Present Lineup: Kenneth Close (guitar/bass), Jon Procopio (bass), Keith Renna (drums), Tracy Wilson (mouth/guitar/bass)
Associated Acts: Dahlia Seed, Ringfinger, Dunebugy, Unbutton
Discography: Via Florum (LBC 2013 ), Noel, Noel digital charity single (LBC 2013), Automatic Cars 7” (Negative Fun Records 2014), For Want Of fan club digital only single (LBC 2014) Glossa (LBC 2015), Reinvent the Space – digital charity single (LBC 2017), Partners in the Wild (LBC 2017)
Talking points with the band: Record collecting, music history, skateboarding, lingering injuries, music gear, mid-century modern stuff, pop art, cocktail recipes, aging gracefully, vintage clothing, Peep Show, and animal rescue.
They’re in love and don’t care who knows about it!
Positive No has been a band for nearly 6 years and remains at its core Tracy Wilson & Kenneth Close. After 8 years of being life partners, they eloped in April of 2017. The biggest influence on our band's approach to writing is each other. They design their songs to be conversations between all of the instruments which creates space for each member to be heard. When you surrender the ego and begin listening to the other people in the room, the opportunity to create a meaningful exchange is born. Bands like Fugazi have mastered this art.
There has been a series of lineup changes over the years since their inception (the plight of being over 30 and still playing music). Work brought Keith Renna (Dunebuggy, Unbutton) to Virginia early last year and he joined Positive No almost immediately. Bass playing responsibilities have been split between two people over the past two years: Matt Klimas (Snowy Owls) and currently Jon Procopio (Dahlia Seed/Dunebuggy/Unbutton). The combination of a husband and wife team alongside three friends (Keith,Jon, Tracy) who have known each other since the ‘80s creates a tight bond among these 4 members that gives Super Glue a run for its money. In short, they are a colorful bunch who know all of those awkward high school stories about each other that makes for hours of fun on long van rides together.
The band’s musical family tree is well rooted and its branches tangled. Close has played guitar in a series of noisy rock bands in Virginia since the mid ‘90s. Wilson was the singer and co-songwriter in the ‘90s emo band Dahlia Seed (Theologian/Troubleman) but has also recorded electronic music under the solo moniker Ringfinger (Magic Bullet Records / LBC). Renna and Procopio began playing music together in high school forming the group Dunebuggy. Spoiler alert the Dunebuggy story involves skateboarding (Keith was even a pro freestyle skater there for a bit) and a mutual obsession with the Boston music scene à la Lemonheads, Pixies, and Blake Babies (LBC released a collection of their work a few years ago). Keith and Jon met Tracy while she was working at a record store in New Jersey around 1990 and they have been friends ever since. Tracy was also briefly a member of Dunebuggy in the early ‘90s while Jon played guitar in Dahlia Seed for several years. Decades later, this NJ gang is back together again with the addition of Kenneth Close who brings southern charm to this boisterous Jersey trio. Jon and Keith also currently play in a band together called Unbutton and are in the process of finishing their debut record.
Positive No creates melodic, unpredictable pop balanced with tension and energy. The current songwriting focus isn’t just about producing melodies performed as if it were their last day on earth or pounding out rhythmic twists and turns. Each note, beat, and breath is meticulously spaced so the room between the notes is as important as the ones played all together. It might be tempting to assume these musicians were heavily influenced by heavy guitar indie rock of Velocity Girl or the melodic post-hardcore of Quicksand in the ‘90s. However, the reality is they were among those artists shaping underground music at the time. This band is not a tribute to the golden age of independent music; they are the same people who helped to created it in the first place. Positive No is a continuation of these 4 musicians doing what they have always done- writing emotionally raw and dynamic songs with lyrics that are as thoughtful as the music. The unique language developed between the band members is like that of a well-established family. Positive No are DIY veterans who radiate the chemistry of childhood friends because they are.
Today Keith, Kenny, and Tracy all reside in Richmond, Virginia. Jon is a resident of Manhattan and travels to Virginia quarterly so the band can continue to tour. Their newest release, Partners in the Wild (Oct. 20th street date), was written between 2015 and 2017 by Kenneth Close and Tracy Wilson. The recording took place in two sessions at Audio Verite in Richmond, VA (Pedro Aida from Ann Beretta/Long Arms’ studio) spread between spring and summer with bass playing duties split nearly evenly between Matt Klimas and Jon Procopio. The band will finish 2017 out with a weeklong tour aside Beach Slang, a band who has repeatedly asked them to join tours over the past three years.
Hear the first first single from the debut Glossa "Pedal Through" + watch the video via NPR here.
Hear the second Glossa single "Weird Hugs" via Brookyln Vegan here.