Credit Halestorm PR

“I don’t want to write a happy song because I’m not that happy right now”: Interview with NoahFinnce

By Sam Kirke

Writer Sam discusses writing music for TikTok, playing Glasgow, oversharing and trans youtubers…

NoahFinnce has assimilated the social media influencer to indie artist pipeline with much success, inspiring queer and trans youth alike as he documented his medical transition online. He has since broken into the world of music, recently playing Òran Mór. We caught up with him shortly afterwards to discuss growing up with Youtube, the writing process, and why Glasgow gigs really do hit different.      

The night of Noah’s Glasgow gig also coincided with the release of his new tune, La La La. The song was written at the end of his American tour, after a period of writing what he describes as “depressing songs”. He describes being told, “’Hey, why don’t you write a happy song? Like you know, Take That, Rule the World, think of how uplifting that is’. I was told sarcastically to write a happy song, but I couldn’t do it because the world had gone to shit and that’s kind of what the song is about. I just felt like, not any pressure from any person in particular, but the way the music industry is nowadays, there’s always people looking to write a song for Tiktok, purely so it can blow up. I just felt like: I don’t want to write a happy song because I’m not that happy right now, and also the world is pushing people in the way of writing music for fifteen second videos. So that’s how the song came about, kind of a little ‘fuck you’ but in a fun way.”

Having grown up listening to emo bands like My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy and The Prodigy, Noah admits they have had an influence on his style: “I like things to sound as loud as possible.” Asked by The Glasgow Guardian how he would describe his music: “Chaos for your ears, really. I have a very short attention span and I think that’s quite obvious. It’s kinda pop punk-y vibes with other things dipped into it.”

Aside from one song, Asthma Attack, released in 2018, Noah only started releasing music during lockdown and didn’t know the sensation of returning to playing live gigs after the Covid era. “For me it was like, I started doing this stuff when the world was in a weird place and then as soon as it was finished I started touring, and it was very overwhelming because I had never done a show before. I would look at the streams of Asthma Attack and be like: holy shit, that one Spotify loved for some reason and ran with it and that one did really well. Looking at the numbers I was like ‘okay cool’, but then seeing the people in person that listened to the songs and knew the words and could sing them back to me was an insane feeling. I feel like that level of disconnect was a lot more overwhelming for somebody that hasn’t performed before lockdown.”

This tour has been Noah’s favourite so far. Last September’s tour was a quarter of the size of the current one. Noah called the step up “overwhelming”, but worth it: “Playing to 800 people is insane to me, like that is ridiculous. So I was so anxious for them but then as soon as I was on stage it was fine and I had a great time and it felt really nice. We played the last show in London and all my friends and family were there and it felt like a moment.”

On the Glasgow gig experience, Noah said: “It was weird hearing people sing back my music in a Scottish accent but it was really fun, a really good show. Glasgow was great, they were really up for it. I was very surprised and people looked like they were having a really good time. We do a bit of an encore, just like a little one for the set. Glasgow was the first time I’d heard anybody chant ;one more tune, one more tune!’ instead of ‘one more song’.” 

Before music took off, Noah found fame on YouTube. His social media and YouTube career began aged 15. While acknowledging that his existing online presence helped kickstart his music career, they have always been very different for Noah: “The headspace that I’m in when I’m writing a song is completely different from when I’m making videos. I’ll make silly videos taking a test to see if I’m a trans-trender or not, but when I’m writing music I go to the studio and pretty much have a therapy session. In terms of how it works online, I’m obviously very grateful I have the Youtube audience that I have because they’re the reason my music has been doing alright. In terms of making videos, I’m lucky I can make a Youtube video knowing people will see it and if I have a song dropping I can say ‘hey, by the way I have a song.’ So they do overlap but the creative process behind them is very different.”

Much of Noah’s content involves intimately sharing his thoughts and feelings, especially those about his trans experience. Asking whether he feels comfortable putting all that out there, Noah recalled starting Instagram as a teenager: “I would just shitpost and talk about my life and things I thought were interesting. I’ve been doing that since I was 15 so it feels like that’s just how I am, and it’s very natural. Sometimes I think about the fact I’m telling hundreds of thousands of people very personal things about me, but I know where the line is of what I want to share and what I don’t want to share. I feel like putting myself out there is something that I’m good at so it just feels normal, it feels natural.” With an online presence comes online fandom, and we were curious to know Noah’s thoughts about meeting avid Youtube watchers in person: “Very overwhelming again. It’s the same thing, seeing a view on a video or a comment is very different from speaking to people in real life. I think the point where it became real was the tour in America, and there were kids in North Carolina saying ‘Hey I grew up with you, I’ve watched every video every week for five years. We literally grew up together’. Some kid said that to me and I thought oh fuck, that’s insane. It’s very overwhelming but it’s very nice.”

“Obviously I’ve grown up on the internet, and like that kid said, they grew up with me. I feel like when I started off I was just a 15 year old, but now I have a bit of a big brother role with a lot of the kids who come to the show. It’s really nice meeting them because I see so much of myself in them, I know what they’re going through. I think of it in the way that when I was their age, I didn’t have anyone telling me that things would be okay. I did watch trans Youtubers but I think the culture was very different back then and it was more of a niche community. Now there’s hundreds of thousands of people watching that kind of content. I see them interacting in the crowds and I see the fan accounts and I see the group chats that they add me to. They make some of their best friends at some of my shows and I think that’s the best part of it all. Fellow artists have said to me that ‘the people who come to your shows are the best’, and they’ll put numbers on their hands for the queue. It’s great meeting fans but the community aspect is way more important for them. It’s way more about them than it is about the show.”


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i love noahfinnce.