Madison native NØÅ
Madison native Noah Gilfillan might have moved to the Midwest artistic meccas of Minnesota’s Twin Cities, but he keeps true to his Wisconsin roots. His release party for the latest effort of his electronic music creator identity NØÅ will be at The Frequency in Madison on December 23rd, kicking off the Christmas weekend. We talked with Noah about the new release, entitled I Was Sleeping, I Just Woke Up… Robots Coming! and what people can expect from the show.
Maximum Ink: How did you get into electronic and ambient music?
NØÅ: Hmmm, it is a tough thing to put in words. I think it has less to do with the sound of it than the process and the feeling that process rewards me with. There is just such an expansive set of tools and possibilities with technology, it’s like LEGO’s and songwriting combined. It’s just so damn fun. The act of it can really guide you in directions you wouldn’t go if you were just singing and playing acoustic guitar, or dulcimer in my case. 4 strings max for me, 6 is two many.
MI: What’s the new record about?
NØÅ: The single for this album is “Keeping On Ain’t Overrated”. It’s got a cool intro with lots of chopped and reversed dulcimer!
I was walking to the park with my 2 year old daughter and playing my dulcimer, as I often do, and I just kinda doodled out the riff on the sidewalk. I love writing music outside and try to do so as often as possible, so nature, even if I’m not sing about trees and birds explicitly, inspires me a lot. Lyrically, it’s about getting up every day and putting your best foot forward, pushing through rough patches and trying not to be too lazy, which can get me sometimes. I feel like it also sonically represents how electronic music can be so alive! There’s lots of dulcimer, leaf samples, a prophet solo inspired by TODD TERJE, and lots of vocal harmonies.
MI: It’s a funny title for the record, I Was Sleeping, I Just Woke Up… Robots Coming! What’s the inspiration behind the new album?
NØÅ: It certainly isn’t a concept album or anything, at least not intentionally. The title is something my kid would say when she was going through this phase of robot-phobia and dream fascination. She literally said that every morning for, like, a week and my wife and I thought it was hilarious. I was doing lots of songs with vocoder and vocal FX, so it stuck with the material I was working on. I also love really long album titles, like I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass by YO LA TANGO, and anything by GIRAFFES GIRAFFES.
MI: Do you see any differences between the audiences of Minneapolis and Madison?
NØÅ: Not a whole lot really, I know a lot more of the audience members personally in Madison, so that’s a difference! It might just be my experience, but the Twin Cities seem to have a little bit more of the artsy, avant-garde crowd, but that could just be a population thing. We both have that thing in the winter where the journey to the show is usually arduous, so the people there like to get involved and really have a good time so the shitty trip doesn’t seem so bad.
MI: Live electronic performances are a little different from big rock shows, so what can people expect to see at the December 23rd concert?
NØÅ: Me making some awesome game faces while ripping on synth solos! I do my best to have a good time and extend it to the kind folks come along. I like stringing songs together and improvising, keeping it lively and unpredictable for not only the audience, but myself. Though there are plenty of chill-outs and trip-outs. Hopefully, I’ll have my brother, sister, and a couple other dudes who were on the album sing some harmonies with me for the CD release!