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Noya Rao

Musicians — Leeds/London

Name, where are you from? 
Noya Rao, Leeds and London.
Tom Henry – producer/mixer/keys player.
Liv Bhattacharjee – vocalist/lyricist.
Matt Davis – drummer.

What do you do? 
We are a band.

Describe your style in three words? 
Synth-drenched, futuristic soul.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
T: Nick Hakim at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Pretty intimate venue and great sound. Him and the band were on fire having been on tour for a while. Best track 'Cuffed' maybe, although it’s hard to remember, just an epic gig all in all.
L: Jill Scott, Brixton Academy, 2004 - I was 12 and this gig blew my mind! The talent on the stage was overwhelming… at one point in the show, Jill gesticulated to each member of the band – there were 10 of them on stage- each person got to have a couple of minutes in the limelight to demonstrate their virtuosity, it was incredible. It was a deciding point for me that music was what I wanted to do.
M: Moses Sumney at the Southbank.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
T: I got really into hip-hop growing up in Gateshead/Newcastle. Early teens I started breakdancing, which lead me to hip-hop and all things attached. Graffiti, beatboxing, rapping, making beats, listening to old funk and soul. I really felt part of something and it definitely has influenced my musical taste ever since. 
L: Jazz has been the most influential subculture in my life. I grew up listening to a lot of the jazz greats and I’d spend hours imitating vocalists from Dusty Springfield to Billie Holiday, to Miles Davis’ solos.
M: Leeds sound systems.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
T: J –Dilla – One of the best hip hop producers ever. I’d love to pick his brains, listen to some records, see his workflow making beat.
L: Amy Winehouse – she’s an artist that inspired me heavily through my teens, I was devastated when she died, such an incredible artist with so much to give who was swept away far too young.
I’d want to just hang out with her to be honest, sing some jazz and talk about our favourite vocalists. Her song-writing ability from such a young age and maturity in her lyrics makes me think she’d already been here before…. She, for me, was one of the only genuine  modern ‘jazz singers’ – perhaps it was her struggle that made her that.
M: Tony Williams.

Of all the independent venues you’ve played, which is your favourite?
T: Unit – Tokyo. Just an amazing experience playing and being out there. Lovely people, so hospitable. Amazing food! Inspiring in many ways. 
L: The Sage, Newcastle. The sound system is incredible and the room has acoustic treatment to achieve the optimum sound quality, it so nice to hear such a fat low end with crystal clear high end ringing through.
M: Kobalt studios in Newcastle, super cool couple run it and cook awesome food.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
L: Feist – for her diversity of music and having such a long illustrious career but remaining fairly off the grid. She also wrote 'Limit To Your Love' whom many people believe was written by James Blake.
M: Marcus Gilmore, drummer for many artists including Taylor McFerrin.

The first track you played on repeat?
T: 'Billie Jean' by Michael Jackson.
L: 'Don't Panic' by Coldplay.
M: Probably a Michael Jackson cassette.

A song that defines the teenage you?
T: 'Poison' by The Prodigy.
L: 'Stronger Than Me' by Amy Winehouse.
M: 'Sunburn' by Muse.

One record you would keep forever?
T: 'Madvilliany' by Madvillain.
L: 'Kind of Blue' by Miles Davis.
M: A Sabar (Senegalese drum) album that I own on cd and can't find anywhere online.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
T: 'Old Man' by Neil Young.
L: 'Solitary Daughter' by Bedouine - the whole song evokes such beautiful imagery.
M: "I want a rim shot hey, diggi, diggi" From 'Rim Shot' by Erykah Badu.

A song you wished you had written?
T: 'Trouble, Heartache and Sadness' by Ann Peebles.
L: 'Riverman' by Nick Drake.
M: 'White Christmas' by Bing Crosby.

Best song to turn up loud?
T: 'Break Ya Neck' by Busta Rhymes.
L: 'Intro' by Mk.gee.
M: 'The Woon' by Ramadanman.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
T: 'I’ve Got To Stop Loving You' by Baby Washington.
L: 'Chop Suey!' by System Of A Down.
M: 'Cecilia' by Simon and Garfunkel.

The song that would get you straight on the dance floor?
T: 'Rock Creek Park' by The Blackbyrds. Definitely remember breakdancing to this one.
L: I’m a sucker for dancehall… so maybe 'Murder She Wrote' by Chaka Demus & Pliers.
M: Some Brazilian rhythms.

Best song to end an all-nighter?
T: 'Common Burn' by Mazzy Star.
L: 'Look At Where We Are' by Hot Chip. 
M: 'Vacuum Boogie' by Floating Points. 

Any new bands you are into at the moment?
Sault, Mk.gee, Deru, Badbadnotgood, Little Dragon, Nick Hakim, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Jamie Peet.

Name, where are you from? 
Noya Rao, Leeds and London.
Tom Henry – producer/mixer/keys player.
Liv Bhattacharjee – vocalist/lyricist.
Matt Davis – drummer.

What do you do? 
We are a band.

Describe your style in three words? 
Synth-drenched, futuristic soul.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
T: Nick Hakim at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Pretty intimate venue and great sound. Him and the band were on fire having been on tour for a while. Best track 'Cuffed' maybe, although it’s hard to remember, just an epic gig all in all.
L: Jill Scott, Brixton Academy, 2004 - I was 12 and this gig blew my mind! The talent on the stage was overwhelming… at one point in the show, Jill gesticulated to each member of the band – there were 10 of them on stage- each person got to have a couple of minutes in the limelight to demonstrate their virtuosity, it was incredible. It was a deciding point for me that music was what I wanted to do.
M: Moses Sumney at the Southbank.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
T: I got really into hip-hop growing up in Gateshead/Newcastle. Early teens I started breakdancing, which lead me to hip-hop and all things attached. Graffiti, beatboxing, rapping, making beats, listening to old funk and soul. I really felt part of something and it definitely has influenced my musical taste ever since. 
L: Jazz has been the most influential subculture in my life. I grew up listening to a lot of the jazz greats and I’d spend hours imitating vocalists from Dusty Springfield to Billie Holiday, to Miles Davis’ solos.
M: Leeds sound systems.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
T: J –Dilla – One of the best hip hop producers ever. I’d love to pick his brains, listen to some records, see his workflow making beat.
L: Amy Winehouse – she’s an artist that inspired me heavily through my teens, I was devastated when she died, such an incredible artist with so much to give who was swept away far too young.
I’d want to just hang out with her to be honest, sing some jazz and talk about our favourite vocalists. Her song-writing ability from such a young age and maturity in her lyrics makes me think she’d already been here before…. She, for me, was one of the only genuine  modern ‘jazz singers’ – perhaps it was her struggle that made her that.
M: Tony Williams.

Of all the independent venues you’ve played, which is your favourite?
T: Unit – Tokyo. Just an amazing experience playing and being out there. Lovely people, so hospitable. Amazing food! Inspiring in many ways. 
L: The Sage, Newcastle. The sound system is incredible and the room has acoustic treatment to achieve the optimum sound quality, it so nice to hear such a fat low end with crystal clear high end ringing through.
M: Kobalt studios in Newcastle, super cool couple run it and cook awesome food.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
L: Feist – for her diversity of music and having such a long illustrious career but remaining fairly off the grid. She also wrote 'Limit To Your Love' whom many people believe was written by James Blake.
M: Marcus Gilmore, drummer for many artists including Taylor McFerrin.

The first track you played on repeat?
T: 'Billie Jean' by Michael Jackson.
L: 'Don't Panic' by Coldplay.
M: Probably a Michael Jackson cassette.

A song that defines the teenage you?
T: 'Poison' by The Prodigy.
L: 'Stronger Than Me' by Amy Winehouse.
M: 'Sunburn' by Muse.

One record you would keep forever?
T: 'Madvilliany' by Madvillain.
L: 'Kind of Blue' by Miles Davis.
M: A Sabar (Senegalese drum) album that I own on cd and can't find anywhere online.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
T: 'Old Man' by Neil Young.
L: 'Solitary Daughter' by Bedouine - the whole song evokes such beautiful imagery.
M: "I want a rim shot hey, diggi, diggi" From 'Rim Shot' by Erykah Badu.

A song you wished you had written?
T: 'Trouble, Heartache and Sadness' by Ann Peebles.
L: 'Riverman' by Nick Drake.
M: 'White Christmas' by Bing Crosby.

Best song to turn up loud?
T: 'Break Ya Neck' by Busta Rhymes.
L: 'Intro' by Mk.gee.
M: 'The Woon' by Ramadanman.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
T: 'I’ve Got To Stop Loving You' by Baby Washington.
L: 'Chop Suey!' by System Of A Down.
M: 'Cecilia' by Simon and Garfunkel.

The song that would get you straight on the dance floor?
T: 'Rock Creek Park' by The Blackbyrds. Definitely remember breakdancing to this one.
L: I’m a sucker for dancehall… so maybe 'Murder She Wrote' by Chaka Demus & Pliers.
M: Some Brazilian rhythms.

Best song to end an all-nighter?
T: 'Common Burn' by Mazzy Star.
L: 'Look At Where We Are' by Hot Chip. 
M: 'Vacuum Boogie' by Floating Points. 

Any new bands you are into at the moment?
Sault, Mk.gee, Deru, Badbadnotgood, Little Dragon, Nick Hakim, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Jamie Peet.