Meet
No Tricks



Representing artists like Radiant Children, Boylife and Kelsey Lu, partners Chris, Dave, and Jon speak on the different yet inevitably connected timelines of the visual and the auditory in creating a record, assembling a scene for all kinds of musicians and artists, and the balancing act of deadlines.


Firstly, who are you and what are your roles at No Tricks?
Chris: 
Chris Albo, Creative Director and Co-Founder.
Dave:
I'm Dave Rene. I head up the A&R side of No Tricks.
Jonathon:
I'm Jonathon Alcindor, partner.  I'm in-between both the audio and visual worlds, making sure they are connected from start to finish.

When was it that you decided to create No Tricks and what linked you all together?
Dave:
It’s interesting how divided the audio world and the visual world are, just generally speaking. The irony is that they're always presented together at the end, but they don't have a meaningful conversation with one another prior to that. I come from the music (audio) side of the spectrum. I’ve worked at record labels throughout my career prior to No Tricks. As an A&R person at a record label, my job was to find the talent, sign the talent and make the music.  After that it was passed over to the marketing, creative and management teams.
 I noticed there were drastically different timelines and budgets attached to the audio development and visual development processes.  When an artist signs to a label, you typically hear about the advance the artist gets.  This is a recoupable recording advance.  From the jump the sonic identity is being front loaded as compared to the visual identity. I’m also an artist manager. I was perplexed by the amount of time an artist is given to make an album as compared to the amount of time an artist is given to build their visual ethos.  The budgets were shrunk, and the timelines were accelerated for no fucking reason.  I left the label I was at in 2016 and was working with some artists that were more independent minded.  I met Chris, and all the Madbury Club guys in Brooklyn who were doing really interesting visual work. We ended up working together on a couple of these projects and attacked them with a parallel versus a serial audio/visual process.  As the audio was being developed, visual relatives were being formed and conceptualized.  By the time we finished each project the entire cake was baked.  The No Tricks approach to artist development was starting to form while working on those projects.

What year was No Tricks conceived?
Chris:
I think we were working together in 2017 separately then No Tricks formalized in 2019.

Have your processes changed at all from your first project as No Tricks to the most recent?
Chris:
Yeah, I think we are still figuring out the best working methods but it’s a new company so operational growing pains is expected. But it's cool after a few years into this thing, looking at what we’re doing and knowing No Tricks started with a very specific ideology and strategy, actually working in ways you knew would be successful because of that ideology. Just a testament to stick to your guns.
Jonathon:
It's like the first version of the iPhone, the first version is what it is, and then you get the second one and there are improvements, so on and so forth.
Dave:
It's ambitious. You see why there's so much fragmentation when you’re working along under this scheme. There's so much to be done with any artist, the spectrum is so wide, so making sure all those things are always coordinated and feel cohesive, is a big undertaking.

Using Kelsey Lu’s This is a Test as an example, what's the process of a No Tricks project look like from start to finish? Who’s taking on what? What are the conversations being had?
Chris:
I think the benefit of being involved with the artists so closely is that you can have these conversations in real-time. The idea of the film was initially birthed from our side, we sort of catalyzed that project by saying, Lu, I think we should make a film around this whole performance, and because Lu is so close to us, they're just very trusting of our creative vision. It was totally an internal and collaborative thing all the way through execution. It’s a nice way to work because a lot of times it’s a thing where an artist will go to outside creatives that don’t have any working relationship or any relationship at all with the artist. What we’re after is just very close and wholistic creative communication from start to finish with the artists we work with.
Dave:
That was the first live audience show in New York City post-pandemic. The Shed [Venue] reached out to us and was thinking, hey, do you think Kelsey Lu might come down and bring her cello and maybe play a song or two? and Lu’s like, yeah, not going to do that but what I'm gonna do is a 13-person opera, complete original music, and reinterpretation of my own music, and we're gonna film it.  Being able to attack a project like TIAT with a parallel audio/visual process makes the entire production more cohesive, faster to execute and logistically cleaner.















 

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