Q&A: Noha

Noha is a musician like few others in the contemporary electronic music domain. A staggeringly creative individual, he is also a painter of some distinction. Born and raised in Rome (itself a city that’s long been renowned for its creative pursuits), Noha has harboured a fascination with music from a young age – but it was when he discovered electronic music that he gradually began to swap the paintbrush for the studio and it’s a decision that’s proved especially fruitful.

Since kicking off his label, Nabuco, Noha’s ascendency has been impressive, and he followed up his inaugural releases with EPs on the likes of Berlin label Cabinet and All Inn’s sister label, Nllla. The endlessly versatile Noha enjoyed a whirlwind 2018, with releases on Giuliano Lomonte’s Point of View, Archie Hamilton’s Moscow and perhaps most memorably, his collaboration with Alex Tea, ‘Chi Ci Pensa’ as Patagonia firmly putting his name in the global electronic music spotlight. His latest comes via the Yoyaku-affiliated Tartouffe label, and sees the inimitable producer hark back toward his more minimal inspirations via a two track EP that’s high on drama and suspense throughout.

With releases coming on Mandar’s Oscillat label (including a remix for Lazare Hoche and a solo release featuring a remix by Mandar themselves) as well as a live set to follow, 2019 looks set to be a busy time for one of Italy’s brightest new talents. We put some quick-fire questions to the main man recently, and here’s what he had to say.

You moved to Berlin this year, what prompted the move? Was it purely for musical reasons or personal ones too?

After spending a few years travelling and working on both painting and producing, I decided to focus solely on music. Most of my friends and connections were in Berlin where I’d lived before previously for a few years. So it felt like quite a natural thing to do.

Do you get a lot of inspiration from the city? And is this something that comes out in your music?

Honestly, not so much. I guess that mostly I get inspired by the people I have around me and right now I couldn’t be happier with the happy ‘bubble’ I’ve found myself in. I always try to connect in an authentic way to my feelings and I try to express them, this is my ‘trick’. Sometimes forcing myself to produce when im a certain mood is the worst thing I could do for my creative flow.

You’re just as happy crafting minimal tracks as you are more uptempo ones such as ‘Chi Ci Pensa’. Do you think diversity is something lacking in electronic music these days? Do you think too many producers try and play it safe?

I am not so aware of what I am doing until I play it in a club. But yeah, I totally think we are missing diversity and creative content in electronic music. Personally, I get bored by this endless stream of drum loops and tools. But this is just my personal point of view, so I try to focus solely on what I am doing, not wasting energy complaining about what others do. Each to their own!

We noticed that you recently played alongside Per Hammer, S.A.M. and Matthew Dekay at a party at Hoppetosse in Berlin. What was that experience like?

It has been for sure the best party of the year so far. Our friend Amy had the amazing idea of pulling us together and made this happen. We created our own brand, Anonymous Souls, and we have amazing ideas for the future. We are friends getting together to party, it´s the best premise for a good energetic atmosphere.

On that level, how do you find Berlin from a networking perspective for DJs and producers?

I find it amazing, you are exposed to so many artists that it’s very easy to connect and get a chance to find people like you. Only now I feel part of a community and this is completely changing my life.

Back to Italy for a moment. Can you tell us a bit about how you started out with electronic music?

I started when I was 18, buying vinyl and spinning everyday for an endless amount of hours. Gradually I started to produce and I fell in love with it. But it took me almost 10 years to really think to do it as a job, I always thought that I would have done it simply for my pleasure. Being able now to share my music with a growing number of people it’s more than a dream coming true.

What do you see as the future of your own sound? Would you ever put out an album for example?

I honestly try not to think too much about my sound or the future of it. I think it’s better to create trying to keep an ‘innocent’ attitude. Trying to become too aware of what you are doing it’s useless from my point of view.

And what about your Panick Panick! label. Is that on hold for the time being, or?

Not at all! We are about to drop our next release, my own EP made of three tracks. I literally can’t wait to see what the reaction will be!

We’re hearing rumours that you’ll be debuting your live set next year! Can you tell us a bit more about that one?

I was in an after-party with some friends a few months ago and I started to play the beginning of what is now my live-set. My good friend Johanna (Schneider) really liked it and asked me if I was willing to play it for Underbron in February. Having a scheduled gig definitely pushed me to really get into it.

Finally, came you name us one tune that really rocked your bag this past year?

Oh I loved to play Cue – Live to XS.