Colorado-based alternative rock artist, No Signal — the moniker for Riley Schmelzer — takes genre-defying risks across Venus, the new conceptually complex EP that’s executed with musical proficiency. At the age of 19, Riley takes No Signal to new sonic heights with the five-track Venus, due out Friday, February 4, 2022.
Blending experimental elements from Tesla coil, Theremin, EKG monitor, two-way radios, Moog synthesizers and members of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Venus has masterful musical arrangements and elevated production values that reinforces No Signal’s distinctive sound. “When I was younger, I realized that all the biggest bands in the world are in that position because they sound like nobody else; they've created something new and unique,” says Riley. “This is what I’m doing with No Signal...I’m trying to break new sonic ground.”
The lyrically intense lead single, “Tantrum,” touches on the push and pull of rage. Guided by heavy percussion which provides the song’s distinct heartbeat, “Tantrum” leans into Riley’s productional aspirations. Accompanied by defined guitar riffs and entrancing vocal reverb, Riley introduces a new auditory avenue for No Signal. “What I like about ‘Tantrum’ is that it’s the first No Signal song in a while that I’d label as upbeat and energetic,” shares Riley. “It reintroduces those aspects of energy that I noticed were missing for a while.”
Reminiscent of early 2000s mainstream alt-rock, “Kope” nails No Signal’s arena-ready signature sound. With a light synth presence, vocal distortion and mind-bending choral transitions, the single showcases a wide palette of rock music’s greatest characteristics. Whether drowning in jealousy or realizing someone is no good for you anymore, “Kope” addresses what it’s like to be lost and alone after dealing with greed and lies.
No Signal’s third single off Venus, “Aphelion,” provides an easy ingestible option for those who may not consider rock as their first love. Alluding to missing someone and hoping to be reunited again, this buoyant single leaves much to be interpreted. Best described as a cross between Elton John’s “Rocket Man” and Evanescence’s “My Immortal,” the lyrical story-telling strength and whimsical, yet haunting, composition of “Aphelion” teleports you to a deep illusionment of floating through time and space.
“I think it's important that people know that music isn't just sound — that it shouldn't be the only thing going on,” says Riley. “Instead of a three-minute pop song that sounds good to the ear, it should be an experience.”
Using extensive storyboarding tactics, Schmelzer sculpts every concept through heavy visuals and precise details in order to solidify the specific story that every song tells — and how his projects are narrated throughout. Riley concludes that “every project is a specific color, a specific number, a specific scent and taste and smell. Everything must fit, even down to the ordering and titles of the songs.”
Through sonic storylines and progressive rock tones, No Signal’s music is an immersive experience. The overarching concepts — whether sonic or thematically — guide listeners through chapters of No Signal’s story and outlines what’s to come.
No Signal’s Venus EP is expected on Friday, February 4, 2022.