A Pens-Eye View
I love this interview that just came out recently in Pens Eye View. These guys really ask some in depth questions! What would you ask? Let me know in a comment.
Here's the article in its entirety:
It should come as no surprise that PEV appreciates the artist that’s willing to take chances, willing to look outside of their world to sample other styles, approaches and philosophies. Reading the background of classically trained cellist and Juilliard graduate Noah Hoffeld, it may at first come as a surprise that he sat down with us to discuss his new rock based record…but after hearing some answers to only a few questions, it becomes clear that Hoffeld is more than willing to plunge into unchartered waters when properly passing along his message makes it necessary.
While Noah has built up an impressive reputation as a classical artist, his latest music takes a different turn, as described by the artist himself: “My music’s a bit like aliens coming down from space and learning to rock out human style. The combinations of amped guitar with tweaked synth make for sounds you don’t normally hear on planet earth, in any genre.” As you can tell, it isn’t easy to classify the new music Hoffeld is producing, which has made listening to his new record, Play Human, all that more enjoyable! Noah says of the new release, “Play Human is a holy war. It’s a big shout against the tides that threaten to eat us alive. The ideas on the album aren’t new – love your brother, take care of the planet – but they’re set in a modern rock context that maybe isn’t too common anymore. In the sixties and seventies there was a lot of this. I don’t know if it’s as big a theme today.” Click to www.noahhoffeld.com to sample Play Human and learn more about this busy and intense artist – we can’t wait for what comes next. But first, keep reading. There’s still so much more to get into in the answers to the XXQs below.
XXQs: Noah Hoffeld
PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what makes you stand out from others in your genre?
Noah Hoffeld (NH): My music’s a bit like aliens coming down from space and learning to rock out human style. The combinations of amped guitar with tweaked synth make for sounds you don’t normally hear on planet earth, in any genre.
PEV: What kind of music were you into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?
NH: I was into a lot of classical and a lot of rock and pop. One of the first shows that made a huge impression on me was seeing the Bach Cello Suites performed in a cathedral in NYC. It amazed me that one man could make such enthralling sounds and keep the audience wrapped for two hours in a magic spell.
PEV: What was it like trying to break into the music scene when you first started? What was your first show like?
NH: Well I’ve been performing live since I was about 10 years old in lots of different situations. Most of those early ones involved singing soprano solos with choir! I enjoyed traveling to different towns to sing and be immersed in the glorious sounds that the choir and orchestra make together. That opens you up!
PEV: What can fans expect from a live Noah Hoffeld show?
NH: Today I play a combination of keyboards, cello and electronics along with my voice. Some of the cello songs involve looping the instrument to create lush layers of string sound – almost like hearing an orchestra.
PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage to perform?
NH: I ask myself and God ‘How may I serve?’ It’s a kind of trick I learned from Wayne Dyer. It takes you out of your ego and its little concerns and reminds you of your purpose: to communicate and spread love to the audience.
PEV: What is the best part about being on stage in front of an audience?
NH: I love the give and take I feel. But it’s also great to feel that my songs which I’ve put so much into are being given voice and are being received. That’s what they were made for so it’s very gratifying.
PEV: What was your underlying inspiration for becoming a musician?
NH: Being a musician is something that comes from the depths of my soul. It’s always been with me and not something I question the origins of. When I do, I get all fucked up!
PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out, do you ever look back on your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?
NH: Looking back I see a pretty natural progression: while I was studying classical music, I was always preoccupied with something in pop or rock – that stuff spoke to who I am and what I was going through especially as a teen. I think it’s inevitable that it started coming out of me too, in the form of songwriting and rocking out.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?
NH: I like dumplings.
PEV: What do you do when you hit a brick wall in your writing? What are some methods to get over that?
NH: I find taking a break is the best remedy. Taking a walk or getting some exercise can really free up the brain too. Some of the best ideas come when we’re in motion and when we’re actually NOT thinking about the thing we’re trying to think about.
PEV: How do you think the industry has changed over the years, since you started out?
NH: Obviously everybody is a lot more tuned into their own little bubble of an experience in their headphones or on the couch. There’s a lot less respect for the communal experience of a live concert, and less sharing in the dialogue about cultural movements like pop and rock. Not surprising considering what’s being put out there by mainstream media is less and less interesting.
I believe people getting reignited about local shit is where the future is. A grassroots way of connecting folks. As creators, we should look to cultivating relationships we have with our neighbors. This will provide us with a more sustainable income and also help our communities to thrive. Not that we should stop traveling or sharing on the web or anything like that. I just believe that real relationships with listeners and other artists and presenters are what will make the music of the future come alive.
PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release, Play Human? What was the writing process like for this album?
NH: Play Human is a holy war. It’s a big shout against the tides that threaten to eat us alive. The ideas on the album aren’t new – love your brother, take care of the planet – but they’re set in a modern rock context that maybe isn’t too common anymore. In the sixties and seventies there was a lot of this. I don’t know if it’s as big a theme today.
Writing it was mostly done as a part of producing – they went hand in hand – so as I was generating new sounds that turned me on, I was coming up with melodies, riffs and parts. Lyrically, the ideas for subject matter would come first and actual lyrics would follow.
PEV: With all your traveling, is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?
NH: Ireland! I’m hoping to get there during an upcoming UK tour in April. It’s always held a powerful sway over me.
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career?
NH: I have a really great and supportive crew. I think some people are a bit nonplussed by my releasing a rock record that’s not even a big cello item. To them I say, that’s ok! I don’t like everything you do either! But seriously, I’ve had to reach beyond my normal fan base on this one to reach peeps who dig new rock on a daily basis. And that’s an interesting part of the trip.
PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
NH: I’m getting more and more into surfing, when I can get to the beach. When I can’t, I’m really focused on my yoga and meditation practice. I found a group called Dharma Punx that helps provide basic meditation lessons to people like me – a bit outside the mainstream.
PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration. Why?
NH: I’d like to play cello with Jimi Hendrix. Who wouldn’t?! Jimi’s been a huge inspiration to me throughout my life, because he embodies the culmination of both technique and creativity in music. What more can I say? There are no words…
PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
NH: Nadia Ackerman is a both a great singer and a very deep songwriter. She’s on all kinds of late night TV and commercials as a vocalist but her solo stuff is kinda flying under the radar. She needs to be heard to be believed. Unreal.
PEV: If playing music wasn’t your life (or life’s goal), what would you do for a career?
NH: I’d be the Pope. Nice hat, nice house. Cool car.
PEV: So, what is next for Noah Hoffeld?
NH: I’ve been wondering the same myself. I’ve been thinking of entering a monastery but I don’t think my girlfriend would like that too much! Ha! Maybe a new album? Maybe this one will be more of a cello thing, so my friends and family can enjoy without worrying I’ve gone off the deep end. We’ll have to see.
For more information, click to www.noahhoffeld.com/.