A few weeks ago, Andrew Newman played his first show at Proud Larry’s as Lo Noom, the DIY project he’s released an album and an EP for. I had the chance to speak with Newman about what goes into the Lo Noom project and what his future plans are.
CT: Tell me about the start of the Lo Noom project, and where the name Lo Noom comes from.
AN: I’ve been writing songs and stuff since like the third grade. The Lo Noom Project didn’t really start until I got a MacBook, and the reason I got that, I was going to get one for college anyway, but I asked my parents if I could get one early and use this one for college, so I got it in 10th grade. Originally I wasn’t even going to use a computer, I was going to get an MPC 2000. It’s a sampler that Kanye West uses. I wanted to use that to make beats on and stuff, so I ordered one. And it came in and it was broken, so I just decided to get a computer and get Logic Pro, that recording software on it. Then I started recording with that.
Lo Noom, it kind of just evolved with my Twitter username. My first username was groovynewman, then it changed to groovynoonoo, and then it changed to lil noomie, then it changed to Lo Noom. And I just liked the way it sounds.
CT: The “Pretty Woman EP” came out a few months ago. Tell me a little about the writing and recording process for that.
AN: Right after I finished the first album, “Groovy,” I had a bunch of songs that just weren’t really techno, and they were easier to play live. I wrote them on my acoustic guitar and that’s kind of what I felt inspired to be writing at the time. I was listening to a lot of influences that were not techno. I was listening to My Morning Jacket, Nick Drake, just a lot of either acoustic or jam band-y artists, so most of those songs were just written on my back porch with my acoustic guitar, like in my kitchen or something.
There’s no samples on the “Pretty Woman EP” except for drums. I sampled the drums from different songs. The drums on “Once in a Million Years,” those are from the song “It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” by Tame Impala, and then the drums on “Motorcycling at Night,” they come from “The Moment” by Tame Impala. I like Tame Impala drums. I guess that’s pretty clear.
It was kind of like a new recording process because I wasn’t dealing with electronic, digital… There’s a couple of synths in the EP, but other than that it’s like acoustic guitar, a lot of stuff recorded with mics. Compared to the first album it’s just a more organic feel, and it’s a lot easier to play live.
CT: Tell me about making your first album, “Groovy.” Did you use a lot of samples on that?
AN: Half of the songs on the first album, I chopped up different samples from different songs I found or different songs that I’ve always liked, and there’s a sampler on the Logic Pro software. I would just assign little clips of different songs to different keys, and I would just rearrange and manipulate them until they sounded really cool, and I would record guitar and synthesizer on top of it. I would sample drums and put that with it, and then I would just write songs over it.
On “Dreary,” probably the most played track on my Soundcloud, I sampled the song “Telephone Line” by Electric Light Orchestra. The song “Venus,” I sampled “So Good At Being In Trouble” by Unknown Mortal Orchestra, so there’s a bunch of different songs that I sampled for the album.
CT: What goes in the process for finding stuff to sample? Is that just stuff you’ve already been listening to or is it certain stuff you’re looking for?
AN: Most of the time I’ll just be listening to music like anyone else, and if I hear something, I’m like, ‘whoa, I can make a beat out of that,’ that one little part in that song, then I’ll screenshot that song on my phone. And sometimes it’ll be a song I’ve listened to a trillion times that’s like one of my favorite songs, and sometimes I’ll just come up on a playlist or the radio or something and I’ll do that. Sometimes I’ll google songs some of my favorite producers have sampled, and then I’ll sample songs from the artists that they sampled, but not the same ones.
CT: You’re recording all of this at home, what all are you using to do that?
AN: I just use the Logic software. One of the great things about it is that it comes with so many software instruments, and I used a lot of those on the first album. But I’m kind of like pushing away from that because it kind of sounds too digital and cheesy. Sometimes I’ll record it into my tape machine and record it back in, so it kind of has a dirty analog sound. I use a microKORG synthesizer, and then I have a synthesizer from the 80’s called a Yamaha DXL. I used that on the new EP. And then obviously guitars, I’ll just use my acoustic and electric guitars and stuff.
If I hear a cool sound I’ll just record it with the microphone. It can be something like flipping a light switch and then pitch shifting it down, and it has a really cool sound and you can put like a reverb on it. It’s just like experimenting with sound is one of my favorite things to do whenever I’m recording. You can get a really unique sound in a song if you do that kind of stuff.
CT: What goes into our music lyrically? What are you drawing from when you write your lyrics?
AN: The new EP is love I guess, that sounds kind of cheesy and cliché. I’ve tried to mimic or imitate different writing styles of lyricists I like. I like Kurt Vile’s lyrics, My Morning Jacket lyrics, Bob Dylan lyrics, Father John Misty lyrics. I like being straightforward.
CT: On your bandcamp you have a section that talks about collaborating or doing beats for hip-hop artists, have you done that before, or is that a newer idea that you are trying to get started?
AN: I’ve had this idea for a long time, but I haven’t gotten around to it. I’ll make a beat that I really like, and then I’ll never do anything with it, and it’s almost like I like it too much to give it away or sell it. I’ve had different rappers or just other artists wanting to collaborate or wanting me to make beats for them, but I haven’t officially done anything with them yet. If someone wants to come and work on something with me, and kind of be hands-on with me, like making a beat or something, or if they just want me to email them some samples of beats, I’m definitely down to do that kind of stuff, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
CT: Who are some of your main influences?
AN: It changes every day. My biggest influences are Radiohead, Tame Impala, James Blake, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, My Morning Jacket, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Electric Light Orchestra…there’s literally a trillion influences, I’ll get something from top 40 radio in my car.
CT: Can you tell me a little bit about your next project?
AN: For this next project I’m trying to make a really techno sounding album, or just experiment with cooler production. Radiohead and James Blake are so good at that right now, especially with these new albums that just came out. Messing with really weird, unique sounds, trying to use less hackneyed rhythms or beats, non-traditional snares or kicks, just weird sounds, I’m trying to make that kind of stuff. And I have a bunch of songs that have been ready to be released, but I’m just waiting for other songs to be finished to be released as a whole. I might put out a few singles in the near future. I don’t want to let this album be defined necessarily with a genre, I kind of just want it to be anything.
CT: Is it a full album you’re planning to release?
AN: I kind of change my mind all the time, but as of right now, yeah an album. And I might release some singles beforehand.
CT: Do you always plan on your music being a solo project or do you plan on incorporating a band later, whether that is in a live or a full-time capacity?
AN: Definitely live. In the future I want to have a band. Right now I’m just doing it by myself. I already have a lot of friends who are up in North Mississippi, and we’ve already talked about like working on creating my music in a live sense, together with a band and stuff.
Check out Lo Noom’s bandcamp page to hear his music: