New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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Steinhardt Student’s Music Targets More Than Just the Ear

By creating sound spaces in which he conveys stories, Noams’ music is a transcendental experience.
Connor Riley, NYU student who produces music under the stage name “Noams”.

Propelled by his mission to create sound spaces for people to dwell in while listening to his music, Steinhardt junior Connor Riley is as endearing and versatile as his stage name Noams, which translates to pleasantness in Hebrew.

His affinity for music began when he was young, dancing with his mother in the living room and drumming on pots and pans in the kitchen. At age 8, he started experimenting with piano and started rapping at age 12. But Noams finally found his calling in music production and engineering during his first year of high school.

Before hockey games, BMX races and cross-country meets, Noams immersed himself in hype music, which helped him get into his head and out of a physical space, an experience he wants to give to others.

“When I’m creating music, I want to create a different dimension for that person,” Noams said. “I want to create a sound space and a place for that person to reside while they’re listening and affect them emotionally in some way, because music has always affected me.”

Having grown up in Morgantown, West Virginia — which Noams describes as an eclectic city inside of a small state — he encountered a wide range of artistic styles to pull from; the variety remains prevalent in his music today.

“I really like to bring in contrasting styles into pieces,” Noams said. “Maybe starting with an orchestral sound and then [moving] into trap. I like to move from one style to another in songs.”

Married to no particular style, Noams’ artistic process is all about feeling. He begins by sitting in front of a computer, pulling up a synth and some drums. By playing around, he’s able to find one thing he likes — then the magic begins.

As sounds begin to pile on and tracks build up, he arranges them to his liking, feeling everything out as he goes along. By starting in chaos, he is able to watch his sounds and vision fall into place.

When working on his latest release, “I Love the Day,” the nostalgic vibe he created reminded him of something his grandfather had said that was captured on a VHS tape twelve years earlier.

“We were just sitting around and my mom pans the camera over to him and says ‘Grandpa Jim, what do you have to say?’ and he says ‘You know, I love the day, and I would just say it doesn’t get any better than this,’” Noams said. “I wanted to move forward with that and put his legacy into a song.”

Noams is no stranger to using his songs to convey a story or feeling. His song “Colors” is about a past breakup, but rather than instrumentals conveying the song’s emotion, Noams concludes the track with a poem.

Affectionately referred to as the “cute boy of EDM” by his friends, Noams has recently been dabbling in more accessible, mainstream electronic music. While he is known for his enigmatic compositions, he wants his image and sound to be approachable for the masses.

Working with DJ Kali, with whom he will create original music and perform more DJ-oriented sets, Noams will expand upon his already extensive experience with trap and experimental music.

He is also producing and engineering for NYU band Human Girlfriend and doing official remixes for two artists, Trafton and Durow. The official remixes are expected to be released in early March, with his own tentative EPs also on the way.

With so much on the horizon and his ever busy schedule growing busier, Noams is certainly an artist to keep an eye on.

Email Aashna Agarwal at [email protected].

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