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A New Sound

Transcending Traditional Genres and Mediums, No Signal is Making Waves in Colorado's Music Scene

Article by Katherine Owen

Photography by Rick Cummings

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

In 2013, Riley Schmelzer and his family experienced firsthand the tragic floods that swept the state of Colorado. Riley, just 11 years old at the time, stood in the stairwell of their basement, while his father swam to the rescue of the guitars in their family music room downstairs, handing them off to Riley one by one. 

Riley had grown up in a musical household and played keys, drums and guitar until the age of seven when he picked up other hobbies. But in 2013, as his family’s music room soaked through, the desire returned.

“Of course, it was right then when I realized I wanted to keep playing music when there was nothing left,” Riley recounts. “Fortunately, my father had one prototype guitar upstairs that hadn't been opened or played before, and he allowed me to use it to start my journey. I just picked it all up again and enjoyed doing it, and it ended up turning into this project.”

The desire never left, and today the now 21-year-old Riley is responsible for the vocals, guitar and keys for No Signal, the band he has formed with Jake DeMarco (bass) and Nic Kubes (drums). Front Range fans may have caught them headlining venues like Lost Lake in Denver and The Fox Theatre in Boulder or over the airwaves on Colorado’s 93.3 “Locals Only” show and Colorado's 102.3 “Local 303.” 

Having just released their sophomore full-length album, “Distorted Reality,” which has already garnered more than 2 million streams since its release in August 2023, No Signal is known for its conceptual, genre-blending sound. It’s “high-energy rock” as Riley puts it, but it’s experimental and maybe even a bit esoteric. 

“There's a lot of conceptual things going on underneath the music, and I think that is one of the things that people first notice when they listen to No Signal,” explains Riley. “I don't want them to think that it's just a bunch of individual songs but rather a larger experience and the revelation that there's something bigger going on. Maybe it even makes them feel a little uneasy or like they're in some sort of liminal space. They pick up on this weirdness and that there's some sort of living, breathing entity behind it that's beyond me, Nic and Jake.”  

To precisely dial in their sound, the band worked with multi-platinum producer Elan Morrison to enlist the expertise of Grammy-winning mixer Brian Vibberts, who has worked with the likes of Metallica, Billie Eilish, and Green Day as well as Grammy-winning mastering engineer Alex Psaroudakis and Grammy-winning producer David Bottrill, whose credit list includes Muse and Tool, among other greats. 

Despite an already-rich discography, No Signal is just getting started. This big-picture “project” Riley refers to is what he sees as a complex, overarching story that unfolds over decades for fans, told through multiple mediums: LPs, music videos, installations, shows and much more. Not long after Riley picked up music again this idea came to him: 

“I have no idea [where it came from],” Riley says. “I was 14 when it all happened, and it just showed up, and from there, it was just a race to write it all down.”

Riley chronicled all the ideas and visions into a detailed, cohesive document. Since then, he’s only had to update bandmates on the plan, not the plan itself. 

“I think all of these ideas existed for a long time. So the biggest thing that we had to get over as a band was me explaining it to Nic and Jake without scaring them. And quite frankly, I did scare them, probably, and overwhelm them. But they were all for it. They loved it,” Riley says. “I think it's because of that acceptance that we have been able to evolve and add onto this entity as a group of people who believe in it. It is quite wonderful because it can feel lonely at times, trying to do this brand-new thing that hasn't really been done before, but I have people on my side who will do anything they can to make it happen.”

For now, Riley reports the band is currently working on releasing acoustic versions of their most popular songs as singles, in advance of the launch of a full acoustic EP. To stay up to date on upcoming tour dates and give No Signal a listen, find them at