No Regular Play came to our attention with the rise of the Wolf + Lamb duo, the New York based, deep slow & soulful music aficionados who’d been running things at the Marcy hotel for some years in the 2000s.
NRP featured on some of the earlier collabs and mixes that spread the Wolf + Lamb name outside of the States, and with support from Soul Clap along the way, mixes and more collaborations saw the NRP sound stand out as something unique. Their productions are distinctive; the use of trumpet permeates throughout most of what they do, and we defy anyone to stand still to the groove that gravitates across all of their work.
Greg Paulus and Nick DeBruyn met as eight year olds growing up in St. Paul, Minnesota. After exploring music across a range of genres throughout their younger years and a stint in Havana to study Afro-Cuban rhythm, music and culture, they then moved to New York, eventually attending parties at the aforementioned Marcy hotel in Brooklyn. It was here that they met Wolf + Lamb’s Zav and Gadi, and No Regular Play was formed in 2008. The pair have been heavily involved with Wolf + Lamb ever since, contributing to the collective’s supreme musical output with a string of releases, and they’ve developed a live show that is a wonder to behold. Having dropped their LP Endangered Species late last year, the pair now find themselves on a rise which they fully deserve. Talent prevails.
So are you still living in Brooklyn? If so, how are things at the Marcy, are you still turning the pillows for the Wolf + Lamb guys in their absence?
We are currently living in Brooklyn and, yes, we’re still living at the Marcy fluffing the pillows and changing the sheets. We’ve been here for about 4 years now, Greg lives downstairs in what used to be Gadi’s old apartment, and I live on the 3rd floor in Zev’s old apartment. Not sure they’re coming back anytime soon but we’re keeping the place warm for them.
How would you describe yourselves as NRP to our parents?
We’re a production duo from St. Paul, Minnesota, who grew up together sharing and listening to a lot of similar music. We now produce mostly electronic dance music that blends many of our influences together, including hip-hop, jazz, and soul, into something we hope sounds uniquely our own.
Congratulations on your first LP. You’ve developed your productions over the last couple of years through collabs, presence on compilations and some great EPs. But from an outsiders point of view, it seems that the growth of the live show has really led you to this point. Has this always been the direction you wanted to take the project?
Yeah, the live set has always been the main focus. We started out playing live before knowing how to DJ, and always felt comfortable with it. Greg is a fantastic improviser on the trumpet, so that’s lent itself well to the live performances. I think we also like the idea of performing our own music, like any normal band, in a live setting. We love to DJ, but if we get a great response from playing our tunes it can be much more rewarding.
When you wake up in the morning, what is it that motivates you to make music?
The exorbitant rent prices in NYC… But no, seriously we don’t need much to motivate us. Any chance we get to turn on the machines and experiment with sounds and recording is truly exciting. To be able to wake up, walk to the coffee shop and come back home to work on something that you really enjoy no matter what is amazing.
Do you prefer to DJ or would you rather hole-up with some productions?
We started out producing way before learning how to DJ, so I think we’d prefer to be in the studio working on new material. But we have been DJing more and more and really starting to feel comfortable with it. It can be a lot more stress-free than doing a live set, and it’s always fun to play new music you’re really into.
Greg, we know that you have worked with Matthew Dear & Beirut in the past, is this something that you think you’ll continue with? It’s also been noted that Greg has also worked on many collaborations. Nick, excuse our ignorance but do you have any solo plans of your own or are you happy to continue driving the NRP mothership?
Greg: I’m always up for right and natural and i actually just played again with Matthew last week. I’ve been collaborating if it feels focusing almost all my efforts on NRP now, but when there’s time and it works out I’m always happy and honored to play with Matt or the Beirut guys.
Nick: The NRP mothership keeps me pretty busy and content, but I’m open to anything!
It’s reported that you grabbed people’s attention at a W+L party, and that this was a definitive moment in the early days. Do you feel that a meeting of minds with Zev & Gadi that occurred after that night was coincidental or was there a drive from both of you to make things happen?
We were pretty driven to get the attention of someone after producing for a while. We didn’t really know when it would happen, or who would take notice, but we did feel like we had something in common with the vibe of the Wolf + Lamb parties. When we first started going to the parties we’d mostly hear minimal techno, which we were really into at the time and also trying to produce. There was a stretch of time where we didn’t hear about any W+L parties, and were kind of wondering what happened to them. After a while we sent Zev and Gadi another batch of music which was much more House-y, more live instrumentation and vocal based. They really loved it, and contacted us right away. I guess they’d been taking a break from doing the parties, and really wanted to change the direction of the label. The next party they threw was an intimate affair at the Marcy where they played most of the new tunes we had just sent, which we were obviously thrilled about.
While we’re on parties, what are your favourites from around the world and why?
I think we’d have to say the parties which have been thrown here at the Marcy hotel have always been our favorite. It’s amazing to have so many friends around and be able to enjoy in such an intimate environment with a top-notch sound system. We love playing at Fabric, Zukunft in Zurich, for our friends in Tunisia, D-EGDE in Brazil and we love Watergate, Renate and Chalet in Berlin.
Finally, do you have any plans for a label? We know that your friend Connor, who incidentally we’ve chatted to over email from time to time – great guy – is trying to start something over there in New York. Seems to me like a natural step for you guys. If not, then what would a NRP fronted label sound and feel like?
Connor IS a great guy! We were actually on the first release on Connor’s label, Cut Mistake Music. We had two tracks on the EP, one called Rain (All Day) and the other called Avenue. Connor did a beautiful ambient piece that was on the A side. This was something we had been talking about for years so we were really happy to be a part of it. There’s a lot more great stuff in the works so keep an eye out. We also have plans to start our own label within the next year or so, but we won’t go on and on about something thats still a glimmer in our eyes.
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Endangered Species is available now via Wolf & Lamb.
Words: Tom Wiltshire