Hailing from New Rochelle, New York, Jorim Motley, otherwise known as Pink Nois, is a talented visionary and musical polymath. He’s a singer, rapper, producer, lyricist, composer, instrumentalist, writer, and all around artist. I had the honor of sitting down with him recently to pick his brain about his musical background, his most recent projects, and discuss what he has planned for 2022.
Let’s start at the very beginning. How did you first get started as a musician?
I was always into music. I would listen to a lot of gospel, R&B, and some rock music with my dad, he was the musician of the family. He kind of taught me everything that I learned in my infancy of starting to be interested in music. He helped shape a lot of the things that I listened to that would eventually become inspirations and influences for me.
When I was eight years old, my mom passed away. After she passed, my dad put me into different lessons for different instruments, to sort of distract me from this tragedy that happened to me when I was so young. I started off with piano, and after that I wanted to do something else, so I started playing saxophone. I started picking up as many instruments as I could. It was like therapy for me honestly. It allowed me to let things out that I had a lot of difficulty saying, because I was very shy at the time. My mom was like my best friend, so she was the only one I would really talk to. It was hard for me to make connections, but I found it really easy to do through making songs and music.
When was the first time as an artist that you realized you had created something unique and original?
I feel like I’m more of an emulative artist. I definitely stick to the influences that I have, and the things that I know and have learned. But I think the one thing that I have made that kind of transcends the stuff that I know was actually “Absolution” off of Author. Just working with the producer, Sed, we made something that is like a mix between R&B and meditation music. For me it transcends music. It was really just me putting down raw emotions and Sed doing the same thing. It has little elements that have such an impact, and I feel like it just flows so well. I don't think I’ve done anything like that before, and I don’t think I’ve heard anything like that before.
On Christmas, you alongside Evol Filmz released a new documentary about the making of Author. How did you come up with the idea for the documentary?
I actually did not come up with the idea. The reason I actually created Author was because I had a couple of songs already written that I was going to release as singles. A friend of mine, who goes by MoneyMakingBiggz, who is a film director, producer and recording artist, called me and told me to come to his studio in Atlanta to record the songs and some other tracks. He said while we were there, we could shoot some music videos for those singles. Then after talking, we said “Why don’t we just shoot a whole visual album?”
After we finished all those songs, the plan was to create music videos for all of them. But, we didn’t realize how big of an undertaking that would be. So instead, already having some behind the scenes footage, we said “Why don’t we do a documentary?” Though, we might still shoot for a visual album a couple years down the line.
How would you compare making music on your own to working with a group or team?
I think the one thing that having a team taught me is learning how to dumb it down a bit. I feel like a lot of the songs that were released are different from what I originally had. I had a lot of people that were teaching me to make things as succinct as possible, while still being effective. Just taking these large concepts and learning how to put them into bite-sized, palatable packages for people to consume. That’s really important, because I want to take this thing as far as it can go, and in order to do that, you have to make yourself as accessible as possible, without losing the core of what you’re doing. Having a team has helped me learn how to do that. Whereas on my own, I’ll put out a ten minute song if you let me.
You touched on it a little bit earlier. Diving in a little deeper, for you, how does Author differentiate itself from your other releases?
What I’m trying to do is kind of establish somewhat of a multiverse, like Marvel or D.C., with all of these different canon timelines where different events happen that cause different results. I think Author is like the guy who creates all of these different timelines, which essentially would be me, the person you’re talking to right now. You all have seen past iterations of me, like Scott Free back when I was doing that, or even before that I would make references to different musical archetypes and characters that I owned and had.
Author is really just me when I’m not sitting at a computer, or playing piano or saxophone. Author is me going to therapy and getting through my shit, or talking to a friend. I really wanted to make something that kind of revealed the existence of that in a way that people could connect to, while also knowing that’s not what you're going to see all the time.
How has your creative process changed from your past iterations such as the Scott Free era to now?
I think the only way it’s really changed is that when I learn something new, I find a way to incorporate it with whatever I know now, while trying to improve and build upon everything that I’ve learned in the past. I understand the importance of letting go, but I also know that in music, and in creating art in general, that you’re capturing a moment. In that sense, time sort of stands still. You can keep moving and let go of things, but there will always be something there that holds it in place. I feel like that’s how I try to approach music, as well as anything that I do that’s creative. I definitely think that I’ve refined a lot of things.
You have been pretty prolific in your career. You’ve released singles, EPs, and full albums. How do you know as an artist what is the right thing to release, and when to release it?
I’m not going to lie, I really look at it like a video game. I play a lot of video games. If I don’t make it with this music thing, I’ll probably end up on YouTube reviewing games or something. I feel that singles are like DLC (downloadable content), EPs are like expansion packs, and albums are like big full games. That’s how I see things and how I schedule myself. I feel like with any sort of content that’s big, you want to give it a little bit of time to be consumed. Then you put out little things and keep expanding until you get to the next big event, which is difficult for me. I lack a lot in patience, so I always want to just put out the next big thing right now! Thankfully my team helps me with that, having my projects slow burn and let the release play out before moving on to the next thing. So shout out to them.
Across all of your projects, you seem to make music that you, Jorim, the person, wants to make. In the social media age, how are you able to stay original and make what you want to make, without succumbing to the trends/fads of others?
I guess the first step is accepting that nothing is original. I think the cool thing is that once you accept that, and you stop holding yourself to this standard of “Oh, I need to do something that’s never been done before”, you kind of inadvertently end up doing that, because nobody has ever done anything from your perspective. There’s still this individual lens of perspective that you bring to the table, no matter what the trend is. There may be parallels, but you’re never doing the same exact thing.
You and I met during your time in Albany, New York at The College of Saint Rose. First of all, how did your time in Albany impact you as an artist or as a person? And secondly, for the Madison Avenue pizza war: Madison’s or Paesan’s?
Damn, you can’t do that to me! Real quick I’m going to say Madison’s.
(It took a lot of willpower for me to continue conducting the interview after hearing such disappointing news, but I persevered)
To your other question though. My time as an artist was shaped from my time as a person in Albany, it really went together hand and hand. I met so many different personalities, everybody was so powerful and talented in their own respective way, I felt like I was at fuckin’ Hogwarts going to Saint Rose. I really learned so much from everybody that I met there, and not just on a musical level. I met so many people with different ideologies that I had never been exposed to before.
In my experience, one thing that always persisted was that everyone knew they were connected to some source. I really resonated with that, whether it was a religious source, or just being very connected to their music, their work, or their family. That is a theme that I always saw with everybody that I encountered. I always tried to take a lot of time to ask people about what inspiration, energy, or power they tapped into when I would hear or see them produce things. That taught me to do the same thing with my work. That helped shape me during my time in Albany, and still does to this day.
What’s some advice you would give to someone new who wants to get into the rap/hip hop/R&B scene?
I would definitely say work with other people as much as you can. Do features. Honestly, I’ll say it, because not everyone agrees with this, but if you want somebody to write songs for you, do it. If you know somebody that writes really dope songs, throw them some money and let them write you a song if you know it’s going to do well. You can still make it your own and be a part of that process. I would definitely say get a good songwriting team, and find a producer that you can trust. It’s very possible to do things alone, people do it all the time. But I found that things moved a lot quicker and way more effectively when I started working with other like minded people, who didn’t seek to push me down, but rather elevate me with what we share in common already.
You had a busy 2021, so I don’t want to rush you, but you seem like someone with your eyes always on the horizon. What’s next for Pink Nois?
I’m trying to be honest with myself and with what I’m capable of and not capable of. There’s this book that I really like, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I think one of my favorite things about that book, and really the whole series of books, is just the unpredictability of the universe. I’m really trying to tap into being unpredictable and doing things that really subvert people's expectations. I’m trying to lean into that and kind of show how malleable Pink Nois can really be in any situation.
You can watch the documentary about the making of Author, listen to the album, and explore all of Pink Nois’s other releases and social media at the link below.