Name: Noah Pred
Current release: 133-5 by Noah Pred and Kenneth Scott is available now from the Timeshare bandcamp account. 100% of the proceeds from this release go directly to Leave No One Behind, a platform for a movement that wants to leave no one behind in the EU migrant crisis, and stands for a humane asylum policy.
If this feature with Noah Pred piqued your interest, visit his website for more information. He also has a facebook account and a soundcloud profile.
You can also read our The Mole Interview, one of his Timeshare collaborators.
Noah Pred: "It’s funny, I think with my early introduction to electronic music in the ‘90s, there was a lot of utopian thinking around the music itself changing the world for the better just by the way it seemed to connect people. Unfortunately that hasn’t quite played out the way we hoped – though I do still feel it has some unique connective potential. Or maybe I’m just stubbornly naïve.
We all live on the same planet, so I think it’s important to take a role in creating better futures. Easier said than done of course. And automatically using an outsized social media platform just because you can may do more harm than good – so critical thinking is crucial.
That said, I get upset when I hear pundits or fans demand artists “stay in their lane”. Politics, ecology, society – these are literally everybody’s lane. I don’t think we can make a better world together without taking part in these discussions. Of course, I also totally get that people have no interest being lectured to by a DJ – myself included. So it’s a delicate balance.
But on an artistic level, it feels pretty clear we need new narratives. So much art and music plays into the hands of existing power structures – but I think in its highest form, art and music can help construct new stories about ourselves, the world, and our place in it. Which narratives does your work feed into? Is it trying to tell a new story? I think all artists should be asking themselves these questions.
After running Thoughtless Music for seven years, I never thought I’d run a label again. But over the years I’d done a bunch of studio collaborations with talented friends. Some of these got interest from big labels, but for one reason or another, never saw the light of day. So I started toying with the idea of doing a label just to share these collaborations somehow.
Then, when the pandemic hit, it became clear people in all kinds of situations needed more help than usual. I think it’s useful to zoom out and view the issues we’re facing in the cultural sector as part of a wider struggle. In a perfect world, I think some form of universal basic income – along with sufficient regulatory frameworks to ensure it doesn’t simply lead to inflation – would help give people from all backgrounds the ability to not only weather future crises more safely, but also give creative people the stability to explore new ways to add real value to society.
So I thought, instead of just letting these tracks languish on a hard drive, why not see if they can do some work? Thankfully all the other artists were on board, and here we are.
The idea for Timeshare is that each release will support a charity specially selected with that release’s collaborator. For the first one, Dean (Grenier) put Berlin Collective Action on my radar and it felt like a perfect fit. Next up, Colin (The Mole) and I decided to go with RAVEN. We’ll announce new organizations with each release as the result of ongoing discussion with collaborators.
But Timeshare isn’t my first charity project. When I was living in Montreal in 2002 I started a project called Pacific Technics. We released three 12” records to raise money for Amnesty International, and raise awareness for human rights. We definitely raised more awareness than money in the end! But this was all in reaction to the invasion of Iraq.
More recently, I re-released an album I initially did for New Kanada that was comprised entirely of manipulated field recordings from the coastal rainforest of B.C. I put it out on Bandcamp with all proceeds going to an amazing organization based in Canada called RAVEN (https://raventrust.com), who are on the front lines in solidarity with Indigenous Nations, fighting – and winning – legal battles against exploitive resource extraction corporations while protecting Indigenous land rights. Since Colin (The Mole) is also Canadian, we decided to support RAVEN again with our upcoming Timeshare release. It will be the second release on the label.
Arguing instrumental electronic music itself manifests any inherent change feels like a tenuous argument – not saying it doesn’t, just that it would be hard to measure.
However, I think artists can play a bigger role to not only raise awareness of important issues, but to convince promoters and venues to enact policy that’s immediately helpful: ensuring everyone in attendance feels as safe as possible, ensuring marginalized artists are represented, ensuring venues are minimizing waste and using sustainable power. In my experience all these things lead to a way better vibe anyway.
Unfortunately, the economic model that supports jet-setting DJ culture doesn’t necessarily incentivize DJs to make these kinds of demands until popular opinion supports them. So while big name DJs could and should be doing more on these fronts, we also need to actively seek ways to bring attention to deeper systemic changes. But if you’re commanding bigger fees than you know what to do with – give back to the communities that made your success possible. You won’t regret it.
I feel incredibly lucky to have made music the focal point of my life for so long. Over the years, my tracks have made friends I’ll never meet and gone places I’ll never see – but quantifying the impact of all that feels difficult, if not impossible. I’d like to imagine there’s some kind of net benefit. The intention behind my music has always been to help connect people to something bigger, but whether it’s succeeded in doing so isn’t for me to say.
My music is an expression of who I am as a person, so I’d like to imagine it embodies the value system that drives me. It’s a nice thought at least."
Books, websites, articles or other sources of information recommended by Noah Pred:
I recently enjoyed reading Byung-Chul Han’s Psychopolitics. It illuminates how the ubiquitous digital platforms of neoliberalism have caused us to internalize capitalism’s inherent exploitation: under the influence of social media in particular, we not only willingly exploit ourselves, but exalt self-exploitation as a new standard way of life. I think it’s important to question this dynamic as we try to build a more equitable future.