Noer The Boy Kicks Off Liquid Amber’s Digital Dubplate Series With “Soda Pop”
Liquid Amber, DJ Shadow’s innovative and relatively young record label, is unearthing some of the most interesting up-and-coming artists making a name for themselves in the bass music scene. One such exciting new talent is the Wisconsin native Noer the Boy, whose left-of-center beat-making distinguishes him as one of the most compelling new artists to come along in quite a while. Along with his crew Noh Life, Noer is an integral part of Wisconsin’s burgeoning local beat scene, and he’s also had the honor of kicking off Liquid Amber’s new Digital Dubplate series. Noer’s latest single “Soda Pop” perfectly exemplifies his off-the-wall style, utilizing re-sampled sounds of soda cans being struck in various ways to compose a brazenly original track. We got the chance to ask a few questions about his creative process and how it feels to be a part of a new school of producers.
Sensible Reason: What first inspired you to begin producing electronic music?
Noer The Boy: I always enjoyed creating music from a young age. In high school I did a lot of video production and editing, and have have continued editing throughout college. My favorite thing is to manipulate content into something completely different, and it was my freshman year in college that I discovered Ableton and really transitioned from editing videos to editing sound. Electronic music is one of those last frontiers of music, where you can create and transform noises and sounds into something completely new. For me, not knowing where I am going to end up on any one song is the ultimate rush.
SR: Do you believe that sampling real world sounds gives your music an added dimension that other producers lack?
NTB: For me, music isn’t a competition, rather a chance to explore and create in new ways. I’m always searching for new sounds to paint with, and the most efficient way to gather new sounds is to go out and record them myself. Everyday life is filled with so many unique sounds and soundscapes to find and use, so why use that in your work? I love recording samples in weird and often poor acoustic spaces, and then seeing what I can do with them.
SR: What is your creative process like for sampling things like soda cans? Where does the inspiration flow from?
NTB: Like I said earlier, I love exploring sounds and generating new samples to use. A couple good friends and me sat down one evening and looked around the apartment to find random items to hit and record the outcome. We grabbed a few soda cans and proceeded to record ourselves popping the lid and striking them with various pins and spoons and whatnot. It created some really interesting sounds that I incorporated throughout the song. I also use a lot of body percussion, yells, and random clapping that I record whenever inspiration strikes. Most of my sampling is finding that one awesome sound buried within a couple minutes of randomness.
SR: How does it feel to be kicking off Liquid Amber’s Digital Dubplates Series?
NTB: It is truly an honor to kick off Liquid Amber’s Digital Dubplates Series! DJ Shadow has been a big inspiration of mine ever since I discovered Endtroducing during my early teenage years. The music Liquid Amber puts out and the artists they put on are all people I am one hundred per cent down with, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to work with the crew.
SR:I really dig the hip-hop undertones of your music. Who are some artists who you think currently incorporate hip-hop into electronic music in a nuanced fashion?
NTB: Thanks! With the explosion of beat music, there are so many talented individuals making music that draws from both hip-hop and electronic music. For me, Mr. Carmack meets in the middle of hip hop and dance music to make music that feels very organic and nuanced. Two of my good producer friends, Tsuruda and Huxley Anne absolutely kill it with blending hip-hop with all types of electronic music and creating a very jazzy and organic atmosphere. My close friend, Zero Tep, is a big inspiration for me as well, and we are always challenging each other to push boundaries and create things we haven’t heard before, something genuine. And I’m a hip hop kid: it played a big part in my adolescence and that will always reflect itself in my art. I think I can speak for others when I say that hip hop is a part of me and so it’ll always be present in some form in my work.
SR: What is the electronic music scene like in Wisconsin?
NTB: The electronic scene in Wisconsin is quite small, mostly found in cities like Milwaukee and Madison. I’m a part of a crew based in Milwaukee, Noh Life, that is helping to expand the electronic scene locally. We have a monthly club night and other shows throughout the city that are slowly but surely spreading the electronic music that we make and love.
SR: With artists like you and G Jones, Dabow and Bleep Boop coming up, it definitely seems like there are a lot more artists willing to take a chance and branch out into their weirder realms of electronic music. Do you feel like you are a part of a new generation of producers?
NTB:I definitely feel like I’m a part of a new generation of producers. There have always been artists seeking out weird and unconventional sounds, but traditionally there weren’t many avenues to get their music out to the greater public. With platforms such as SoundCloud, I can share my music with people around the world within minutes. It lends itself perfectly to putting out more avant-garde content, as chances are you won’t hear it at your local club. But I’m working to change that, and so are these other new artists who aren’t afraid to push the envelope.
SR: I know you draw upon real world sounds for inspiration in your music are there any other peculiar sources of inspiration that you tap into? Perhaps other musical genres or art forms?
NTB: I’ve been in choirs growing up and continue to play French Horn, so orchestral and Romantic-era music constantly inspire me to think outside of the box. I am extremely fond of many forms of Jazz music, and enjoy listening to such legends as John Coltrane in the free time. Another huge influence of mine is Mr. Oizo. His approach to French house music and film is exactly what I strive to do within my realm of music. To make music and not listen to other forms of music and art is just depriving yourself of making new discoveries and drawing connections. I like to think that my music is akin to TV shows like The Eric Andre Show and Tim and Erik Awesome Show, Great Job!. That’s just how my brain works, and I love it.
SR: You must be really excited to be playing at Infrasound Equinox Music Festival in September. Can you tell me what that feeling is like to see your hard work paying off?
NTB: Being able to share my music with new people is so rewarding, so I’m definitely looking forward to playing Infrasound Equinox Music Festival coming up. After I graduate from college this coming spring, my plan is to pursue musing full time and make it my career. So it’s nice to start playing more and more shows while I’m finishing up my last year of school.