The Noisettes Talk Afro-Punk, Wild Young Hearts And Their Favorite Artists Of 2008

By Daniela Capistrano

The Noisettes want Afro-Punk to come to England.

“We’ll look after the lot,” frontwoman Shingai winked when we last spoke to the band in October, backstage at the Afro-Punk showcase at the CMJ Festival in New York.

“[Afro-Punks] are such an amazing group of people who are doing something unbelievable,” Shingai gushed. “I mean, the standard’s good, man. All the events that we’ve been involved with have had great bands. They put on really interesting, eclectic, amazing events. It’s like Earl Greyhound, Santogold, it’s great. [Afro-Punk] knows how to show kids a good time. There’s nothing like it in England. Nothing.”

Guitarist Dan Smith sees the festival as a catalyst, helping to eradicate some old notions. “The [punk] music movement in America has always been perceived as being a white thing, and [Afro-Punk] is making it more inclusive,” he said. “It’s about people getting a wider understanding of rock and roll and its history and its roots, where it comes from and that anyone can do it. And it can be loads of fun, yeah?”

The CMJ crowd loved the Noisettes’ live show (see some of it in the Afro-Punk video below), so we got on the phone with them Wednesday to talk about their new video for “Wild Young Hearts,” their spring ’09 album of the same name and their list of the artists they fell for in 2008.

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We’ve got the goods on the Noisettes after the jump!


The playful “Wild Young Hearts” video currently circulating on YouTube and MySpace was more than just a clip to promote the soon-to-be-released album. It was also created in the spirit of giving.

Noisettes

“We did a benefit show for Big Issue earlier this month at the Proud Gallery in Camden, and all proceeds went to the organization,” Smith explained, referring to a charity that helps the homeless. “We made the video from footage shot at the show, with solo stuff of Shingai done after sound check in the backstage area.”

“Wild Young Hearts” will be available December 24 as a 7-inch single and digital release.

Coming soon is a video for their official single, “Don’t Upset the Rhythm,” a project Smith mysteriously described as “a dance piece — psychedelic, with mountains, gold dancers not very covered up, lots of colored gels and silhouettes.” Added Shingai, “We needed a video with loads of dancing in it. We’re tired of videos with just the three of us.”

When Shingai isn’t in Berlin making art films with friends, the band is putting on small shows “here and there” to promote the 11-track Wild Young Hearts. The band described the album as being filled with “loads more sounds.”

“We spent a lot more time writing the songs,” Shingai said. “On the first one, we wrote and recorded a song a day pretty much, and it was just done so quickly in a cheap demo studio, so that is how that came about. This one is a bit different, and there’s a lot more thought and premeditation to it.”

Shingai gave credit to the guidance of “great producer” Jim Abbiss as well as “our moms and dads, who came and helped us as well in the studio, tucked us into bed every night and made sure we didn’t drink too much and got a lot of sleep.

“We can’t wait to play it for you,” she said. “We really hope that you dig it.”

In the spirit of our end-of-the-year coverage (read about other artists’ favorite albums of 2008 here), Smith shared a few bands that the Noisettes have been checking out lately. Enjoy!

Muhsinah — “It’s very psychedelic and R&B,” Smith said. “She’s also the keyboard player for Common. Our friend gave us Muhsinah’s demo while we were touring the States, and we think she’s great.”

Mayor McCa — “He’s a one-man band from Canada. We’ve toured with him, and he’s amazing — check him out on YouTube and look up ‘One Million Songs for You.’ It’s a video he made himself with $50, and it’s all stop-frame animation. He’s someone we’re really into.”

Genesis — “There is an early Genesis song, ‘The Fountain of Salmacis,’ from their album Nursery Cryme, that we’ve been really into. It’s a really long song, sort of epic with swirling sounds, and it fuses a lot of Greek mythology. It talks about Aphrodite and a woman who takes the form of a lake and the man drinks the water so they become one. Really beautiful.”

Who were some of your favorite artists in ’08? Sound off below!