Fresh off the release of his new 4 track EP, The EP, Noah Gibbings graciously agreed to be the first artist who let me talk to him here on TUA. Gibbings was born in Santa Barbara, where he began playing guitar at a young age. After attending school at the California Institute of the Arts, he worked on various projects in both music and film before releasing his own project. Between exchanging e-mails back and forth and listening to his EP through and through, I can say with full confidence that Gibbings is going to be someone who you’ll want to keep in your SoundCloud back pocket for when you’re at your friend’s friend’s house party, and the aux cord control is severely lacking.
The EP dives right in with, “Can I Sing?” An instantly catchy beat that you can’t help but at least bob your head to upon hearing. Add in some electric guitar here and there, steady drums, and crisp, sparse backing vocals and you’ve got a unique track that does a great job of introducing you to Noah as an artist. He moves right into the explosive, “Bad Ass,” which helps to show off the more complex musical styling of the album. From there it shifts into “Place For Love,” which gives off a different vibe from the rest of the album. A little more computer generated production, still done just right. It is absolutely a prime example of Gibbings’ versatility, and ability to jump genres without feeling ingenuous. Gibbings will even state this himself in, “Can I Sing?” where you can hear him rap, “I don’t claim to be hip-hop/ just more hip than rock/ more clean than country/ and more angry than pop.” Following?
The EP wraps up with “Whole Damn Life,” an acoustic song showing Gibbings’ range from top to bottom. What seems like the most personal track off of the EP, it is easy to hear the passion he has for his craft and how he was able to get himself to this point.
Below you can read our conversation about his newest project, and his career thus far:
Alright, Noah. Can you give the readers a little background into how you first got into music? I know in “Whole Damn Life,” you mention your babysitter’s boyfriend bringing his keyboard over to help you write, and how that kind of got the ball rolling for you.
I remember always being musical. I was cast as Michael Jackson in some production when I was around 5 years old. Weird now that I think about it… Anyway, when I was 12 years old my parents got divorced, as everyone’s did in southern California in the early 2000’s. So, I found myself needing an outlet. Eminem had just become popular and I could relate to his angst. There was this rice paper notepad that I had been given from a Korean exchange student at my elementary school, and I remember writing raps in it. Terrible, horrific, highly insensitive raps, mind you, but it helped me to cope with shedding my personal identity through puberty, and my sense of reality crumbling through my parents’ divorce. That is when it really started for me. A few months later, I found my babysitter’s boyfriend who would become my long-time friend and producer.
How long did it take you to write these songs? Is there a specific process you try to follow in terms of songwriting?
Pretty much I find that if I have to work too hard on a song then it’s not right. The writing of the lyrics I mean, I would consider myself first and foremost a lyricist. The song, “Whole Damn Life,” as you mentioned before took me about 7 minutes to write. And that is the only song where I wrote the music as well as the lyrics. I don’t say this to brag because the flip side of that philosophy is that you don’t write usable songs very often. I try to write everyday but that’s just to keep the juices flowing. Does that phrase creep anybody else out? Anyway… In terms of process, I prefer starting with the music as that usually inspires what the lyrics will be about. And with this project, I really wanted to blend classic rock and roll with rap. So I reached out to a producer and friend who I felt would be able to do this with me. We would sit in his room as he would be writing the music and I would be simultaneously writing the lyrics.
To fund this project, you had started a very successful Indiegogo. Would you recommend that route to other aspiring musicians, as well? Were you happy with the outcome/is it something you would consider for funding again?
Well, it was very awkward. Not to shit on any form of attaining donations from your peers but you REALLY have to humble yourself to do something like that. It really showed me how much love there was out there in the world, and it was one of the greatest things I have ever done looking back on it now. I’m still shocked at how much support I received. Idealistically, I would like to say work hard and not ask for money, but sometimes that’s just not enough. I was working full time while crowd-funding and I remember still having to go to Coinstar to finish being able to fund my music video. So if that’s the case for any other artists out there, then I would recommend crowd-funding. And as for me, I hope to not need to do it again but who knows, I wouldn’t shut it out if need be.
A standard interview question here: Who would you say is one of your musical inspirations? Any non-musical inspirations for this album- say someone close to you?
There had to be at least one… The first person that pops into my mind is Bob Dylan in terms of musical influences and non-musical inspirations would be my parents.
You’re credited as executive producer of the project, as well. Have you ever taken on that role before? How did it feel to be so involved in this project top to bottom?
NEVER. And man, was it fuckin’ hard. But also by far the most satisfying part of this project. Man, I just loved it. From budgeting, to marketing, to hiring, it was an all-around high. I sort of hope I never have to do it again, at least for a while, but I loved it. Actually, come to think of it I probably will have to do it for every project I do… as I’m such a control freak. But hopefully I will have some (more) help with the finances next time.
In the songs you provide different vocal stylings- combining rap and singing. Is that something you’ve always done or does one come more easily than the other?
As a white person coming from an upper-middle class setting, rapping was not the norm. In fact, I was probably one of two within a 100 mile radius. But I never seemed to really mind. Singing came about three years after I started rapping. I pretty much fell into a manic depression and started singing love songs. Haha. Anyway… Neither comes more easily than the other. They are just two different colors in the palate that I can use depending on which mood I’m trying to express.
Do you have a personal favorite on the EP?
I really don’t. Each one was picked out of a collection of about 7 to showcase different things.
What are you hoping comes from this project?
FAME! Haha no, I would just love to gain more fans which equate to more money, which help to create the next project. I feel any artist’s goal should be to create a life in which you can make as much art as possible.
Anything else you want the readers to know about you and your music? Any live shows on the horizon?
I’m starting to plan some release party shows on the east and west coast so just follow my social media to keep up to date with it. My Instagram is noahgmusic, Facebook is facebook.com/noahgibbings, and my website is noahgibbings.com.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me and be the guinea pig for this section of The Under & Above! Looking forward to what’s in store for you.
Thanks so much Carly!!! Good luck with the blog!! This was fun.
So, there you have it. Noah’s music is available on all streaming platforms, and available for purchase on iTunes. I’ve attached his SoundCloud, so check out his work below and I’ll post updates as soon as show dates are available. Hope you enjoyed the first “Artists Who Let Me Talk to Them,” and feel free to put any suggestions on this section in the comments below or shoot an e-mail my way, always looking for ways to improve here at TUA.