Interview: Noir

Music is so powerful that it can evoke different feelings while listening to it. From melancholy to joy, it can all come to us within a few seconds. Sometimes, music can even bring back our memories, so there is no surprise that it is capable of building bridges between the creators and listeners. Electronic musician, multi-instrumental producer, and songwriter, Noir builds these bridges from Bergamo, Italy, all around the globe while also trying to share his experiences and emotions through every sound he makes. So without further ado, we invite you to learn more about the world of Noir.

“Sound is an emotion, a journey through one’s soul.”
Why and when did you start making music? Has music always been a huge part of your life, or did it come to you gradually?

Music has always been an important part of my life. When I was a child, different music played in every room at my parents’ house, and not least, my brother, older than me, is now an orchestra conductor, so there is always a lot of music at home. Always different. This definitely helped me on my musical journey; having lots of different music available certainly opens my mind! To this day, I am hungry for new music, digging deeply into various forums and blogs, looking for interesting artists to listen to and collaborate with. Music, besides being a job for me, is above all the things that make me get out of bed in the morning.

What instruments do you play and which do you feel are closest to your soul? Why so?

Musically speaking, I was born a guitarist. As a kid I was very fascinated by heavy metal, especially black and death metal, so the guitar was the most natural choice for me. Even today, it is my favourite composing tool when it comes to pop, rock, or “traditional” genres. In addition to the guitar, I play the piano, I am a singer, and obviously, there are all the synthesizer and sampler parts. To date, it is definitely the electronic instruments that give me the most satisfaction. The beauty of electronic music is its total freedom of expression. There are really no barriers. In traditional genres, there are patterns to follow. Attention is usually channeled to the vocal parts. You have to pay close attention to certain aspects to have a flow of the correct song. This concept in electronic music is overturned. There are really no limits. Loving freedom in any of its forms, I think the means of expression closest to me are samplers and synths. Sampling covers a large part of my music, that’s for sure.

“The beauty of electronic music is its total freedom of expression.”
Why did you pick the name Noir and how would you describe your music? What are the inspirations behind it?

This is a question I often hear. I was born very close to France. As a child, I remember summers spent in the countries of the south coast, the Cote d’Azur. This explains the French-derived name, it is a vivid memory. Its meaning is soon explained in words, dark or black. It fully reflects my personality, I consider myself a very shy person, I speak little (on the other hand, I am a musician, not a writer lol). I prefer sounds to words.

I think my music can be summed up with the word Noir, let me explain better. The subjects of my songs almost always concern personal emotions, sensations that I experience every day. It is normal for me to deal with rather dark issues, depression, suicide, the fatigue when you try to get up in the morning every day. It may sound depressing, but this is what I have inside, and it is what I HAVE to express and bring out. Sometimes, I look out for inspiration. I carefully observe what surrounds me, the small gestures of people. Observing the world is an inexhaustible source of inspiration. By connecting these two inspirational aspects, my songs are born. When my darkness manages to connect with that of the listener, I have won. Strictly from a music point of view, I try to merge my most pop and melodic soul with the freer and “anarchic” one. One result of this process is my latest single “Away.” Even if I love complex musical scores, I always try to leave the listener a hook on which to cling, usually the very pop vocal line, which balances the more complex and intricate musical part. Each song is a different and exciting challenge.

“The subjects of my songs almost always concern personal emotions, sensations that I experience every day.”
We saw you using Midihub in your studio. Why did you decide to include it in your setup? What do you like about it the most?

Oh yes! I am a happy and proud user of Midihub! For me, it was truly a game-changer. In my creative process, it has two main functions, one static, and the other dynamic. Its most obvious function (the static one) is to allow the connection of all my machines in a single work environment. Moreover, thanks to the USB connection, I am able to make machines like the Octatrack (which is my main sampler) communicate with the computer, thus having the option of using a mixed machine/daw setup. This, of course, opens up to really deep and fantastic creative worlds. I often find myself sending tracks from Ableton to the Octatrack, handling them, and then sending them back to the daw. With Midihub, this is possible without the need for any other external tool that takes care of the connections.

But there is also its dynamic function. Thanks to the integrated midi processors (the programming tool is wonderful and very easy), Midihub also becomes very important in the composition phase. I am able to use all the power of the arpeggiators (one thing I always experience is sending several arps to the same midi channel and therefore to the same instrument, guaranteed fun), lfos and all the other fx included in Midihub. I often find myself creating really massive fx chains inside the editor! I particularly love the “chance” and randomization function, a bit of instability, it makes everything more lively and interesting, don’t you think? Surely without this little magic box, my life in the studio would be MUCH more complex and difficult!

“Surely without this little magic box, my life in the studio would be MUCH more complex and difficult!”
What would you say are the biggest differences between writing songs and producing them? What do you prefer and why?

I think the biggest difference is spontaneity. Writing a song has to do with the emotion of the moment, it’s like a wave that overwhelms you. You have to put it down as soon as possible. Producing a song is a more technical, reasoned, and precise discourse. When I first approached the production of electronic music, my main problem was the stillness that comes from pure production. As I said, I was born as a guitarist, I’m used to PLAYING. I have tried to take this kind of approach and use it in my electronic setup. From this point of view, the Octatrack is a wonderful machine, it gives you almost total freedom of action. For me, the “physical” side of music is very important, the relationship with my instruments is very physical. Usually, for me, the production part comes when I have written the final structure of a song. Only at that point do I record the whole song from the machines to the daw and start mixing, refine the details, add the voices, etc., etc… That said, in my opinion, there is no right or wrong way to create a song or make music. If you are comfortable producing on a DAW then it is correct for you. It’s not WHAT you use but HOW you use it that makes the difference.

What are your future plans? Please share them with us!

I am working on my next single, and above all, I am establishing several collaborations with musicians from all over the world. The power of social media is great in this sense. Obviously, all the news and info are on my Instagram profile.

Also, I just finished co-producing and arranging the new single by an Italian artist named Dydo, which will be released shortly on mainstream radio here in Italy. Hoping this pandemic will finally leave us alone, because there will be a live tour with him. But on that, we will update.

Last but not least, I’m planning a “secret” project that has to do with music and food, but I don’t want to reveal too much now! More info soon on my Instagram.

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