New Age Narcissism headlines the pedal-powered stage Saturday night at Rock the Green.
New Age Narcissism headlines the pedal-powered stage Saturday night at Rock the Green. (Photo: Courtesy of New Age Narcissism)

New Age Narcissism hip-hop collective rocks the green

Growing up, the members of the Milwaukee hip-hop collective New Age Narcissism always felt like misfits. They never felt they fit within their communities and groups. What they didn’t know was that, in the near future, they'd break away from what they were used to and create their own community in the world of local music.

Local producer Q the Sun and Chris Gilbert were once a part of Fresh Cut Collective. But it eventually faded away, leaving them to look for a new musical outlet.

It wasn’t long until they met local rappers Webster X and Lorde Fred33. The four of them started collaborating, performing around the city and doing what they love: making music. 

In the fall of 2014, Webster X's popularity started to build – both locally and even nationally – which created more performance opportunitie and forged more local industry connections with people like Lex Allen. As they made more and more connections, they knew they had to figure out some way to make the collective work.

"In order for it to grow [at that time] we needed to meet up," explained Q the Sun, so they started gathering together every Monday. This went on week after week until January of 2015, when they realized things were starting to come together.

"Things were looking solidified," Q the Sun said. As the collective was growing in 2015, it began picking up more national attention, playing more shows – including opening for Lupe Fiasco – and adding more members, like Siren, to its group of misfits. And as they became more established, they started to officially define themselves as a group.

"It’s about self-love and self-acceptance," Q the Sun said, adding they want to find "acceptance in [ourselves] by seeing [ourselves] in others." He noted that they support each other and build the community, with a mutual hope and vision for making Milwaukee better. All of the members of New Age Narcissism are very involved in their communities, especially with the youth of Milwaukee, in the hop…

Come out Saturday to see NO/NO on the pedal-powered stage at Rock the Green.
Come out Saturday to see NO/NO on the pedal-powered stage at Rock the Green. (Photo: NO/NO Facebook)

NO/NO says yes to Rock the Green and sustainability

After their previous project, The Delphines, split up and faded away, singer/synth player Cat Ries – along with Harrison Colby, Lucas Riddle and Jeremy Ault – rose to the occasion and assembled a new band. Thus, NO/NO was born, and, not even three months later, the quartet had produced its initial self-titled EP.

The band hasn't shown any signs of slowing down from that fast start in 2014 either, continually growing as a group and, most recently, dropping its first full-length album, "Sound and Light," this past May – one put together in an all new way for its members.

"The album grew out of experiments and loops, and then the songs were pieced together through recording and sampling," said Colby, the group's guitarist and vocalist. "There wasn’t any live recording; it was all being written as it was being recorded. So, no demos exist, I think, except for one song." 

Although they all have different musical tastes, the quartet found a way to bring its various musical interests together to create a unique electro-pop-rock sound that is like few others. When they first came together, NO/NO found common inspiration.

"We all really like a lot of different styles of music – I know Cat really likes goth and industrial – but we were all kind of inspired by late '70s and early '80s punk and new wave," Colby said, "bands like The Cure, Depeche Mode, New Order and Wire." 

The reconstituted group first graced the Milwaukee music scene two years ago, and, ever since, it's been embracing the city's diverse music scene and genres, as well as getting to know fellow local artists who've inspired the band over the last few years.

"It’s this city’s [music] scene that fuels a lot of what we do," Colby said. "It’s our support system."

Since hitting the scene, NO/NO has performed all over the city, but you can usually find the band performing at its favorite venues: Riverwest Public House, Linneman’s, The Mad Planet and Cactus Club. This weekend, however, yo…