similar intensity, leading up to ‘Friends’- the EP’s leading single- and lastly, ‘Numb’. This last song’s melancholic intro feels like the beginning of a goodbye- the perfect closer to an EP no one wants to end.
Front-to-back, ‘U don’t care, U should’, is a cohesive collection of No Plug.’s truths and anthems. The EP is complex, yet digestible, and meaningful without the self-righteous attitude of musicians who take themselves too seriously. It’s a must-hear for anyone wondering what local bands are capable of; if you’re looking for moxie-and-caffeine-fueled music, this is your record.