I am so very lucky to be friends with amazing and talented “nerdy” people. Today I am able to bring to you an interview with Chris Noah, DJ of Noah’s Arcade, who just so happens to be DJing the Phoenix Comicon’s Minecraft After Party. Yes. You read that correctly. All you peeps coming to Phoenix Comicon, I had better see you there getting crazy on that dance floor! Anyways, without further ado, CHECK OUT HIS MUSIC IMMEDIATELY and then read this interview, because Chris is awesome and hilarious!
How did you become interested in DJing?
I think everyone wants to be a DJ at some point. Have you ever played a song from your iPod at a party, and people were like “Hey I kinda like that song!”, and for some reason it felt like the entire party just carried you on their shoulders, officially declaring you the Emperor of all that is Music, because you played that one song that one time?
A while back, a good friend of mine and I were super excited to play DJ Hero for the first time, only to discover there was a reason you can only find DJ Hero at Goodwills and gun ranges any more. We thought DJ Hero would be to DJing what Guitar Hero was to playing guitar. But it was less of a simplified “air-guitar” version of DJing, and more of like, if Flappy Bird was the fader between two beat matched songs.
But we still had an urge to DJ, so we kinda said “fuck it” and downloaded some cheap DJ software, and I just never grew out of it like my friend did. I kept learning little tricks and methods to make it sound less jarring, and bought equipment, and now I’ve become the token DJ at my friend’s parties.
…And there are worse ways to be introduced at parties. People used to say, “The guy who looks like Steve Buscemi”, and now they say “The DJ”. Up-grayed!
How would you describe your personal style?
I don’t really have a style of DJing. I’m definitely more prone to playing mashups and remixes than anything else, but it depends on what the party is, who’s throwing it, who’s birthday it is, etc. I usually let that guide what music I’m gonna play.
Tl;dr: I have no style.
Which artists are most influential to you and why?
I went almost 30 years being terrified of dancing in public. My dance moves could be described as a marionette being controlled by a wacky inflatable arm waving tube man in a hurricane.
Then I was at a local bar/club called Bar Smith back in the Fall of 2012 and there was this duo, 2ToneDisco, and the stuff they were playing was like, genetically designed to make me wanna dance. And they had this energy, like they still LOVED every song they were playing. It made me stop caring how white and awkward and uncoordinated I was and just start jumping around like a maniac.
So now, whenever I’m playing, if people start dancing, I want to make sure I have that much respect for them. I try to remember how fun it was to be loving the music just as much as the DJ is, and how it made everyone more comfortable with themselves. They influenced me to be that kind of DJ. A really fun DJ.
Most of your remixes feature soundbites from various video games. What has been your favorite soundbite to work with?
I did this mashup of Big Sean’s “Dance (A$$)” and the title song from Super Mario World, and it was just something that fell together accidentally. There’s this part where Nikki Minaj holds the line “in the islands of Waikikiiiiiii” forever, and I wanted to make this big breakdown with the Mario song while she did it. Then there’s this like horn sound that sounds like a fart, and the beat drops back in, and I just think it’s the funniest part of any song I’ve ever put together.
Also, early on I tried to make a mashup album of the entire Megaman 2 soundtrack. Most of it didn’t work very well, but there was one track that I kept going back to and enjoying, even though I made it. It was Lil Wayne’s “A Milli” and the Metalman theme. Something about the amazing composition of that 8-bit song combined with the way the bass drops every like 13 seconds or something just makes me love the whole thing. It’s one of those things that I’m not even sure what I did, but I still love it so much.
What is your favorite type of music to mix?
It’s a toss-up between classic rap/hip-hop and, whatever it’s called now, techno, electronic, electrohouse? I don’t know the names of these sub-sub-genres. I like classic rap because everyone can get down, no matter what. It’s just not okay to not like Outkast anymore. Have you ever heard “Rosa Parks” come on and someone said “Ugh, I hate this song.” No, no you haven’t. Because anyone who doesn’t like that song is a terrorist. And I don’t care who you are, but once you hear that opening to Bel Biv Devoe’s “Poison” everyone ALWAYS stops mid-sentence and throws their hands in the air and is like “Girl I must warn yooouuuu…”. Every. Time. They love it.
The other one, (ElectroDiscoHouseStep?) I mean stuff like Madeon or A-Trak or Cazzette or Tiesto or Bingo Players. My all-time favorite way to get a club-style dance party going to play Tiesto’s “Hell Yeah!” and then play a bunch of dirty ass drops until everyone collapses. I did it at a party at my friend’s house once and one guy danced so hard he injured his foot. That feels pretty good, man. You know you put on some good shit when a dude is IN PAIN and keeps dancing through it. And I’m like, 70% sure he was on almost zero drugs.
You have an upcoming gig at the Phoenix Comicon Minecraft After Party! Congratulations!! What are you most looking forward to in regards to this show?
Thanks! I think the audience at Comicon is going to appreciate a lot of stuff that I normally wouldn’t play at a party or a club. I made a mashup of an mc chris’s “Older Crowd” and Dr Wily’s Stage 1 theme from Megaman 2 that I think turned out pretty well, but who the fuck has heard both of those songs? I mean, you might be screaming “there are literally dozens of us!” but one of the only times you would all be together AND comfortable-slash-drunk enough to dance is at Comicon. And I’ve put a lot of work into creating a setlist of geeky music that DOESN’T suck to dance to. Which is hard. Yes, there are tons of spoofs of “Wrecking Ball” and “Let It Go” that talk about Minecraft or Doctor Who, but can you dance to it? I’ve tried to make sure that the music I’ve collected will want to make people get up and dance, whether they get the nerdy reference or not.
Many times DJs have incredible stage setups that really add to their show’s atmosphere. If you had an unlimited budget, what are some things we would see at a Noah’s Arcade show?
I think I’d wanna use that holographic technology they used for Tupac at Coachella, and have them motion capture my movements, and then project someone else in my place, so that the DJ is like Nikola Tesla for one song, Anne Boleyn for another, Jake the Dog, Wesley Snipes’ character from Demolition Man, that animated cat from the Paula Abdul video. Just random crazy-ass DJ’s. Could you imagine Anne Boleyn throwing her hands up in the air, jumping, holding the headphones up to one ear, pretending to turn knobs when there’s nothing to do for a minute? I think that shit would blow people’s minds.
Are there any future projects you are working on that we can look forward to?
Right now I’m just working on making sure my laptop doesn’t crap out before Comicon, and making sure I have a backup plan if it does. And I’m trying to save up enough to get a new controller. I have this little baby one, a Hercules DJ Control MP3 e2, which is so small it looks like a joke, and it doesn’t have any proper audio outputs, so I have to use a cheap USB sound card. I’m hoping to get a Mixtrack Pro II before the event so that I can look a little less like I have “Babies First DJ Equipment” when I step up there, but they’re hard to find when you’re on a budget.
Lastly, where can we bust a move where the games are played?
Uh, I know of this one place that you can bust a move where the games are played, it’s chill, it’s fresh, it’s Noah’s Arcade.