Art

Exclusive Interview with ReverbNation Winner, Long Beach’s NOHC!

  1. Who are you as an artist?  What is your story?

-Before forming NOHC, Suzanne Real sang in a blues rock band while Kris Von contributed backing screams and rhythm guitar to a post hardcore band.  NOHC was created as the other projects came to an end and the two were looking for a way to still perform without the rigors and egos that come with a full band.  These backgrounds made adapting to an electronic format both unique and exciting, as we had to define our roles and create a sound and live show that would incorporate our past, but reflect the new, EDM direction.  

As members of NOHC, we quickly recognized we had a large advantage because of Suzanne’s incredible vocals and Kris’ ability to adapt to different roles.  It is with these tools that we created a one of a kind live show that combines that big drops and remixes of top DJ’s with the musicality and live performance of the standard rock and pop act.  It is between the lines of these mixed genre’s that NOHC finds itself.

  1. Who are some of your favorite artists and musical influences?

-This is always a fun question to answer since we both have very diverse and different musical tastes.  As for the creation and inspiration behind NOHC, that begins with Skrillex and Swedish House Mafia, two artist who both exist at the top of the EDM genre but via very different soundscapes.  Early on, we wanted to find the intensity and sound design of the dub drops on Skrillex records mixed with the soaring choruses found on Swedish House Mafia hits.

We would be lying to say that we grew up on EDM and dance music and the many other artists that we spend time with play a large role in our production and song writing processes.  Suzanne has a deep love of blues and R&B singers like Etta James and Amy Winehouse, but also thoroughly enjoys indie rock, especially the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and the combination of these vastly different vocal styles can often be found in her writing and melodies.  This is in stark contrast to Kris who’s favorite band is Brand New, but grew up on punk and nu metal, and today often jumps from genre to genre multiple times within an hour of listening to music.

  1. What is it that makes your music worth it?  To the world?  To your fans?

-We like to think that our music matters for a variety of reasons.  First and foremost, passion and honesty.  We take a lot of pride in creating not just our music, but also our image, interacting with any and all individuals and ensuring that we bringing a positive and unique outlook to those around us.  Without being cynical about the music industry, there are many artists and outlets that are quick to recycle a sound and message because they have already achieved a high level of success and this is safer, or because industry executives believe that they have the formula for continued success.

With that said, NOHC is built on the premise that the best way to fight the system is to join it in this case.  We make music that is relatable and memorable but may paint the full picture with sounds and rhythms that don’t traditionally live in modern music.  We hope that this will allow us to reach a much larger audience, but also encourage others to find their own niche without the need to be a total outcast.

  1. What is the future of music and the industry?

-This is so tough to answer.  Napster and file sharing so shook up the music industry that it is near impossible to guess what tactics will be done be labels to salvage their role vs. the ever growing technology that is allowing artists to create and develop on their own.  The only real guess that we can conjure up is that more and more musicians will rely on social media and the internet to promote, gain fans and showcase their talents rather than the old mindset of hopping in a van and playing shows to any who will show up. Live music at an independent level will probably transform unless promoters and bands can revitalize the draw to get fans out to see bands they don’t know.

  1. What surprises you the most about the music industry?

-This sometimes changes day to day.  As we have navigated and observed our peers and such, it becomes difficult to gauge what path to take.  We had an early manager who simply pushed for numbers on social media, both real and fake, and constantly told us our songs weren’t good enough without offering any further insight.  Around this same time, we met an A&R from one of the major labels and he said that he didn’t care at all about social media numbers as long as he loved the music and the artist behind it.

Then of course it gets all the more complicated when you see acts making names for themselves off short vine clips and other media outlets, and then propel to star level without ever really producing tracks or playing real shows.  It’s a strange journey, and one we are still navigating so I’m sure there will be many more surprises to come.

  1. What’s your poison?

-Don’t even now how to answer this.

  1. How is your Art, “your religion?”

-We both may have different answers for this, and I’m sure most artists would depending on their definition of religion.  Without going to deep into the semantics of the word though, it would be best to say that our music offers clarity, peace and a place to meditate, create and grow.  Whether one uses the term “religion” or not in this case, music offers a community and often a positive one where an individual can find solace at home with headphones on lost in a track, or surrounded by thousands of strangers, singing along with the soundtrack of a generation.

  1. What are you truly creating with your music that changes the world, changes society?

- A lot of loaded questions here, but to start answering this one, we will get specific.  Our last single, “Here For You,” was written as dedication to the men and women who teach children with special needs.  Children in this arena are so often misunderstood, and with the growing rhetoric over vaccinations, we wanted to write something that brought attention to the true cause, the children.  Every sale of the track is donated to the Valley Program (www.valleyprogramfoundation.com), and we have had people come up to us who either live with special needs or an individual who is diagnosed with them and it has been wonderful that they feel comfortable just discussing this and they appreciate the honest message found in our song.  

  1. What is the  message of your music?

- It would be wrong to say that our music is defined by one message, and listening back to our songs, it depends on the writer and even then, interpretation is left up to the listener.  To make it simple, the message is love, but it comes out in different ways on every track.  Even within the group, when one of us writes lyrics, the other often misinterprets the original message, but we both enjoy finding this other paths to tread within the music and we hope our audience does the same.

  1. Have you been “lucky” or “gifted” in the music industry so far?  Tell us more:

-This question is certainly relative to one’s experiences.  We have friends and acquaintances who are amazed that we have been a part of South By Southwest, hold the record for performing 5 times in one weekend at Dewey Beach Music Conference and have found various connections at different levels.  At the same time, we have friends who reached higher peaks and graced stages we are still working hard to achieve, so in that sense we feel like we are missing the boat.  

At this moment, we are lucky to be writing new music, have individuals who are excited about and are able to perform at a few residency type gigs that bring in money.  It’s a start, but we are hungry, passionate about what we want to do and hope to achieve so much more.  As we do so, as we reach more people on stage and via interviews, we continue to be lucky every day.

  1. What do you really think it takes to make it in the music industry? Tell us 3 keys

Real simple…1) Talent.  Not all talent is just natural, and all talent must be worked at.  Talent includes long hours of practice and honing your craft and ability. 2) Identity.  You may find some success trying to copy the current hit makers, but it won’t last.  Don’t be the next {insert major star}, be the first you! 3) Luck.  Luck isn’t just putting a great song on iTunes and waiting for your fan base.  You make your luck by reaching new fans and finding new connections.  We have made many great connections by simply mentioning to anyone and everyone that we are musicians and we are looking to grow.

  1. What is your main inspiration philosophy in life? Favorite quotes?

- Life is about how you treat others.  It’s amazing and unfortunate how many people miss this simple idea, and it becomes even worse when one browses social media and other internet outlets.  Individuals are so quick to judge and bring someone down, and no matter how ignorant much of these types of attacks can be, they affect others lives.  For this reason, we A) don’t spend time reading such filth and B) we treat everyone we meet the same way.  As mentioned earlier, it’s been incredible how we have been able to grow our fanbase and contacts just by meeting people while we are out, even in non musical settings, and this is because we give everyone we meet a chance and they respond to that with positivity and curiosity about us and our music.

  1. What do you regret the most in your music and what would you have done differently?

- Regrets a tough word to use sometimes.  Everyone makes mistakes in their paths, but if you keep your eyes open, you hopefully learn from it and don’t keep repeating these mistakes.  In retrospect, we would have made different management decisions if we had the foresight to see the complications that would arise from putting much of our fate into other’s hands, but at the time, it was the right move because we believed doors would be opened for us while we would be able to concentrate more on developing our sound.  Most important though is we are here now and feel more confident than ever in what we are doing because we persevered and grown from all the situations placed in front of us.

  1. Where do you see your career going in five years? 10 years? Next year?

- Going up for starters!  Every artist wants to grow, play more shows, more meaningful shows, reach larger audiences with our recordings, all the great stuff that comes with the desire to make music, make it a career and grow ones craft.  We can’t say what will present itself in 5-10 years, but it will be exciting to have grown as a song writing, meet new collaborators and further develop a sound that has already been a work in progress.  As long as we aren’t stagnant and content, we will have a strong and enriched future.

  1. Legacy: At the end of the day, how do you want your fans to remember you and your music?

- We touched on the earlier, we want to be an inspiration for love and passion, wherever that may be in your life.  Music affects people in so many different ways.  We have many friends who are not musicians, but music is a strong part of their day, a driving force for exercise, a soundtrack to weekends with friends, etc.  If we can be a part of people’s lives in any such fashion, part of their life’s music score, it would be a real honor and a great achievement.

 
Connect with NOHC here:
Here For You Music Documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftZcUxz5hTU
Forgotten: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHNx57T77ss

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