Posted On 14 Oct 2016
Noelle and The Filthy No-No’s are a New York based band of sonic force lead by a soothe singing powerhouse. Their sound is a theatrical synthesis of Soul, Jazz and a touch of Rock and Roll as Noelle Tannen’s eclectic vocal approach defies any single standard; Ranging from delightfully innocent to aggressively ragged.
Her band meets the demands of such acoustic versatility. Delivering a satisfying oomph of harmonic complexity and rhythmic articulation to support the delivery of a neo- sirens song. Exploring the tensions which underly existence, their sound reflects the intensity of living in a modern world.
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Learn more about Noelle and her music with The No No’s in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that we are entering the fall of 2016, what are some words you would use to describe this year? What have been some of the highlights for you and the band?
Hmmm, Well .. I would say .. at least on a personal level this year feels like a year of change and progress for sure. We are about to release this record that we have been anticipating for a pretty long time. I have kind of put my life in a place where its based on this album, so that’s kind of scary but also kind of cool. I am feeling more dedicated then ever.
The highlight of the year for the band .. must have been recording the album because that was an amazing weekend.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
Well, I always knew I wanted to be a performer. I grew up playing music basically since age 3. I started singing in church and then started playing classical cello when I was 6 years old and I was always writing these silly songs when I was a kid. However, I didn’t really know that I wanted to dedicate all of my life to music until I was about 18 or 19.
My earliest musical memory was at age 2. I was excited to play this grand piano at some relatives house. I ran up to the piano in excitement and smashed my head on the corner of the piano. I ended up having to go to the hospital to get stitches.
How did you come up with your band name? Was it hard to pick one? What other names were you considering?
We started off as a 13 piece band called The Noelle Tannen Orchestra. After a while, it became a little unrealistic to continue as a 13 piece band playing shows around NY and so we sized down to 6 .. which really isn’t an orchestra. The band members had this on-going joke where they called each other The Filthy NoNos, so that’s where we got Noelle Tannen & The Filthy No-Nos. It was honestly our Sax player, Andrew Cowie’s idea to officially name the band that.
Next month, you will release your second album. How do you think your sound and ultimately, your music-making process changed through the years?
I’d like to think its become more refined and directed. My first album in a way was a bunch of songs that I had written and put together, just to get something out there. For the most part I arranged/composed all of the music alone and used different musicians for each track. Noelle Tannen & The Filthy No-Nos is a cohesive band/project that worked on my newer songs for like 6 months. We really flushed them out together, developed a family like attitude towards the music and rehearsed the shit out of the material for a year and recorded the whole thing live in 3 days, with the exception of the vocals.
What if anything has surprised you about the music industry? What do you think has been your biggest challenge? And what do you think has come really naturally to you?
I think I’ve expected the music industry to be surprising, so everything is kind of surprising and unexpected but i expected that. Does that make sense? Like, its always ever-changing as the times change. Sometimes, I get a little bitter, and romanticize what it would have been like to be an aspiring musician pre-internet but I don’t think that’s very helpful. Its important I think to work as hard as you can with what you’ve got. Its 2016, I am alive and doing this and that’s great, so lets see what happens.
I’d say that my biggest challenge has been self managing myself. Being a manager is like a full time job, and though I get a lot of help from people that care, like Barrett Martin at Sunyata Records, and people that have made videos for me and do all kinds of nice things, the managing aspect takes a lot of my time and I wouldn’t say that all of it comes naturally to me. Its a full time job and Its honestly gotten to the point where I am spending just as much time on the business side of things as I am on the music side of things. But I believe it will pay off eventually Something that comes naturally to me is bringing people together, musicians, artists. Creating a community of artists and entrepreneurs that are passionate to work towards a project that feels meaningful really warms my heart!
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you and your music? Who would you still love to work with in the future?
Wow, there are so many… Stevie Wonder will always be my number 1.
Boots Riley from The Coup, I think his music is really inspiring and it encourages people to really think and be better, I would be like so delighted and maybe faint if I ever got to write a hook for him. (Boots Riley are you there??)
Esperanza Spalding, Hiatus Kaiyote.. I listen to them all the time.
Debussy is my favorite composer. I love Beck too. The List goes on… I would be so honored to work with any of these people in the future. Though, my dream is to work with other women who inspire me, women who I can learn from. I’ve always worked with a lot of guys and I guess that’s how the music world can be a lot of the times. Also, don’t get me wrong, the men I have worked with have been amazing but I can’t wait to collaborate with other powerful women!
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you unwind from it all?
That’s honestly a tough question because when I am not performing or working in the studio, I am sending emails.
I guess I eat. I don’t really have any hobbies. Although, I really love interacting with people, talking to people and learning the stories of various strangers. I am certainly an extrovert.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
That all depends on the song! I have definitely written a lot of music about social change, making differences or just commenting/critiquing on societal issues. I think this is very important. Political music is very important but I also think music and really any form of self expression is important just as itself. My last album was a lot more political.. this one not so much, or at least not directly.
All in all though, I want my listeners to feel inspired to be themselves, be awake and not to give up even if things feel pointless. To do more, and feel empowered while doing so.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Yes, I make the music for you! Also, I want to shout out to the members of The Filthy No-Nos and their excellence. I have never worked with such a group of supportive, friendly and professional individuals that I am proud to call my best friends. So much gratitude here.