Posted By miker | Sep 4 2009 / Friday Skip To The Comments (14)
Noel Paris is one of the most talented, multi-dimensional people we have ever met. His calm demeanor and passion for skateboarding and art in all its forms truly makes Noel an amazing individual. We at etnies are proud to call Noel our friend and co-worker. This interview, recently conducted with Noel by three of his friends and fellow etnies employees, (Roc, Shane and Taryn), should offer a little insight into his world.
Taryn: All right, starting from the top… what came first, music, skateboarding or art? Noel: Well, probably skateboarding just because, you know, as a kid I got a skateboard and skateboarders lived on my street.
Shane: And then what? N: And then painting. My mom’s a writer and my dad is a musician, so art was always in the house. My mom took me to the J. Paul Getty when I was a kid and I just remember vividly seeing the paintings and realizing that’s what I wanted to do… paint.
Roc: And then music? N: Yeah. But music I never took seriously until, like, college.
T: Did you have music lessons as a young kid? N: Just drum lessons.
R: Your dad was a piano player, right? N: Yeah.
R: He never taught you how to play piano when you were a kid? N: No, I never really wanted to deal with piano at all. I just wanted to play drums.
S: How do they each influence each other—skating and art and music—or are they pretty separate? N: Well, I’m starting to see music and art coming together a little more. Skateboarding has never seemed like a real link to any of it. Only in the sense that I like to listen to music when I skate and stuff but, like, a session never inspires me to paint or write music, or vice versa.
S: More of a link between art and music than skating? N: Yeah, yeah.
T: What are your inspirations for art and music, and what motivates you to get into your studio or start painting? N: Honestly, it’s past artists more than anything. Whenever I go to record or write music or paint, I like to spend a little time before just kind of reading and thinking about other painters and some of my favorites. But there’s not a real discipline. I have to get myself into it.
T: How long have you been incorporating your art with your music? N: Umm, I don’t know if I ever really have other than, like…
S: Well, like the Tan Analog album covers and stuff? N: Yeah, that’s about the extent of it. You know it’s really weird… going to art school I wanted to be a painter first. Whenever I’d see musicians doing art I’d never take them seriously. Including myself [laughs]. I just thought to myself, “It has to be one or the other”, you know? Like, you can’t be serious about this and about that. But, the more that it’s become a part of where I live, and the more I built it all up to become one… it’s sort of evolved into that. I really had no intention of combining the two. Like I said, whenever I’d see a musician trying to paint I’d write them off as bullshit.
R: On both ends, as a musician and a painter? N: No, like, for instance I saw some Bob Dylan paintings one time and I was just like, “These suck.”
R: Do you feel the same way about skateboarders and art? N: Sometimes, yeah [laughs].
S: I don’t know if we want to get too controversial with this…[laughs] N: Well, when it’s all said and done it’s all about taste, more than anything. I’m not here to say anybody is better than anyone, but I do think that it’s come to a point now where a lot of people think that since they do one, that…
S: That they can do the other? N: That it’s valid, all the way around. I don’t think anyone should ever not do art because they do one of the other things. But as far as the combination now… they’re starting to influence one another. I feel like, at least now, I’ve got a grasp on both and realistic expectations for both. I still see them as being pretty separate though.
T: Do you ever listen to a certain band and get inspired to paint what you’re feeling and vice versa? Like seeing a painting and thinking “I kind of associate that with this band.” Or are you keeping that separate completely? N: I’ve tried to, in a sense…
S: Like with the collection of the songs you did that go with paintings? N: Yeah, but even then they’re referenced because of the title of the painting, and that somehow fits into the song. But the pieces are pretty abstract so there’s no real visual connection to the song. I’ve tried every once in a while to reference songs to abstract painters I like, but in the end it’s just my take on it.
T: It might start as that and then kind of develops into something else? N: Yeah, exactly.
S: You mentioned music and art integrating themselves more around where you live… how long have you been recording at the Bionic Ear? N: Well, the Bionic Ear was a bedroom at one time [laughs]. I’ve always called it that because of a past story, but this particular Bionic Ear… three years or so.
S: In the garage? N: Yeah, the garage.
S: So, what are some of the most memorable people you’ve gotten to work with, or record with, at the Ear? N: Probably Exene recently. Working with pros is just a whole other… it’s just different. They know what they’re doing right off the bat. Their instruments sound good. They know how to play ‘em. It doesn’t take long. This band, Band of Annuals, they did a really cool song called “New Frontiers”.
S: How has your recording process changed since you switched over to Pro Tools, and do you ever miss the old tape-eating days of fully analog recording? N: I just miss moving faders [laughs]. I don’t like doing it with a mouse. But, I have to say, Pro Tools is amazing. Things are just so much more streamlined. The editing process is so much better. The time you get from not having to rewind tape, and not having to worry about it being eaten, you know? That alone takes the nervousness out of it. Once the tape breaks, you’re in shit. But as far as the process goes, I still try to get sounds the same way. I still have techniques on how to get good levels and good frequencies and stuff like that. That hasn’t changed. I just miss the old boards and moving the faders.
T: Who do you like better… Roc, Shane, or Taryn? N: [laughs] Yeah, I can’t answer that.
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