Noah McBeth — known professionally as NoMBe — self-describes as an “electric-soul” artist. He seems to do it all as a producer and multi-instrumentalist who dabbles in the genres of rock, R&B and indie pop. NoMBe released his sophomore album “Chromatopia” in May of 2021 featuring experimental and colorful tracks like “Weirdo,” “Prototype” and “Water into Wine.” After delaying the album’s release for over a year and enduring a move from Los Angeles to Hawaii, NoMBe’s career continues to evolve, allowing his music to reflect his experiences and relationships.
“I think I have been running away from a lot of things for a long time,” said McBeth. “…Like, 80% of my music is love songs. It is not like I wanted it to be, it just has been so easy for me, being in a relationship for so long, really loving who I was with.”
McBeth credits the recent tribulations within his love life to the thematic elements of his new album.
“We recently broke up, and that was also a fear of mine, which was largely what “Chromatopia” is actually about. Moving forward, I have a very clean slate and an empty canvas to try all kinds of things,” said McBeth.
“Chromatopia” takes indie-pop to another level with its poetic lyrics and radiant sound. NoMBe beautifully wrote the album about his personal experience with breakups, love and toxic masculinity and made it both personal and relatable.
Constantly breaking the boundaries of a single genre, NoMBe’s sound has always combined inspiration from many areas of music. Since moving to Hawaii, NoMBe has been influenced by his beautiful surroundings and new lifestyle.
“I have been largely focusing on making a very cool, disco-y, dance record, that is alternative dance,” said NoMBe. “I have been making a lot of Brazilian music, and I have been writing a lot of Spanish guitar. Everything that I have been making is very tropical. I am just now channeling the Hawaiian sort of doo-wop, like twelve bar blue stuff that they do. It is like slide guitar and a lot of stuff from the 50s and 60s.”
In addition to changing scenery, he has also recently parted ways with his former management and music label. As his music career continues to flourish, he is taking back ownership of his creative work.
“…Owning a person’s life is just not ok. That’s sadly what a lot of labels are still doing and that’s what they’re after and I’m not in a place in my life or career, like, I’m just not down with that. I was never down with it, but now I don’t have to be,” McBeth said.
Starting fresh with a new label, mentality, and creative process, NoMBe seems to be thriving in this healthier environment that he has created for himself.
“I think [in coming to Hawaii], I have realized that I already had a Hawaii mindset in the sense that I have always appreciated not rushing through life and fast forwarding, and I have always appreciated a bit of the small town mentality and building lasting friendships,” McBeth said. “Creating here is wonderful. I always have a good time wherever I create, but my routine changed. I am in the ocean every other day, and I am surfing and swimming a lot.”
NoMBe’s first album, “They Might’ve Even Loved Me,” which was released in 2017, is a stunning tribute to the women in his life. The album features a more rugged rock and electronic sound, recorded with an all-female band. On the inside of the “They Might’ve Even Loved Me” limited edition vinyl, NoMBe wrote a paragraph which reveals the maximal effort put into creating an “all-things-female” album by attributing the numerous impactful women in his life. He hired an all-female team to work on the album, including creative directors, photographers, directors, stylists and editors.
The physical vinyl sleeve includes a memoir McBeth wrote that encompasses his creative decisions for the album.
“I began hiring women creatives to bring in a broader perspective. The honest truth was, I had almost exclusively worked with men up to that point. Even our company and label were all men.” NoMBe wrote. “… The goal was to present an album that on the surface was also about sex, yet promoted equality through it’s associated content. I didn’t want to blatantly use the female body yet again to sell another bullshit product. I wanted to spark conversation. But this was easier said than done!”
Soon after the release of “They Might’ve Even Loved Me,” NoMBe released a reimagined version of the album, titled “They Might’ve Even Loved Me (Re:Imagination).” This revitalization of the album highlights NoMBe’s creativity and ambition as a musician. Featuring over 100 artists, including Skott, slenderbodies, Topaz Jones, Mikky Ekko, XYLO, Louis Futon and Big Data, the album shapes an innovative electronic sound combined with NoMBe’s signature soulful rock. Each song was revamped by another artist or multiple artists, and was completely reworked and rewritten. When asked if he plans on doing this for his future projects, he responded that he might produce a “reimagined” version of “Chromatiopia” eventually, but for now, NoMBe is focusing on his next album and other fresh projects.
“…I’m one of those artists that just [thrives] off of making stuff, far more than being the person. I would always do what I do. The interviews, the shows, the marketing, the actual being this character NoMBe, that takes effort. It was something that was never natural to me. Making music is very natural to me,” said NoMBe.
Like a lot of great art, NoMBe’s music reminds us that despite obstacles, whether physical, emotional, or financial, that we can rise up and overcome. These days, we can all use some help remembering that.
Lily Tenner is a journalism major and a content writer for KCPR. Maddy Worth is an art and design major and a designer for KCPR.