From his little home in Berlin Jonathan aka Noir Yon spend 2020 producing his first EP ‘So Far So Sad’ all by himself.
The indie singer and songwriter discovered his passion for music around the age of 14 and it would only take a few years before he started turning his poetry into songs.
‘So Far So Sad’ is a 7 piece intimate EP full of soothing guitars, long dreamy notes and evocative vocals filled with longing. It’s a direct invitation into Yon’s complex world that we are happy to enter. The EP is a poetic collections of his thoughts, feelings and fears about the future and is perfect for rainy days and self reflection. So of course we wanted to learn more about this emerging artist.
Check out what we talked about below.
YMX: Hey Noir Yon, thanks for talking to us. How have these gloomy times been treating you?
NOIR YON: Hey guys. Thank you for having me. It’s a difficult time we are in right now and it’s so sad to see what’s going on in the world. Personally I am doing quite alright. There’s always room for improvement…right?!I just released my debut EP last months as you know. So I’ve been trying to keep myself busy and being creative the last couple of months. It’s been an exhausting time for sure and it still is, but in the end it’s worth it when looking back where I’ve started.
YMX: How did you decide music was something you wanted to pursue? Are there any particular episodes that inspired you in doing so?
NOIR YON: I’ve been a music lover and enthusiast myself for such a long time. I think it started around the age of 14 years listening to bands like Bright Eyes, Nada Surf, Death Cab for Cutie, The Shins and The Killers. So making music myself evolved over time. I actually started out writing a few poems and somehow had the idea to turn them into songs after a while, in German at first. Writing lyrics was something I used (still use) to do to free my mind. In the meanwhile I was looking for other musicians to form a band, which didn’t work out unfortunately. This brings us to 2019, when I needed to decide if I were willing to put all the energy into making music on my own and kinda start from the beginning or leave it all behind. This seemed way too easy – to just give up – and to be honest I’m glad I didn’t. So I borrowed an acoustic guitar from a close friend of mine teaching myself to play it. At the same time I changed it up a bit and began to write lyrics in English. Last year was surely the starting point for this solo project I’ve chosen the name Noir Yon for.
YMX: Here’s a fun game: name 3 artists, or bands, that inspire you and influence your work, and explain why:
NOIR YON: 1. The Shins – The song “New Slang“ is one of the first indie songs I fell in love with. In my mind I always wanted to sound like them. Some years later I came across this song in the movie “Garden State“ again, which is one of my favorite movies, period. If you haven’t seen it, please check it out! I can’t say it any better so I’ll just be quoting the movie “this song will change your life…“.
2. Bon Iver – I think everybody knows the man behind Bon Iver. He seems to be such a cool dude and I love how the sound have changed over the past years, while still keeping the Bon Iver charm. The indie folk record “For Emma, Forever Ago“ is a touchstone and inspires so many artists (myself included) in some kind of way. It’s one of my favorite records of all time for sure.
3. Phoebe Bridgers – Always had a thing for sad songs. Phoebe Bridgers is writing such beautiful songs and they give you that relaxed and light feeling when listening to it. “Stranger in the Alps“ is a wonderful record I still enjoy listening to. Through her music I gladly came across other amazing artists like Julien Baker as well as Tomberlin. I love to listen to them and everything you perceive influences you in some kind of way.
YMX: You recently released EP ‘So Far So Sad’. Can you tell us how that project came about?
NOIR YON: Yeah, I just released my debut EP “So Far So Sad“ on the 2nd of October that I had been working on for 4 months. I was thinking about recording this one in early 2020 after finishing the lyrics for three songs. At first I was actually looking for producers and musicians to work with me on this record, but unfortunately I couldn’t find anyone being on the same page. With my non existing skills in producing I learned some basic skills and decided to try it on my own and give it a shot. Recording and mixing it by myself gave me the possibility to be independent in the whole working process and taught me so much. It would probably sound better with some professional help. But I also wanted to see how far I could come doing everything on my own with the things I had lying around. When I first made a draft it was supposed to be an acoustic EP, but with time it developed to a wide ranging dream-like indie/dark folk soundscape creating a mood for rainy days. With this piece of art I wanted to create something that allows the songs to stand alone on itself but primarily function as the whole to tell a story.
YMX: How did the pandemic affect your personal music recording experience? Was it easy adjusting to working remotely?
NOIR YON: Since I’ve been working on this project independently, it didn’t really have a huge impact on me. So I actually don’t know any better. Earlier this year I bought some essential gears for recording and set up a small “home studio“ if you wanna call it that way. Home recording surely added some vibe and character to the EP in a way.
YMX: Professional livestreams seem to be really taking over these days. Is it something you would consider doing?
NOIR YON: It’s a pretty cool alternative for musicians and music lovers, since it’s not possible to go to concerts and festivals right now. It’s surely not the same feeling but I personally like it even if I miss going out and listening to bands. I still have a ticket for Pinegrove and would love to see them play live in Berlin when it’s possible again. As an artist I would love to do those livestreams, but unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to do it yet. I was also thinking about streaming on my Instagram account soon (@noiryon if you wanna hmu). So I’d be totally up for it, since I was planning to play some live gigs after releasing my debut EP.
YMX: Since the pandemic began, online music promotion has become crucial for an artist’s growth. How important is that for you, and are there any strategies you are willing to share with our readers?
NOIR YON: I think online promotion has always played a big part in artist’s growth. Depending on the genre it will have more impact on some than for others. It’s a difficult situation for artists with a small number of listeners to release music, like I have. Just a small amount of your people will listen to it, mostly just friends and family. So in my opinion promoting music online is crucial and necessary to get your music heard these days when you are an unknown artist. But it’s not promised in anyway that someone will like your music and that you will be featured in magazines and blogs. I pitched my EP to so many blogs and magazines. Just a handful of them responded and I don’t even know if they all got my messages to be honest. But you have to know they get around 50-150 mails each day. So the chances your mail will get any attention is probably very low. There are so many talented artists sharing their music online and music is subjective. Sometimes you have to be lucky that your music gets into the right hands (or ears). The only thing you can do is keep going and speaking personally, I know it’s exhausting, especially if you are totally new to this. I learned for myself it doesn’t come easily, but you have to keep pushing forward.
YMX: Finally, what are your plans for the future?
NOIR YON: 2020 has been a difficult year so far. This year didn’t go as planned or as we wanted it to be! Unfortunately I wasn’t able to play any live shows to get my music out there and it’s difficult to say when this all goes back to normal. Since I’ve just played guitar for a year I will definitely use this time to work on that. I’ve also started writing songs again. Actually I am always writing songs, but I am not always happy with how they turn out. Still there is a good chance I’ll be dropping new music next year. As soon as the opportunity is given to play some songs of mine, whether it’s a livestream or when the pandemic settles down and it’s ok to play live gigs again, I’m in. In the meanwhile my focus is on working on me as an artist and to dive into music. This includes collaborating with other artists/musicians and work on different projects and help each other out. We are in the same boat and we all have the same goal. If we find like minded people along the way, that wouldn’t be too bad.