DONTNOD are armed to the teeth with symbolism; musically, lyrically and visually. The name DONTNOD is a symbol within itself that can simply mean “don’t nod, don’t say yes to everything, don’t be controlled” (DONTNOD is also a Palindrome which means it can be spelt backwards).
Their latest track “Some Days” is reminiscent of Hybrid Theory era Linkin Park and holds no punches lyrically whilst getting your adrenaline pumping musically. With nearly 6000 streams on Spotify and reaching number 30 in Luxembourg hit radio, so we clearly aren’t the only ones who feel this way.
- SONGWRITING & STYLE-BENDING”
- BREAKING BACK & NEVER DONE BEFORES’
- THE SCENE & SOCIAL MEDIA
- DONTNOD’S SONGWRITING RECOMMENDATIONS:
As a country, Luxembourg is small in size and population, so everyone knows basically everyone in the music scene. We have always crossed paths in the past, during other music ventures or simply during a concert. Funez was more of a singer/songwriter with his acoustic guitar and playing concerts around his hometown.
Dave used to play the Guitar in a band called Eternal Tango for more than 10 years, with whom he toured Europe and played the festival circuit pretty regularly until they eventually split.
Dave and Funez started to meet regularly a few years after the demise of Eternal Tango and wrote some songs with a couple of friends that were more rock and heavy metal. It was all pretty time constrictive because of jobs and families to work around and both decided to start DONTNOD and be more flexible.
SONGWRITING & STYLE-BENDING
How did DONTNOD develop into the genre-busting band they are today?
The more songs we wrote, the more we decided to not be restrained by a genre. DONTNOD reflects all the music that we have been listening to our entire lives. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, or what style you call it. We don’t constrict ourselves to one style, genre or category, whatever you want to call it. We love listening to music in general.
DONTNOD is an opportunity to just merge all of those qualities that have been inside our heads forever. We don’t really care if it’s new or non-existent, and doesn’t fit any playlist right now. Yes it’s hard, but we just keep on doing what we love to do and the results will come.
Rap and Hip Hop was something that Funez always saw as a great way to express himself. There is a small but successful Hip Hop community in Luxembourg and some pretty nasty open-mic sessions with some killer DJ’s and that’s where it all started.
Growing up in the 90’s and 2000’s as a kid, Rap/Rock was one of our favorite genres and saw the origin of a lot of great groups such as the Beastie Boys, Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam, Cypress Hill, KoRn, RHCP, Incubus and Eminem to just name a few.
What was the writing process like?
Our producer Sasha is a massive influence and is basically a third member. We’ve probably known him for over 20 years and we love to work with him as we can just create freely without any constraints.
The songwriting mostly felt instant with Sasha because he sees the potential in every single riff and idea. He doesn’t even tell you when he’s recording. Dave would just be warming up on the Guitar then he would say “you can stop now I’ve got what I need” which would always take everyone by surprise.
We wrote through lockdown just us three at home in his basement, which was great fun. It was usually just for a couple of hours a day after our jobs but nonetheless very fruitful. We managed to complete about 20 sessions in 18 months or so.
What’s your method when writing lyrics?
With the lyrics I don’t normally jot anything down until the music is written, so I can get a feel of the song first. In my opinion every song should write the lyrics. I want the words to belong side by side the melody and the instrumentals. Once we have the lyrics down roughly we record them right away, just to get a feel for it and then before the next session we re-work the lyrics and make them fit perfectly and finish the track on the next session.
The themes are mostly socially critical. Thought-provoking and honest, I write about the behavior of some individuals, how they treat others and the things they say and their values.
I’m a very straightforward and sincere person, I don’t like to lie or hide behind a façade because I think everything can be told frankly, in a good way without hurting people. I feel many people have grown distant and selfish and I like to express my thoughts within the songs.
BREAKING BACK & NEVER DONE BEFORES’
Our very first video was produced and directed by Yann Gengler. He is a good friend of ours and by the way used to play bass in our rock project for a while before he moved to Berlin with his main band TUYS. We have known him for many years and crossed paths during the ETERNAL TANGO era when he was about 12 or 13 years old. We also played some great shows together in the past and we kept in touch.
Since we saw their self-produced video for their band TUYS, we were so blown away that we actually decided to ask him to shoot our video for “BREAKING BACK” and he was like “yeah why not”.
That was actually his first music video that he would direct too, so it was exciting for everyone.
Yann and his team came up with the main idea, we gave some input about what it should be or how it should look. We organized everything together. Location scouting, creating the props, costumes and décor. We coordinated that all pretty much last minute. We were crazy people for a couple of days creating the masks and pulling night shifts to prepare the shoot. Funez and Patrick, a good friend, helped us with the sewing machine until maybe 3 or 4 AM and we were so close to bailing out but also we could see the finish line and knew we had to carry on. It was a race against time, which turned out to be a great experience overall.
Has this video inspired any others in the future?
We actually shot a live video this last year which was produced by LAPLANT FILM and directed by Pascal Useldinger. The video was shot at the Schungfabrik (shoe factory) in a small town called Kayl. The video can be found on their YT page.
In February this year we also released a very special video, something we haven’t done yet and I’m sure not many bands in Luxembourg have done it like this. Created by Team Ayakashi, we have produced an Anime video which surprised many people. That’s a massive theme for DONTNOD. We like to surprise from sound to image. We want to amaze our listeners and keep them on their heels. You know, we are maybe a bit rebellious and edgy and not as clean as some people would love to hear it on the radio for example but this is exactly what DONTNOD stands for.
THE SCENE & SOCIAL MEDIA
In the music scene, musicians know each other and also need each other.
We need to support one another if it’s just for a bit of publicity on social media or to get more people to come out to see us live. Without the teamwork we couldn’t make the dream work.
How have you managed with keeping up with social media duties whilst being in a band?
Creating content is really the hardest thing for us. We haven’t been content creators until the rise of DONTNOD. We are used to creating music but no social media content. This is something we had to learn by trial and error but we are slowly getting the hang of it.
In the beginning, it took us hours or even days before posting something. There was always this need to post the perfect image or thinking about a cool story to share with our listeners. We are perfectionists and an important aspect for us is and has always been, quality over quantity.
DONTNOD’s songwriting recommendations:
1. Merge your styles
2. Keep your words honest
3. Keep strong connections
4. Quality over quantity
5. Don’t say yes to everything and be confident in your attitude
I don’t like to lie or hide behind a façade because I think everything can be told frankly, in a good way without hurting people. I feel many people have grown distant and selfish and I like to express my thoughts within the songs.
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