Ten Questions with Terry Gotham: That Noble Fury

Terry Gotham: What genre would you define That Noble Fury As? I know it’s a dick question. How do you see the personal genre of the “That Noble Fury” evolving over time, if you could speculate?

That Noble Fury: That’s how we start? I think we’re rock.  Well I think it’s, you kind of find the pool that you’re in and you rotate around things that are part of your life, and what will become part of your future life. So the things that I was exposed to when I was younger have made it what it is now and we move on from there. We don’t exist in a vacuum, that’s a Frank Oz quote. Yea, I mean, when I was in Kindergarten, seeing a dance show, this show of traveling Russian dancers, and Russian music is amazing, saw Fiddler on the Roof, so that whole Eastern European sound, it became a part of me. It came out in like a certain part on this album, but I didn’t really know that’s what I was doing, until you make something, and then it’s like “Oh ok, now that it’s there, now I can become an English student about my own music. Do a report on my own novel…pretentious bastard.”  

That Noble Fury: And then you get hit by new things, when I read a play or see a play or am IN a play, watch a movie, and then all of a sudden, I think about this world differently. I did a reading with John (Astin) when I was in college. It was related to the idea of existentialism and the idea of presence, and totally influences me in this huge way. There are so many people who we come in contact with through their work, or our parents. I mean, John Lennon was dead way before you or I was born, and it’s just absurd. Like he has no sense of how big of an influence he is. He will have no idea that some little kid from Pennsylvania, now living in Astoria, was so influenced by him, and there are so many people who have the same story. He’s such a big part of my life, and that can affect everything.

Terry Gotham: What kinds of environment do you like performing in & why?

That Noble Fury: We love to play where…people want to hear you. I can’t imagine playing for crazy amounts of people. I love playing for anyone who’s listening. Maybe that’s the politically safe thing to say, but it’s the truth. If Tom and I have acoustic guitars, and there’s one person who wants to hear us, we’ll play that show for you, and no one else. And it’ll be influenced by you because you’re there. There’s an energy that a full band, full range of dynamics, percussion that pushes you to the next level. Any situation where people can sing back is great.

Terry Gotham: Was there any kind of shift from the acts you played with before that let you home in on That Noble Fury sound?

That Noble Fury: I started multi-tracking by myself when I was in HS. I was in a number of groups, but I wanted to be the singer and the song-writer, so, I had to play my own stuff. So I started doing multi-tracking with these external things, because computers weren’t fast enough to do it, at least home computers, at the time. I started with a RadioShack keyboard, plugging that into a tape deck, programming one thing on the RadioShack, then playing that back, then playing another line with a different sound over the top, onto a tape, like a live mix-down. It was pretty funny because nobody told me how to do that, it’s like you find your own little way. Not that it’s that brilliant because it wasn’t, but it was, you seek out what you want, like stories of kids that play on pots & pans. I pulled away from the question…

Terry Gotham:  Just for the record, to keep it relevant, how are you using Social Media right now?

That Noble Fury: We use Facebook primarily, because it’s the easiest way to get in contact with everyone, like the core of the band’s audience. Let me rephrase that, it seems like the most relevant way of connecting with people because you can actually see a picture, you can write something down that not’s limited to a certain number of words. But at the same time you’re not sending someone an email so it doesn’t feel like work. And it’s access to everyone all at the same time. And it’s interactive. I think that’s the best balance of between the email type situation where you can get a lot of content and different kinds of content & Twitter which is just bullet points & Flash. We’re connected to Twitter & we do some Twitter-only things, but Facebook is where we respond directly to people. Email lists don’t feel very personal.

Terry Gotham: Do you weave any politics into your sound? Your lyrics are a lot more inventive than other groups in your weight class.

That Noble Fury: I mean, I’m inspired by a lot of activist music. Dylan was one of the first, I’m influenced by Dylan, in the way that I’m influenced by people that have been influenced by Dylan, Lennon first and foremost. I’m not overtly into politics, because I don’t want to push people away from what we’re doing. Cause I happen to love a lot of people in my own life who believe in all sorts of things that I don’t necessarily agree with one way or the other. But we’re definitely about love, and inclusion. Our music can be very dark, but I like to think that there’s some humor under it. We’re all going through this for the first time, in my opinion, if that’s politics or religion for you. Let’s not take each other down.

Terry Gotham: You have a full live group now. How are you translating from the studio to live?

That Noble Fury: 
For us, it’s weird. I was playing in a lot of bands in HS, and you rehearse/play a lot. And when you play it live, you can only play it on the instrument you wrote it on. You can use crazy looping pedals or things, or you can back yourself up with a tape, but that’s not really the same thing. I love to play live, Tom and I, when we were at Hopkins we used to play live, a lot. And that was the first presentation people had of what our “thing” was. But people were getting more of the song, without all of the things we were hearing in our head. We came at it as a live group first in a way, but it was this weird thing where I had all this multi-tracking and all these songs and all these things and then we were playing live. Now we can have the best of both worlds because we finally made the full album the way we wanted it and we have the full band we want to have.

But a band is tricky, because, there’s a lot of politics that goes on in bands. You see it all the time or you see the fall out all the time. I’m just really lucky that the way that I work with Tom seems to work really well, and we have two new guys playing bass & drums, and their personalities gel so well with us. And that’s a big thing; of course everyone can play really well. I’m looking forward to people hearing this because some of this is going to sound like the record, but there’s going to be a live, changed version. There are some surprises for the people, it’ll be fun.

Terry Gotham: Everyone asks what you like or who your influences are…Are there any sounds you like, actively detest?

That Noble Fury: Full Auto-Tune. Just because I think it’s really going to date this era of music. Only the future will tell but it reminds me of gated drums.  Like “Wow, that’s the 80’s.” or production styles. You listen to some of the stuff recorded in the 60’s, some of it sounds like 60’s, but some of it sounds like it was made in a warehouse in Brooklyn. There are trends, but certain things become classic and certain things fall to the wayside. Versus a Rhodes (Piano), like when they started trying to make electric pianos and it became a classic sound & the same with analog electronic stuff.

Like the 808, where the guy had never heard a drum set, and goes in and makes it (this could be a totally false story, but I love it), and it’s probably THE most famous electronic drum sound, and one of the most famous drum sound period. It wasn’t digital, it was a real sound, it was analog. Which are interesting, because analog sounds are not perfect. You can listen to a cello playing one note and you can listen to it for hours because the sound wave keeps changing. You listen to a moog or some synthesizer from the time. MS20 is this awesome Korg board they made, and you hit that button and there are actual transistors and oscillators that are actually making real electric pulses, really being amplified so that you can hear it. And that’s what changed. You look at the waveform it’s just beautiful; it’s so weird and so long. On the album, we recorded on a Rhodes, and you look now, in Pro-Tools, at the waveform because you’re recording to a digital medium, but the original sound is still analog. And you look at it and it’s like a block, one side of it’s straight, and the other is bending down, and it’s just so real. I think that’s really cool. That’s a sound that I like.

Terry Gotham: If you had the opportunity to play one place, anywhere in the world, any festival/establishment. One. Go.

That Noble Fury: Whenever the next Woodstock revival is. To be a part of the next official Woodstock thing. You had the Ed Sullivan Show, here’s the new wave of rock and roll since Elvis Presley, then Woodstock, which is the high point of rock even though rock has gone on and done many awesome things.  Woodstock is like the biggest rock show ever. So to be a part of that in any capacity would be amazing. And because it’s cheating, Addendum: Madison Square Garden/Wembly.

Terry Gotham: Do you feel the idea of “That Noble Fury” is exclusive to you and Tom, or is it bigger than he or you? Could you see That Noble Fury without you?

That Noble Fury: I can’t. One of the things that’s weird about our music is that people can’t pin our music down. They can tell it’s rock, but they can’t say whether it’s this or that, and that’s coming from a lot of people in a lot of different parts of my life. Which is a huge compliment to me, and I think it has to do with how my voice sounds, and how his voice sound, the chords we decide to use, and the weird ways that I play piano makes certain things happen within the band. The way he and I think about how a song should sound. I think those are really vital to making the sound of our music, I know that sounds very simplistic, but it’s true. Our voices tie the whole thing together and we sound like ourselves. Hopefully people will know the songs by our voices. When Freddy Mercury died, what did Queen do? Whoever’s taking his place has to sound like him, because that’s so much of what Queen was. When Head left Korn. To bring it back.

Terry Gotham: Lastly, for all the other artists who will (hopefully) be reading this. Every artist has their own artistic motivation, and it’s flagrantly different depending on who you ask. Any comment for them? Why? Why That Noble Fury, and not like, Excel Spreadsheets?

That Noble Fury: Why? It’s interesting as a quote-unquote artist to think about your life, why the hell do you do this? Not making a crazy amount of money doing this. Why do you have to put yourself out there? There’s so much of your life spent finding out what you can’t do…I’m reserving a given time and this is what I want to present, this is what I have for you now, at this point in time. In 2012 this album came out. This is where I was and I can’t apologize for it. This is what I have, and it’s not perfect by any stretch, but I think it’s beautiful in that way. Regardless of what you think of the aesthetics, there’s something about a band that’s trying to do their best, present what they have. Not auto-tune it to shit and bring in something that’s different or weird. We have a freaking digeridoo on the album. In 2014 I might think differently. God willing, in 2032, I look back on it, and can’t be sorry that I did it.  This is what I had and be proud of what I had at the given time or else you’ll die and you won’t produce anything, and that’s a tragedy. If somebody can pick up this album in 10 years, and they can relate to it on any level, hell that’s a win. Even if it’s just one person.
That Noble Fury | Facebook


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