Interview & Photos by Jamary Bobe
How long have you guys known each other/ been a band? Alex: The five of us met in late 2015 while playing in two separate bands. Michelle, Steve, and Rich were in a power-pop trio called Bronx Cheer. Jack and I were in a delta-emo band called Trochee Trochee. The bands played together at back-to-back shows - one at the now sadly departed Lit Lounge and the other at Cake Shop. We all hit it off from the start and became fans of one another. We continued to book shows and offer support wherever we could - borrowing a pedal, listening to a demo, help transporting an amp, whatever was needed. The chemistry was great so it was inevitable that we would all become close friends very quickly. Late last year, Trochee Trochee was on a break, and I reached out to Michelle and Steve to come over and listen to a few new songs I was working on. Fortunately, they too were in the songwriting process and we exchanged ideas awhile making notes back and forth. It was surprising that a lot of what we came up with blended perfectly! This gave us the idea that we should start a whole new project together. We brought Jack and Rich in to fill in the rhythm section and then the band was complete. Since then we've expanded on those initial songs and are performing those and others around the city.
How did you come up with your band name?
Alex: We're a very democratic band, but, naturally, that made choosing a band name impossible. Half of us are contrarian weirdos, half of us love '00s rock revival, and one of us is somehow both at once. It took the five of us forever to even agree on if we should have a band name that begins with "The". We really wanted something that spoke to all of us. Michelle and Steve threw a big "film noir" themed party that brought Jack, Rich, and myself together outside of a musical setting and we all had a ton of fun. To break through the frustration of finding the "right" band name, we had no choice but to go literal with Noir Party. It was an idea that encompassed all five members, and most importantly, the only thing we could agree to as a group. The name is also kind of cute and fun, don't you think?
What's your favorite part about performing? Alex: Being on stage with my friends. Performing doesn't come naturally to me personally, so it's quite inspiring to look over and see Michelle screaming at the audience or Steve furiously slamming down his guitar strings. I realize that I can be as goofy or uninhibited as I want because I have my friends to back me up and be goofy and have fun with me. Michelle: I agree with Alex. I'd describe myself as a pretty shy person, but when I'm performing, I really let those fears go. A lot of my confidence comes from knowing that the band has my back. We're really lucky to be a band of friends. We may not always see eye to eye, but we always support one another. Having the guys on stage with me - they're so talented and so energizing - they make me feel fearless. I rarely feel that way off stage. Finally, I can be my true self when performing, and that's with all of them by my side.
What city are you guys looking forward to play in? Alex: The way our songs are sounding, I would say we would rip it up in Dunedin, New Zealand! We've been into a lot of Kiwi-rock lately - most of the Flying Nun Records roster on heavy rotation. But in the near-term, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh would be a blast to play shows in.
How would you describe your particular genre of music? Michelle: We play emotional indie rock with a guy/girl vocal dynamic and bright, pretty guitars. We write non-ironic lyrics - everything comes from a place of sincerity. It can be difficult to describe our band within a specific genre, but we know who we are and I think that's what's most important.
What inspires you to write music? Michelle: A lot of my songs I write about my friends. I enjoy imagining what is going on inside their heads - the kind stuff they won't share out loud. I'm sure I get it wrong, but it's fun to make believe and come up with narratives for their inner monologues. These songs tend to sound a lot like love songs and they probably are.
Any memorable shows so far? Michelle: Our first show was one of those ‘forever memories’ I’ll always carry with me. It was the materialization of our friendship after starting from two different places years ago. I'm accustomed to seeing Steve and Rich by my side while performing, but having the addition of Alex and Jack up there made me realize how special this band and group of friends is to me. Also, our sold-out show at Berlin this May was an epic party, and we hope to replicate that kind of energy with our upcoming shows: July 12th at Sunnyvale, August 14th at Footlight, and September 15th at Baby’s All Right. We’ll be playing with some amazing bands like Pom Pom Squad, PONY, Colatura, Looms, Lily Mao. They're all such incredible artists and amazing people to be around. I have the feeling that every show we play will be our new favorite!
Where do you see Noir Party within the next year? Michelle: I see us growing together as a band in both our songwriting and live performance. We'll be looking to explore more cities and venues while meeting more incredible people and musicians along the way. I foresee us releasing a lot of great music - singles, EP's, and an album. There's really no limit to what we can do within the next year, but I know we want to keep writing. I don't know what we would do if we weren't writing together. We all have day jobs and I think we all find writing and playing together as a form of therapy. I know I do. There's so much in my day to day that can drain creative thought and experimentation. But coming together as Noir Party restores that for me. If we keep writing, playing, and supporting each other like we have been, we can make amazing things happen. And at the very least, we'll be happy.