Who said being socio-political couldn’t be fun? Brampton-born Noyz is taking YouTube by storm with the unapologetically light-hearted video for his single, “I Got A Love”. Having headlined shows in both the UK and the States—as well as performed at some of the biggest festivals in North America—we caught up with him to chat about music videos, artistic expression, and what’s coming next.
First off, congratulations on the release of “I Got A Love”. With its mixture of sentimentality and optimism, what compelled you to write this track? What’s the backstory behind it?
The song was inspired by my relationship with my girlfriend at the time who is now my wife. Early on in our relationship, she asked me to write her a song, but it took me a long time to write something I felt was good enough. I struggled with allowing myself to be totally vulnerable with the writing and all the early drafts of the song weren’t coming together in a way that really reflected what she means to me. I left the idea alone for a while, but once I got this beat from Dusty Loops, I felt like it needed to be a love song. The beat was the creative spark I needed and gave me the inspiration to lyrically convey the sentiment exactly as I wanted to. Thankfully my wife really enjoyed the song.
How would you describe the recording process this time around? What hurdles were there, if any?
The recording process was very easy, it was more the writing that took a long time to come together. Once I had my verses written, we had to think of what we wanted to do in terms of a chorus. Dusty suggested we reach out to Vaishnavi, who is an incredibly talented singer and musician he had worked with previously. I played her a rough demo of my verses and explained the concept of the song, and she was able to come up with a beautiful hook that fit in perfectly with the ‘90s R&B vibe we were going for, and really elevated the song.
Since you collaborated with producer Dusty Loops on this track, how did that alter the recording experience? What did it add?
Dusty and I have been working together on and off since 2010, and we’ve grown really comfortable with the recording process these last few years. Our sessions are usually really efficient and we’re on the same page in terms of what works or doesn’t work vocally. Writing to his beats forces me to step up my game because he’s so creative with his production that it constantly pushes me to expand beyond certain rhyme styles or topics that I’ve grown comfortable with.
Now, for those at home that haven’t watched your video yet, it orbits around a scene in which you and your friends relive your prom memories—or lack of. What message is packed behind that imagery?
Prom is usually an exciting time for kids as it marks a huge transition in their lives, but as we grow older, we go through much larger and consequential transitions and successes that we don’t always take the time to celebrate or acknowledge. With this video, we wanted to throw a prom for adults who have got married, had kids, started businesses, and made their dreams during their high school years come into fruition. Those milestones are meaningful and deserve to be recognized, so we wanted to show love and celebrate with the people around us doing great things in life.
On a similar note, how did the idea for the music video originate?
Dusty was actually the one who came up with the concept of the video. Once the song was recorded, we knew we wanted to shoot a video for it, and the prom idea came out of one of our brainstorming sessions. Once we fleshed out the idea a bit, I met up with Majestic Films and we were able to come up with a treatment and execute it just as we imagined it.
Were there any funny or memorable moments from the filming of the video that you can share?
We shot the video in downtown Brampton at Lab B which is on Queen Street. When I gave Vaishnavi the street address, she actually drove to Queen Street in downtown Toronto! It delayed the shoot by a few hours, but we still made it work.
As “I Got A Love” is a teaser for your upcoming EP, Lo Fi Glory, can you give the people at home any teasers as to what to expect from it?
‘Lo Fi Glory’ is a collaborative effort between Dusty Loops and I where he’s done all the production for the project and I’ve taken the lead as far as songwriting. The title refers to the resilience of the human spirit, and our ability to make great things out of difficult situations. The EP is very honest and personal, and I speak on a lot of life experiences, both good and bad, such as love, death, and mental illness in order to give the listener insight into what those experiences were like for me and what I learned from them. We brought a few friends along the journey with us, so you can expect to hear contributions to the project from our friends and frequent collaborators such as B Magic and Scott Free to name a few.
Noyz, you also have a very deep loyalty to the local arts community. Where did that loyalty stem from? What made you stick with it?
Growing up in Mississauga and Brampton, there wasn’t much arts programming that spoke to our experiences, or was relevant to the types of art we cared about. I’m so grateful for all the opportunities that pursuing music has opened up for me, so as I’ve grown older, I want to try pass on some of what I’ve gained to the younger generations coming up. Hip hop was built around the idea of ‘each one teach one’, and that aligned with the concept of ‘seva’ or selfless service that I was raised with as part of my Punjabi Sikh background. Representation is important, so it’s vital for communities to see people from their backyard speaking about art in a way that is relatable and accessible to the youth. That programming might not have been there for me when I was younger, but we should be trying to open more doors for the next leaders and I want to contribute my part.
You are also slotted to perform at #BollywoodMonster Does Brampton, a huge multi-media event, in early July. What else do you have lined up for 2017?
I’m so excited for Bollywood Monster Does Brampton because it’s a celebration of the arts and culture that has been growing here now for many years. It took a while for the mainstream blogs and platforms to recognize Brampton artists, and with hip hop, it’s always a struggle to be recognized by city planners who may be disconnected from the culture and the music. So it means a lot to us to take the stage at The Rose Theatre, which is not a venue you usually associate with hip hop, because it signifies that times and perceptions are changing. This event brings together the city’s best MCs, singers, poets and comedians on a night that has something for everybody.
Other than Bollywood Monster Does Brampton and ‘Lo Fi Glory’, B Magic and I will also be releasing our debut EP as Movin’ Cool. We’ve been on countless songs and stages together, so this EP is the product of that that friendship and partnership that really captures the best of both of our skills and mindsets.
Finally, thanks so much for your time. Any parting words for your audience?
It’s been a pleasure speaking to you. To the listeners, I want to say thank you for your time. I’m grateful for anyone who has taken the time to listen and support. So much more is on the way, and I’m excited to share it with you all very soon. Much love.