Growing up in New Zealand, NOÉ started teaching himself how to make beats after seeing his brother’s friend do it. Today, the music NOÉ creates is all based on his personal experiences. He’s here to speak his honest truth and uses music as an outlet for things that he went through. Along the way he’s released an EP CANIS LUPUS which touches on very emotional situations and released hermit dude which now has over 147k streams on SoundCloud. We chat about how this all started, uncover the meanings behind his songs and whether numbers matter.
How did you start creating music?
I got my start when I was around 13. My older brother had a friend in high school named Frano. He used to come around the house and I used to just watch him make beats. After a while, he would start teaching me little things. Then I moved back to Wellington for high school and started self teaching and every now and then I’d message him for advice. He was super helpful.
Where did you grow up? How did this place influence your sound?
When I was about 4 years old, I was living with my grandparents and my cousin in Wellington. My cousin was in high school at the time and he would listen to Hip-Hop. When I was about 5 or 6 we started moving around New Zealand a lot and the only music I had to hold on to was the fijian music my family would play because my mum didn’t like Hip-Hop/Rap. The radio was boring to me but I noticed Frano was always on the internet finding new music so I started doing the same. Rest is history. Shout out my cousin Bruce and Projekt Team.
How do you come up with ideas?
A lot of the time my ideas come from how I feel and things I go through. I’m a very emotional person so my music acts as a release and it’s very therapeutic for me.
You released an EP earlier this year titled CANIS LUPUS. How did this come about?
At the time I was going through some stuff. I was being mentally tortured by someone who didn’t want me and someone who wanted me but was taken. I was stuck dealing with the heartbreak and depression and then suddenly, my younger sister was diagnosed with cancer. I needed a healthier way to cope so I started rapping and recording. It took about a year and some change to make and I had the help of my friends in a collective called Never Fold and friends from outside that would help with background vocals and thematic stuff like voice messages. Shout out to my girlfriend who made the cover art too.
Fifty Shades is a track that stands out on this EP. What’s the story behind it?
Fifty shades was about me feeling expendable. I was salty from being thrown away like a broken toy and I was angry. My friend Chris RL played the beat for me one day and it really hit me. I asked him for it, wrote down EVERYTHING I was feeling and just yelled in a mic. The voice message is supposed to be one of the people I was mad at. I put it at the end because what she’s saying came from a time where we were still cool. I put it there to remind them that bridge has been burnt and that’s final. Kinda like a gavel.
You also used this voice message technique at the beginning of Lean Back, were there artists that inspired you to use this in your music? (E.g Marvins Room – Drake, Be Yourself – Frank Ocean)
I still haven’t heard Marvin’s room but the Be Yourself thing is cool. I liked the ones that SZA had on her album. I think the first time I had heard something like that (and really liked it) was on the old Jai Paul demos from 2013. I just think it’s a cool way to keep things moving thematically.
Hermit Dude has over 147k plays on your Soundcloud, how does this make you feel? Do numbers matter?
I try not to look at numbers anymore. When that song popped off I felt GREAT about it but since then, none of my other songs (which are better imo) have popped in the same way. Don’t get me wrong, they still get mad plays and I’m grateful but now when I listen back to them I think “fuck the numbers, I like this. People like this. That’s all that matters.”
What artists have inspired your sound?
Kid Cudi, Childish Gambino, Jai Paul, Saba. They’re the main ones. Outside of that I try to make make stuff that people hear and say “huh… this is different. Good different.”
What’s one album you never get tired of listening to?
Childish Gambino’s “Because The Internet” is my favorite album of all time. The music, themes, the screenplay. First time I had heard music as an experience. I go back to it every now and then but it gets me every time.
Whose your dream collab?
It’s a tie between, Kid Cudi, Childish Gambino, Andre 3000 and Justin Vernon (Ravyn Lenae, Snoh Aalegra, Asal Hazel and Joyce Wrice are honorable mentions). I wouldn’t mind getting some beats from Cam O’bi too.
Is music your main focus? Anything else you’re working on?
I’m currently in my final year of getting an audio engineering degree. Other than that it’s music non-stop. I’m trying to perfect my songwriting, scripts. I wanna do film stuff. I want to be able to do as much as I can and to the best of my ability.
(Photo Credit: Avneil Mohan)