Welcome to The Verge: a column dedicated to music on the edge of a breakthrough. The DC scene isn’t just about electronic dance music and hip-hop – it’s also increasingly about rock music. Here’s one band leading the way on that front.
Whatever you expect of Noon:30, you’re probably wrong. The DC power trio of bassist/vocalist Blue S. Moon, drummer Vivianne A. Njoku and guitarist Aissa Arroyo-Hill confounds expectations based on their age, sex, race, and place. Their music combines elements of punk, shoegaze, noise and art rock into a powerful concoction. On their EP and so it is, the band shifts between the melancholy, swirling “Stop-loss” to the garage-punk of “French Song” and to points in-between.
But no matter what I say here, Noon:30’s music needs to be experienced live. The band plays the U Street Music Hall tonight as part of “Get Your Pants On” collaborative arts project / dance party. I had the chance to speak with the band in advance of the show.
What are your main influences, musical or otherwise?
Life, each other, musicians who infuse their music with consciousness.
What’s your songwriting process like?
It varies, depending on nothing other than the mood in the air. At times we jam out, other times someone has an emotion they need to express musically and we come together to flush out what’s missing, still other times we’re collectively inspired to put something out there that represents our life at that moment (i.e ‘Who Let The World Go’).
A recent show included a projected art piece. How did that come about? Anyone in the band have that type of multimedia art background?
From the get-go we’ve known that we want our shows to be as much of an experience as possible. We’re still expanding on that concept, but a good starting point for us has definitely been video projections. Vivianne is a filmmaker hobbyist and so she does some editing magic with video she finds from different sources. She’s really anal about making the images match our songs emotionally and logistically. Aissa also has mad skills as a multimedia designer, so she’s done some of our more badass fliers as well.
Best and worst show memories?
Best show – in Detroit on tour last year: The audience was 100 percent into our music. They came mostly to see their hometown hero, Blue, but regardless we could feel that they were glad that she was a part of something so phenomenal.
Worst show – a venue that will remain nameless. . . the house kit was missing just about EVERYTHING, the sound system was on perma-fritz, the audience was only interested in the bar, things kept breaking (Aissa’s strings, the drum kit even more, someone’s belt . . .) UGH!!!
You’ve said a lot about combating stereotyping and pigeonholing in the scene. What do you think needs to happen to make in-roads against that?
Folks need to branch out and discover the awesomeness already existing in DC – not in some other town, but really right up the street from you, most likely. Hyping the same handful of bands/artists continuously does nothing to foster the kind of thriving cultural mecca that DC has the potential to be – imagine if DC became the kind of city everyone CLAIMS they want it to be.
Venues need to do away with the genre/racial lines they’re creating with their booking practices, as do promoters and organizers, and people in general need to acknowledge that there is a place FOR EVERYONE IN MUSIC.
What’s next for the band? Any tour/record/etc plans?
(I can’t agree more. Don’t miss Noon:30 tonight at U Hall!)