“We’ve always been so obsessed with the great stories of bands like Oasis,” NOISY singer/rapper Cody Matthews tells NME from his band’s studio. “So we really love how old school and proper rock’n’roll our story has turned out…”
The frontman of the Worthing-based band – who are completed by guitarist Connor Cheetham and producer/guitarist Spencer Tobias-Williams – is recalling the moment they signed to Island Records in April 2019 without a single release to their name. After NOISY’s team played some demos to label execs at some ungodly hour post-pub, a deal was swiftly agreed. “Our management showed them a few songs and they were like, ‘We need to sign this, now!’” Thomas-Matthews recalls excitedly. “And then we got an offer in the morning.”
NOISY’s swaggering hybrid of dance, rap, drum’n’bass and jungle can certainly inspire such instant thrills: their pick’n’mix approach to chopped samples and self-produced beats liberally experiments with genre conventions. Arriving in a Day-Glo blaze with the ‘Press Space To Play’ EP in January 2020, the band have spent the following year and a half churning out impossibly massive-sounding singles in preparation for a long-awaited return to their natural environment: sweat-drenched, laser-filled nightclubs.
A world away from their previous work as indie-rockers High Tyde (who broke up in December 2018), the trio are now finding excitement and confidence in their shared fascination with rave hedonism and its gleaming extremes. “There’s nothing better than standing in a club or field and there’s a big ol’ house piano progression giving you goosebumps all over your body,” says Cheetham. “That’s what all of this is about.”
With a brand new single ‘Young Dumb’ now out in the world, NOISY want to replicate that “utterly euphoric” feeling for fans at their festival slots this summer. NME hopped on a Zoom call with the trio to chat about how they rose from the ashes of their previous band, FIFA 22 and their live plans for the rest of 2021.
You took a break from music after your previous band, High Tyde, split. Why do you think that now feels like the right time to return?
Cody: “I feel like we wanted to explore a lot of different areas of music, and we wanted to start writing things that we were actually excited about again. We hit the ceiling with the other band; we knew that we were getting to the end [of High Tyde] before the split, so we needed to take the time out to experiment. We wanted to wait until we could make new music properly and go out and play music to our fans and feel that buzz – and now is the right time.”
Connor: “When we finished with our previous band, we already knew that we were going to start working on NOISY. It got to the point where we were like, ‘We shouldn’t do this anymore. We’ve grown out of this.’”
Spencer: “I don’t think we ever had a plan B, really. We always knew that the three of us were going to do something together – we just had to take that leap of faith to start the new thing.”
What was the biggest thing you learned from your time as High Tyde?
Cody: “I feel like we learned how to be a really good live band, and came to know how to work a crowd and play both live shows and festivals, which I think is so important. We’re making sure that we take this energy over to NOISY.”
Spencer: “I think we also learned how important it is to start building a fanbase from the off. We continued engaging with them over time, and understood how to really become friends with the people that loved our music. To be honest, I feel like we built up a core fanbase for the old band, and people loved whatever we were writing, which was really nice for us. It was a sick kickstart as well for NOISY: instead of starting with zero fans, we already had a bit of a platform.”
Your background was originally in indie-rock. What prompted the pivot to explore dance, hip hop and jungle influences?
Connor: “We’ve always listened to those genres of music. Even when we were in an indie band, people used to come to our gigs and the pre-show playlists were stuffed with American rap and dance music, and everyone in the crowd would be like, ‘What the hell is going on?!’.”
Spencer: “There was definitely a Skrillex song on there, plus some Dr. Dre and Baauer. So yeah, it was a bit mental! Thinking about it now, people must have been spinning out a bit before we came on stage… But also, in a way boredom propelled this: there’s only so far you can take two guitars, bass and a drum kit in a room. We wanted to get a bit weirder, and we couldn’t really do that with the classic set-up.”
These NOISY songs have presented you in a new way to the world. Behind-the-scenes, did you have to prove yourself to collaborators and shed any preconceptions?
Connor: “I would say that we were fairly under the radar with the last band. Yeah, we didn’t really work with that many people – we didn’t have many friends! But as NOISY, we’ve worked with new collaborators that hadn’t met us prior to recording. But they’re always like, ‘How did you guys meet?’ and we respond with, ‘Oh, we’ve actually been doing this music stuff for years…’”
Cody: “I think we really tried to kind of keep everything under wraps at the start because we didn’t want people to be like, ‘Oh, you’re just an old indie band…’. Not that the ‘indie’ tag is a bad thing – I still love that music. But we just want to be three new faces to the world.”
Your music looks outward: you sing about escaping from the drudgery of your day-to-day routine and seeking out raves and new experiences. Has it felt strange releasing these songs throughout a time where clubs have been closed?
Cody: “It’s really not been great because we’re not a TikTok band, we’re a live band: I feel like that’s how we’re going to make new fans. To have that taken away, and for this long as well, has been quite intense. But I feel like we’ve managed to get through it, and we’ve used the time to get better at writing as well. I think that’s one thing that we’ve taken out of it: we’ve written a lot of really strong music.”
How did you react to ‘Young Dumb’ being used for the FIFA 22 trailer?
Cody: “It was mad! We’ve always wanted to have our music on [a soundtrack for] a game. We know how deeply songs on FIFA can resonate with people, and a lot of our mates play it. We’ll put a song on at a party and people will be like, ‘Ah, this is a FIFA song!’. It’s crazy how much the game really means to people; the number of hours that people put into playing that game is insane. We couldn’t have asked for a better sync.”
Spencer: “We met at the NME Awards last year, and then he invited us on tour! It’s a massive honour for us to be playing those shows because he is one of the biggest artists in the world right now.”
Cody: “So I guess NME helped us get Yungblud’s support…”
Connor: “These will be our first proper shows back, and the tour starts at Rock City [in Nottingham] so we’re going to be jumping into 2000-capacity rooms. We’re ready. We just want to get out there and play – we don’t even need to warm up!”
How do you envisage people enjoying NOISY songs live?
Cody: “I want people to feel utterly euphoric, and for them to be able to forget about life for half an hour and just be at one.”
Connor: “I guess it’s something we’ve always been wondering about: are the crowds going to go mental and open up moshpits, or are they going to stand there and just embrace it? It’s hard because we haven’t had a chance to play live yet, but we can’t wait to find out.”
What have you learned about yourselves on this journey so far?
Cody: “Being able to quit our jobs and do this for a living was obviously a massive blessing. Spending every single day with each other has been sick. Sometimes we sit here thinking, ‘This life is a proper dream.’”
NOISY’s new single ‘Young Dumb’ is out now.