Noveliss has done wonderful things as part of Clear Soul Forces, but is highlighting his time in isolation on his 2021 release, ‘Book of Changes.’ We talked about the new record, anime, and more in this back and forth exchange so let’s get to it!
Kendra: You probably have it down to a science by now, but how do you manage to balance your mind when creating music with Clear Soul Forces and also for yourself as a solo artist because it seems like there’s been no slowdown on either side?
Noveliss: It’s really two completely different creative outlets so it’s like, not having to draw from the same place to generate the art. In that sense, I’m always fresh and never too overwhelmed.
Kendra: When did you start putting the foundation for ‘Book of Changes’ down? Was this something inspired by all that’s gone down around the world over the past year?
Noveliss: It’s definitely something that’s inspired by the world’s climate over the past couple of years. It’s a project that was created in isolation and you can tell when you listen to it. Dixon Hill reached out a little over a year ago and we started to send ideas back and forth. The project really became something special and has a much bigger concept behind it than we originally thought it would.
Kendra: The album features “Sincerity and Reverence,” a song that is inspired by The Ancient Chinese Book of Changes. Was this something you’d read and looked to for some time?
Noveliss: Absolutely, I’m really into Chinese philosophy and martial arts so I’ve read plenty of Chinese philosophy books and also Japanese as well. But the big thing here is that it’s not just the one song that is inspired by these readings, but the entire project.
Kendra: On the flip side, when it comes to being moved by Japanese publications and art, you are an avid anime fan. I’ve gotten the chance to talk to a number of Black cosplayers about anime and many have said they love it because the struggles often found in these anime tales mirror the struggles Black people face. For you, what initially drew you into anime, and what has been the most moving part of it all?
Noveliss: I was a kid of the Toonami era and that’s where my anime journey really began. Shonen anime is like the gateway to anime culture. Just seeing a character you like and identify with, go through so many adventures and so much adversity over a long period of time changes you. You feel connected to the characters, especially since the shows are long enough to be with you throughout multiple stages of your own life. It sounds crazy but you connect with these characters so much they actually feel like you know them personally and they’re your actual friend. You care, they inspire you. For me, it was Naruto.
Kendra: Do you think you’d ever be up for scoring an entire anime-inspired, live-action film? If so, which anime would you want it to be based on?
Noveliss: Oh man that would be a dream come true. Anime has a bad track record when being converted into live-action but it definitely can be done. The live-action Rurouni Kenshin films are amazing. I’d probably want to work on something similarly grounded in reality like Samurai Champloo.
Kendra: Back to ‘Book of Changes,’ with that out in November – are you planning on doing any COVID-safe shows this fall, or are you waiting for the new year to get to any sort of touring?
Noveliss: I definitely miss touring and being on the road, it’s a big reason why I was able to commit to music full time. So as things get safer I’ll be back out there.
Kendra: New album, possible shows – what else can we be on the lookout from you as we say goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022?
Noveliss: Definitely this Book of Changes album, I can’t wait for this to be out into the world. I’m also working on a silent mini-martial arts film with a dope soundtrack done by me. Also another album with my guy Hir-O and hopefully more Con appearances and things like that. Peace!