Signing Story: NO--Get a 'Yes' From Record Label

NO_Casey Bennet


Based in Los Angeles’ Echo Park area, six-piece indie-rockers NO may have titled their 2011 DIY debut EP Don’t Worry, You’ll Be Here Forever, but their current momentum is taking them beyond their humble roots to build a local fan base at neighborhood haunts like The Satellite and Echoplex. Listed as one of Filter magazine’s 25 most anticipated albums of 2014, their new full-length set, El Prado, released by the Toronto-based Arts & Crafts Productions, premiered in its entirety on influential indie radio, KCRW.

“He liked the album and really went to bat for us to get signed.”

NO, launched by New Zealand born frontman Bradley Hanan Carter and bassist Sean Daniel Stentz in 2010, recently performed at Noise Pop in San Francisco and at SXSW. In March, they embarked on a jaunt as part of the Arts & Crafts’ North American label tour featuring the Dar- cys and Reuben and the Dark, which kicked off at The Troubadour. No stranger to the road, the band toured Europe with Father John Misty and played several international festivals, including London’s Hard Rock Call- ing and Germany’s Southside and the Hurricane. They’ve also opened for the Smashing Pumpkins, Public Image LTD and the Naked and Famous. Though they’re keeping their own tongue-in-cheek label imprint Bed- room Empire, their signing with Arts & Crafts (a label which has earned 20 Juno Awards and is the home base of four-time Grammy nominee Feist) comes with international distribution that includes North, Central and South America.

NO’s 100+ live shows over the past few years attracted the ongoing attention of label A&R rep Humberto Carmona, who hung out with NO several times and expressed interest in hearing the album they were working on. Carter says their deal evolved out of casual conversations with Carmona that became more serious when they played him the finished version of El Prado.

“We became friends with him and he kept coming around to see how we were doing,” the singer recalls. “He liked the album, shared it with his team at the label and really went to bat for us to get us signed. We were attracted to Arts & Crafts because they’ve got a great family of artists, a community in which we could grow both independently and by performing with other bands.”

Words By Jonathan Widran
Photo by Casey Bennet