While you might not know NOGA for her own music yet, there’s a decent chance you have heard the project’s creator Noga Shefi, who has spent years touring the world as a bass player for the likes of Cass McCombs and Delicate Steve. During a recent period of downtime spent in Israel, Noga wrote the songs that would go on to become her EP, The Alchemist. These were then recorded at the Relic Rooms in New York with a crack team of musicians, working on the EP which is the follow up to her debut album, Calla Lily.
The Alchemist was inspired by Paulo Coelho’s classic mysticist novel of the same name, and its themes of pursuing goals over continents and years and never giving up on your dreams. The four-track EP starts with the title track, comparing an alchemist’s ability to morph scrap metal into gold with the ability we all possess to make the most of a bad situation. From there the record slides into the brilliant Any Kind Of Dream, a celebration for head-clearing joys of letting something go that is holding you back, set to a backing of country-licked guitars and whirling organs. Recalling acts like Jess Williamson or Natalie Prass, NOGA’s sound seems to offer a fresh take on older sounds, nodding to old soul records, Americana and folk, yet dragging them into a more modern setting. While it might be unlikely to turn into a Gold Record anytime soon, The Alchemist’s creativity, ambition and exceptional songwriting deserve to take NOGA’s music to a much wider audience.
FTR: For those who don’t know, who is NOGA?
Noga is a Brooklyn based Israeli bassist, songwriter, and producer.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
My first show was in high school and I was very nervous. Our parents came to see us play jazz. Don’t know why I was so nervous as it was a very low-stakes kinda gig. We had the coolest music teachers and it’s probably the only reason I actually attended high school at all. We played a bird tune, can’t remember which one, I just remember I had to learn a really fast melody on the bass and it was fun to perform it despite the nervousness. That’s all I remember.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
Music is what called me. It’s the best form of belonging I have found so far.
FTR: What can people expect from the NOGA live show?
People can expect it to be groovy, dynamic, and real. And hopefully forget all their troubles, plug in and connect with us.
FTR: What’s next for NOGA?
Onward and upward on the continuum of this vast unknown, which is just a fancy way of saying I don’t really know what’s next, and I’m ok with it.
They Listen To…
Meg Baird – Counterfeiters
Ryley Walker – The Halfwit In Me
Twain – Death (or S.F.?)
Adrianne Lenker – Symbol
Sam Amidon – Fortune
The Alchemist is out now. For more information on NOGA visit https://noga.bandcamp.com/.