The birth of a great story is often off the silver screen. Anonymity and isolation are stigmatized to be of poor character and upbringing, yet have the ability to act as a medium to a purer mind. That is the introduction I have for Alex, N4November’s “one man not-so-band”.
His latest track seems to a composition for everyone but nobody, as has been Alex’s case in songwriting. There are various musical influences heard, yet the track stands out as it doesn’t directly draw influence from anywhere in particular. The overall theme of the song might not be an upbeat, high tempo cheer, but has all the elements for a stadium chant.
Opening with the classic muted guitar strings intro, Alex is quick to infuse lyrics and a tight beat before exploding into the bridge. At this point, it’s difficult to believe one person is responsible for all the sounds I’m hearing, for it is outlandish. Though Alex’s journey is not that different from John Mayer’s or Jack White’s, where isolation has forced another pipeline to creativity- it stands out as a proud medallion of sorts.
The album art is a sealed envelope to a “friend”, which might be an entendre, as N4November’s happenings are through Alex and the potential that he has locked in. He teases more tracks in his Spotify bio, so there might be a catalogue of great music coming in.
In conversation with N4November
1)Your song has a great stadium chant flavor. What was your inspiration for this track?
Wow you really think it has a great stadium chant?! My favorite parts about concerts are the crowds singing/screaming along to the songs, so hopefully one day I get to experience that with my own songs. Tbh I’d start tearing up.
But for the inspiration for this track, I wrote this song in the beginning of the world wide lockdown of March 2020. And just like every creative person out there, I didn’t want to waste this time, so I got to writing. I was lacking inspiration to write, so I procrastinated watching movies and TV shows. But turns out that was the thing I needed.
If you have some knowledge on film-pop-culture, you might just know what specific films and TV shows inspired this song, and I can’t wait for the first person to find the quotes from these movies and TV shows in the song.
Other inspirations, just like for all of my other songs, is my everyday life, which consist of the battle with mental health, I don’t want to say specifically what the song is about, because it is a sensitive subject to many, including myself, but if you do know what I try to say in the song, we will get through this fight.
2)) Your process has mostly been solo through your musical journey. Did this pandemic change anything about your process?
Well considering this is my first project of N4N, I don’t have much to go off of to be honest. But this pandemic has changed me in many ways as a musician-songwriter. My vocal ability has improved so much, and so has my songwriting skills over this pandemic! Can’t forget that I got to make my first ever song during this pandemic!
Which before I could only dream of, I never could imagine if I’d be able to start producing my songs, but here I am now, my first song is here, and I can’t wait for this journey to continue, which it will, I have so many songs written, so stay tuned!
3) I hear a lot of The Edge’s influences in your guitar sound. Who have your guides in music been?
My biggest inspirations are the late 2000s & 2014-ish pop-punk bands, for example: The Fray, The 1975, 5 Seconds of Summer, With Confidence, You Me At Six, Marianas Tench and so much more. Fortunately I was able to find a producer that specialises in that genre of music! His name is Rich Mammoliti, and he is part of the band “Breakaway” which coincidentally was part of groups of band I used to see when I was a young teen.
Yours Truly, Forever Ends Here, Stand Atlantic, Undercast, and Breakaway, these were all bands that I used to go see when I was younger and now I have one of their band members producing my music! It’s one big circle!
The biggest guide in music has to be Taylor Swift, I know that sounds strange to hear considering I enjoy the more punk-rock sounding music, but honestly she has been. I’ve been listening to her music for well over 10 years now, and the way she has the ability create worlds and universes in just one song, even just one line, really inspires me.
I’m more a fan of her earlier country albums, Speak Now being my favorite out of her albums so far. And even though her lyrics might be simple, they really hit deep for me.
4) Does Dear Friend set the theme for your album? Or is it random?
It’s going to be a very long time till I released my album, but yes I guess it does set a theme. A lot of songs I’ve written so far are about staying or leaving, whether it’s me who stays or leaves, or the other person doing the same.
So yes this song does set a theme for the album, a lot about difficult love and heartbreak, and a lot about the everyday battle with mental health. Some songs talk about one more than the other, and some talk about both at the same time. Can’t wait to put these songs out one day!
5) Coming from mixed cultures, do you translate memories into music sometimes?
I try not to box myself into one category, whether that’s my cultural background, Filipino and Chinese, or my national background, Australian. I’m a sum of my experiences I think, and that’s what I write about the most, the experiences I went through in my entire life.
But yes I do sometimes consider have heritage when it comes to my music, I mean have you seen the N4November logo? Haha
If I’m gonna be honest, it’s not an interesting story at all. When trying to come up with an artist name, it was very difficult, I mean this name is going to be the name people will know me for, so it’s gotta be a good one right? I was thinking about the things that I associate myself with, but nothing was coming up. I was thinking maybe dragons? Since I was born in the year of the dragon, my Chinese name has the character “ “ (dragon) on it, but we all know where that idea went into.
But N4November came from my ever day language, every time someone asked me to spell my name out, when it came to the “N” I’d say “N for November”, I mean I always wanted to say “N for No” but that didn’t sound right. And when I was considering “N4November”, it was temporary at the time, but it stuck! So here I am today.
I had a fear when made the final decision to stick with N4November, I was afraid it was too much like “5 Seconds of Summer”, a band that I’m a huge fan of. They both consist of a number, and a time period, I might get hate for it, but there’s not turning back now.
I still don’t know whether to call myself a “band” or not, cause N4November is the name I go under as a musician, just because I didn’t want to go by my boring real name. But maybe one day there’ll be more members for N4November, and I get to call this a band.
7) What’s in store for your global fanbase in the near future?
Well for the near future, we can expect a music video for Dear Friend, to come out (if this Sydney lockdown ever finishes), I still need to film some things for the music video but unfortunately the government won’t let us out of our houses just yet, so hopefully those restrictions get lifted soon so I can get this music video out to everyone!
But for the next 2 years, I already have a lot planned out for N4November. The singles, the EP, the album! Even the deluxe album! Now they’re not all produced and mastered yet, but the songs are all written out and can’t wait to work on them! I’ve been waiting a long time to start working on my songs, so I had a long time to write songs. This is just the beginning, stay a long for the journey!
Listen to his breakthrough track here:
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