The talk of the town. Everyone can’t seem to stop talking about the latest album from Noise from Under as if this new persona has never came to the surface. Noise from Under a new persona of Noise (Abim) mesmerizes everyone with it’s impeccable audio and visual performance. Among the many reviews out there, we got curious on what the man has got to say for the album itself.
To our pleasure, we got a chance to talk with Abim; the man behind Noise from Under. Here are our small talks with him.
We were finally able to hear your latest album, Aliquem Alium Internum with a new persona. Since your single NIRVANA0.5 (which was exactly 2 years ago). How was the journey to this new persona and actually came with this new album ?
I just dug into the pit of myself and it’s there. It just revealed itself more clearly.
Throughout those 2 years, what are the struggles producing this new album ?
Pretty much the same as my other creative processes.
Tell us more about this new persona (re: Noise from Under), although we had seen many reviews on what influenced it. Why did you choose to be Noise from Under ?
I just wanted to make it internet-friendly. When you google ‘Noise’ you’ll find too much random stuff, so I felt like I had to add something else. I wanna reach into my psyche, and ‘Noise from Under’ just made sense for that idea.
What do these 9 tracks tell us about from your perspective ? What kind of journey do you expect from your listeners ?
“Aliquem Alium Internum” is kind of like an introduction to Noise from Under’s realm. Imagine it as a film. The first half exists to set up the story. ‘Fashion Weak’ is kind of like the opening scene where you’ll get an idea of what kind of movie it is. Limbo illustrates the kind of world where the movie takes place, and it gets more zoomed in in ‘Paguyuban Swag’. ‘YOLO’ gives you the background of the character, and ‘Nihil’ shows the character’s current state of psyche. The conflict and climax start to take place in ‘Breakdown Comedy’ to ‘Aliquem Alium Internum’, ‘Simulacrum’, and resolve in the last track, ‘Pity Uomo’. The story is about becoming self aware of my own shadow and trying to embrace it, and it ends with the start of a journey into the unknown.
I’ve read several reviews and mentions of the album. Most are obsessed with dubbing it a “social criticism”. That’s not the case actually. To me it’s a psychological journey. Some people get it, and those who do typically like the second half tracks. Like ‘Simulacrum’, it’s Kareem’s (BAP.) favorite. Don’t get me wrong though. I really don’t mind if anyone wants to perceive it as a “social criticism” or a “social commentary” album. But I won’t perform it as such, because to me that’s not it. You’ll only be disappointed if you expect to see anything appropriate to the moralistic ideals of Twitter “scholars” in my songs, performance, visuals, or anything Noise from Under.
If you can sum up this album of yours in 3 words or less what would it be ?
Stereotypical first album.
In your visual representation, it shows such varieties of reference, from Christo and Jeanne Claude to Maison Martin Margiela in 1989 reference. We saw there’s a certain theme that you chose. Why such a reference and how it correlates to your album ?
Performance takes center stage in my presentation. Thus, there is a need for stimulants to help me recreate the emotions within the album into the performance, based on how I perceive the world. This is where these references play their part. My perception of the world is largely influenced by the things I like. They evoke certain emotions or situations in me. I need it to stimulate specific parts within me as I project the idea outwards through my performance.
‘Breakdown Comedy’, for example, is a moment of madness, revelation, and hysteria in the album. It references Dante’s “Inferno” from the “Divine Comedy” saga, Joker from the 1998 “Batman: The Killing Joke”, and even Stadium the used-to-be notorious monsterclub in Jakarta through the lyrics for the sake of inducing the emotions I associate them with. The same goes with how I reference things for my performance.
Working with Farras as the art director, I implemented this referencing approach to enhance my performance. An example would be the props used in YOLO. During my training sessions with Ali, I imagined that the part where we perform YOLO would require me to stay still in one place in most of the track. Upon bringing this performance-driven information to Farras, we came up with enabling such immobility with a chair. Here’s where the references were put to use. If we just came up with any chair that I like, I could’ve ended up with a Bauhaus-style, Breuer’s Wassily chair. But that would be contextually incorrect, and instead of enhancing the emotions it would merely be a distraction, because the modernism style doesn’t give me the correct atmosphere and emotions that I’m looking for. In YOLO, I revisited systems and structures from my past and current realities with utter distrust. It’s an idea of deconstruction similar to that of Christo and Jeanne Claude’s when they wrap objects. They toy with time and the meaning of these objects, while I revisit time and question the meanings of these systems and structures that made me, because I have now realized how much bullshittery there is there. It’s an internal revisiting of what shit made — and broke — me.
I use this method of referencing for the rest of the album and the visualizer. Everything comes from something else, but do copy with respect. I echo one of Hiroshi Fujiwara’s interviews in that sense. Have a high regard for the original so that your adaptation of it creates a new work that stands on its own.
The choreography and overall set was amazing, how was the process of actually mastering those choreography ?
I think it’s more raw movement than choreography. There was barely any step-by-step, moment-by-moment design of the dances. Ali and I committed to some character development and body movement training in exploration of the psyche. Took us 6 months or so, very intensive. Exhausting to say the least. The idea was to extract the juice from the deepest parts of my inner self and project it into movement.
Also inseparable from the movements were the songwriting process. When I wrote the songs, I’d specifically taken into account the kind of emotions I’d like to represent. It’s an egocentric venture. The raw movements were evoked by the sounds, the sounds were evoked by the emotions, the emotions are housed in the ego. It’s a string of internal events, of drawing an intricate line from the inner self to the stage.
The producer and the director is someone that you are actually close with. How does it feel to be working with them throughout the journey ?
Felt good ‘cos they understand me. Overall, I choose who I work with based on their capabilities. I know for sure what each person can bring into my equation. Specifically with Raven, since he’s in charge of the visuals, it’s good ‘cos we have a common taste in pop culture and things. With Kezia being very smart, it’s only very natural for her to understand my vision and my standards. She takes care of things and puts everything in place.
How was working with the collaborators in this album ? Which one do you think is the most memorable one in terms of making the track ?
I think there’s a reason why Helmut Lang collaborated with Jenny Holzer for his fragrance campaign. I SMELL YOU IN MY SKIN, in bold letters is like a declaration of intimacy. Just like a fragrance, a proclamation so loud but so intimate. It had to be Holzer, no one could’ve executed the double-edged concept better. I feel like I have a similar ethos when I’m collaborating. I know what addition each track would require, and from whom would it be acquired best. From that point, I put trust in each collaborator. I allow their individual contribution to the track to surprise me. Everyone is irreplaceable and serves a unique purpose. Every collaborator naturally understands their role in this album. They’re the right person for the role. Everyone nailed it.
Congratulations also for becoming Preach’s new roster ! How does it feel to have yourself under a label now ?
It’s always convenient to have someone take care of things for you. LOL. I’ve always trusted Mario Saesar and now he’s taking care of my stuff.
Lastly, would you make yourself go through this journey all over or is it just a moment that sticks but not to repeat ?
I don’t see an end to this journey.