Noah Gundersen is a smooth singer-songwriter from Seattle, WA. He has played with bands like Beneath Oceans and The Courage, but is poised now to release a solo album, Ledges, February 11th. KEXP had a chance to chat with Noah about what instrument (besides guitar) he would choose if alone on a desert island, what song lyric he is most proud of writing, what the title “Ledges” means to him, and much more!
You’ve played, recorded and written music in many incarnations in the past – what is both the scariest and most exciting thing about releasing your new full-length under your own name?
Well, I started off in 2005 as a solo artist, so really this album is the completion of a circle. I’ve tried on a few different hats and ran the gauntlet of trial and error in the last nine years and though by no means do I feel like I’ve “arrived”, I do feel confident in the place I’ve matured to. Ledges is mainly about growing up, so it’s apropos that it’s the culmination of much time and growth. In a sense, I also feel like a proud parent, seeing something I’ve nurtured slowly for all these years begin to find some traction.
How long have you been working on this new album? Do you have a favorite memory from the writing and recording process?
We started working on this record in February of 2012, in Dallas, Texas, at a producer friend’s home studio. We tracked most of the skeleton, but were unhappy with the general vibe, so we scrapped everything. We came back a month or so later and tried it again, with a slight change in direction. We were close to finishing when we had a falling out with the producer. Due to some legal grey area, again we scrapped everything. For the third time around, we booked Studio Litho in Seattle and self-produced the process. And ended up completely happy with it, thankfully.
Producing is a new love, which I discovered while making Ledges. Since the album’s completion, I’ve produced two other artists’ albums and I’m working on a third.
What do you get out of producing that writing and recording don’t offer?
The opportunity to help someone else be the best version of themselves, musically. To work on something you care about or see potential in, with removed perspective, without the preciousness easily acquired while making personal art. I also get to experiment and learn new technique or style for my own recordings.
How about a few bang-bang questions now: What’s your favorite song or lyric you’ve written?
“Every man is an Island, in his own special way. There’s a white ghost out on the water, with one good song and nothing else to say.” (From “Nashville“)
If you were secluded on a desert island, what instrument would you want with you (besides guitar)?
What artist (non-musician) inspires you the most?
What’s your favorite town to eat dinner in?
Nashville or New York.
What does the title “Ledges” mean to you?
Coming to a place at the end of everything you’ve known, feet on the edge, looking out into the future, with everything that has brought you here behind and only the beautiful unknown ahead.
And, with that in mind, what do you see from the ledge you’re on now? What’s next?
A busy year!