INTERVIEW: Contemporary Pop duo Noble Gray

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

We have been great. Very busy but in a good way! We have just finished our “Throwback” Album pre-release party where we did a live set of 5 album tracks. We’re super excited to chat with you today and thank you so much for the opportunity to be in your magazine!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “All I Got”?

“All I Got” is the lead single from our up and coming debut album entitled “Throwback”. It’s a mid-tempo track that has influences from jazz, soul and hip hop running all the way through it. The single is a song about being cheated on by your partner but despite the subject matter, the track is full of sass and confidence which we think is quite empowering.

Did any event, in particular, inspire you to write this song?

The song “All I got”, as well as every song on the album, is very much autobiographic. Historically we’ve both been on the receiving end of relationships ending due to infidelity, so that has definitely been the inspiration for the song.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

The concept for the video came very naturally to us because of the songs subject matter and we filmed it over Christmas break last year. The video was actually filmed in what we call our “creative space” which for all intents and purposes is a small spare room in our house. We basically set up a white screen, lighting and a camera which was tricky because there are times in the video that we are both in the shot. For this reason, filming took a lot longer than usual because neither of us was receiving direction, so we were often standing outside of the set parameters and wouldn’t notice until we played back the footage. The result, we think, is a fun, bright and humorous video that although low budget is impactful which as independent artists is very important to us.

The single comes off your new album “Throwback” – what’s the story behind the title?

The album “Throwback” has been a labour of love to create and took two years (on and off) in the making. The album was born from our perception of the current mainstream music industry and how artists are choosing to follow the current trends in music production and vocal styles. As music lovers, we are hard-pressed to identify particular artists on the radio sometimes because things start to sound very similar. This wasn’t the case 20-30 years ago, so “Throwback” was created as a homage to a time when artists were bold and individual. A time when singers sang with emotion and who produced timeless works of art that help to shape and inspire the world.

How was the recording and writing process?

We wrote, produced and arranged all of the songs on the album. Some songs were originally written two years ago and it took until recently for the songs to have matured and the right time for the stories to be shared. Our writing sometimes starts with an instrumental track, sometimes with a melody and sometimes using exerts from poems or journals we’ve written. It’s the unpredictability of it all that we enjoy the most.

You got to play with different genres – how did you go on balancing them together?

Well, for us, the melodies are strong yet simple and our lyrics are deep, catchy and can be humorous. These kinds of characteristics can be found in say the Motown times right up to the mid-nineties in New Jack Swing, for example. We wanted to mix this with modern synth electronic elements and even trap beats, however, the heart and soul in what we do is the storytelling within our songwriting. We are also aware that Rhythm and Blues from back in the day run through all genres of music, so it all comes full circle for us at the end of the day.

What aspect of relationships did you get to explore on this record?

Our songs are always based around the human condition, the different roads we travel down and all the trials and tribulations that go with it. The one thing that is paramount to us is authenticity and so if we haven’t lived through something then we personally would find it difficult to sing about it from the heart. This is why we believe that you have to live and experience life, make mistakes, get your heart broken to then look back and reflect and document the experience. The process is like a kind of therapy for us but we also hope that it may be an insight to others. After nine years together, one of our favourite subjects, however, is singing about our love for one another. A prime example of this is the track “Your Love” on the album.

How much of a throwback was this meant to be? What aspect of the heydays did you get to deep dive into this record?

We wanted to mix current sounds with backing vocal harmonies that you would hear on say an Aretha Franklin or Stevie Wonder track, that made you feel like you were in the middle of a studio session with them. This involved taking our voices to other places and out of our comfort zones to give the album many different layers and sounds. Back in the day singers were given the freedom to create, experiment and explore their voices rather than fitting into a mainstream template and this sense of non-judgment is what we tried to dive deep into.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Inspiration is all around us and very random. We get lyrics that come to us while travelling on the tube, in a restaurant overhearing a conversation or waking up at 3 am with a full chorus in our heads, that you have never heard before. It’s also about past, present and future wishes or imaginations that can be a source of inspiration. We often say that we have been inspired by every single song and/or artist we have ever heard, good or bad because it has still shaped our outlook.

Any plans to hit the road?

As we have had lots of positive feedback from the LGBTQ community, we’ve been booked for some pride events in Europe and the UK this Summer. Locations and Dates for these can be found on our website or across our Social Media accounts. We see ourselves as a live act first and foremost because that’s how we best connect with our fans or with a brand new audience, therefore we are always on the lookout for new and exciting performance opportunities.

What else is happening next in Noble Gray’s world?

Currently we are in the middle of promoting the album and we have more music videos coming out over the Summer. The visual parts of “Throwback” are an integral part of what we do, as they add to the storytelling process and we get further opportunity to connect to people. Just like the great music videos of the past from the likes of Madonna, Missy Elliott or the late Micheal Jackson, we want to give viewers something fresh and exciting to watch.

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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