Making Noise: Noise Brigade reflects on three years of bandom
On October 29, 2016 Alaska’s own Noise Brigade took the stage for their biggest performance to date – opening for multi-platinum Californian rockers The Offspring. Despite performing the gig of a lifetime for an emerging punk-rock band, Noise Brigade is reticent to call it their biggest achievement.
“I mean, yeah, I guess we could be giddy about it but like you look at shows like that and think ‘everything we’ve been working so hard for made it happen but it’s not going to be our highlight.’ We don’t want to look at things like they are all downhill from here on out,” explained vocalist Nathan Nelson a year ago during an interview at the now defunct Anchorage Community Works Ship Creek location.
As it turns out, Nelson was right about believing Noise Brigade was destined for more. On July 18, the band kicks of a 10-show west coast tour with Hey Thanks! and Right On, Kid. The tour comes on the heels of the band’s 2017 release of “HD Remake: A Collection of Old Songs” released by Manic Kat Records.
Although Noise Brigade is starting to make waves in the punk-rock world, their success has been a direct product of the band’s unflappable determination to make things happen.
“When we first moved down to Oregon [from Alaska] in 2015, it was like starting over – like we were nothing. We had to play shit gigs, sell our own tickets and basically be our own promoters,” said vocalist Doug Jones. “Luc [Atencio] was homeless for a bit – like it sucks at first!”
Atencio, the band’s bassist admits that his month spent living in his van in the Vancouver Washington Mall parking lot almost broke him.
“That was definitely the point in time when I just wanted to go home,” said Atencio.
Ironically, all the bad breaks were erased when the band received a life-changing phone call while in a gas station shitter.
“So, I was in the middle of peeing at a gas store in Denver and my phone rings. I picked up the phone and it was Manic Kat Records calling to tell us they were going to sign us. I was like ‘that’s awesome, I’m literally peeing right now,’” laughed Jones.
Signing a record label while taking a whizz wasn’t the only weird thing to happen to the band. With a facetious grin, drummer Elias Cobb explained that the band members met while naked skydiving. In truth, Cobb joined the band after Jones and Nelson held auditions for a drummer in Portland – Cobb was the only drummer who showed up. To round out the foursome Jones and Atencio had their own meet-cute when they reportedly bonded over a shared love of tuna on rye at a Subway.
“And we’ve been together ever since,” laughed Atencio.
The four bachelors currently shack up together in a small apartment but as Nelson puts it, the band is in a good place right now and hasn’t wanted to break up.
“When we moved down [to Oregon] we changed some members and had to learn how to be a real band – I can’t count how many times we’ve wanted to break-up but like now we are feeling pretty good and honestly, we are best friends,” said Jones.
The band mates unabashed bromance with one another is undoubtedly one of the driving factors in their recent success because it has allowed them to develop the new sound that has garnered them a sizable following.
“We had a member change and a bunch of stuff went down so we figured it would be better if we just started over. We used to be a lot heavier, but we transitioned into be catchier and more melodic, I guess. Like we focus more on the songs themselves instead of just trying to do the heaviest riff” said Nelson.
“Me or Doug [Nelson] will have the whole song written out and then we bring it to the other guys to tell us what sucked about it, so we can make changes. It’s definitely become more of an all-together process,” added Jones.
The collaboration has paid off and given Noise Brigade a sound situated somewhere between old Sum 41 a la “All Killer No Filler” and Fall Out Boy’s “Infinity of High”.
In the near future the band hopes to do a European tour but for now, they are happy to continue the journey and develop new fan bases.
“Where kind of still learning about this whole thing. I think that’s what life is, just learning and that’s what we’re doing right now,” said Nelson.