EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: NOAH ON THE VERGE OF FAME AND SANITY
Noah is the epitome of what being an artist means in this digital age. Calling him a one man band is a gross understatement. Noah is his own self realized, produced, managed, and promoted artist. He is his own stylist, director, PR, social networking guru, and more. Just five minutes in his company and you would be hard pressed not to buy what he’s selling.
And what is he selling exactly? A fresh new take on EDM? A creative spirit lacking in dance music, a bit of an ‘in your face’ rebellious attitude? Though Noah has officially released only two songs, it is safe to say he is all of the above. You have but to see him once to realize he is not your average artist. He is the type that embraces his uniqueness, an artist that you can be certain will not be going down the same beaten path, nor does he plan too.
While his vocal driven music does fall within the confines of today’s EDM, one has but to listen closely to realize it’s much more than that or “less than” depending on how you look at it. More because he doesn’t fill his music up with today’s customary ingredients of 18 bar builds culminating in massive drops. And listen to the subject matter of his music closely, whether singing about the state of the New York dance scene as he did in ‘New York Is Dead’ or the colorful characters he has had the pleasure and displeasure of meeting in his travels as an aspiring artist in ‘No More Angles,’ Noah comes with a message. Chances are, you will not hear him singing about following the sun, partying like there’s no tomorrow, or popping molly; Noah’s subject matter has bite. It just comes in a musical package with an undeniable 80’s influence and plenty of pop sensibility, which would make him an ideal candidate for mainstream pop success, and thus explains the “less than” part. Except that as I have already said, Noah doesn’t plan on taking the same path. He is out the make it on his own terms, while being true to himself.
Well, at least that’s the impression you get at first. Fact is, something else you get from Noah is just how hard it is to make it in this biz. You see just how much energy he puts into his every move and there is a palpable sense of the struggle and the affect it has on him. You find yourself rooting for him and hoping that the guardians at the doors leading to pop fame and fortune grant him access; though that usually means one must alter or somehow bend, you get the idea that Noah’s creativity will somehow shine through, and he will never break.
We were lucky enough to be catch up and kick it with the always on Noah recently and spoke about his journey, his creativity, and his struggles.
1200Dreams: Introduce us to Noah the person and Noah the artist.
Noah: Geez. The ratio is off way these days. I honestly feel as if I am 5% ‘artist’ and 95% robot rather than ‘person’. The times in which we live demand so much busy-ness from ‘artists’ that it is hard to stop, reflect, emote and create. The non-stop madness of social curation and the “look-at-me” and “look-at-what-I-‘like’” is maddening.
As an artist I strive to authentically connect with experience and reflect on it. My attempt to be an authentic good robot in order to tweek my social media digits is stealing time from creativity. I need a clone. The reality is that all of this gyrating has not yet translated into paid rent. We are shamefully living in this post Napster holocaust of “please download my music for free,” “give me your email address,” and “hopefully you’ll buy a t-shirt a down the road.” WTF!
I’m working very hard to break the barrier, gain the support that I need to breathe, create music and thrive doing so. My job is to entertain, educate and hopefully do some good on the planet, but it’s hard to do all of this from these proverbial trenches. My ultimate objective is to integrate ‘the person’ and the ‘artist’ however I need an infrastructure to support this.
1200Dreams: So, tell us what is the story and meaning behind your song ‘New York Is Dead’ and that alarming title. You must’ve known that title would stir some controversy, was that part of the plan or did it take you by surprise?
Noah: Of course I knew the title was controversial. This was the spark that fueled the fire. While the intention was to cause a stir, I still am not satisfied with the level of impact it had. Regardless of the very successful club chart activity in the U.S. and U.K. it did not translate into terrestrial radio support and into sales. Anything controversial deserves good media to keep things alive and fresh.
To be very honest with you, New York is Dead, at inception, was to be a literal jab. I have lived in New York City for 20 years and can honestly say it has lost much of the ‘vibe’ that some of us music lovers were fortunate enough to experience. Sure, it is full of people and noise and commotion, but after a while the grind is just the grind. I think people mistake population count and busy-ness for living. It’s this cliché love-hate relationship.
I crafted New York is Dead in a way that would be more of a calling for the city to “Come Alive!” again. I intentionally wrote, “Everybody loves New York,” “Come Alive, Come Alive, Come Alive,” and “I wanna be there, I wanna be there!” I have certainly learned that many people simply do not listen closely to lyrics. Some people only hear the word “Dead!” It’s part of our everyday language to call things “dead!” To even say we are going to “kill” someone is a casual part of expressing our frustration! Some critics simply do not pay proper attention and have simply lost sight of themselves.
1200Dreams: Your latest cut ‘No More Angels’ also has a story behind it. What can you tell us about that and how it came to be written?
Noah: No More Angels hit me when I was walking down the street. I love those unexpected moments. I had decided to go to L.A. for an ASCAP conference and was excited to get out of town. A bit of hope, a bit of naivety… and a passion to ‘get out and play’ all wrapped themselves into a summer feel good track about making it in Hollywood. I had no idea that the track was a prophecy for what I was going to experience. I will not elaborate too much here for political reasons but I will say that I got a real good lesson into the “behind the scenes” politics that riddle the dance and radio industry. I know how Dorothy felt on her way to see the Wizard (of Oz)! Lots of characters without courage, heart and even brains. This industry needs a renaissance. I did however manage to find someone who very may be one of the last remaining angels in L.A.! : )
1200Dreams: I’m not sure if I’d say it’s kind of a lost art, but it is not as common in EDM as in other genres. Do you think EDM could maybe use more story based songs?
Noah: First of all, EDM is too broad of a term. Electronic Dance Music (EDM) pretty much sums up all dance music. I think what you are referring to is the current DJ craze! As a songwriter, it’s sad. As a spectator, its frustrating. I was just in L.A. and every billboard I saw was promoting a star DJ. The DJ invasion is a highly successful operation but none of these guys (with or without their hands on the knobs) would be anything without the marketing giants and mega-event organizers behind them. Who runs the herds? Molly, apparently.
Not only has a lot of dance music lost the art of story telling, much of it has also lost its face. You have DJ Tom, Dick and Harry spinning off track after track and the only way to remotely humanize them is for them to hook up with a front man, or girl in most cases. This is certainly a step back in the right direction. It may take some time, however I am confident we will survive this digital tsunami.
1200Dreams: So what does an EDM artist from New York have to contend with? Does it open doors for you abroad or are people more surprised than anything since New York produces more house music DJs than EDM artists such as yourself?
Noah: Open doors? Absolutely not. I could be anywhere really. New York City is just where I happen to live. I have been working remotely with producers and remixers all over the world for some time now and the only thing needed is a good internet connection. I have been charting on the DJ Times Charts in the U.S. and on the Music Week Charts in the U.K.. I have yet to hear my music in a bar in New York City unless I personally take it to my pub around the corner. But then again, I don’t get out much. I’m glued to the screen. I use a variety of promoters in the U.S and the U.K. to get my music out to the world and I receive feedback and support from all corners of the globe. New York City just saves me from participating in car-culture.
1200Dreams: Do you consider yourself an EDM artist or would you rather not pigeonhole yourself with that label?
Noah: I consider myself a pop singer/songwriter that uses electronics to create my music. I have an affinity and natural inclination for dance music. House, Soul, Trance, Techno, Pop, etc. It’s all good if the song is good.
1200Dreams: What would you say is your greatest challenge as an indy artist?
Noah: The greatest challenge is turning this adventure into a lucrative career. I work from morning to night, day after day, week after week and am still trying to get the money ball rolling. I realize it takes time and that patience is a virtue…If I cut the wrong corner I may not learn or develop in the right way. It’s right around the corner. I can smell it.
1200Dreams: Your style is very eclectic, very artsy, who are some of your influences style wise?
Noah: Good question. We are the sum total of everything we have experienced both consciously and unconsciously. My known influences are so broad. All of the contemporary pop artists going back to the 80s are all firmly rooted in my nervous system. Prince, Madonna, The Eurythmics, Whitney, Boy George, George Michael, Anita Baker, Luther Vandross, etc. Those were amazing times for music (and songs). The late 80s and early 90s in the Chicago Freestyle and House music scene were so much fun, i.e. Dee-Lite, C+C Music Factory, Black Box… I moved to London for a year and half after college to pursue recording. The U.K. music scene certainly holds its own. Directly after London I came to New York City where I was fortunate enough to experience the hay days of the New York House scene back when Sound Factory Bar was the go-to spot! And then, it all got wild and twisted. A lot of fun, late nights, or should I say early mornings, leaving the Limelight, Tunnel, Webster Hall or Club USA. Miley Cyrus would have loved the bathrooms. As far as my style goes… I just follow my creative flow. This is my religion I suppose. It informs me. I do love to have my songs dressed up in remixes. This lends itself to the theory of parallel realities I suppose. It is invigorating to know that even my songs have other possibilities.
1200Dreams:You are definitely from the new digital era with the way you use the web and social networks and such. What can you tell us about that, what are its positives and negatives? What are some of the tools that you use?
Noah: One of the negatives about “doing it all” in the digital era is the computer lock-down. All of the researching, emailing, texting, tweeting, facebooking, blogging, Photoshopping, playing the keyboard, audio programming and editing are taking their toll. I have just hired some guys in India to take over some of the clicking! Whatever it takes, you know.
There are so many social networks. Twitter and Facebook are my favorites. These networks have helped me connect with loads of people across the planet. The game of “Likes” and “Followers” however is simply insane. It’s a real-life modern day version of a video game of game of sorts… with actual “people” on the other end. We are all so close and still so far away at the same time. Do you follow me? : )
1200Dreams: You’ve collaborated with some pretty cool people so far. Who would you like to work with in the future?
Noah: I love my collaborators. I have learned so much from them. They keep me sane. I’m comfortable at the moment with my team and am not really thinking about who else I may want to work with. I am not star-gazing at producers, songwriters or artists. When the time comes, it’ll just happen. I’m enjoying building my own world right now.
1200Dreams: What is next for Noah?
Noah: Wow! This is the fun stuff. I have added two new promoters to my team and am gearing up for a new release in mid September. We have brought on some big name remixers for the remix package. The new track is promising to be a global success, so I’m really trying to streamline as much as possible so that I am ready to rock. This single is going to ‘keep me movin’ so to speak.
The Official Remix Collection for NOAH’s Hit Single “New York Is Dead” is available for Complimentary Download HER
Official Site: noahmusic.com
About me: about.me/noahofficial