Now, Now and Then

The time is now for Cacie Dalager, Jess Abbott, and Bradley Hale. The trio has been around since 2003, but changed their name from “Now, Now Every Children” to simply “Now, Now” in 2010—perhaps a nod to newfound maturity, since the band started when Dalager and Hale were just in high school. Now older and wiser, the band has found a way to separate themselves from their former musical identity and move onto something truly great. After dealing with personal struggles, Now, Now is back with a new, heartfelt record that deals in the struggles of growing up and moving on. Threads captures the band’s penchant for dreamy indie-pop: the kind of music that reminds you of Death Cab for Cutie’s earliest albums, bringing about a feeling of nostalgia that ironically jibes completely with their efforts to move forward.

We caught up with singer Cacie Dalager and discussed reinventing the band, touring with The Naked and Famous, and moving past that “weird” year.

ILANA KAPLAN: How did Threads come about? What inspired the album?

CACIE DALAGER: Some of these songs are songs are from immediately after recording our first full-length, which was in 2008, in the summer. Some of these ideas we have been working on or have had for three and a half or four years at the time that we recorded Threads. We probably started writing really, really hard for this album probably about a year ago, or actually, a year from whenever we recorded it, which was eight or nine months ago. We had a rough patch for two years where we weren’t doing a whole lot. We were struggling band-wise and in our personal lives. We had gone through a lot of stuff, so I think a lot of that came out in this record.

KAPLAN: I remember when you guys were called “Now, Now Every Children,” I absolutely loved your album. I was searching for you guys and couldn’t find you. Can you tell me a little bit about why you guys changed your band name?

DALAGER: I think we changed the name in 2010, I believe. Since we had gone through that weird time, it was right about when the start of that was happening. We had a weird year that year. We kind of wanted to separate ourselves from what we had done previously, without completely being detached from everything that we had already worked on. We didn’t want to be completely different. We wanted to be continuing on the same journey, but just going in a different direction, I guess. We just needed something different, but with the same general ideas.

KAPLAN: Who are some of your influences?

DALAGER: That’s always a really tricky question. The three of us have very different influences. We all have different musical backgrounds. I tend to not really listen to a whole lot of anything that makes sense in terms of being inspired. I listen to rap, Britney Spears, and stuff like that because I’m always really afraid… I don’t ever like to be heavily influenced by something. Obviously you are influenced no matter what. Something had to make you want to write a certain way. I guess old Jimmy Eat World stuff and Death Cab for Cutie’s The Photo Album. I liked this stuff when I was younger and in high school.

KAPLAN: How old are you guys?

DALAGER: Brad and I just turned 25. I turned 25 three days ago. We both turned 25 within the past couple of weeks. Jess is 20.

KAPLAN: From your perspective, what are some of the most meaningful songs on the album?

DALAGER: Okay. “The Pull,” to me, is the theme of the album. For me, it represents the entire album. That pretty much sums it up. Also, “Colony” is really, really one of the ones that is important to me. “Thread,” obviously. “Magnet” is also pretty up there on personal importance to me. There were a couple that didn’t make it on the album that I was really hoping for, but just got cut for whatever reason. Maybe because it had the same message as another song. One of the B-sides is one of my favorites.

KAPLAN: You keep talking about how a lot of personal experiences have contributed to this album. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

DALAGER: I think some of them were about, just in general, trying to feel connected and feeling disconnect. Just trying to get back to a feeling that you once had, or just wanting to see how something felt before whatever events happened. Whether it’s something that’s happening in a personal relationship or death, just wanting to feel connected.

KAPLAN: You guys are playing with The Naked and Famous on tour. What’s it like touring with them?

DALAGER: It’s pretty early in the tour, so everyone is still getting to know each other. We’re all really shy. It really takes a while for us to find our footings with some of the people personally. When you’re on a bigger tour, you don’t know what to expect. We’re the opening band, so we don’t ever want to step on anyone’s toes or feel like you’re in the way or anything. You don’t want to be invasive to any of the other bands in any way. Everyone that we’ve been talking to has been super, super nice. Everyone has been friendly. I think anything about stepping on anyone’s toes is mostly in our heads. The Naked and Famous people are from New Zealand, so really small and funny things are entertaining. Like when they call cookies “biscuits.”

KAPLAN: Would you call this album kind of a comeback?

DALAGER: I guess you could, because to us, we felt kind of dead for a while. We didn’t really do any stuff. We were always busy doing something, but it didn’t feel like anything. We felt really flat-lined in a way. It was a really weird time that’s kind of difficult to explain. We sort of hit a roadblock, in a way. We were just trying to figure out where to go from there, without letting it devour our lives. We figured out all of the stuff that needed to be figured out. Being in a band is all about learning things and growing, in terms of writing… not growing up. Well, I guess at 25 years old you’re supposed to be grown up. It’s always a challenge to make sure that everything feels right all the time. There are so many choices to be made all the time. There’s a lot of pressure to make sure that you make the right choice, but also make the right choice in terms of your band, your business, and your life as a career. It’s also important to stay true to what you’re doing. It’s always kind of a struggle, but we’re finally in a place where we’re comfortable with what we’ve been doing.