ABOVE: BEDROOM’S NOAH KITTINGER
There’s a sort of hazy, abstract strain of guitar pop that emanates from bedrooms all across the world. It’s lumped in with dream-pop and shoegaze, but it’s really neither of those things. It’s a polyglot sort of music, one that deals heavily in obfuscation to drive home its often ineffable points. Noah Kittinger, who appropriately records under the name Bedroom, has been steadily honing a particular potent brand of this sound since his sophomore year in high school, when he emerged fully formed with the Toys EP.
Two years later, Kittinger is set to release his sophomore LP for the label Furious Hooves. On the eve of the release of that album, Grow, we caught up with Kittinger to talk his Nashville roots and how suburban restlessness and neuroticism shapes his sound and worldview. We’re also pleased to premiere his song “Nothing Lasts” here.
IN A SUBURBAN WAR: I live like 20 minutes outside of the Nashville district. I live in a little suburban area called Franklin. It’s just suburbs everywhere. There’s a big-ass mall and that’s it. It’s cool, I guess. I’ve worked a few different jobs. I worked at a Kroger, and that didn’t really work out, and then a Target, which also didn’t really work out. I’m at a Panera Bread now, but I just get bored. After a few months of being at the same place I get sick of the same routine. What’s next? I don’t think this Panera job is going to fucking last, but who knows man? The managers at my job are supportive of me taking off work for shows. We’ll see what happens.
CHURCH AND COMPETITION: Nobody in my family is into music. My dad introduced me to a lot of good stuff when I was young, like Al Green, Michael Jackson, and the Beatles. But when I was really young, my family and I were going to this church where there was a lot of music going on. A lot of the people worked in the music industry. We went there for about a year. I had a lot of friends whose dads were producers for big-time Christian artists. Being around that sparked my interest. Ever since then I’ve been teaching myself how to play instruments. It was mostly non-denominational Christian churches. We don’t really go much now though. I played in the youth group band for a little while. It makes you want to go deeper and find out more about it, especially being around people who are much more experienced than you. It’s like, “What can I do to get at that person’s level?” Even as a fucking 11-year-old in church, that was me, listening to these grown-ass men playing guitar.
PROPER BEGINNINGS: After we left that church, I was in sixth grade, and I was playing guitar a lot and then my dad had a laptop that he never used. Somehow I got interested in recording. I remember going to Goodwill with my grandmother and seeing this really cheap music software. I installed it on my dad’s computer and figured out how to connect my guitar to it, I got super interested in that. That was my thing for a while, production. I was really young. The recordings I made were obviously shit, but the idea of recording what I was playing and listening to it back was tight. I’m still very into production and stuff.
MISEDUCATION: During that time I was going to this academy, there were a lot of people who played guitar. They all took guitar lessons and knew their shit with theory. For a while I thought that’s what I needed to do. I needed to learn theory and take lessons. I had a guitar teacher who told me “If you want to learn how to play guitar really well, you need to stop making music.” That was it. I told my mom I didn’t want to go see that guy anymore. After that it was like, “Fuck the lessons, fuck the technicality.”
EXPRESS YOURSELF: I stopped lessons was in seventh or eighth grade, and then freshman year I really started writing. Stuff was going on. High school, you know? It was the only way I knew how to express myself, as fucking clichéd as that sounds. That’s when I started really crafting my songs. I wrote “You’ll See” which was on my first EP when I was in ninth grade, but pretty much everything else is lost to time.
“ZOMBIE”: I’m a very neurotic person. You think about everything and overanalyze everything. You create this image of yourself and have this expectation of how you want everything to go. You reach a point where you realize none of that even exists, it’s all in your head. I do that a lot. I just think all the time. A lot of the songs are reminding myself that it’s all in my head. I haven’t written about anything happy at this point in my life. There’s plenty of happy stuff that happens, but Bedroom is an outlet for the struggles, I guess.
GOOSEBUMPS: I’m not sad when I make the music. But I’ve always been attracted to minor chords and notes. There’s those songs that you listen to and you fucking get goosebumps. “Videotape” by Radiohead is one of those songs because the chord progression is so beautiful and it resonates with me so well. I’ve always been attracted to the idea of getting that reaction out of somebody.
ON “NOTHING LASTS”: It’s a song I wrote when I was moving from my old house. There was a lot of stuff that I put behind me at that point. I’d just gotten out of school and moved to a different part of town. I cut off some friendships. That song is just me saying, “Nothing lasts forever, and yeah it fucking sucks right now, but it’s for the best.” I don’t want to stay in one place my whole life. I’m always thinking about the future and that’s something I’m trying to lay off of, but even the good stuff that’s going on in our lives right now isn’t going to last forever. Change could lead you to a better or worse part of your life, but everything happens for a reason. It’s kind of like how I’m not good at keeping one job! Routine just bores me.
BEDROOM’S GROW WILL BE AVAILABLE MAY 20 VIA FURIOUS HOOVES, BOTH DIGITALLY AND ON LIMITED-EDITION VINYL AND CASSETTE RELEASES. TO PREORDER THE ALBUM AND FOR MORE INFORMATION ON BEDROOM, PLEASE VISIT FURIOUS HOOVES’ SITE.