Q&A with No Small Children: "There is no Substitute For Hard Work."
No Small Children isn't your typical LA rock band. Comprised of Lisa Pimentel (guitar/vocals), Joanie Pimentel (bass/vocals) and Nicola Berlinsky (drums), three elementary school teachers from Los Angeles, No Small Children showcase impressive musical range, powerful vocal chops and innate rock, and pop punk sensibilities while proving that there are limits or boundaries when it comes to chasing your dreams. The trio, who recently released their new single, "RADIO" last month, have already seen quite a bit of success in their five years together, including three albums and a feature of their "Ghostbusters" cover in the movie remake last year. Looking forward, the band has plans to hit the road this summer and keep releasing new music throughout the year. Listen to "RADIO" and read more below.
Interview by Dom Vigil
I have to start by talking about your formation. When was it that you decided to create No Small Children alongside teaching at an Elementary school?
Nicola Berlinsky [drums]: Lisa and Nicola hatched a plan while covering recess duty to go into the studio and write songs together. The project was about having fun separate from all the time we devote to our students. We had no idea at that moment that we’d be on tour within three months, convince Lisa’s sister, Joanie, to move to LA, learn the bass, and join us within five months, and start recording our first EP at the start of the new school year.
What are some great lessons that you’ve learned over your years together that have made you a stronger group now?
Joanie Pimentel [bass/vocals]: One of the most important lessons we’ve learned is that there is no substitute for hard work. We have to invest attention in every part of our project, not just the music. A great song means little if no one hears it. Booking, PR, live performances, social media, merchandising, etc.…are all vehicles to getting our music to as many ears as possible and we know these things cannot be ignored. We’ve also learned that the honesty growth demands is not always easy but we figure out how to work through it and learn from it. Most musicians can appreciate how important personal dynamics are to a successful project and we feel like in this regard, we have something pretty special. Oh and coffee…we learned how important coffee is.
Last year, you had the chance to cover "Ghostbusters" for the new movie. How did that opportunity come about?
Nicola: In 2015, we decided to dress as Ghostbusters for our Halloween show, so how could we not throw the Ray Parker Jr. theme song into our set? The crowd loved our version and encouraged us to record it. Once we finished the track, we liked it enough to send it along to the production, as we knew the all-female version was set to release in 2016. Six months after we sent off our version, we got a call from the music supervisor that our version made it into the film.
You recently released your new single, “RADIO.” Can you tell us a little bit about the song?
Nicola: We started working on this song after our 2016 summer tour. Lisa asked us all to write a list of our favorite summer memories, and then she shaped the ideas into verses. Once the song was completed in November with our producer, Bob Marlette, we decided that it felt so much like summer, that we’d hold it for a spring 2017 release.
What would you like listeners to take away from “RADIO”?
Nicola: For us, this song captures a feeling of nostalgia. We love that people start singing along by the second chorus on their first listen.
You’ve already got three albums under your belts and with this new single out now, is it safe to say that you’re looking forward to number four?
Nicola: Right now we are planning to release a new song every few months. We have one that is being mixed, a second that is being recorded, and a third that is in pre-production. We also released a single in February of 2017 called "I Feel Better." We may eventually compile the songs in an EP as an alternative way for people to access them.
What goals do you have in mind for future music?
Joanie: We are constantly writing music and with each recording, we try and explore new sounds and techniques. Releasing songs like "RADIO" and "I Feel Better" as singles was a different approach than we’ve taken in the past. It has allowed us to release a steady flow of new material and with the help of producer extraordinaire, Bob Marlette, we were able to hyper focus our attention on the quality of each song. We’re looking to do more of the same this coming year. There are a few projects we’re involved with that we can’t yet speak about publicly but our placements in the Ghostbusters reboot and Netflix’s, 'Santa Clarita Diet' opened up some exciting new opportunities for us, and we’re looking forward to working more in these new mediums.
Do you have any other big plans for 2017?
Joanie: We’re really excited about our east coast/mid west tour this summer, performances in Alaska, releasing new music, a new music video, and placements in TV and movies. Mainly, our big plan is to work really, really hard. It’s worked well for us so far.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Nicola: We’re adding new tour dates all the time. For up to the minute information, please visit our website: www.nosmallchildren.com