One of the greatest challenges an electronic producer faces is adding the aspect of emotion to their music. With technology so advanced, the genre can come across as too clean, lacking that relevant rawness for people to connect with. However, in the case of Bobby Nourmand’s latest EP ‘LIFE ON MARS’, we see an artist go totally against this notion. Inspired by the life changing birth of his first child, we see the release act as a sonic journey, starting with the sense of fear-fuelled isolation, and ending with the feel of release and freedom. With glimpses of ambient, left-field and futurism throughout, we see an artist in Bobby at his most refined, pushing the boundaries of what electronic music can deliver.
Bobby started his career in the conventional manner of DJing at clubs throughout New York. Surrounded by talented artists, his eyes were opened to the endless possibilities a producer has at their hands. It was that moment he went into the studio and never looked back. “At the age of 23, I got sober and started to pursue my craft into a career. Totally fuelled by passion and to spread the love of music.” He explains: “This journey started in ChinaTown at a venue called Apotheke where I got my first residency. These nights were magical and on fire, literally. Specifically playing other people’s music wasn’t enough. I wanted to be able to express my own message and connect to the audience on a more personal level whether in person or in the privacy of their own experiences, it sparked the flame to create my own music.”
Finding his sound by remixing iconic tracks from the likes of The Doors, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Billy idol, Bobby found himself looking at an alternative dance sound from the very start. That was what paved the way for his career, as the artist explains: “Maintaining the integrity of these classic tracks, the production was minimal. These releases were seen and heard by millions of listeners which gained the attention of the A&R’s at influential labels.
This led to the demand for my own productions because, nobody would’ve been able to clear the samples I was using. ‘SMOKIN JOE’ was my first original release, taking my career to new heights.”
Now, with the release of ‘LIFE ON MARS’ we see the artist move in a new direction. Fuelled by the life changing moment of becoming a father, the EP represents a turning block in both his personal life and artistic career. “LIFE ON MARS was the result of a need to connect deeper into myself, without the influence of my surroundings. This process took over two years to complete from start to finish.” He proclaims, “The journey began with lighting SAGE and getting lost in a Juno-60. There was no shortage of inspiration, as I was filled with strong emotion and the ability to communicate my subconscious through the machines. They came to life. Most of these takes were done on analogue gear which lasted from seven to 30 minutes of granular synth work, my heart bled into and through the speakers.”
As listeners, I think we can often forget that artists are humans too. Riding the same highs, and suffering from the same lows, we all bleed the same. Although, this experience has served like no other to Bobby, a total rebirth in many ways, with endless lessons already been learnt. “Time is much more valuable. Each moment spent creating is with intention, focus and gratitude. There is no way to articulate the experience of holding your child for the first time.” The artist states, “It was an outer body experience. Once skin to skin contact was made, green light filled my body starting with my heart, into my body and then the entire room was radiating with her aura. This healing process inspired the release of LIFE ON MARS. There was a switch once I held her and became a father.”
This story is told sonically throughout. With the EP starting with the minimal, ambient ‘SAGE’ - taking name from his daughter – moving towards left-field with ‘VISIONS’ and ending with the forward thinking ‘SANTO’. Each song on the EP transmits a certain mood, taking the listener on a journey through the artists life. It was an experience that came totally natural to Bobby, often crediting it to his subconscious, rather than forcing anything at all. “My body was just a channel of the source fuelling the inspiration. By allowing this larger energy takeover I was just a witness to what was being created. The less I got in the way, the better it sounded.” He explains, “Inside out rather than outside in. The project started out from total humility, stripped down to the core. It all took form on its own. Genres are helpful once things are complete and ready to be packaged for our listeners and peers. But how can you package something which has not been made yet, that would be suffocation.”
What strikes me about the release is the freedom of Bobby’s approach. Without any form of sonic inspiration, everything that ensued was a culmination of sounds that he holds close to him. He explains this process by saying: “Each song served to purge and turn myself inside out in order to offer this being the most pure experience. The absence of my ego and all else which could get in the way of being the best version of myself. The shift happened throughout the artistry, starting off stripped down to just a heartbeat then journeying through the darkness and towards the light and eventually freedom and clarity.” Some lyrical inspiration came from the likes of the Beatles and Kurt Cobain, perhaps seemingly odd sources giving the futuristic sounds on the EP, but these arrived naturally and helped to pass on heart felt messages.
With a release as personal as this one, that contains as much heartfelt emotion, there’s sure to be a message to all those listening. For Bobby, that message is one of hope. Prior to this experience, he found himself in a dark place, void of any faith and feeling lost, contemplating the meaning of life, and then he found himself blessed. “The smallest sliver of light can radiate in the darkest times. LIFE ON MARS is that light - a journey that was born out of an awakening.” Bobby proclaims. “Its mission is to clear the air through deep connection - a soul search. You are not alone. No matter what it is you are going through at this moment, there is light at the end of the tunnel.. Without darkness there is no light. Embrace the journey and dive in.”
‘LIFE ON MARS’ is released to the world via Bobby’s own label ‘Deep In The Night’. Created in 2018, the label has since become his home, as explains: “The label came to life in order to showcase some deeper, darker and harder hitting tracks, but genres are dead-end descriptions. My vision is to have the label tell a story, rather than evoke one-off, singular, specific emotions. The music won’t stick to trends, instead highlight the persona of each artist. Moving forward, the label will not only showcase the dark but also the light.” The EP also features the single ‘VISIONS’, which was released via Moscoman’s Disco Halal label in August 2020, becoming one of the first names to feature on the labels ‘Singles Club’. With the song’s alternative nature, it felt like a perfect match, as Bobby describes: “It is an honor to be a part of Moscoman’s Disco Halal family. Once he heard the track and gave it a green light it just felt like the right home for it.”
A release like ‘LIFE ON MARS’ really does show the impact real life has on artists. Made over the course of two years, you can hear just how life changes for Bobby throughout. It’s personal and introspective and it really pushes the agenda of what electronic music can be. A new chapter is being written in the artists life, and one we’re sure to eagerly wait to see what comes next, as Bobby ends by saying: “This release has led to a newfound freedom and the ability to communicate emotions more intimately. LIFE ON MARS has been a therapeutic journey which will forever stay with me as a unique being and also as an artist.”
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Words: Jake Wright
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