It’s been nearly a year to the day since the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection last saw indie poppers Now, Now. Last July the Minneapolis duo went on tour and played a super-duper-sold-out show at Boot & Saddle, after a hiatus that lasted nearly half-a-decade. Fans lined up outside the South Philly venue before the bar/restaurant even opened, and proceeded to line the front of the stage several hours before the band’s set began; it’s one of the most enthusiastic crowds the usually-ultra-hip venue had seen in its four years since opening. Well, this May Now, Now, comprised of KC Dalager and Bradley Hale, released Saved, their third full-length and first since 2012’s Threads. The album boasts a delightful dreamy, synthy, and soulful brand of folk pop, akin to Tegan and Sara’s So Jealous. The FADER really dug the album, calling Now, Now “America’s Next Great Band” (They’ve been together since 2003 and released their first record in 2008…) Now, Now are currently following-up the album’s release with a US headlining tour, which will have them playing a sold out show this Friday the 13th at Johnny Brenda’s, and I recently got a chance to chat with KC/Cacie for the first time since 2012, when the band was preparing to bring the Threads tour to the dearly missed North Star Bar.
Izzy Cihak: It’s been a little more than a year since Now, Now has reactivated, after taking a bit of a break. What have been some of the highlights of that year for you?
KC Dalager: Some of the best moments of the last year have been playing shows again. It’s not something we were ever really able to enjoy before. We are perfectionists and we always stress ourselves out about not making any mistakes or having any technical difficulties. But we’ve learned to take a little bit of that pressure off of ourselves and allow ourselves to have fun when we play now. It’s also been really rewarding to feel creative again. It’s very rejuvenating.
Izzy: I saw that The FADER called you, “America’s Next Great Band,” and had to laugh. What were your feelings on being considered the, “Next Great Band,” after being together for over a decade?
KC: As strange as it is, I kind of feel like we are a new band. Everything feels different this time around. I know we’ve been at this project for about a decade, but each era feels new. So, it doesn’t bother me at all.
Izzy: What do you think are the biggest differences between the dynamic and aim of the band now (no pun intended), as opposed to six or seven years ago?
KC: We have goals and aspirations that we’ve never had before. We were always self-conscious of wishing for things to reach a certain level. Having dreams that are bigger than myself felt kind of embarrassing to me before. I had no confidence and was afraid to want more than what we had. But I think it’s important to be ambitious and have goals. It makes you appreciate what’s happening.
Izzy: On a related note, how do you feel like Saved compares to your earlier releases? Did you feel like you were trying anything new for the first time, or did it just feel like picking up where you left off?
KC: It was definitely a process for us to begin the writing process again. We went about two years without being able to finish anything. We didn’t even know where to begin. We went to a handful of different extremes sound-wise, before ending up where we did. Lyrically and emotionally, I could not get anything out. I wasn’t just writing things I didn’t like, I couldn’t write anything. I was completely stuck. I was struggling a lot in my personal life and didn’t want to face any of those issues. So, it made it very difficult to write.
Izzy: Do you currently have a particular favorite album track, whether one that’s most fun to play, or just that you’re most proud of? I really, really love “Can’t Help Myself,” which just reminds me of a teen angsty summertime jam from the mid-‘90s.
KC: For the first time ever, I can say I love every track the same amount. I feel the same amount of pride and excitement about every one of them. That’s never happened to me before.
Izzy: I also really dig your recent music videos, especially “Yours,” which, in the same vein, reminds me so much of ‘90s American indie cinema. What is it that inspires the visual elements of Now, Now?
KC: I love things that feel nostalgic and suburban. The purest and simplest forms of representing an emotion/energy. I like to take things to a little bit of a darker and confusing place for at least a moment during the videos. Inspiration ranges from TV shows (Freaks and Geeks, The Wonder Years). The initial spark usually comes from something small and unexpected. (I had inspiration for our next video while typing the lyrics out.) Then I start mood boarding and bring it to Brad and it grows from there. Brad is really good at effects and incorporating technology in ways you wouldn’t expect. It’s really beautiful and cool – one of my favorite parts of our videos. From there we take it to our visual team of two other people that we make all of our content with, Alexa and Sam San Román.
Izzy: You have a ton of upcoming tour dates. Are there any shows you’re especially excited to play, or just cities you’re especially excited to visit or revisit?
KC: I’m excited for all of them. New York and California are always incredible. I look forward to NC because I have family there. I used to live in VA, so I always love going back. I think we are excited for all of these places because it’s our first extensive US headline tour. So, we are looking forward to all of it.
Izzy: And what can be expected when you play Johnny Brenda’s? Your last Philly show sold out super quickly and had a super enthusiastic audience.
KC: It’s hard to know what to expect for any show because there are so many variables even when playing the same city. But we approach every show trying to have fun and deliver the songs the best way we can.
Izzy: For that matter, you’ve played Philly a number of times over the years. Do you have any particular thoughts on or favorite memories of the city?
KC: Our shows in Philadelphia are always great. But 9 times out of 10 I end up getting sick or being sick when we play there. I think I’m cursed. So, any time we play there and I’m healthy, I’m really happy. We’ve never really been able to explore beyond the venues.
Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you? What are you hoping and planning for the end of 2018, after this current batch of dates wraps?
KC: We plan to just keep playing more shows and keep touring into the fall. Waiting to see what comes our way. We are always reworking and practicing our live show. And we are always working on new visual content.