Interview: Noema

German DJ, producer, and label owner Noema has previously seen his original music come via record labels such as Get Physical and Sol Selectas, as well as his own imprint, The Magic Movement.

This month we’re treated to the release of his latest studio album ‘ONE’, which brings a pretty unique concept which combines bespoke music and visual art with an interactive performance that includes the audience in its plans.

We caught up with him quite recently to chat about the new ‘ONE’ project, how it all came together, and what else we might expect to hear from both him and The Magic Movement in the near future. Read the full discussion with Noema below.

How are things in the life of Noema right now?

Things are pretty good! After an intense time finishing all the parts of my new project ‘ONE’, I can finally sit back and share it with the world. I’m pretty excited about the project, and curious about how it will be received, since the whole thing is rather unconventional.

You’re about to release the new album as you said – talk us through the tracks in your own words?

The album is part of a comprehensive art piece called ‘ONE’, which is a surreal cosmic journey with an interactive performance concert at its centre. It’s a combination of interactive choreography & stage design, theatre, video, and costumes. If I had to summarise the project, I feel like it’s best described as Sun Ra meets Steve Reich meets Larry Levan inside the “social plastic” of Joseph Beuys. You can also imagine it as happening from the ‘70s.

Over the past year and a half, I created a whole theatrical cosmos for the project: First I composed and recorded the music with a small orchestra, then I created the story, costumes, graphics, videos, and choreography. I’ve already tested the concept with an early experimental version of the performance at Garbicz Festival 2022, and it was well received by the audience.

 The concept of ‘ONE’ is based on several ideas and intentions. One central point was to create a space for people to playfully connect with each other, which today is more important then ever, and to encourage the audience to be creative.

I feel like people more and more lose their ability to creatively express themselves, a lot of adults don’t really have hobbies etc. In my piece you don’t need any preparation or special knowledge to create art. I wanted to make it completely inclusive, which is why I intentionally composed the music in a rather simple way. You don’t need to be a big virtuoso to be able to actually play the music.

Another intention was to introduce people to classical minimal music and contemporary dance / performance art concepts, which are both not that well known unfortunately. In the future, my idea is to realise ‘ONE’ as a school project with teenagers, which I believe will open a whole new artistic world for them. 

I took all of these rather serious ideas and wrapped them in an absurd story about space explorations where I manifest as four inter-dimensional space voyagers. In the setting of the story, humanity has lost their ability to play and connect with each other, which causes the entities to become trapped in our dimension. Creativity and play are what powers these beings’ technology, and they must put on performances to re-power their portal, which eventually allows the entities, as well as the humans, to become inter-dimensional again!

During the performance of the music, five costumed contemporary dancers invite up to 120 people from the audience to join the interactive experience. I feel the performance is unique and something that’s not been done before, especially not within the electronic music spectrum. The music from ‘ONE’ is loosely based on Terry Riley’s ‘In C’. ‘ONE’ consists of 56 melodic patterns, which are repeated and consecutively played from the first to the last, and every instrument player can move on to the next pattern at their own pace. Because of the free-flowing nature, each performance of the music is unique. So the recording on the official release is just one version of how it can potentially sound, and all the live performances will be truly unique.

 You can find more info about the project on my website.

In early 2024 there will also be a follow up release with remixes from Lauer, Kalabrese, Shubostar, Panthera Krause, and Mehmet Aslan.

It comes on your own The Magic Movement imprint, how do you decide whether or not to release a project yourself?

I usually release my own music on my label, because I like to have full control over every aspect of the release. I also have a good team of designers, distribution, etc., so I rarely see the necessity to release much on other labels. The tracks that did come out on other labels are usually because I’ve collaborated with friends who themselves have labels. 
If the circumstances are right, then I’m generally open to release on other labels, so let’s see what the future brings.

And you’ve previously put music out with Get Physical and Sol Selectas, where else might we see you release in the near future?

I just revived my Magic Jams project, which is all about balearic disco, crate digging, and eclectic music in general. There’s nothing planned yet, but I will probably release some of the productions under this name on other labels, as the style is a bit different from what I do via The Magic Movement.

How about The Magic Movement, who will be releasing on there in the coming months?

Since I was pretty busy with the album, I took a short break from signing new music, but I’m currently in conversation with my label’s core artists like Kermesse, Bosquemar, Xique-Xique, and a few others for new EPs in 2024.

Is there anything else you want to mention before we finish up?

During the last 6 months we created a fun and quirky short movie which explains the whole story of ‘ONE’. We also made two fictional TV shows called ‘Space Time’ and ‘Dance Dimensions’, which feature my alter ego, Johnny Astro. Please follow my Instagram to watch them, as they will be released one by one over the next few weeks. They are really whimsical and highly entertaining. I’m really keen to know what people think of this concept, so please feel free to drop me a DM or leave a comment.

Noema – ONE LP is out November 17th on The Magic Movement.