Here’s a fact you can’t escape from – there are 525,949 minutes in a year. By our reckoning, Geoff Rickly has largely spent 350,000 of those – factoring in time for sleep, showers and food – fronting No Devotion and United Nations, as well as running Brooklyn-based label Collect Records. Here, he reveals how he managed to fit it all in…
You’ve been very busy this year with Collect Records, No Devotion and United Nations. How stressful was 2014?
“It’s not that stressful. It’s really fun. But someone did suggest calling No Devotion, No Vacation, and I thought that was an amazing name for the band. But I love it. I love staying busy and the thing that’s great is now I’m in a relationship where my girl is the most supportive person and wants to be a part of everything that I’m doing. That’s really changed a lot for me. I think in the past I haven’t had that as much, and it makes it so that it doesn’t seem like a job. I’m working on stuff that I love with people that I love and it makes things super easy.”
Did you think your year would be so busy when it started?
“No. And being the point person, where everything goes through you first and last, you kind of have to do all the work, even if you have people doing it for you! You have to double check everything, and that’ a pretty wild thing that I didn’t realise until this year. I have so much more respect for every label I’ve ever been on now.”
What was your hangover like on January 1st?
“It was evil. We went out – I DJ’d and Nothing and DIIV played and each drink took longer and longer to drink and it got crazier and crazier. I don’t really know how it kept getting so much wilder. At one point, Blood Orange was onstage with Lil’ Kim I think and I was just like, ‘What is going on?!’ and I woke up totally hurting.”
With that in mind, do you have any surefire hangover remedies?
“Yeah. I mean, most of my friends do the ‘take two Xanax and get back in bed and call me eight hours later’, but I’m big on egg sandwiches.”
What was your biggest fear in joining No Devotion?
“That people would hate it. Like they’d be this jerk joined the band after everything and made it worse and made a record that nobody likes. That was my biggest fear – like sure, those guys have been through a lot, but the worst thing would be that they started a band and everybody would be like ‘Bleurgh!’, like ‘After everything you’ve been through you started a band that sucks.’ Like that’d just be the shit icing on the cake. But it’s been really good and I feel really lucky about that. I love being in this band.”
What was your most memorable show of the year?
“For me, that’s easy, because we played that first No Devotion show in London, and that was the most memorable show for me because I’d put so much into that show, making sure everything was right, making sure the projectors were right and that everything was perfect. We had so many friends come out. It was definitely my biggest show of the year.”
Beyond that gig, what’s been your personal highlight of the year?
“Just like really getting to stay at home with my lady. That’s been my highlight – just really discovering personal health and happiness and really just getting it right at home. That’s been my big mission statement of the year and it’s really come through and done well.”
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself in 2014?
“That you can fuck up even more as an adult than you did as a kid. That’s the thing I’m realising. You can make more mistakes. You’d think at some point you’d reach your max of making dumb mistakes, but actually you have more capacity to make mistakes every year that you’re alive. And that’s a shocker to me. But I think you also have more capacity for doing good, so it’s just the way you channel that.”
What’s been the hardest part of 2014?
“I guess keeping it all straight, really. There’s just been so much to look after it’s been such a challenge. But it’s really good and really positive, it’s just been very stressful and a lot of very complicated things and having to use planners. I’ve never used daily planners before. It’s all new.”
And the most rewarding part?
“The most rewarding part is when something goes awesome. Like ‘Oh shit, we made an amazing lyric video for Sick Feeling and Fader’s going to premiere a track’ or ‘The band got this tour’ or ‘One of our bands did this!’ That’s the most rewarding thing for sure.”
One a completely different note, which films do you make a point of seeing at Christmas?
“My Christmas movie – I have a lot of them, that’s a big, big thing for me – but every year I have to watch Love Actually. It’s my corny, Christmas story!”
You said you DJd New Year’s Eve last year, so this should be easy, but which five songs would you pick for a New Year’s Eve party playlist?
“I could be lazy and go to the actual playlist. Let me do that, actually. This is an extremely lazy and accurate New Year’s playlist: Cities In Dust by Siouxsie & The Banshees, Requiem by Killing Joke, Helicopter by Deerhunter, Shine A Light by Spiritualized and Lorelei by Cocteau Twins. You know what I like about New Year’s Eve playlists? They have to be sparkly. To me, it should be all shiny and sparkly, because that’s what the New Year gives you – this nice, clean, perfect, fresh snowfall feeling!”