The Spark: How Masked Musician Noise Cans Uses Cannabis to Inspire His Sound
On a sunny summer day in New York City, I met a mysterious masked musician called Noise Cans in a studio in Lower Manhattan. The city, with its eight million characters, bustles around us.
Noise Cans, who describes his sound on Facebook as a “musical experience that is part carnival, part incantation and pure electronic celebration,” hails from Bermuda, and now splits his time between Bermuda and Brooklyn. Relaxed while lounging in a red Adidas tracksuit and soft-spoken behind his signature Gombey-inspired mask, Noise Cans has his go-to sativa strain on hand at the studio. His preference for blunts is apparent in the second-nature way he rolls—quick and concise. Cannabis helps heighten his creativity, inspire his music, and cultivate his rebellious spirit. When we meet, the calmness of his elevated demeanor is almost contradictory to the loudness of his costumes and beat-centric music.
I’m here to capture Noise Cans in photos as well as learn more about how cannabis inspires him. We begin our afternoon in the heart of the Financial District, where tourists are crowding around the Charging Bull statue. The vibrancy of Noise Cans’s outfit—an homage to his Bermudian roots—causes a few heads to turn, but the city keeps pulsing. Below, learn how cannabis sparks Noise Cans’s sound and unique brand of artistic individuality.
Leafly: Tell me how you got started in music and what the clothing represents.
Noise Cans: I come from a musical family so I feel it has been in my blood since birth. I grew up playing piano and drums, so it was a natural progression for me and became an outlet and a passion as I got older. I draw inspiration for my music and clothing from my surroundings.
The clothing I wear is inspired by traditional Gombey costumes. Gombeys are an iconic symbol of Bermudian culture that began when black slaves were first brought from Africa to the Caribbean. They are a dancing [troupe] that used to perform solely on days of rest for slaves but now are an integral part of the culture, taking to the streets in color costumes, dancing intricate masquerades and playing drums. Gombey is derived from [an] African word meaning rhythm.
What role does cannabis play in your creative process?
It really depends on my mood but cannabis definitely helps get the creative juices flowing. It loosens me up, you know. It’s not a necessity as I’m pretty creative already but at times it does offer vibes.
Did cannabis play a role in working on your most recent release, No War? How so?
Maybe if more people in power smoked we wouldn’t even be at war. No War was definitely inspired by the current climate and state of unrest. It’s my hope that this, like cannabis, can act as an escape that people can enjoy and take a time out from the negativity.
What was the first time smoking like for you? Who were you with?
First time smoking I think was … with my friends back in Bermuda and [I] had no idea what I was doing. I totally choked a couple of times.
What is your favorite type of cannabis? Favorite consumption method?
In NYC, we get everything and anything delivered. Do you get your cannabis delivered? If so, what’s your relationship like with that person—any strange encounters?
Yeah I get delivery. The relationship is chill. I really wish I had something crazy to tell you [but] I keep it really easy. [Laughs] Next time I’ll come to the door in the mask to see their reaction.
What is the most exciting aspect of being a musician? Do you feel capable of effecting change through your music?
The most exciting thing about being a musician for me is being able to affect people with the vibes and energy that I create.
I would like to think so. As artists we are looked up to and in most cases are a voice for our fans. So I choose to be positive and spread good vibes in hopes of passing on the love and energy that the world needs, especially right now.
What sorts of things do you seek to change?
Peace, love, unity.