Finding the right voice in white noise

Noah Kin is a 22-year-old Oslo-born Finnish-Nigerian who’s at the moment living homeless in Helsinki. His music is bass-driven and dark, his lyrics about his attention deficit disorder and the hyperactivity of his generation. He’s about to release an EP, The Void, and calls himself as the void of his own life.

Talking to Noah Kin makes you feel older than you actually are. It makes you think how easy it was to grow up in the 1990’s when hip hop meant MCs rapping about rapping, DJ’s scratching to boom bap beats, sporting Kangol hats and the occasional pimp cup. Sure you could immerse yourself in backpacker rap if you had luck with AltaVista search engine, but before MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or the next social media I’m not familiar yet, hip hop was quite a neat courtyard.

“Our generation has no direct relation or bond to that music. All we know from the past is learned, not experienced. And to our generation experiencing things plays a more important role in finding our place”, states Noah Kin, the Helsinki-based rapper who is definitely a voice for the post-millennials.

For him, the four elements of hip hop represent an ancient formula that doesn’t interest more than the ones in chemistry class. Still, rap music made a strong impression to young Noah Kin watching MTV after the change of millennium.

“The unpleasant fact for all ”true heads” is that I was born in 1994 and started listening to music in the early 2000’s. What fascinated me in rap was how aggressively and sincerely you could express yourself.” 

Noah Kin doesn’t limit himself strictly to rap. Experimental music, whether it’s rap, rock or techno, gives him the thrills. He draws influence from everything he hears. All this, plus the hectic environment of so-called ”Internet genres” and shattered listening habits of digital natives can be summed to a line found on The Void EP’s title track: Lately I’ve been listening to white noise, ‘cause I’m trying to hear the right voice.

“The whole song started out from how cool that line sounded. On a meta-level the thought behind it is that nowadays you have to experience and hear everything so the right thing doesn’t unwittingly pass you by. I can also imagine that if I’d listen simultaneously to everything I listen to, it would probably sound like white noise.”

The Void EP follows Noah Kin’s three well-received albums and steers his electronic sound to a darker course. While listening to the EP one might get worried about Noah Kin’s health or approaching burnout, as it also features lyrics about living faster, maybe too fast – no, definitely too fast ­–, and encouraging others to keep up with the pace. Coming from his mouth it doesn’t sound competitive, instead rather compulsive.

“That’s a reference to my own attention deficit disorder and the hyperactivity of our generation. We are constantly in need of stimulus and when things don’t happen fast enough we skip to the next one. The keep up chants are directed especially for the generations that preceded us. They built this society but still aren’t capable of letting it go even though it derailed long ago.”

Noah Kin, like his many peers, is struggling to find his place in this derailed society. He was born in Oslo, Norway, from where he moved to Finland with his Finnish-Nigerian parents and studied in an English-speaking comprehensive school.

“Here I’m black, in Nigeria I’m white. I don’t view these as negative matters but I’ve never felt like I belong to any group and I’ve never felt at home anywhere. And at the moment I’m literally homeless.”

So how can a talented 22-year-old musician be homeless in a welfare society? What is this void Noah Kin is speaking of, and how does one fill it? It seems that the search for his place in all this is an ongoing process.

“I am the void. I want the freedom to do whatever I want, but what do I want to do? It’s very paradoxical, but it’s cast to our consciousness in a fundamental level: I don't know what I want, but I know that I don't want this. I believe that this is the first step towards change. Before this, people just did what they were supposed to do because it has been done so always ­– without questioning.”

“The Big Bang of our minds is just beginning and that is the way to fill the void.”