Signs is the latest single from NTHN which was inspired by his personal life about overcoming the doubts and barriers developed from past experiences; giving in and letting your guard down when you meet the right person.
Wondering how to pronounce NTHN? Basically, he took out the vowels from his birth name, so yes, that is how you pronounce it. He stated in a recent interview with Mister Styx of Musicarenagh he disclosed the main reason why he chose the name, he said;
I decided to go with a version of my own name; my music is really personal so it only made sense that I didn’t stray too far from that.
The new song, Signs, combines a variety of inspirations and provides a glimpse into NTHN’s personal life. It is an Emo Rap track with an Alternative R&B-inspired concept and uses elements of the Shoegaze and Cloud Rap genres.
The new release Signs was inspired by the talking stage of the start of a relationship, Signs is a romantic song that he created by re-sampling his own guitar, then produced/recorded it himself.
Enjoy Signs while you get the full story
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What is your stage name?
Is there a story behind your stage name?
There’s not really a story, no! TO be honest, it’s just my name without the vowels. I thought of all these creative edgy ones at first but in the end, I decided to go with a version of my own name; my music is really personal so it only made sense that I didn’t stray too far from that.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration all the time in day-to-day life, I feel like you just have to be in that reflective mood to be able to notice it. I get a lot of inspiration when I’m travelling, too – that’s when I write some of my best verses. For the instrumentals, it’s samples. Noisy, rough samples, that I can bring into my tracks and further stretch/warp/distort to add some emotion and feeling.
What was the role of music in the early years of your life?
Music has always been a huge part of my life – which is probably the answer that any musician would give – but it really has. I grew up listening to music in the car with my parents and around the house, I started guitar lessons when I was 6, I’ve just always been around it in one way or another.
Are you from a musical or artistic family?
I definitely would say so. My family have been a big support and influence; my mum studied/worked in the arts and fashion design, my dad has a huge record collection and is always going to gigs, and my brother is a photographer/graphic designer (goes by the name BIG MOTH if you wanna look him up! @bigmothonline). So I’ve always had that support around me, which is the reason I got the courage to put my music out there in the first place.
Who inspired you to be a part of the music industry?
I’d say my brother was the biggest push. I was making music for myself just as a hobby but it never really went anywhere. I used to show him demos and he would always encourage me to push it further.
I remember him convincing me to put my music on Spotify and from there, it became something I really enjoyed, sharing it with the world and trying to get my sound out there!
How did you learn to sing/write/to play?
Early guitar lessons were definitely the first influence, then I started to record the covers I was doing and writing my own acoustic songs. Soon after that, my parents got me my first condenser mic and a MIDI keyboard which came with a copy of Ableton Live Lite.
I started playing around with it and then my music became more digital and I got into the production side of it, finding my own sound and methods. I wasn’t ever professionally taught how to do any of it, I just used to obsess over YouTube tutorials and work it out, which is why a lot of my methods are probably quite unorthodox when it comes to production, haha!
What was the first concert that you ever went to and who did you see perform?
I can’t remember which came first, it was either Foo Fighters or Funeral for a Friend, definitely one of the two!
How could you describe your music?
I’ve always struggled with this one! Somewhere between cloud rap, emo rap, alt R&B, but very sample-heavy, atmospheric and cinematic. I actually came up with the term ‘cloudsampling’ because it was the closest I could come to defining it.
Everyone always tells me that it suits a city environment at night and I love that, as that’s when I’m most inspired.
Describe your creative process.
I usually take a street sample I’ve recorded or sound that I hear potential in and start to manipulate it in Ableton. I like to really draw out the textures of the samples through clipping, stretching, compression and heavy delays and reverb.
Once I have a sound, I can then either write to it, or see if something I’ve written in my notes app fits the feel of that sound. There’s not always the same order to it but that’s roughly how it works out!
What is your main inspiration?
For production, Clams Casino; for vocals and paving the way for artists like me, it’s got to be Lil Peep.
What musician do you admire most and why?
Can I pick two? Lil Peep is my biggest inspiration and his sound made me really realise what it was I wanted to achieve and that there was an audience for that. He’s the pioneer of emo rap and really is the best at it.
Then I’d say Oliver Francis; he’s self-produced like me, and makes so many different styles of music, from cloud rap to this rock/rap sound he’s brough out, then he just dropped Pond Scum, which is like, old school hip hop… I really admire how he just does what he wants and does it almost entirely on his own – it makes it seem possible for people like me who aren’t at that level yet.
Did your style evolve since the beginning of your career?
Oh, definitely. I’ve got way more confident in my vocals and mixing than I used to be, and that’s allowed me to improve a lot. I’ve got much more of an understanding about what I want to create now.
When I started, I was making instrumental ambient music and really washy sounds – now I prefer hard-hitting sounds, which is probably very linked to me getting a bit more confident with it all as I get more experience.
Who do you see as your main competitor?
I don’t really see anyone as a competitor. I’m not making music to compete with others; if any of my friends or people in the same genre make it big, I’m super happy for them!
We’re all trying to ‘make it’ and I think the best way to do that is to collaborate; if I ever get anywhere with my music, I’ll be dropping an album with all of my friends on and sharing that moment with them.
What are your interests outside of music?
I like to travel a lot. I love seeing different cultures and experiencing a life outside of my own routines and surroundings. Other than that, I go running quite often to clear my head and enjoy the outdoors, and I love watching films, too. I’m a pretty simple guy!
If it wasn’t a music career, what would you be doing?
I do have a career outside of music, so this is my bit on the side haha! I’m not sure if music would ever be my full-time career but I definitely would love that.
What is the biggest problem you have encountered in the journey of music?
Exposure. It’s so easy to get heard nowadays, and that’s incredible. I love hearing new artists and I think it’s amazing that you don’t have to be signed to a big label and have contracts to still get onto streaming platforms and be in playlists alongside your favourite artists.
The only issue with that is it’s so hard to get heard, and there’s that constant battle to get your tracks in front of people, which is not an easy task.
If you could change one thing in the music industry, what would it be?
Probably the pay from streams, haha! It’s definitely not sustainable and it’s really hard to earn anything from music outside of merch and gigs.
Why did you choose this as the title of this project?
‘Signs’ is about the talking stage of a relationship, and looking for those signs to know if the person feels the same way as you do. I don’t know, the title came pretty organically and just worked.
I also like the recognisable element of it and how signs have become a completely normal part of life. We see signs everywhere, especially in city environments, and I wanted to create that connection so that hopefully, when people see them, they’ll get my chorus in their heads…
What are your plans for the coming months?
So far, I’ve been releasing a track a month all year and I won’t lie, it’s exhausting! So I’m not sure if I’ll keep up the same rate or if I’ll slow down a little for now. I’m still writing though and making a lot of music in the background, so who knows! I definitely won’t stay quiet for long…
Do you have any artistic collaboration plans?
I do! I’m working on a track at the moment with my close friend and fellow eighteenSAINT member, Teorstan, which I’m going to call ‘Empty’. I have a really good feeling about that, especially after how our last song ‘Drowning’ is performing! Also, I’ll be working on some new music with Fletcher, James, another member of eighteenSAINT and a really good friend of mine.
I just featured on my friend Kerem Goral’s new Halloween project ‘1996/i hope it stops hurting soon’ on a track called ‘none of the above’ and I’ve got loads of ideas for collaboration. I’d like to do a collaborative project soon…
What message would you like to give to your fans?
It’s crazy to even think I have fans, but I guess I’d say, find a hobby that you love and do it as often as you can; don’t keep problems to yourself, you don’t have to deal with everything on your own; and to be proud of and share your achievements. You’ve got this! And thank you so much for supporting me in doing something that I love.