When you watch all-female band No Small Children perform, you’d never guess that by day, all three members are schoolteachers in Los Angeles.
Mark your calendars: They’ll be playing in the Coachella Valley for the first time at The Hood Bar and Pizza at the CV Independent Presents show on Saturday, Jan. 26.
Since the band’s start in 2012, No Small Children has released three full albums and an EP, covered the Ghostbusters theme for the 2016 version of the film, licensed various music to television shows and video games, and toured nationally. In September, the band played at Riot Fest in Chicago with Bad Religion, Beck, Suicidal Tendencies and many others.
During a recent phone interview with drummer Nicola Berlinsky, she explained how she and her bandmates—Lisa Pimentel (guitar and vocals) and Joanie Pimentel (bass and vocals)—entered the teaching profession as musicians.
“I studied music in college—not just drumming, but also modern composition,” Berlinsky said. “I was in the process of applying to go to graduate school, and my sister said, ‘This is so cool! Just think about something practical (like teaching) while you’re doing this.’ In my early days, I was a student instructor. I would always be teaching, and it felt really enjoyable.
“Lisa is probably the same way. She studied music, but she’s a natural teacher. Joanie’s story is a little different, because she entered as a private teacher, as a vocal coach and as a cellist; only in more recent years, she’s been at an elementary school. She had her own daycare at one point when she was raising her sons.”
The members of No Small Children have found their success to be a rather pleasant surprise.
“When we started, it wasn’t with any intention of a plan of what we hoped for it to be; we just knew we had to play for our own gratification, and we needed a way to balance out life and be in the moment,” Berlinsky said. “There was always so much energy between the three of us, and our motto was, ‘Say Yes to New Life Opportunities.’
“We don’t hide the fact that we’re not in our 20s. The beautiful thing about being older is an awareness of time. In the beginning, it was more about seizing life opportunities and experiences. We always equate it to falling in love and that high that you feel; it drove us through working full-time, writing and playing. As we kept going, we eventually had to say no to some things and choose what we do. Instead of playing every night in Los Angeles, we’d play once or twice in town and have bigger and better shows, and try to get out of the city once in a while, too. Now we have game plans for the year, and it’s still about creating new life opportunities—new places to go and play music, meeting new people, and things like that.”
Riot Fest was a new life opportunity—that could lead to even more new life opportunities.
“It was truly amazing. It was great to be able to play on such a big stage and with people that we’ve been listening to for so long,” Berlinsky said. “As much as we loved playing it and meeting new people, you also get these passes and stand on the stage, watching people you love playing to a huge crowd of people. That was a great experience to have. We loved everything about it, and they were so good to us. It’s actually one of our hopes—to be able to play more festivals.”
The recording experience has pushed the band creatively. The most recent album, What Do the Kids Say?, released earlier this year, marks a definite departure from previous recordings.
“We started off with our first album having a really raw sound—bass, guitar, drums and maybe an extra layer of guitar-over. As we’ve moved forward, there’s been experimentation,” Berlinsky said. “Now there’s more of that, and we’re not shying away from overdubs and playing around with sounds in the studio in a way we hadn’t before.”
Berlinsky explained how they work on albums.
“We were really lucky that Lisa is also a producer. She helps us orchestrate most of the recording, and she does all of the prepping,” she said. “When something is recorded, she gets a lot of it ready for the final mix. We have (record producer) Bob Marlette come in and add his magic over it. Lisa puts a massive amount of time into the studio; a lot of time also goes into it before the recording. There’s a lot of pre-production that happens with writing and finalizing the work from us playing around in the studio. We don’t record all together; I really respect that when it’s a live band doing a different cut, but this is more one on one.”
No Small Children will be playing two sets at The Hood on Jan. 26, and the members are excited about their desert debut.
“We know that we have people from that area who drive all the way to Los Angeles to come see us, so we’re hoping they will come out,” Berlinsky said. “We absolutely love our friends in GayC/DC, and they recommended The Hood Bar and Pizza to us, and we love them so much that we respect their opinion on that. We can’t wait to come out. From my experiences of spending time in that area, people are ready to have a good time in the evening. We just want to make the best night possible for everyone, so we’re really excited to play.”
No Small Children will perform with Sunday Funeral at 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on the show, visit the event’s Facebook page.