Rome has long been a hotbed of quality electronic music. From the likes of Vibraphone Records to modern-day protagonists such as Carola Pisaturo, the city has long laid claim to house and techno in various different shapes and sizes. Another such individual who owes a debt of gratitude to the eternal city is Noha, the label owner at Panick! Panick! Records and a man whose intricate take on 4/4 has been turning heads aplenty over the past while (including our own, as Noha recently supplied a quality mix for us!) With his latest record just dropped on the label, we felt it a good time to catch up with the now Berlin-based painter and musician. A truly creative individual, Noha is unlike few others in his field. Anyhow, here’s what went down when we picked his brain recently…
WWD: What is your first memory of music? Did you grow up in a musical home?
I don’t have any memory or moment that I can recall precisely. I grew up surrounded by the love of my father for Brazilian music and jazz but I definitely owe the most to my mother who listened to almost everything: from Jean Michael Jarre, to the Talkin Heads to even pop.
WWD: Can you remember the track or album that made you want to create music of your own?
Ltj Bukem’s “Horizons”.
WWD: Who or what has been the sole biggest influence on your career?
The people that have surrounded me and inspired me throughout these years. My friends who believed in my work and helped me build a place and a space for it.
WWD: Tell us a bit about where you grew up? What was it like for electronic music?
I grew up in Rome and ventured out into the electronic music scene around 2005. Things were quite different back then I believe: I spent my afternoons looking for records, playing them in my room and then at night we’d often go out to dance. I remember this yearly appointment with the Dissonanze festival that was never missed. I was out a lot as a kid, also by myself, completely immersed in this new reality. Then at twenty-two I left for Berlin and everything changed.
WWD: Obviously new music is a lot more accessible now. Do you think this is always a good thing?
Internet has altered our lives a lot more than what we’d like to think. I tend not to ask myself whether this is a good or bad thing, I think it’s something we just ought to accept.
WWD: And tell us a bit about PanickPanick! What was your motivation behind starting the label?
PanickPanick! has a very spontaneous gestation story: last summer Alex (Tea) and I found each other with four tracks produced in the span of two afternoons spent jamming on our gears. We were extremely enthusiastic with the results but we realized that there was no extant label for that kind of music so we just went and made one! 🙂
WWD: Yes, you hooked up with Alex Tea on the last release – how do you know Alex and how would you describe the chemistry between you both in the studio?
We met through mutual friends and immediately clicked. Before being collaborators we’re actually very good friends, making music is a shared common passion that brings us further together.
WWD: Creatively, what do you find are the biggest difficulties in collaborating together? And what’s the best thing about it?
I don’t think that there are difficulties: for me, making music with my friends changes everything, it’s a completely different thing, a different way of working.
WWD: Have you played the tracks out yet? Is that something you always do?
Of course! I always play my tracks in front of a crowd before releasing them.
WWD: You’ve released on some really cool labels in your time. What’s the record you’re most proud of? And why?
I definitely owe a lot to the track “Cables”, out on Cabinet. It gave me the chance to meet a lot of people that shaped my path. I’m also very attached to “Persimmon” released last year on Visrevset.
WWD: Tell us a bit about your history with art and painting. Where does your love of art stem from? And do you see any similarities towards painting and making music?
Talking about painting and music in the same context is very hard for me. Although they might seem like similar activities, both concerning the possibility of expression without verbalization, I think they each provide me with a specific and diverse opportunity to confront myself on aspects of my inner make up that are very different from each other.
WWD: Is music/art a full-time thing for you?
Yes! I worked as a graphic designer and illustrator when I was younger, but by the time I had turned twenty-five I had gathered enough experience to understand that the last thing I wanted to do was to spend my days in an office. I understood very quickly that that kind of nine-to-five routine was somehow toxic for me.
WWD: And how would you best describe your DJ style?
I don’t have a particular style in mind when I buy and play records. However I do know very well the kind of vibe I want to set: I want to be able to play different genres and keep an unpredictable ever evolving flow.
WWD: In terms of your productions, what’s your favourite piece of kit that you own and why?
I don’t think I have a favorite one. Let’s say that I’ve got my moments, I go through different love phases.
WWD: What advice would you give to any young aspiring producers/DJs?
To not let yourself be thrown off track by trends. These are fast-changing and even if they might provide for easy visibility they take away from the beautiful opportunity that is building your own path and developing a language that is personal and unique.
WWDL What else should we be expecting from Panick! Panick! and Noha in 2018?
We’re about to release the next panickpanick!, an amazing EP from my good friend Elon. As for myself, besides from a number of releases on different labels whom I am very happy and proud of, I’m also freshening up my own label, Nabuco.
Apart from music, what makes you happiest?
Spending time with the people I love, maybe the biggest lesson that I’ve learned somehow only quite recently.
PP002 (featuring music by Franky, Wareika, Noha & Alex Tea is out now on Panick! Panick! Listen/buy the release here