INTERVIEW BY DAVID WEINER
PHOTOGRAPHED BY RACHEL CABITT
ILLUSTRATION BY PETER HOPKINS
24 year old, Noah McBeth, a young and humble producer, brings to the table an extensive knowledge of music theory and genre-bending influences, creating some of the most fascinating tracks in the game. The German born artist takes his listeners on a journey with every recording, seamlessly transitioning from hip-hop, to R&B, to classic rock all within the span of four minutes.
His electric-soul vibes and hypnotizing vocals have garnered attention from numerous major labels. Although still independent, NoMBe is getting radio play all over the world, racking up “Likes” and “Shares” on his Soundcloud page. Noah [NoMBe] will be releasing a “Large EP,” as he likes to call it, this September which will prominently display his most popular singles, “California Girls” and “Miss Mirage.”
We sat outside with NoMBe, even though it was hotter than hell, and listened as he told us all about teaching himself how to produce early on and working to create his own label.
POND: What was it like hearing your music on the radio?
NoMBe: I haven’t heard it on the radio myself yet, but people send me videos of when it’s on the radio. It’s in mainstream radio in like Switzerland and I never sent it to them, they just found it. I know how it is, it’s tough to get things on the radio. We went to the Shazam office a few months ago and they told us you can look up how many times you were Shazamed which I didn’t know and “California Girls” was Shazamed around 5,000 times. In my head I wondered if it had been Shazamed more than 50 times. Like, “Is that hoping for too much?” and when they said 5,000 I was like “What?!”
POND: How did you learn how to produce?
NoMBe: I’m self taught for the most part. I started when I was 15. One day my dad got me the student version of Cubase which is really popular in Europe and my buddy gave me a crash course on making Midi tracks and how to import instruments and audio. There’s not been a day that I haven’t produced since that day when I was 15-years-old. I’m at least looking into a session everyday and throughout high school I made beats and sampled a lot. I sampled a lot and made 3 to 5 beats for 4 or 5 years just everyday after school. I really was addicted to it early on. That kind of consumed me for all of high school.
I went to college in Miami for music business, but to be honest I couldn’t stand Miami because it was just a very weird place if you’re a singer songwriter when you’re not doing that commercial hip-hop or EDM. Then I dropped out to come to L.A. I had a scholarship to UM for jazz piano, but I wasn’t going to be there for 4 years.
POND: Tell me about NoMBe. Where did that come from?
NoMBe: When I started with NoMBe I started from scratch. It's the combination of my first and last name [Noah McBeth]. I’m glad I did because now it seems to be more cohesive. I don’t drive myself crazy with what genre I’m in I just do whatever I feel like doing. I have a large EP coming out in September. I don’t want to call it an album yet because then it’s like “Oh, it’s his first album.” My sound is all over the place. I really like everything. I produced house music for a long time, I produced hip-hop for a long time and I write a lot with a guitar. It took me many years for me to be able to blend it in a way that made sense.
POND: Have you been in talks with any labels?
NoMBe: Yeah, a lot of them. But, I want to work with friends, all around. If I sign with anybody or if there’s anybody that wants to work with me I have to trust them and kind of know what they’re about. Nobody is just a work for hire in my life. Every label that I know has reached out really. It’s really exciting, but the thing with the labels is they have to reach out if somebody is Hype Machine and stuff. It’s important when you’re starting out to not get caught up in that and stop creating. Nobody’s actually going to put an offer on the table right on the spot. It happens very rarely. My dad has been a huge influence in my life and has helped me be a good judge of character, just teaching me things that really matter that people normally don’t point out.
POND: Are you looking to go on tour anytime soon?
NoMBe: Not a tour yet. As much as I enjoy playing my instrument, playing live scares the shit out of me at this point. Nowadays people expect to see the greatest show every time they go out and it’s gotten so competitive. There’s not a lot of room for trial and error. Either you’re tight or you’re not tight which takes the fun out of it a little bit. I’m the type of dude that likes to jam. I’d be more into playing very particular gigs throughout the year, more sporadic and when I do it has to hit hard and be a big thing. I appreciate lessons from people that are a step ahead. There’s always levels and I think you should always be taking lessons your whole life. I should practice a lot more.
As far as production I have absolute confidence. I can produce anything there is. I just don't know anybody that's done it more than I have. It’s not that I’m naturally more prone to make better beats than anybody.
POND: We hear you're starting a label.
NoMBe: It’s in its very early stages. It’s almost funny that you’ve even heard about it. It’s definitely going to happen, but I have to build my career first. It’s called Mighty Morphine. Like Morphine and the Power Rangers. I was a huge fan when I was younger. Whenever we were in a different country I’d make my mother rent it on VHS. With Morphine I’ve always considered myself an addict. Not with drugs, but I do have an addictive personality. Anything that I ever did in my life I did very excessively. It’s important to focus that on something that’s productive.