We sat down with Seattle based singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen after performing his first Toronto show in our Ben Sherman store on Queen West. Here’s what he has to say about music, style and culture.
Congrats on the release of your first full length album “Ledges” and thanks for coming to our Queen West store. Is this your first time in Canada?
Yah, technically my first time was in Vancouver when I was 17 and played for about 3 people, so this is a little more.. fun.
Is there one thing you can’t live without when you are on the road?
Unfortunately it’s usually alcohol, (laughs) it takes the edge off of touring. Actually.. noise cancelling head-phones are my lifesaver, just being able to get in a head space when you’re in a van with people all day, never have your alone time.. so those have been a lifesaver.
Do you have a favourite venue?
We did our home town show in Seattle at the beginning of this tour, was at this place called The Neptune Theatre, which is an 1100 capacity room and that was really fun, we sold it out and that was our biggest Seattle show, which felt really good.
What new or old releases are in heavy rotation on your ITunes/Spotify/Radio at the moment?
The new Drake album (Nothing Was The Same), I actually love the new Drake album. I listen to a lot of Lana Del Rey, I listen to things that don’t sound like me. There’s a band named Seekae, electronica, trip hop, Boards of Canada. Lately, it’s been the new War On Drugs* record (Lost in The Dream), so good, I’ve been listening to that a lot and I haven’t gotten excited about a record like that in a long time. Also most of the things that Kurt Vile does, Wakin On A Pretty Daze is a perfect summer album.
*(The War On Drugs have 2 shows in Toronto April 14th at Horseshoe Tavern & April 15th at Lee’s Palace via Collective Concerts)
How important is fashion to a musician and what does it mean to you?
I think it’s very important. I think being in front of people, people get an impression of you even before they hear what you do and that first impression is going to dictate how they perceive your music. So for me, making sure that I represent myself in a way that fits my personality and fits my music through fashion is going to be a filter for how everyone hears my music. It’s taken me a while, I’m still working into what my look is, but, I love fashion, I love salvage denim.. fashion is a fun thing to get into as a hobby that’s not music.
How has British style and culture affected your lifestyle in any way?
A little bit, I recently purchased a late 60’s café racer leather jacket. It was actually made in Toronto. I don’t know the name of the brand but I purchased it in LA at a store called Filth Mart. So I love the mid to late 60’s to late 70’s London punk scene. That style is great. I guess the look I’m attempting to go for is “cowboy grunge meets London punk kind of motorcycle stuff”.
Do you own a Ben Sherman shirt?
I do now! Thanks for making me look nice.
Trends come and go, styles change and evolve, but what is your biggest fashion regret?
Oh dear, so many. I feel like every year I’m going to look back on what I was wearing the year before and feel like “what the hell was I thinking”. I had dreadlocks for about 4 years, it was terrible. Thankfully I’m still 24 so I haven’t completely messed up my fashion life yet. I also went through a faze where I wore a white v-neck, skinny jeans, samba tennis shoes and a red beanie, like every single day (laughs).
Do you have a favourite band or artist from the UK?
There’s so many. It’d probably have to be Led Zeppelin, or the Beatles but I’m more of a Zeppelin guy than the Beatles.
You are back in town for TURF (Toronto Urban Roots Festival – July 4-6) this summer, who are you most excited to be sharing the bill with?
I looked at the lineup the other day, I’m really excited about Gogol Bordello cause I’ve never seen them live and Shovels & Rope are friends of ours and they are fucking awesome so.. yah it’ll be a lot of fun, Jenny Lewis.. it’s a really great lineup.
Have a listen to Noah Gundersen’s first full length release “Ledges”