Absolutely Not is a garage-y glam punk band fronted by Orlando native Donnie Moore. We spent the afternoon with Donnie at the Empty Bottle, talking new releases, public radio wisdom, and refusing to slow down.
Emulsion: Tell me about the roots of Absolutely Not. Where are you all from and how long have you been in Chicago?
Donnie: I personally have been in Chicago for, I wanna say about a decade now? I’m always sure to hold onto at least one piece of everything we make that’s Absolutely Not related but I can't seem to remember things like when I moved to Chicago. Haha I'm sentimental only to a certain point, I guess. Madison moved here about 4 years after me.
Emulsion: You two are siblings if I’m not mistaken?
Donnie: Yeah, Madison's my sister. We grew up in Orlando together.
Emulsion: Did Absolutely Not exist before she came out here?
Donnie: Yeah it actually started even a little before I left for Chicago. I was doing it in Orlando for a couple years, mostly just writing songs and playing small shows with friends who were available to play the songs with me. It continued that way up until somewhat recently where it initially fell into place with Madison and this girl Jenna, and is now locked back in with Madison and Chago.
Emulsion: So you'd consider this group somewhat of your solo project? Or is it a bit more collaborative at this point?
Donnie: It's not that it isn't collaborative? It is at its’ core my solo project though. I'll demo out all the songs and parts alone at home and bring them to everyone else at practice, at which point my drummer will elaborate on my original percussion ideas.
Emulsion: What've you been up to this summer?
Donnie: Our new record “Errors” came out July 28th. It was all demoed out about a year ago, the record itself was recorded with the three of us in January and February, and it was mixed/mastered in March. We tried to take a little break; we knew when July happened, there would be a lot happening around the release. Basically since then, we've just been super busy supporting the record.
Emulsion: Finding the time to re-center when you have a chance is crucial; it's not easy to find stillness when there's so much going on.
Donnie: It was honestly pretty hard for me to be at a stand still with it for 2 months. I ended up writing like 10 more songs in that time and demoing out shit, so I actually almost have another record already. Most of the nights I’d be playing guitar parts and thinking "oh yeah, this is kind of cool", to the point where I’d be telling myself "God dammit Donnie, just stop doing it!”
Emulsion: Hahaha so much for stillness...
Donnie: I know right? It's just me when I’m writing so I think at least there is a stillness to that. There's no one else around me, there's no timeline for it. It is almost stillness for me because it's just stuff coming out of the silence.
Emulsion: Yeah I feel ya. It's hard to slow it down sometimes, especially when it's fun and cool things are popping up around you.
Donnie: You just do it because you want to. For me, it's what I want to be doing with my time more than anything else. I've lost so many jobs for the band; going in to wait tables is just way less interesting to me than being able to go out and play a show.
Emulsion: You put out a music video recently if I’m not mistaken?
Donnie: Yes, it came out in July with the record. Since November, we've put out three videos. The Strictly Top one came out in May and NPR premiered it. I just remember thinking, "They like it?! What?!"
The writer nailed it so hard on the head too. I was actually sweating it waiting to read the article but it was very complimentary. He was so dead on and tuned in to what we're trying to do, to the point where I was telling myself, "Fuck you! How do you even like… WHAT?!"
He equated it to The Blood Brothers playing on Devo and that is EXACTLY what it is hahaha.
Emulsion: To the point that that is specifically what you've been going for all along?
Donnie: In a way? As corny as this sounds, when I’m messing around on guitar I’m not necessarily thinking about any one thing, but sometimes that guitar part will make me think of a keyboard part that will remind me of some 80's new wave song or something. Eventually specific bands will even pop into my head but it takes a little time to get to that point. It eventually does influence me but the initial stages are very much subconscious. Almost to the point where I’ll accidentally start ripping off something like 90's Radiohead, which I like Radiohead a lot but that's definitely not something I would be trying to intentionally imitate.
Emulsion: Hahaha it's frightening how easy a thing that is to do. Well where can we find your music and when can we see your next show?
Donnie: We're playing a free show with Speed Babes at Emporium on Nov. 13! And you can get our new record "Errors" at https://notrendrecords.com/