On Saturday, April 17, Now, Now Every Children (NNEC) will headline the fourth annual “It Whispers, So Listen & Overcome” benefit for ovarian cancer research. Also on the bill for the show, which is taking place at First Avenue, are Big Quarters, the Melismatics, Far From Falling, Attention, Drift Effect, No Bird Sing, Fragile, and Sarah Pray. NNEC’s spot at the top of that impressive lineup reflects the growing popularity of a band whose tour behind their 2008 debut LP Cars recently included a stint touring Europe with Paramore—making them almost certainly the first band from Blaine ever to play Wembley Arena. Cacie Dalager, the singer/songwriter/guitarist who founded NNEC with drummer Bradley Hale, talked with me about the band’s current activities.
Your most recent tour wrapped up a few months ago. How has it been being back?
We were gone for a little over a month—we left a few days early and returned a few days after the tour, which started in Helsinki. We had some flight delays; there was really terrible weather. Since we’ve been back, we’ve just been taking care of a lot of stuff that needed to be taken care of. Nothing’s happened, but we’ve been really busy.
What did European audiences know about Minnesota?
Not much, even though most people in Europe have better knowledge of the U.S. than we have of their countries. They know it’s close to Canada, and that’s about it.
From the looks of your blog, you’ve been recording new material.
We’re demo-ing, and trying to write. Our last record came out forever ago, but we haven’t had any time to fully devote ourselves to working on a new record. We’ve been trying to write, but nothing is really set.
Did your experiences on tour influence the music you’re working on now?
I feel like we’ve probably changed somewhat, but it’s been gradual enough where we don’t realize it. I can’t think of anything that’s been like, “Whoa! That sounds so much different,” but I’m hoping we’re evolving into something we’ll be happy with. I’ve been playing guitar way more, so hopefully I’m turning into a better guitar player. Brad is an amazing drummer, so I’m just trying to catch up to his level.
Your blog also notes that you’re looking for a van to go on tour this summer.
We’re in planning mode, which is actually more like panic mode. We’re looking for any way to get funds for a van—we’re all broke as shit, so we’re scrounging to make some money to save up for a van. If we don’t have a van, we can’t tour. We have a possible offer for a U.S. tour, but we’re trying to see if we can do it.
How did you become involved with this benefit concert?
Charles [Hopper, event organizer] just approached us about it. It’s going to be a really awesome show, and a good cause.
If you ran into a distant relative at a family reunion and she asked whether your band is popular, what would you say?
That’s not a hypothetical situation—it happens like 20 times at every family gathering. I would say no, because it’s really confusing. We honestly have no idea where we stand with people or the world at all. A lot of kids in Dublin love us, but I don’t know about anywhere else where we have a solid market, because we’ve never completed a successful U.S. tour. Any accomplishment we have, the person who’d ask that question probably wouldn’t understand, so I’d just say no.
When I interviewed Sara Quin, my friend suggested I ask her what her favorite t-shirt is. Sara had an interesting answer, so I’ve decided to make this something I ask people. What’s your favorite t-shirt that you have?
Well, I have 20 or 30 white Hanes v-necks that I wear every day, so I guess those are my favorites—but as for a specific shirt, I have a family reunion t-shirt from like 1989 that’s great. It has, like, Cooper Black on it. I’m afraid to wear it, because it’s super-worn and I don’t want it to fall apart. I just put it into storage.