No Lungs
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No Lungs

Tempe, Arizona, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2018 | SELF

Tempe, Arizona, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2018
Band Alternative Rock




"No Lungs’ Austin Ryan on Re-Recording, A Darker Ascetic, and Taking His Sweet-Ass Time"

After I attended the last Phantom Party show back in May, there sat in my mind questions of, “what next?” for the musicians comprised of the surf-punk-rock unit. While Matthew Slusser (formerly on bass) has been incredibly visible with his “Getting Stoked” podcast, I became interested in the small taste I received of former drummer Austin Ryan’s solo project No Lungs, as he performed a passionate set during the said-farewell show.

Over the course of weeks before this interview, I was able to become familiar with Austin on a personal level and learn more about the history behind his new pop-punk solo-act which would release two albums during his former tenure as Phantom Party’s drummer. Instead of releasing more new material however, Austin piqued my interest when he mentioned he would be re-recording both albums with new studio takes. As someone who is obsessed with musical comparisons between sessions, albums, and releases, curiosity got the better of me and I sat down with Austin Ryan before the re-release of his first album to dig into his brain a little deeper on the creative choices behind These Threads Lead Somewhere and Never Live It Down.

Curiosity usually kills the cat, but I’m a craftier son-of-a-bitch than that.

Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen: Can you give us a background on what you’re planning with No Lungs and your released albums?

Austin Ryan: Right now I’m… re-recording [two albums] I put out front to back, I plan on putting them out this year in August [released Aug 3], [and then] in December.

I find it really fascinating when artists decide to revisit their past work and possibly rework it in new sessions. From a musical perspective, are you reworking mostly the lyrics, composition, etc?

I’m trying to keep [the music] as close to the source material as I possibly can, but in some instances there are going to be [instrumentals] where I switch it up and rework them a little bit, but as far as lyrics, there aren’t too many changes in lyrics. If anything, there might be a change [in phrasing], but it’s going to be directly taken from the source material [and] put into something brand new. What suffered in the first version is that I wasn’t taking them very seriously, so some of the performances were.. lackluster?

So, I had a listen to some of the tracks you sent me for comparison purposes from your past/upcoming work(“Ghosts Don’t Know, “Everything Breaks In Unison, “All Is Well”), and I noticed you only sent me tracks from one of the albums you are re-working (These Threads Lead To Somewhere); why did you omit the inclusion of songs from your other release, Never Live It Down?

Well, I didn’t begin yet [chuckle]…

… and the ball drops!

I’m taking my sweet-ass time on both of them, and with this time around, it’s a new concept. With the last two albums, I rushed as quick as I could and had fun, didn’t care if things were in tune, and took the first vocal take I could get. I finished These Threads Lead Somewhere first and then did a split-EP with three more songs, and then began Never Let It Down totally rushing it. From then, I decided to focus my efforts on the first album and the marketing of it.

no lungs 02There is a very raw quality to the albums you mentioned. I’m sure other musicians can relate, using the first take professionally can sometimes be a horrifying ordeal since you’re using the first draft of something potentially rough. It’s a solid work, but that raw strain is there.

There aren’t many people who point out how raw it is, but I knew I could do it better. No Lungs got to a point where I wanted to put my best foot forward this time and make it more [refined]. I like every single song, but I knew they could be better. Songs like “Ghosts Don’t Know” had a few mistakes I left in, and this time I [added mics] to the drum set to [refine the sound]. I also sang the first album in a higher, nasally tone which I was [unable to reproduce live]. I grew into the voice I have, but the vocals on this version have a slight bass opposed to the nasallyness in the first version.

What was it like performing in No Lungs and Phantom Party simultaneously on the same night? Did it mess with your creative mojo? I remember you did do that cover of “Catholic School” as an excerpt…

When I was starting to get serious with No Lungs, Phantom Party started to end. There wasn’t any overlap, and Matt was the one who asked me to play the [farewell show]. I said to myself I wasn’t going to invite [No Lungs] into this party, so it was nice he invited me. No Lungs is what I always wanted to write [musically], while Phantom Party was a band I was in with my friends and surf isn’t really my kind of music.

Do you have any collaborative plans for No Lungs?

I’ve been approached by a few people, but I’ve been focusing on doing everything myself. Every sound you hear is all me, the only real help is what it comes to my friends who play with me live. There is definitely collaboration when we play the songs live, because I don’t want them to play the songs exactly like the record, but add their own little things to it and make it their own. As far as the record goes, I’m not looking to collaborate at the moment. I wanted to emulate the record in a live setting and managed it with “Ghosts…” but the [vocal demand] was too much.

You covered the MGMT song “Kids” earlier in your discography; do you have any other plans for covering other artists’ material?

After I finish an album, I do find myself playing covers. I did MGMT, and a Car Seat Headrest song (“Destroyed by Hippie Powers”), and I used it to test out my new equipment. I covered “Always and Forever” by Sore Eyes when I did a split EP with him. Those are the covers I have now, but I’ve been thinking of doing Tame Impala, but I’m afraid to butcher it.

Do you have any future plans for aesthetics, music videos, visual elements, etc in your live settings?

I’ve put a lot of thought into the aesthetic and stuff like that. No Lungs started out and continues to be my number one priority as a recording project. I have people play with me live and I’m always down to jam [with other musicians], rotate if they’re ever interested, but my main focus is on the recording. When I watch live performances, I think it would be cool to have an aesthetic in that setting as well; down the line, I definitely would like to focus on that. I’ve had thoughts for music videos, and wanted No Lungs to have a darker aesthetic, but not Goth.

These Threads Lead Somewhere is definitely more of a poppy album than [Never Live It Down] and maybe I’ll take more pictures when that one drops with blood on my hands or something [chuckle].

It’s always a pleasure Austin, and it was great catching you at the final Phantom Party show as No Lungs, as well. As a Clint Eastwood type would say, do you have any last words [for your fans]?

These Threads Lead Somewhere is out now wherever you stream music, or you can download it at Every download comes with the first version of the album as well. I can be found on any social media under the username nolungsaz; and to people that already listen to my music, thank you so much for the support! - YabYum Music & Arts

"Review and an Interview: No Lungs and "Never Live It Down""

I've only lived in the Valley of the Sun for a handful of years. Regardless, it's become a home to me, and in spite of the moans, groans, and disagreements of locals, I think Phoenix and the greater Valley area has some of the best music scenes I've ever come across.

I feel this way partly because it's so easy to come across a local act that's genuinely great on any given day, even if they're still in the baby beginning stages of a project. No Lungs, a pop-punk group from Chandler with an interesting lo-fi indie sound, is one such outfit.

Their most recent project, Never Live It Down (2018), was released several months ago. Instrumentally, it's a simple album-- the band's sole member sans assistance during live shows is Austin Ryan, who provides vocals and plays bass, guitar, and drums for the project.

"Windows" opens up with a twangy bass and rolling guitar riffs. Ryan's vocals are not untypical for lo-fi pop punk, but why change what isn't broken? It's atmospheric and pushes the climax of the song past where one would expect, keeping the listener engaged. Where pop punk relies on time signatures and beats that rarely go outside the box, No Lungs takes a more interesting, less-travelled path in their songs. “There’s a monster that’s seeing red and I can’t look at it / Revealed in bursts as a silhouette in a twisted acid trip / I didn’t mean to spill the news, I thought everyone knew / I didn’t mean to block your view, I thought you could see too.”

While No Lungs has much room to grow to properly wiggle out of the garage rock rut that many new artists find themselves lodged in that can easily make them indistinguishable from other bands, Never Live It Down is a great little album for those who appreciate DIY pop punk.

Austin Ryan, the brain behind No Lungs, was kind enough to do a brief interview with us on his writing process and upcoming projects.

Arena: Hey there, thanks for doing this interview with me! What inspired Never Live It Down?

No Lungs: I just wanted to talk about more than just a person this time and more about aspects of life that are tougher to overcome.

What was the writing process like?

The writing process of Never Live It Down was very similar to the writing process of the first album These Threads Lead Somewhere (2018). Most of the songs started on electric guitar, and then I would kind of plan how I wanted the melody and the other instruments to go.The arrangements and melodies came very quick. As for the lyrics, this one varied heavily from the first album.The lyrics on that album were very straightforward.It focused a lot on the people in my life.Never Live It Down focuses more on situations.It still focuses on people, and it focuses on myself, but this album deals with the situations everybody is placed in as opposed to just talking about the person in general.It also deals with events that didn’t come up on the first album; since this is more of a situational album, it shows a little more depth.So there is one song on it called “Ambulance”, that's about a person pretty much losing control of their thoughts and becoming just an empty vessel of a human. There is another song on there called “Flower Crown” that’s a depiction of suicide and the effects that go along with it, and there’s one called “Better Weather” that’s about a toxic relationship. So it’s much darker than the first one because I’ve found that life isn’t always going to be sunny.It’s going to get pretty dark, and there are highs and lows. Much of this album is about the lows.

What are your plans for No Lungs in the near future?

I’m doing something kind of odd where I’m re-recording both of the full length albums I’ve put out. That’s not only Never Live It Down, but the first album too, These Threads Lead Somewhere. When No Lungs started last December, I wanted to put out as many songs as I could in the shortest possible time, as evidenced by putting both those albums out only a few months apart. The problem was that the quality suffered.I mixed on crappy headphones, the drums were only recorded with two microphones, I didn’t test things out, and at the time I didn’t care to put too much into it because I was just having fun.I definitely didn’t give either album my best. Now that I’ve decided to take the No Lungs thing more seriously, I wanted to give these songs the treatment they deserve because I really think they’re great songs. There is a lot that got drowned out the first time around; on the current versions that are out, they’re very loud, and I don’t think they’re loud in the right ways. I’m listening to rough mixes of the re-recordings, and I can tell these are going to knock the other ones out. I’m hoping to have the re-recorded version of These Threads Lead Somewhere out in September and Never Live It Down out in December.

That’s the only thing I’m doing right now only because I really want to focus and get them done.After this is over, I hope to put out another album in 2019 of all new music.

I was also talking to the other guys (the band for live shows) about playing a few shows out of state so we might be doing that too. Who knows? Right now and for the near future, I am really just focused on recording and putting out something I can be super proud of for years to come. - Arena Music


TV and Pornography / What a Bummer (Single) - July 2018
These Threads Lead Somewhere
 (LP) - August 2018
Never Live It Down (LP) - November 2018
See You There (LP) - July 2019
What You Didn't Want to Happen Is Happening Right Now (LP) - September 2020



No Lungs is a loud, indie rock project by musician and songwriter Austin Ryan. Ryan grew up in Chandler, Arizona and fell in love with music by middle school. Beginning his freshman year of high school, Ryan started playing drums in bands ranging from grunge to surf rock, continuing through his freshman year of college. During the hiatus of his most recent band, Ryan began to craft and record songs in his bedroom, taking influence from Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest, who recorded and released albums in a similar manner. Ryan plays all of the instruments on recordings. Although the Car Seat Headrest practice of releasing music at lightning speed was present, the sound is shaped by Ryan’s love for indie rock bands ranging from Nada Surf and The Get Up Kids to Bloc Party and Cloud Nothings.
In December 2017, Ryan began to build a following on social media, specifically on Instagram, unbeknownst to his friends and band. On January 9, 2018, he issued the first No Lungs full-length, These Threads Lead Somewhere. The album featured seven songs recorded over the course of two weeks, featuring one that was 12 minutes long, pushing the debut slightly past the 40 minute mark. Later that month, he began work on what would become his second full-length. Ryan also assembled a lineup for live performances, opting to play guitar and sing.
Ryan released Never Live It Down, his second full-length under No Lungs, that April. Although there was only a three month difference between both of the albums’ releases, Never Live It Down was darker--lyrically, musically, and even to the ominous cover art taken by fellow Arizona artist, Natalie Picht. It took three times longer to record than the first album, despite working up to 12 hours on some days. Ryan mentioned the difference between the albums, stating “The first album is more about people themselves. The second album is focused a lot on situations as opposed to just a person.” While These Threads Lead Somewhere was primarily a breakup album, Never Live It Down touches on dissociation, mental disorders, suicide, toxic relationships, and more spanning the ten songs that make up the album. It earned Ryan praise from and even Car Seat Headrest themselves.
In June, Ryan decided to take No Lungs more seriously and planned to re-record both No Lungs full-lengths, explaining in an interview, “I mixed on crappy headphones, the drums were only recorded with two microphones, I didn’t test things out, and at the time I didn’t care to put too much into it because I was just having fun. I definitely didn’t give either album my best.” Ryan continued to record every instrument himself, a method he prefers as opposed to playing in a typical band, but this time with a vitalized vision and drive that was not present when the first recordings were being produced. Evidence of the new versions of songs came with the quiet release of three songs from These Threads Lead Somewhere-- “Little Heart Attacks”, “Ghosts Don’t Know”, and “All Is Well”. The full re-recorded album was issued on August 3.
In September, Ryan unveiled “Hard Truths Devoured” which served as the first of two singles (the second being “Flower Crown”) from the second album, Never Live It Down. Never Live It Down was issued on November 16.
Ryan entered the new year by releasing “New Devil,” the first No Lungs song of 2019. The third No Lungs album, See You There, came out on July 19, 2019.

Band Members