INTERVIEW: What Now? With Pink Nois
Photo by: Adrian Lewis (IG: @ihaveperceived)
What do you do when the path you’ve been on for so long suddenly has an immovable block in front of it? If you told bands, and music fans, in America a year ago that they’d soon be faced with the reality of touring and live shows coming to an almost complete stop, few would believe you. Bands have been crisscrossing the country playing for crowds for as long as there have been automobiles and bands, but in 2020, they didn’t. For the entirety of the live music community, this has been unprecedented times and the future is still uncertain. While not the same as getting thousands together for a festival, or being surrounded my familiar faces in your favorite local venue, there was still a need for many that were able, to keep the creativity flowing and to stay connected. In this series of interviews we’re reaching out to artists from the region to hear about how they’ve kept the music going while we wait for the light at the end of the tunnel.
Pink Nois (Jorim Motley) is a songwriter, singer and producer that due to the circumstances of the pandemic, was able to make a record that we may not have gotten from him otherwise. Over the last few years while being in the Albany area for college, he has worked his way in to the fabric of our local music community through collaborating with a wide range of other artists, releasing some great projects, and performing at venues throughout the area, always finding ways to blend hip hop with a range of other styles. If you catch a Pink Nois show, you see that it seems he is one with his art. His performances seem effortless, and you can tell there is so much honesty and care behind the work he shares with his audience. While gaining some new perspectives during the challenging times we are facing, Pink Nois has been able to look within, reach out to friends, and experience personal growth while crafting some of his best work yet. If you haven’t given Silver Sabre a listen, get to know the artist himself a little through the questions below, then put on some headphones and give your ears and mind a treat.
MF: First off I wanted to say congrats, and as a listener thank you, for putting out such a beautiful album this past fall, Silver Sabre is a great sonic ride. With all the work put in, between both yourself and your many collaborators on this project, did your creative process change in producing the album compared to other projects due to our current situation? Also, were any of these songs ones you had for awhile, or were many started from scratch in 2020?
PN: Thank you! I’m really glad that you enjoyed it! I think the reason Silver Sabre came out so well is because I actually didn’t have to change anything about my recording process. Silver Sabre was actually my capstone project for The College Of Saint Rose, and it wasn’t even my initial project idea. For this capstone project, a requirement is that you need to have all of your songs composed, tracked out and ready to record in the on-campus studio, and then you have to mix and master your project in-house as well. I’ll just be blunt: I didn’t know how to use that studio at all. I know Pro Tools well enough to operate it, but I knew it would take a very long time for me to do what I needed to do and get the sound that I was looking for, as opposed to my very quick workflow in Logic. The pandemic came out of nowhere, and when we were told that we could complete our projects from home, terrible circumstances aside, it felt like a miracle. As a result I had all of the tools I was comfortable with and the relief of being in relative solitude, save my three amazing roommates (LONEPHONEBOOTH and Laveda) who are all pretty reclusive as well. As I said before, Silver Sabre wasn’t my initial project; some of the requirements for the project pre-pandemic, like requiring live instruments and scores for live tracked songs, would’ve made the creative process take way longer and required more people. Then, it was announced that school was out for a week until they figured out whether or not they’d be completely online. In that week, I made “Forest”, “King of The Hill” and “Sideways” FOR FUN. That’s when I knew I was where I needed to be, without thoughts of my college career or a passing grade looming overhead. It still was, but it didn’t feel as real anymore because there weren’t as many rules attached to that process now. I was free to do what I needed. It sounds crazy but without the precautions taken by for pandemic, this album might never even have existed.
MF: Was the difference in how most of us had to conduct our lives, more a part than usual, a positive influence on you being able to be creative and inspired on your own or did it make things more challenging?
PN: The new way of life that we had to adhere to honestly did a lot for me. I was in online classes, but I chose when I would go or not. I was getting out more, taking walks and being one with nature as a result of having to stay at home. Being in nature gave me more time to focus on myself and ask myself some really important questions at the time. I already love being alone and really enjoy my space and my me-time. Of course, at times, it got really lonely, and for that, I could call people on the phone or visit a select few people that I knew were quarantining as well, but for the most part, quarantine, in its early stage, gave me ample time to self reflect, and the result of that time was literally the album itself. The only other time I felt this full immersion in my work was when I made FORTVNE in high school, which I still consider one of my best projects to date.
MF: On the record you work with so many different types of artists, some that are more from the hip hop world, some more indie, etc, and it all works together so well. I think when it comes to the area music scene, that’s why it works, because people appreciate many types of art and expression and there’s cross pollination of sounds and styles. Without most live music this year, that community feel has often been tougher to reach, were you able to maintain a continued feeling of being connected to other artists and music fans?
PN: As far as being connected to other artists, everyone that was a collaborative artist on the project is also my friend, which I’m very thankful for. Most are ones that I met in Albany during my time in college. A couple other friends like Hooligan Lou and Adji, I’ve known for a bit longer. You’re definitely right; the capital region’s music scene is totally a “cross-pollination of sounds and styles,” and it is something that’s inspired my sound from when I first got to Albany until now. But I never would’ve learned how to manipulate these different sounds and styles if it weren’t from the help of my friends. Silver Sabre would be nothing without my friends, the same way the rest of my music, or even my own life outside of music, wouldn’t be either. In the end, the effect is a melting pot of styles that works so well is because each artist is talented in their own rite, but the cause is the fact that I have a bond with each one of the artists, and they’re always just a phone call or a 10-minute walk away, pandemic and music notwithstanding.
MF: How did the rollercoaster of current events this past year influence you as a creator and/or person?
PN: This year has been a rollercoaster for everyone. Personally, 2020 has only shown me how much I need myself right now, and that I need to be alone in many ways, not primarily because of things that have happened to me, but how I reacted to these things, and how those reactions have harmed people I care about. In the end, I know that I’ll always come out on top or be okay, and if I don’t, I’ll be satisfied knowing that I went out fighting, so I feel like I’d be remiss not recognizing that the same way people and things have made this time difficult for me, that I have also made it an incredibly difficult time for people as well, especially ones that I love and care for. I’ve always been an introspective artist, and there are two levels of introspection that my good friend Tina made me aware of: discernment and judgement. I feel as though I have used discernment too much, trying to absolve myself of certain things in the past and in previous music. I’m trying to use judgement now, and use it wisely, to see where I can change and grow for myself and others. After all, you’re just a reflection of the people you keep yourself around. If they aren’t pleased with you, it’s could be because you aren’t pleased with yourself.
MF: As we look ahead to the still uncertain future, what are the thoughts and plans that are pushing you forward? Anything we should keep an eye out for you might be working on?
PN: Going off of the response from the previous question, I am trying to bring my exploration of judgement into my music. Lately, I’ve been in a very big transitional period, recognizing a lot of flaws in myself and I really want to tap into that. I do have a couple projects planned, but I want to make sure that I can be completely honest with myself when I create.
MF: What were your favorite releases in the past year? Anything people maybe slept on that they shouldn’t?
PN: I doubt anyone has slept on their releases, but the majority of the artists I collaborated with on the Silver Sabre project have put out new music that I think everyone should check out. I love making vast, sonic universes and the only way that truly works is to have other individuals be a part of that. Anyone attached to any project of mine is someone that I know has a sort of their own that is definitely worth hearing, and so I encourage anyone who listens to my music and follows my story to also listen and follow all the other artists attached to the project.