Upon the release of his self-made video for “Wring the Rag,” I caught up with Lo-Fi, Ambient solo artist Lee Noble to discuss his process. Along with crafting his own recordings, he also creates the cover art for the cassettes released on his label, No Kings. There isn’t much he can’t do - including making zines. Let the layered textures of his music and the esoteric images of the video posted below wash over you like a warm bath as he explains how it all comes together. - Jacqueline Caruso
The Deli: When did you first start performing your own music?
Lee Noble: I made some recordings in high school, but didn't really play music solo much until later. I was in a band with my best friends throughout high school and college, and most of my musical effort was put into that. In 2008, I moved to Los Angeles and played a few shows alone with tape loops and a drum machine. I was later given a broken harmonium, and I patched it up with some sticky tack. That was sort of the impetus for making ambient music. It played very slowly because it had air leaks.
The Deli: Do you find more satisfaction/artistic fulfillment in the writing/recording process or performing live?
LN: The recordings are my statements, performing live is more like an experiment. Trying set-ups, being present. Not so much like a resume of songs. Each live performance is different, usually. Sometimes that means they don't work. But it's almost like 2 separate projects that meet somewhere in the middle. Recording is the priority.
The Deli: Tell us a bit about your recording process. Is it completely solitary?
LN: I record alone in my room using a digital 8-track deck with one hour of recording memory. I use small tape recorders as something like a notebook for ideas, taking down melodies or riffs. Then I build up from those pieces. My deck is on it's last legs though, so I'm trying to work out a new way to record.
The Deli: You created the video for "Wring the Rag" yourself, and are also an accomplished visual artist - as you create the artwork for your releases and those you put out on your label, No Kings Records. How do these different art forms inform each other?
LN: Trying to translate ideas into different mediums is always a fruitful effort I think. Video ideas into graphic ideas, different types of design language used as cassette j-cards or record sleeves. I just like to try my hand at anything visual, even if I have very little technical skill.
The Deli: Any upcoming events, releases or news to share?
LN: I'm playing in Denver at the Gold Rush festival this weekend, and next month on the 18th I'm very excited to be playing at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn with Tony Conrad and Amen Dunes.
"Wring the Rag" by Lee Noble from Bathetic on Vimeo.