And it’s all done in a way that sounds devoid of polish or stuffy flamboyance.
The project is the brainchild of Wil Norton and Danny Davis, two Oklahoma Christian University graduates who bonded over Super Smash Bros. and a common musical thread — though their histories wouldn’t suggest the latter.
Norton, 26, cut his teeth playing guitar for defunct local act The Non through high school and college. Davis, 24, started with piano lessons in his youth, dabbling in pop-punk and folk music in his adolescent years. But regardless of how they arrived, their creative visions now glide along same trajectory.
“I’d go over to his apartment and we’d spend all of Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. just working on music. It was one of those things that was really easy for us and felt natural,” Norton said. “We both have increasingly gravitated toward a pop sensibility, so it was easy for us to be on the same page.”
After releasing a prolific run of singles for free this past summer — one each week from April 15 to July 30 — Norton relocated from Oklahoma City to Washington, D.C. to pursue a master’s in English literature at Georgetown University, rendering the songwriting vessel to an email-only format. Fortunately, sharing files back and forth each week was already the duo’s preferred methodology.
“It was the natural progression of our tastes,” Davis said. “It’s probably something that just came about organically. The production value of how we were recording songs probably influenced how it ended up sounding.”
The resulting sound is as endearing as the creative process. But while the two share an affinity for the lo-fi aesthetic, the stylistic choice wasn’t really a choice at all. Without the best studio equipment to polish their songs, resorting to a digital spit-shine was as much a necessity as it was a conscious decision.
“It’s probably a blessing and a curse. I’m sure the production dudes at ACM (Academy of Contemporary Music at
the University of Central Oklahoma) can probably spot all sorts of flaws
in my technique,” Davis said. “Over-compressing our songs is a big part
of our sound. It can help to identify and separate us in good and bad
ways, depending on who you’re asking.”
Fortunately, the self-imposed, deadline-driven process has yielded an enduringly bountiful and imaginative songwriting output.
And they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down, even at over 1000 miles apart.
“With The Non, we were really trying hard to push the envelope. Over the course of college, I kind of chilled out a little bit. I became less interested in showing off and more interested in writing songs,” Norton said. “There are a lot more options using a computer as your format for making music as opposed to four guys sitting in a room, working on a song together. I think there’s a little more charm in doing it this way.”
Hey! Read This:
• The Non interview