Interview w/ Nosaj Thing

Someone who makes the music of echolocation;

with each beat you're sent a wave of white light revealing what's in front of you.

Music to swim and fly, float and drift, be and be nothing to.

If any of this sounds interesting, I've found your man.

The music of Nosaj Thing (Jason Chung) defies classification.

An attempt at labeling would have stupid results

("instrumental ambient hip-hop electronica").

It's just safe to say he's unique.

Nosaj Thing - Aquarium (MP3)

MF Doom - More Tongue Less Teeth (Nosaj Thing RMX) (MP3)

AHWF: I'd love to know more about your background, what was growing up and going to school like for you?

NT: I was into skateboarding with my friends in grade school and got into DJing when I was 13. I was involved in the music programs at my schools and starting writing songs after a friend of mine gave me a bootleg copy of Reason.

AHWF: How did you make the step from being a kid who makes music on his computer in the privacy of his own home to playing for crowds anywhere and everywhere?

NT: One of my good friends was into the DIY scene in LA. We used to go to this venue called The Smell to see new bands. I got inspired by them and started figuring out how I could perform my music so I got a demo copy of Ableton Live and started opening for friends.

AHWF: Your music has so many different aspects - seems to escape the grasp of any single genre. Where would you call your comfortable, musical home? On the corner with a ghetto blaster, at a rave with glowsticks galore, a dark basement with ten people crowded around you and your macbook?

NT: At home, in my studio. Writing songs is very therapeutic for me.

AHWF: Kid Cudi uses your song "Aquarium" for his track "Man On the Moon". What sort of interaction was there for his use of the track? And what do you think of his transformation of the song?

NT: I got contact from Cudi through MySpace early last year. This was before I've heard his music. He told me that he really felt the song and had lyrics that would go perfect for it so I said yes, let's do it. I like what he did with it.

AHWF: You're essentially an instrumental artist, but after seeing what artists like Cudi can do, is the idea of dipping into producing for other artists appealing?

NT: I'm always open to work with other artists. I just did a few beats for a couple emcees from LA but I think I'm going to keep my own projects instrumental for now.

AHWF: How does a song of yours progress from nothing to a complete track? Is there a formula? Like you find a sample, or maybe begin with a beat going through your head?

NT: I usually start with sound design then try a few chord progressions/melody. I rarely finish a song in one sitting. I like to revisit my projects after a few days to see if it still sounds right.

AHWF: Who are some musical influences that have always meant something special to you since day one?

NT: Beatles, Daft Punk, a Tribe Called Quest, Radiohead

AHWF: What does The Smell mean to you?

NT: I've seen a lot of really amazing artists there, it really inspired me to do something different and keep the music honest.

AHWF: I get a cinematic vibe when I listen to some of your songs, are there movies you get a musical influence from? Or just any influence for that matter?

NT: Edward Scissorhands/Zelda video games

AHWF: I love it when an artist like yourself has a knack for having every noise they use in a song pleasing to the ears (Air, J Dilla, Aphex Twin, etc). What are some of your favorite sounds in the world, whether from music or just in everyday life?

NT: Piano, juno-106, female vocals.

AHWF: What are some guilty pleasures of yours? Blast any Wham albums when no one is home?

NT: hmmm...can't think of one off the top of my head but I really like 90's rock and RnB.

AHWF: If you were born 40 years ago, do you think you'd still have been making music at the same age? Could Nosaj Thing's music exist without our current technology?

NT: I hope so, I'd like to be better at the piano. I love piano music from Satie, Chopin, and Debussy.

AHWF: Your music feels quite thought-provoking at times, to me at least. I find myself in a sort of mathematical mindset, for some reason. What kind of thoughts go through your head when you listen to your own creations (other than the critical ones: "I should've turned that snare down," etc)?

NT: I try not to get to critical when I listen back. I don't spend much time doing post-production. I think about what went through my life emotionally when I made the songs.

(a huge thanks to Jason and Danyell for the interview)

Check Nosaj Thing's MySpace and website for more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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