Sonar Festival: Nosaj Thing

Day two, pre-gig interview
Nosaj Thing at Sonar Festival 2010
Clash caught up with producer of some wonderfully wonky, woozy electronica, Nosaj Thing (aka Jason Chung) before his live set at day two of Sonar Festival.

Clash: This is your first Sonar festival, right?
Nosaj Thing: Yes it is, I’ve toured a couple of time in Europe before, but this is my first Sonar.

Clash: What are your first impressions of the atmosphere?
Nosaj Thing: It’s amazing. Everything is so well arranged, and aesthetically it’s great as well.

Clash: Your live sets are known for having a big visual aspect as well as the music – is that difficult to prepare?
Nosaj Thing: It is, because it’s very specific to arrange. It’s basically a light show, but it consists of one really powerful projector, but then the way it’s projected is very precise.
The bottom of the projection has to be flush to the ground and the top, and I’m set up in front of it because the visuals are designed to play with people’s perceptions a little. Every room is different, so it

Clash: What can we expect from your set tonight?
Nosaj Thing: I’ll be recreating my album from last year, ‘Drift’, but it’s more live arranging as well. I exploit every part of every song, kind of like a conductor would. All the songs are totally different from the album versions. There’s a lot of room for improvisation.

Clash: Where did the name ‘Nosaj Thing’ come from?
Nosaj Thing: I was into graffiti when I was about 12/13 years old, and I was just writing my name, Jason, with sharpies or markers or whatever, and I turned the page and markers had bled through, and I noticed my name backwards was ‘Nosaj’. It’s also a little play on words, as it kind of sounds like ‘no such thing’. I made it when I was quite young – sometimes I don’t know if I would have chosen that name knowing that I was going to be releasing music and touring this much when I made the name – the name is a little confusing! But I stuck with it.

Clash: What music were you listening to when you were growing up?
Nosaj Thing: My first cassette was Warren G’s ‘Regulate’, and my first CD was Snoop Dogg’s, ‘Doggy Style’. My mum would buy it for me, but she had no idea of what the records actually were! I’d also listen to a lot of local radio stations playing Beat Junkies and stuff like that. Also stuff like Funkadelic, George Clinton.

I started going raving really early – about 12 years old. I was really into drum and bass – Total Science, Shy FX, that sort of stuff. I used to save my lunch money and not eat lunch so I could buy some of those records – they were all imports so they were expensive.

Clash: Being in Spain, have you sampled any tapas yet?
Nosaj Thing: Yes, I went to an amazing tapas bar last night. It was really, really good. I had some mini shrimp egg-rolls, some scallops, asparagus, some prawns, meatballs, and a great green salad.

Clash: Who are you planning to see during the festival?
Nosaj Thing: I’m kind of bugged-out that I missed Caribou, I heard he was really good. I’m going to the night-time gigs tonight. I know that Flying Lotus is playing so I’ll see him – he’s a friend of mine, we’re both based in Los Angeles. And I’m definitely going to check out the Mary-Anne Hobbes showcase as well.

Words by Tristan Parker

Read more of ClashMusic's coverage from the Sónar Festival HERE.

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