Interview: Noah Bates on the Brisbane scene and finding inspiration in living vicariously

Noah’s musical journey stems from a deep love for diverse sounds. This, coupled with a knack for storytelling, naturally led him to songwriting.

Noah Bates is fresh off releasing unveiled the visual narrative for his debut single, “Coffee in Japan,” a vivid journey from bustling urban landscapes to tranquil inner-city retreats.

The Brisbane-based artist intricately weaves acoustic textures with infectious finger-click percussion, allowing his candid vocals to crescendo to a resounding climax.

Noah Bates premiere 'Coffee in Japan'

Noah gives us a peek into his day, juggling admin tasks and collaborative projects. He highlights Brisbane’s vibrant music scene, a breeding ground for emerging talents and a close-knit community.

His musical journey is fueled by a love for diverse sounds, intertwined with storytelling, leading him to songwriting. Performing, whether on stage or in theater, provides a welcomed escape.

Noah draws inspiration from a range of artists, letting the music steer his creative process. Beyond music, he dabbles in creative writing, painting, and enjoys downtime with his furry friends.

“Coffee in Japan” was sparked by an offbeat conversation, morphing into a catchy chorus with universally relatable experiences.

With hands-on video editing, Noah brings his vision to life, learning as he goes. Looking forward, more releases, an EP, and dreams of an album are on the horizon.

The saxophone might even join his repertoire. Yet, the true source of Noah’s happiness lies in the company of his faithful dogs and creating music.

Noah Bates premiere 'Coffee in Japan'

Happy: What are you up to today?

Noah: I don’t have much planned for today. I will probably just be doing admin and finishing up a couple mixes I have been working on for artists that I collaborate with.

Happy: What’s the music scene like in your neck of the woods?

Noah:  Brisbane is a very active scene for upcoming and independent bands and artists, there’s tons of live shows every night all over the city and you don’t have to look far to find a fellow muso. 

The overall atmosphere is great as well. Everyone wants to help one another. It’s really inspiring.

Happy: What initially drew you to music, and how did you discover your passion for songwriting and performing?

Noah:  I’m not sure what it was initially, I can’t really remember but I just always loved listening to music and hearing the different sounds artists would have and the different stories they would tell.

I think my passion came from my desire to be able to play the songs I loved and then it snowballed from there.

I think the songwriting part definitely came from a need for a creative outlet, I loved writing stories and telling stories so songwriting was like the best of both worlds.

And performing was a sort of escape from the real world whether it was performing in a play or a pantomime or performing a song.

Happy: Can you share some of the artists or bands that have had a profound influence on your musical development?

Noah:  There’s been so many artists that have influenced me and my musical development but there’s a couple of key ones that have had big impacts on me throughout my life. 

I’d say the main ones are Lenny Kravitz, Prince, INXS, The 1975, Shawn Mendes, Bruno Mars, Harry Styles and MIKA.

Happy: Can you describe your creative process from the inception of an idea to the final recording or performance?

Noah:  Usually the song will start as a production demo or chords on a guitar or piano. I like to write my songs to some music as I find the music can help guide the song better than walking into it blind.

I find it hard to put pre-written lyrics to a melody and chords. I feel like I’m doing a puzzle but half the pieces are wrong so I tend to just stick with what I’m used to.

After the initial melodies and production demos are done I will usually write more lyrics or start writing them if I only came up with melodies, from there I add more production and start recording Vocals.

Happy: In addition to your musical endeavours, do you have any other interests or hobbies that play a role in shaping your identity as an artist?

Noah:  I like to keep busy doing other creative things when I’m not doing music related things. I like to do creative writing and painting as well as playing video games or playing with my dogs.

Happy: “Coffee in Japan” is such a unique and evocative title. What’s the story behind the song and how did the idea come to you?

Noah:  The title of the song actually came from a conversation I was listening to. Someone was talking about a friend they had in Japan and how they planned on having coffee with them. It felt like such an eccentric idea and I really liked it so I decided to play around with it until I came up with the chorus. Sadly I’ve never actually been to Japan so I tried my best to relate the song to experiences that I was more familiar with and could write about a little better.

Happy: You’ve mentioned that you wrote, recorded, and produced the track entirely by yourself. What was that creative process like, and what did you want to convey through this song?

Noah:  I had a lot of self doubt and struggled a little bit with imposter syndrome to be honest. I’ve been producing for ages but I found this song particularly daunting because I knew I loved it and wanted to release it before I even got half way through the production. I think the anticipation of releasing a song to the world and exposing myself to the internet got to me a little, but it was still really fun. The song is mainly a story about losing a connection with someone after a night out.

Happy: The music video for “Coffee in Japan” beautifully captures the essence of the song.Can you tell us about the creative vision behind it and your experience shooting in

those stunning locations?

Noah:  I wanted to create a visual for the song that represented some of the topics of the song and also showcased the vibe of the song. I wanted a half performance half story based video, even though there isn’t much of a narrative to the video. We found the shot locations by driving around a couple of days earlier to see what would look good on the camera, and the other half was filmed in a studio.

Happy: Your vocals in “Coffee in Japan” are incredibly raw and emotive. How do you approach singing and how did you want your voice to complement the song’s Narrative?

Noah:  I still consider myself to be at the start of my singing journey as I only started singing properly a couple years ago so I kind of just approached this song in a way that felt natural. I definitely wanted a more pop feel to the vocals so that is what I was aiming for but im happy with what I ended up with at the time.

Happy: The video editing for “Coffee in Japan” is impressive, especially for a debut release.How important was it for you to be hands-on in the visual aspect of your music, and what challenges did you face during the editing process?

Noah:  I really enjoy having a hands-on approach to what I do, that way I can make sure I’m getting as close to what I see in my head as possible. The video editing process was a bit of a challenge as I’ve only edited one other video in my life while I was in school so I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just watched a lot of youtube tutorials to figure out how to do what I wanted.

Happy: Looking ahead, what are some of your aspirations for the future, both in terms of your music career and personal growth as an artist?

Noah:  I’m looking forward to releasing more songs and eventually doing an EP. I would also love to do an album at some point. I want to start playing more shows as well and eventually go on a tour. I also want to learn the saxophone, I think that could be a fun instrument to add to the list of instruments I can play.

Happy: Lastly, what makes you happy?

Noah:  My dogs and making music.