Having spent the last six years across six cities dotted all over the world, Ireland-based duo NoExit are more well-versed than most when it comes to exploring new identities, and have now delivered their long-awaited debut EP 'Wander Lush'.
Globetrotting for the last few years has certainly stretched their influential inspirations further than the average musician, and this is exactly how it feels when we switch onto 'Wander Lush' for the first time. Blending sweeping guitar hooks with a fresh and uplifting direction gives this new collection a bright and forward-thinking intention that sees the pair shine throughout.
So with their new EP doing the rounds right now, we decided to sit down with them both to find out more about their origins and what has inspired them most over the years.
What were the first instruments you fell in love with?
Noel: Definitely the guitar. I saw that drake and Josh episode when I was like 10 or 11. The one with the red Stratocaster? Saw it, fell head over heels, went to my local music shop to only see a red Encore Stratocaster in the window. I freaked out and started putting pocket money to it every week, it was like €180. My Godfather eventually paid off most of it as a Christmas present, game changer right there.
Ben: It was the piano. When I was a small kid, my grandmother had a piano and I loved spending time on it even if I couldn’t really play songs. It motivated me to take some piano lessons in order to get better.
What has been the most prominent inspiration behind your music so far?
Noel: Probably the love of the idea of music itself, and wanting to be able to take part in it. It's just such a magical thing. It can fill your life in such a beautiful way, and I'm in the depths of that.
Ben: Soul has always been an inspiration in my music. I’ve always felt in love with the chords used in soul, especially neo-soul chords. But I also have to say that many artists have inspired me in my production. Kaytranada, Tom Misch, Anderson .Paak, Pomo and Flume for example had a big influence in the songs I composed. This is why my part in the production of NoExit is always more soulful and ‘synthier’.
What kind of music did you love as teenagers?
Noel: Lots of different genres of rock at the start. Pop-Punk to NuMetal, to Folk Rock and Britpop. Da loved Tom Petty and the Eagles. My oldest sister loved Green Day, Slipknot, Blink 182, and my middle sister loved Oasis, The Verve, but then she got me into Hip Hop with 50 cent, Snoop Dogg and Dre. Then I found other hip hop by myself after like, Nujabes, Jazz Liberatorz, Freddie Joachim.
Ben: I used to love trance as a teenager (e.g. Armin van Buuren) but this didn’t last for a while. Afterwards I discovered French House (e.g. Kartell, Cherokee, Darius, etc.) and I became addicted to it.
Can you remember the first song that made you want to pursue a life in music?
Noel: Well I do remember my sister playing, “Supersonic” By Oasis on repeat for what felt like months in our house and that was the first time I'd ever seen someone be so enamoured, and connected such joy with a piece of music, she was constantly singing it and it was really cool, because I grew to adore the song too. Not sure if it was what made me want to pursue music it definitely sowed the seed of inquiry.
Ben: Stromae – 'Alors on Danse'. My parents are Belgian and I’ve always been influenced by Belgian music. I remember hearing 'Alors on Danse' from Stromae and I quickly loved Stromae’s style mixing provocative lyrics with electronics. One day, I discovered that he did a tutorial about how he produced Alors on Danse. After seeing the video, it gave me some hope that music production was accessible for me and that with a bit of effort I could also produce my own songs.
When you wake up in the morning, what kind of music do you like to listen to?
Noel: Probably some Lo-fi Hip Hop. Clears the head.
Ben: I always have to wake up with something smooth in the morning! Daniel Caesar and Tom Misch are probably the artists I listen to the most in the morning when waking up.
How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?
Noel: Quite a few, I'd say. If not about a person, then about specific experiences with other people and their effect.
What have been the most memorable moments in your career so far?
Noel: Those moments in the studio when an idea is working and you're scrambling to get it recorded and do!
Ben: My most memorable moment in my music career was a simple one. Jamming with Nollaig on the stairs of our hostel in New-Zealand. We were not talking for half an hour but we were communicating through music and we were in a form of trance during that time in the stairs.
Outside of music, what are your biggest passions?
Noel: Well, in recent years it's been travelling. I was fortunate enough to be able to visa my way around Canada, New Zealand and Australia and live there for the last 5 – 6 years. Meeting lots of amazing people, working all kinds of jobs and working some dream jobs. So being free to roam is a passion for sure.
Ben: Travelling. It is hard for me (and also Nollaig probably) to stay at the same place all the time. In the past seven years I have moved to five countries. Travelling in a way also inspires me in my production. It is also thanks to travelling that NoExit exists!
If you weren’t musicians, what other path do you think you might have taken?
Noel: Real World – Something with Animals. Dream World – Play in the NBA.
Ben: Cinema. I did three years of cinema in high school and I loved it so much that it really made me think of doing cinema at university.
And what advice would you give to those looking to start a career in music?
Noel: Just play as much as you can, and with as many people as possible, that's where it's most fun. Share the buzz man.
Ben: If you’re planning on having a group, don’t be scared to have members who have different inspirations. I’ve always thought that for a group to work, they all had to be from the same ‘musical background’. In NoExit, my inspiration has been electronic music while Nollaig always had more of a rock influence. But it is the mix of our different influences that makes NoExit sound like NoExit.
NoExit's new EP 'Wander Lush' is available to stream and download now. Have a listen to it in the player below.