Lollapalooza 2019 Artist Interview: On who might’ve loved NoMBe


NoMBe plays the Bud Light Dive Bar session at Lollapalooza 2019 (Photo: Danny Pollack)

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And another artist realizes a dream at Lollapalooza. NoMBe, born Noah McBeth, played the Bud Light Dive Bar Sessions Sunday afternoon just over a year after his last appearance at Wicker Park’s Chop Shop. He’d even toured with Louis the Child since his last stop in Chicago, and the DJ duo happened to be playing the main Bud Light stage that very evening, which NoMBe made sure to catch.

He says that though he had low expectations for his own performance at the Dive Bar stage, the turnout satisfied him. That is, to the point of him labeling his first Lollapalooza stop “amazing.”

“I had no idea what to expect – or – it exceeded my expectations,” NoMBe said. That’s especially given the late notice of his placement on the Lollapalooza schedule. NoMBe had also just played Osheaga Saturday, a music and arts festival in Montreal.

I asked NoMBe which setting has influenced him most, his having lived in Germany until the age of 19, after which point he moved to Los Angeles to record music. He recognizes Germany’s role in his musical education most, having been classically trained on the piano, thanks to his mom.

But, he said, “Nowadays, everything’s kind of the same. I grew up on the Chili Peppers, and hip-hop, Wu-Tang and whatever,” but NoMBe intimated the significance of LA to his 2018 album, They Might’ve Even Loved Me.

The album, first written and produced in 2018, is about “everything from dating, to break-ups, to sex, to wanting someone.” He went on to explain that the album’s title is defined by “the realization that someone who actually meant well, really cared about you, that you may have parted in a dramatic kind of…not so positive kind of way.”

NoMBe divulged that his mom left him while he was just two-years-old, leaving him to the care of his grandmother. But his mom obviously is still very much in his life. Now 28, NoMBe has come to this understanding in that “I’ve always wanted to cater to the opposite sex in a way…for better or for worse.” NoMBe expressed the self-confidence he has now to recognize when someone’s selfish actions aren’t about him; but about themselves.

“We like to think that we’re the stars of our own movies, but everybody else has their own movie,” NoMBe said.

And NoMBe didn’t even realize that every song on the album was about a woman in his life until his manager pointed it out. In fact, one of the songs is about his mom, and one is about Chaka Khan. Khan spent five years in Germany, during part of which, she was engaged to NoMBe’s dad’s best friend in the biz. His dad was a music manager in the ‘80s.

And when Khan was looking for something to do, she babysat NoMBe. Chaka Khan is now NoMBe’s Godmother, and the two speak German when engaging in private discussions.

NoMBe this year re-released the album with a new flare, a Re:Imagination. It includes help from ShaqIsDope, RAC, Pink Slip and a huge slew of other names. NoMBe told “Ones To Watch” that “It’s the most collaborative thing I’ve ever done,” that his production team approached over 100 artists, “re-writing verses, re-producing, re-tracking, re-imagining” his original 18 works off the 2018 version.

And while we bonded over our mutual respect for The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas, NoMBe was just happy he could support friends Louis the Child and Slender Bodies playing the Chicago festival. Plus, he [from a distance] joined me and UPSAHL in checking out Tame Impala Friday.

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