Alchemical beat maker and instrumentalist, Noetik the Alchemist, is a flourishing artist currently based in the Bay Area. Gathering his inspirations from within and throughout all his journey travels, Noetik found home through deep exploration. Fusing mesmerizing beats with nourishing melodies through the Xiao flute and various other world instruments such as the tablas, he brings forth a culture fused deep, lush, and exotic vibes and collaboration through “Bamboo by the Bay”.
Intrigued by such a talented being, we collaborated on a very inspiring interview as he shares his history as an artist, audio recordings, the story behind Bamboo by the Bay and the Xiao flute, music production, techniques, rituals, goals and inspirations. Practicing various forms of meditation and focusing on reflecting originality through experimentation, he shares everything from powerful dance experiences to his roots and everything else. Enjoy!
Share with us your history as an artist and how each medium of expression ( music producer, instrumentalist, composer, poet, turntablist, Hip Hop dancer, performing artist ) fuses into one and enhances your overall intention.
I was introduced to music and dance culture when I was 13 and I frequently found myself in breakdance cyphers and dance gatherings of all kinds. Hip hop and dance music taught me to be mindful; it kept me from following several destructive paths that would have limited my potential. I feel like maybe music and dance are expressions that find you, and choose to speak through you. I find rhythm to be an ancient language that exists within all of us. My intention is to make music for movement and meditation, I feel called to amplify this vibe, make it as dope as possible, and inspire as many people as I can to be original and creative through all art forms of expression.
Audio recordings are a deep foundation in your music. What are some of your favorite recordings?
Good question… The first track from Bamboo by the Bay titled; “Calling Owls” was a pretty epic recording session. The recording took place in the redwoods of Santa Cruz California during the full moon of September 2015. I remember hearing these owls communicating to one another and it sounded like the owls were in the same key as my flute so I decided to see if I could capture the experience and create a song from the recording session I had with the forest that night. But if I had to pick I would say that one of my favorite recording sessions thus far was inside of a cave like tunnel playing the Xiao flute. The tunnel was really long and narrow; it had some really cool natural echo and reverb that spiraled through the tunnel as I played. The recording is currently in the editing stages and will be mixed into a composition titled; “Standing Waves”. I expect to have “Standing Waves” ready for release sometime this summer.
‘Bamboo by the Bay’ has a unique story behind it, could you please share more?
Bamboo by the Bay was born when I moved from Denver, Colorado to California in 2010. I wasn’t totally sure how the Xiao Bamboo flute was going to play a role in my music production until I visited the Bay Area. I felt inspired to make Hip Hop instrumentals with a Bamboo flute because that shit sounds hot to me. I have a deep appreciation for earth harvested instruments like bamboo and other wood types. I could hear the fusion of this ancient instrument speaking on top of warm bass kicks and drum beats to help some of the listeners reconnect to earth frequency through a familiar rhythmic pattern that we often identify as bass music and Hip Hop.
Within this language of boom bap and bass I wanted to speak with the Xiao flute and communicate some of the wisdom I have found in its sound. To me the Xiao flute represents the wisdom of the East and the teachings of the Tao, the Buddha and the wisdom of Lao Tzu (the author of the Tao-te Ching). This ancient wisdom teaches us to live our lives with awareness and balance, to bring peace and harmony into our own lives and the lives of others, to be mindful of our actions and where we direct our energy, to live for the benefit of all sentient beings, to restore all misplaced or unbalanced energy on this planet. “Bamboo by the Bay” was created with the intention to bring eastern wisdom into a musical language that could be well received by listeners on the west coast and in the Bay area. The EP also represents the distance this instrument has traveled to be introduced to Hip Hop and bass music.
We can hear some influential hip hop lyricists. Could you provide more info on the artist and correlation?
Being a huge fan of Hip Hop I had to sample some of my favorite lyricists to add an extra element to the EP. In the first track on the EP; “Calling Owls” I sampled Mos Def who is speaking the words; “earth, sky” I thought this would complement the song and the visionary aspect for the listeners while bringing attention to the life of owls and their ability to be earth and sky dwelling creatures. There are a few Mos Def and Black Star samples on the EP mainly because I resonate with the messages Mos Def and Talib are speaking and I wanted to incorporate some Hip Hop samples to bring more life to the EP. I also sampled some Fugees on track 4, “Green Destiny” because the message that Lauren was speaking is really in tune with the intention of the song I had created.
What does the Xiao flute mean to you and how has it influenced your overall being?
To me the Xiao flute represents the wisdom of the east and the teachings of the Tao, the Buddha and the wisdom of Lao Tzu (the author of the Tao-te Ching). This ancient wisdom teaches us to live our lives with awareness and balance, to bring peace and harmony into our own lives and the lives of others, to be mindful of our actions and where we direct our energy, to live for the benefit of all sentient beings and to restore all misplaced or unbalanced energy on this planet.
What’s your setup like (both studio and live)? Favorite tools/vsts/gear?
When I play live I often use Serato Scratch Live with a Technics SL 1200 for scratching and mixing my own samples and tracks. I also use an Akai pro for midi control, cueing loops and samples. Occasionally, I will mic one of my instruments into my pioneer DJ mixer with a range of effects that I can access for even more of a live experience.
In the studio I use Ableton, Reason, and Sound Forge. My vision is to use as many of my own recorded sounds and samples as possible to create loops and composition. I have a substantial collection of drums, woodwinds, world instruments and objects to generate the sound I am intending to create.
You’re quite the traveler! Which landscapes would you like to explore further? Why?
I would love to visit South East Asia, Thailand, Bali, Tibet and Nepal because of my deep appreciation for all the ancient wisdom and cultural practices that have come from these regions. I would also like to spend more time in Central America as well as South America so that I can dedicate some more time to learning about the Amazon rain forest while making music in the jungle.
What are some of your daily and life rituals?
Meditation, breakdance, tutting, popping, mudras, learning songs, learning ancient languages, reading, writing rhymes, poetry, skateboarding working with plant medicines, studying energy and breathe work, listening to new genres of music, studying music, DJing, learning how to play unique instruments and making as much original music as I can.
What are some of your goals for this year?
I plan on releasing a new album in September/November, I am really excited about sharing the new material I have been cultivating. Aside from wanting to perform more festivals and underground events, I want to start a monthly world bass music event in the Bay Area dedicated to dance performances and visionary arts.
What has been a huge influence and inspiration in your life that led you into your music path?
I started out as a dedicated fan of Hip hop, bass music and break beats. I became a pretty dedicated dancer after a couple years of attending music events. I started to feel like music and dance were becoming my religion. I knew that I was rooted in this culture and that I would evolve within it. I became so inspired by the music I was dancing to that I decided I needed to start collecting records and albums so that I could move to the music more frequently. This led to learning how to DJ and mix because I wanted to share my experience with others. After several years of DJing and dancing I started to feel like most of the music coming out wasn’t sounding as dope as it could. Most of my favorite artists at the time were changing their style of music to sound more high energy.
What it sounded like to me was that a lot of these artists were being influenced by the mainstream. I wasn’t having it so I decided I should learn how to make music and create my own genres of music so I could continue to generate the vibe that initially inspired me. Don’t get me wrong, there were still dope beat makers and music producers that inspired me during this time, but I just realized that what I was hearing in my head wasn’t being made by anyone and I felt called to share what was coming through me. Some of the artists that truly inspired me along my path over the last 12 years have been; Thriftworks, Clozee, Om Unit, Sub Swara, Shigeto, David Starfire, Filastine, Tipper, DJ Shadow, DJ Qbert, Tsuruda, Aztek, AtYyA, Goopsteppa, Leland Riiivr, Pacha Papa, CharlestheFirst, Adham Shaikh, Liquid Bloom, Desert Dwellers, Shamans Dream, Spoken Bird, Flying Lotus, Bone Thugs n Harmony, Sokoto, Shy Fx, Ivy Lab, Dohits, DJ Craze, Mos Def, Roni Size, LTJ Bukem, Doc Scott, OSHUN, and several others…
In what ways do you see the music industry shifting for the better?
I think it’s easier to find good music today with the help of consistent record labels and music engines like soundcloud, bandcamp and spotify. I am happy to see the evolution of the music industry in a place where artists can share their work through so many outlets at once. I think artists and musicians have a better platform for sharing their work on a much wider scale than ever before, I believe the industry will keep growing to be even more accessible for fans to find the artists they are looking for and allow dope music to be heard by more listeners.
Do you tap into other meditative mediums outside of all of this?
Absolutely, there are many forms of meditation. I like to practice balancing energy in many ways.
What’s your Summer looking like?
I am really focused on finishing a new album, polishing up a couple music video projects and keeping it semi low key while making more music in the studio this year. I have a few performances in Santa Cruz throughout the Summer that I will share on my social media pages. I am also really looking forward to performing at Luminosity Gathering, July 14th-17th in Nahatlatch Valley B.C. and the Symbiosis Oregon Eclipse, August 17th – 23rd.
Anything else you would like to share with us?
I just want to take this opportunity to thank Street Ritual, Raine Zephyr, Luminosity, Sofie Lynn, Tyy Clark, Hannah Garcia, Moises Reyes, Brian Edgar of Nexus, Rabe 333, Constant Creation, Euphoric Styles and everyone else who continues to support the evolution of high quality bass music. Let’s continue to push things forward in new creative ways.
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