Noah Sims Says 2023 Will Be His Most Active Year Yet
Written by Vocalo Radio on January 25, 2023
After taking some time off from new releases, Chicago-based artist and producer Noah Sims returned to the music scene at the start of 2023 with his new single “Casablanca” — and promises listeners more to come throughout the year.
Originally starting off as a drummer, Noah Sims has been active in the Chicago music scene since his high school days. He’s worked with many fellow Chicago-based musicians as both an artist and a producer, including Ajani Jones, Supa Bwe, Kaina, Ebony Loren and Taylor Bennett.
Though Sims’s previous project dropped in 2021, he is back with his latest release “Casablanca,” featuring Dutch artist Sebastian Kamae. Sims’ euphonic sound is highlighted beautifully by his and Kamae’s production on the song (which was included on Vocalo’s January “In Rotation” playlist).
Since we last touched base with Sims back in 2021, he’s been busy working on new music, experimenting with his sound, tapping in with the latest video games and so much more.
It’s been more than a year since we’ve last heard from you. What have you been working on since your single “Far Away” was added to our “In Rotation” playlist in 2021?
I’ve spent a lot of time in the studio since “Far Away” came out. During that time, I’ve focused on exploring different directions with the music and really experimenting with new sounds. 2022 was the first year I had the opportunity to bring in studio musicians and we worked together more organically to create songs from scratch, which has been an exciting and fulfilling experience.
It’s also been about a year since you last released a single. Is there a particular reason you didn’t make [and release] much music in 2022?
I’ve been very focused on making music, and I need to give the same energy to releasing it. I was also pretty caught up with a demanding day job as well, which I ended up leaving in the fall of last year. There’s always been a long period for me in between finishing a song and getting it out for everyone to hear, and a goal of mine in 2023 is to start bridging that gap and getting music out more quickly.
What inspired your new single “Casablanca”?
I actually wrote “Casablanca” at the end of 2019 and was working on it up until the start of the pandemic. I had just moved into my first apartment after college that September, and I started the beat one night while we were having a bunch of people over, cutting up a guitar loop and putting a four on the floor kick pattern on while everyone was in the room together. That environment was the inspiration. The first verse came quickly — I wrote it during that party at our house while I was sitting in a corner of the room, and somehow it felt cinematic. It took me a few weeks to finish the second verse, I felt stuck on the song until Sebastian Kamae was visiting Chicago. His contributions really brought it back to life for me. After playing with a few different ideas lyrically I finished writing the song on a trip to Hawaii, and recorded shortly after getting back to Chicago.
What was it like working with an international artist like Sebastian Kamae?
Working with Sebastian is always a great experience. He’s a very kind and humble person, who really knows how to make the studio a comfortable and productive experience. Meanwhile he’s an absolute professional about his approach to both the creative and business side of music, and I’ve learned a lot from him. We’ve known each other for about four and a half years, first being introduced when he interned at Soundscape Studios [in Chicago] through a program facilitated by his university in the Netherlands.
What new artists have you worked with? What new projects have you worked on?
The person I’ve worked the closest with is a musician named Aidan Epstein. We first worked together on my songs “Vacation” [a Vocalo In Rotation pick in April 2020] and “Shadow Man,” and I approached him in October of 2021 at a video shoot to work on a full project together.
We were running sessions weekly from November of 2021 to May of 2022, took a pause as Aidan was touring throughout the summer. We’ve had a number of follow-up sessions in the time since in order to finish the songs we’ve started.
As far as producers, I’ve continued to work with Ethan Deetz heavily, as well as getting in some sessions with Core Rex. I featured on another song with Ajani Jones called “Hey Yah” in July of 2022.
Do you have a favorite artist or two that you’ve produced for?
Qari has been one of my favorite people to produce for. Over the last 10 years I’ve done a number of songs with him, including a couple recently, and I’ve always loved how they turn out. I also love working with Ajani Jones, who is a close friend and a very talented and versatile artist. Another artist I haven’t worked with too often but have loved producing for is Ebony Loren. We share a manager and had some sessions last year, she has a wonderful voice.
I’ve also been involved in Hoofy Baby’s upcoming project, it’s given me the opportunity to make music with some of my favorite artists in the city. I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say regarding the other artists without checking in with him, but those songs have been some of my favorite collaborations yet.
RELATED: Ebony Loren Breaks Through The “Phone Static”
Which do you prefer more now, producing or recording?
At this point, I really prefer the recording process. This past year is some of the least active I’ve been as strictly a producer, but with that said, I love having the ability to step in and help guide a beat during the creative process.
What does your creative process look like? What comes first, songwriting, instrumentals or production ideas? What’s your favorite part of your process?
It varies with whoever I’m working with and the song itself, but I think it’s important to try different approaches to keep things fresh. I’ve had a few songs where I’ve come to Aidan with the start of an idea such as a sample chop or a simple drum loop and watch it turn into a whole new song with musicians writing and recording around it. I’ve done the same thing with Ethan Deetz on songs that may be recorded and arranged but could use some extra juice — we’ve called that process “Ethanizing.” Sometimes I come into sessions with an acapella verse recorded over a voice memo that I wrote with no beat and built around it with other producers. We’ve also had sessions where I write while a producer makes the beat and we get a song done in a night.
What else are you currently working on?
I’ve been having a few sessions a week since 2023 started and been really enjoying the results. I’m always feeling my best when I’m making music, and I don’t think that’ll ever change.
One of your songs, “Theatrics”, wound up on the updated NBA 2K21 video game soundtrack. Are there any new video games you’ve been playing?
I finally got a PS5 which was so long overdue! I came back to “Cyberpunk 2077” after they patched up some of the glitches from the original release. I’ve also been heavy into “FIFA 2023” ever since the World Cup, as well as getting into “God of War Ragnaöok.” Also had to grab “NBA 2K21” so I could finally hear [2019 single] “Theatrics” on the actual game — it was only on the PS5 version.
Can we expect a project from you anytime soon? Are you planning on releasing more singles or performing more shows in 2023?
Looking forward to releasing my first project this year, it’s called Orchard. The project is mastered and ready to go, so we’re finishing up a few aspects of the roll out and looking to have that out by the spring. It’s a few of my favorite songs that I made during my time living on Orchard Street from 2019 to 2021, as well as a couple of songs I made afterwards in 2022 which were inspired by that time at Orchard Street.
To follow that up, Aidan and I are in the mixing and mastering process of songs we worked on during our 2022 sessions. Between those records and the songs I worked on with Hoofy, 2023 will be my most active year yet.
Interview by Omi Salisbury
Edited for length and clarity by Morgan Ciocca
Introduction written by Omi Salisbury and Morgan Ciocca
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