I had the chance to interview Noah Kahan on October 15 in Charlotte, North Carolina before his show at The Fillmore. His ‘Stick Season’ tour kicked off in Charleston on October 12 and Atlanta on the 13. And his latest album Stick Season just dropped on the 14. Before starting this tour, Noah played various festivals and opened for Amos Lee at Red Rocks for a show. His tour continues through the spring and then he joins Dermot Kennedy on tour.
The album Stick Season focuses on isolation and being left behind. While you were alone at home, you were also on Instagram live sharing unreleased songs with fans. How was it creating the album and having fans included in the whole process?
I think the fans kind of made this album in a lot of ways. Like I would play these songs on Instagram live, I wanted to play new material and people would be like “what is that?” and they would you know screen record them and put them on YouTube and that was like something that like made me think “okay maybe there’s an audience for this, maybe people want to hear these songs recorded”. So like that gave me a lot of confidence. So it was so important. Also just having a community build and like people that were there for me not necessarily because they’ve heard “Hurt Somebody” or heard “Young Blood”, people that were there because they wanted to hear new music and were a fan of me as an artist. They were hugely important. So important for everything that happened with this record.
And I feel like the Stick Season era is the most authentic to you, and it’s so nice to see that you’re able to find success while doing what you love. Do you feel a sense of comfort or freedom now playing these songs every night that you’ve worked so hard for?
Totally yeah. Total creative freedom is what I feel right now which is amazing and like very rare. And I haven’t felt that a lot of times in my career. So I’m like so happy and not taking any of it for granted. Just trying to you know continue to do what allows me to feel this way- which is like make music that I love. Now that I know that people- there’s an audience for it. Like it makes it so much easier. So I’m like in a very good place which is awesome.
Yeah! And like playing them live I’m sure is a completely different feeling to like have these songs people have seen you work on for the past 2 years?
Yeah totally. Now like that the album is out it’s really cool too. So there’s like some context for it.
First few shows we were playing songs no one had heard and I was like “what the hell are these?” but it’s so cool to have people know what they are and like have that different audience response to the record which is cool.
It’s the first show with the album being out so, how does that feel?
Yeah It’s really cool. I guess we’ll see, but I was in the VIP like “Can you guys sing the words tonight?” Cause like no one knew other ones at the last shows.
“Pull them up on your phone!”
“The lyrics are on a-zlyrics.com!” But yeah it’s really exciting. I’m just really excited to like be able to play these songs live. Because I wrote them in a way- when I recorded them I was thinking about the live show so. It’s cool to kind of see that vision fulfilled I guess.
I’m excited. Speaking of tour, you just announced that you’re touring with Dermot Kennedy next year after your second leg. Any more tour plans after that or are you taking a well deserved break?
I don’t think anyone is giving me a break right now. I think we’re gonna go out with Dermot and then we’re doing summer tour I think and then definitely some festivals which is gonna be really cool. A lot of touring and then probably another headliner in the fall.
Well we need to save my bank account.
You’re gonna get some gas miles on your car for sure.
I’m excited for you. How did you decide on the track list for this album, were there any songs that almost made it but were cut last minute?
I think it’s good how it is, there’s definitely a couple songs that I like- a song “Call Your Mom” and a song “Pull Your Weight” were like really close to being on there. But we had to choose between that and “Come Over”. And “Come Over” to me was just special I felt like I had to put it on there. But there will be a future for those songs for sure. I think like what’s cool is that now that I’ve made this music I feel like since there is an audience for those kinds of songs they’ll definitely have their place in the future.
I know fans will be very excited to hear that.
I know, yeah absolutely.
I need to know, is your stage backdrop supposed to replicate red rocks?
It’s supposed to be this like cool, you can put a bunch of different images on it. It’s just supposed to be this like cool mesh for where can put different kind of images on. It isn’t necessarily Red Rocks.
You should’ve said yes [laughs].
[Laughs] Yeah! Yes!
A fun question. Do you see your music as a color? What color do you associate with Stick Season?
Yeah I do have synthesia. My mom has it really bad. Well not bad she has it really like an h intense case of it where she can see like really specific imagery when she listens to music. And I have that too but just with colors. And to me the record is like a darker green. I see it as like a dark green and grays and blues. That’s like what stick season in Vermont looks like to me. Like darker colors. Kind of like a more darker shade palette. That’s what I see.
Yeah I see that. Another fun question, if you had to describe Stick Season as a candle use 3 words to describe the scent.
Oh man. *closes eyes* maybe like evergreen, zoloft, and dog hair. [Laughs]
I’m so glad I made you think so hard for that one. Thank you!
Thank you. What great questions!
Great interview questions and thoughtful responses! Glad to hear that knowing he had an audience for his music gave him a little boost of confidence to work on the current album and to craft more songs. I know we’re all excited about the art he shares with us, present and future!