The first time I heard a Nosaj Thing track I was utterly blown away. ‘Aquarium’, and the mesmerising video it accompanied on youtube (see after the fold), was one of the most ethereal and serenely beautiful tracks I’d heard in a long, long time.
Since then, everything that has come out of this LA beat maker’s studio has been wildly creative, but it’s his debut full length, ‘Drift’, that we’ve been most looking forward to, and it does not disappoint. Imagine a cold-blooded robot killing-machine gets given a soul; the wail it would make as its heart flooded with human emotion is kinda what ‘Drift’ sounds like, well, to our ears anyway! Given that he’s one of the most exciting artists we’ve encountered over the last couple of years, we figured a quick chinwag with Jason Chung was long overdue. Read on…plus if you make it all the way to the bottom there’s a chance to win a copy of ‘Drift’ plus his previous EP ‘Octopus’…
Hi Jason, can you provide those who may not know you with a bit of background info?
Nosaj Thing: Born and raised in L.A. Started listening to hip hop in 3rd grade. My school’s bus driver always had the local hip hop station on, Power 106. This was when the Beat Junkies were taking over the airwaves - I used to record their mixes on tape.
How did you get into making music?
When I was 13, an older friend of mine hooked up with a bootleg copy of Reason.
What inspires you to keep going?
Writing music is therapeutic for me. Being involved in a music community and getting feedback from listeners is motivating.
What’s your studio set up like? How has it changed since day dot?
I started out with a slow Celeron based computer that my dad gave me. Reason would crap out if I had more than seven tracks. Now I'm running Ableton and Logic with a few hardware synths.
Do you have any regular processes you go through when making tracks? i.e. are they largely sample based, do you use live instrumentation etc?
I like to start with sound design and then come up with a chord progression or bassline. Sometimes, I start with drums.
Your debut full length ‘Drift’ is due in June, how would you describe it sonically?
Cinematic and emotional.
This Kid Cudi ‘Man On The Moon’ vocal (which uses the ‘Aquarium’ instrumental) must be doing wonders for your profile – how did it come to fruition?
Kid Cudi contacted me via Myspace in early ’08. Honestly, I had never heard of him at that time. This was before ‘Day ‘n’ Night’ dropped. He told me he was working on a mixtape and had a dope idea for a song so I sent over the track. We chatted a few times after the mixtape came out and I hope to work with him again.
What else is coming up for you?
I'm working on a visual live show, a few remixes, and planning shows. I plan to tour UK again this fall, and there is always new music in the works as well.
We have five copies of ‘Drift’ and the ‘Octopus EP’ available to win. To be in with a shot, just ping over an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with this in the subject header: “a shit video about mermaids? There’s no such thing!”