Interviews

N8NOFACE: Meet the Arizona-Raised, California-Based Synthpunk Shaking Things Up

Photo: Valerie Bower

N8NOFACE is at his core a one-man-band that resides in Los Angeles, CA. He emphasizes synthpunk but can create just about any vibe out there.

I got an opportunity to chat with him about his artistic journey, keeping it weird, and the importance of remaining humble in the music scene, along with so much more! 

Thanks for your time, Nate. I know you’re a busy cat. Other than being the Synthpunk God, who is N8NOFACE? What do you represent? 

[Laughs] Thank you. I don’t know, still figuring it out. I'd like to think I represent being yourself and always creating, and never giving up on ya dreams. Just find a way to grow with them. Being a guy who came up around drug dealers and that sort, but they always allowed me to be.

I wanna tell the youth that you can be a “hang around” and still be accepted. My people knew the “weird” music and art I liked and still accepted me for it. Follow your heart, always.

 

I respect that. Keepin’ it weird is the way go! Normal people are boring. What inspired the transition from the duo Crimekillz with Scumbagg Tony to going solo as N8NOFACE? 

Well, there was no choice. I have to always make music no matter how old I get. I have to create and tell a story through a song. So, when Crimekillz stopped, it was my only choice to go solo.

You definitely haven’t shown any signs of slowing down creativity! I read that you're from Tucson, AZ. How did Arizona play an important role to you in your artistic journey?   

I'm just Arizona to the bone, man. I love LA, Long Beach, but AZ made me, coming up where and when everybody was drug dealing, taking it outta town. I knew guys who would run into other guys at malls or some shit outta town like, “oh, you do biz here, too?”

It was just unique in Tucson in '80s and '90s, early '00s. It wrote my songs for me.

Photo: Erick Castles

Being able to capture moments in time are pretty special especially through song. Who are some cats in the LA music scene you’re fuckin’ with currently? 

Dead City Punks , Barrage , Section H8 , Clorox Dream, Ho99o9, Nascar Aloe, and Deathproof. I'm sure im leaving some out, but I'm really excited for what Dead City is doing.

Those are all some heavy hitters! I fuck with all those cats. You have an impressive discography dating from 2012-2021. That's almost 10 solid years of back-to-back quality. What in your opinion do you think is important about consistency?  

Shit, man, first of all, thank you. Honestly, I don’t know if im consistent or not. I really don’t know what’s good or not, I do it just all off of feeling, like good or bad, I just create to really exhale and get thoughts and ideas out. I have to keep creating always.

Photo: Valerie Bower

With that idea of consistency in mind, you're such a versatile cat. One song is a love ballad, the other a fucking head banger, an insane boss fight, or a dance track. What are some of your influences that contribute to your versatility? 

I just love everything. my saying is that I like 10 percent of every genre, at least, and more in others. I also feel one person just isn’t one thing, I know real gangsters that society would call “bad types” but they kiss they kids, they like to eat ice cream. Like, we all get heartbreak, we all get mad, we all get sad. my uncle rode bulls, why can’t I make a country song?

My brother was in prison, why can’t I tell a gangster tale? I love '80s music, why can’t I club and make '80s music type sound? Like, I feel that I can do all genres and it is still honest and pure because they are all things I’ve felt.

That’s a cool way to look at it, “10 percent of every genre.” You’ve been through a lot which allows you to occupy space in multiple places musically. Why do you think it’s important that you remain versatile in music and never stagnant in creation of your works?

I mean, it helps, but again, I don’t do nothing with any intention of longevity or to stay in the game and change for the game. I just do what I feel in moment, or wherever the frequency and emotion takes me. Sometimes the emotion I feel makes me write a love song, so that’s what I do. other times I wanna scream, so that’s what i do.

Did the pandemic affect you at all in terms creativity? 

For me, not much. Really, I always create like crazy. It’s my video game, like how some cats, even guys my age, play Call of Duty for hours. I make music for hours at a time every day; before, during, and the tail end of this pandemic. The only way I feel I was affected by it was people had to stop they life and noticed my weird music

Well, you’ve definitely used that time wisely rather than playing games! I'm sure all of your projects have done this, but which project of yours challenged you the most while creating it and why? 

Nothing really feels like a challenge more than the others, they are all different. this last one with theOGM of Ho99o9, produced by Wrist, was different because it was some other producer and another artist, but it was still fun.

How did you come up with your unique sound? What was there a lot of experimenting or did it come naturally to you?   

I don’t know, it just evolved. My unique sound is just me not being able to play [laughs]. It just came naturally. I get an idea, like I wanna make a hip-hop beat then one day I wanna make a punk song, but I got no band. So, let’s see how to do it with synths and samplers and drum machines, if I can make a punk song.

That’s raw talent right there being able to just create on your own terms. You've performed a gang of shows. So that means you gotta have some crazy stories. What is one of the most insane memories you've had playing a show?

When I was playing in Crimekillz, my old synthpunk band, I was a shitbag at the time and still got super-drunk on Four Lokos and did bunch of cocaine and couldn’t even perform my songs and just mumbled them and climbed all around the walls, but we ended up gettin' a deal out of that show [laughs].

Photo: Erick Castles

A guy of your stature has a lot of respect in the community you represent. What about community do you feel is undervalued in the music scene?   

I just believe it’s all about helping and shining light on others. People kinda didn’t do that for me, when even homey bands were poppin', they didn’t share my shit so I got more light. But I get it, I'ma always shine light to up 'n' comers, fuck it if they get bigger faster than me, it’s all love.

Photo: Valerie Bower

With that being said helping and shining light on others, why do you feel it’s important to remain humble and show love?

I dont know, man. I grew up and came up around nothing but alpha males, bosses, gangsters, but I was just the clown who was the creative in the bunch so at times I battle with ego, but I dont really get big on it. I'm just grateful.

What is some advice you’d give to someone trying to come up in the LA music scene?

Just be you. Try to give the scene something it's missing, but familiar in a way, and just to keep grinding. Never stop, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

I'm sure you got a lot up your sleeve for 2021, Nate. So, what can we expect from you this year? 

just more and more and more of everything.

Before we wrap up this interview, do you have anything else you’d like to mention or add?

Just thank you so much, it means tons. I'm so grateful to talk with you and get the word out.

Photo: Valerie Bower

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N8NOFACE on social media: Instagram | Bandcamp
 

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