Text Teddy Maloney
Prior to the release of Noah Guy’s EP WHO’S TAKEN TIME ?! (ACT1), ONLYCHILD Magazine was able to have a conversation, talking through the philosophy of egoism, the importance of universalism and reconnection with one’s roots.
Previously Guy spent a lot of time struggling to connect to a lot of his musical output. Having moved to LA with the aid of a growing maturity, Guy has a renewed passion for his sonic exploration and the ability to set the tone.
“To be the artist I want to be, with all the different shades of my sound.”
He has arrived with his latest EP - WHO’S TAKEN TIME ?! (ACT1). It is a full-bodied, emphatic release that showcases Guy’s expansive vocal capacity, engaging in a harmonious flirtation with a multitude of musical sounds. A “therapy session” filled with introspection and the essence of connection. It encapsulates Guy’s recognition of a previous egoism through self-reflection and the importance of promoting altruism.
TM: What drew you towards music?
Hailing from the suburbs of Philadelphia, “music on a non-artistic level was all around me growing up”. The cultural hub of Philadelphia, more specifically Mount Airy, was the musical escapist’s paradise. The record crate-digging, soul music releasing center kickstarted Guy’s musical fanaticism. His parents were in a Motown cover band.
“They sang in local bars. I really loved watching them perform, and just loved listening to all types of music. Growing up in Suburbia having a more homogenous high-school experience was very much a different vibe. The arts weren’t seen as practical, you can enjoy these things from afar.” Yet, Guy was able to overcome these systemic blockades against creativity, showing resilience and self-belief.
Although Guy was able to keep the early musical inspiration from his youth, he was left with a “F*** U'' mentality towards his hometown. Having returned to LA from his hometown, Guy’s fondness for his musical roots has returned. “LA has shown me a lot and a fondness for my past.” This is where you find one of the central themes to, WHO’S TAKEN TIME ?! (ACT1).
TM: What inspired your upcoming EP?
Reflecting, Guy responds “where is all the time going?”
“It can also be a little self-serving if you’re not stopping to take time and reaching out to others.” In the rat-race of modern society, it’s important for Guy to step back and “take time for others who take time for you.” The EP is saturated with truth, an honest reflection of Guy’s self-reflection. “A lot of personal stories revolve around intimate, friends, and familial connections fill the tracks.” Delving into personal experiences, Guy is able to transcend merely personal introspection and find a universality that all people experience. It is a self-aware and cathartic experience for both Guy and his listeners who find emotional kinship in the creator’s ability to reconcile with the past.
TM: What is your musical process?
“It’s a team effort. This project has been a slow build, we had a bunch of records and we whittled them down.” The time spent within a confined group of collaborators has allowed for growth, a meteoric rise in their levels of artistry and sound. “It’s been a slow burn project in figuring out all the moving parts to this sound we are trying to attack, it dips into a lot of different worlds and influences.”
Yet, within this process, Guy’s most captivating asset, his voice, has been able to come into its own. Utilizing aspects of vocal percussion and vocal instrumentalization; alongside dynamic melodies and tempting harmonies.
TM: Diversifying from vocal instrumentation and moving towards electronic elements, where does this evolution come from?
“I love pairing raw instrumentation with programmed drums. Both my main producers operate a lot in that world… using unique progressive drum sounds.’ The intersection of natural vocal sounds and stringed sections using programmed drum patterns to “create a new sound bed”. It creates a dynamic sonic experience whereby the juxtaposition of the alternative, natural human sounds and electronic effortlessly collaborate to synthesize the emotion found in Guy’s lyricism. Questioning his own ability to be able to make it in the industry and facing economic instability that plagues the path of creativity.
“Maturing over the last year, my creative process was able to evolve similarly. Some of the music came through freestyle, where thinking was the enemy. I was able to find myself in new forms that I hadn’t experienced before.”
Guy simultaneously lets his experience shape the truthful tunes, while allowing the musical journey to inform him.
TM: What does the visual representation of your music mean to you? How involved in that process are you?
“I was initially a film major. Coming into it, I wanted my music to be equal parts audio and visual. Just telling the story sonically is great. But you can hammer home the ideas with visuals in ways you can’t otherwise create. That’s how I feel about the experience.” Being involved in filming the music videos for the project, Guy was able to create a community of filmmakers, sound engineers and friends. It was a natural, organic production process. “In a familial home-grown experience which was so perfect for the record itself.
"The record is all about touching back with your roots, with friends and family."
This collaborative approach is at the heart of Guy’s artistic journey. Collaboration is very important in highlighting the visual as well as the music. “I want to expand my community to new artists and new instrumentalists. Trying to build a community around it, beyond Noah Guy.”
Through the conversation with Guy it becomes clear that he is genuine and focused on the now. A person who has come through the ebbs and flows of experience with a balanced interpretation on life. Guy’s perspective has shifted a lot in these last 12 months. “It’s being a lot more comfortable with self-love and self-acceptance” while remembering to share that revelatory emotion with those who take time for him and his listeners.
On the 11th of November, Noah Guy releases this personal transformation, a soul revitalized and musically reincarnated. Check out WHO’S TAKEN TIME ?! (ACT1) – the latest release from 10K Projects.