Hailing from Tucson, Arizona, synth punk artist N8NOFACE is now firmly established in the Los Angeles music scene, and gained a wide following during the early stages of the pandemic in 2020. Known for his intense, high-energy and cathartic live shows, N8 performs with only an SP-404 and a Korg Minilogue for accompaniment, while screaming, rapping and ranting in an unmistakably unique cadence. If N8NOFACE performs in your town, it is not to be missed.
In July of 2021, the Analog Cases creative team led by Jose Soberanes (@soberseas) began documenting N8's performances and travels, for our first documentary film, titled "HOMECOMING".
In anticipation of the upcoming release of “HOMECOMING,” we sat down in conversation with N8NOFACE. N8 is not only an incredible musician - he also brings an incredible life story that inspires his fans to connect to his music on a deeper personal level— a story of recovery, survival, and his Tucson-Fronterizo roots.
To get to know N8 is to understand the love he has for his people, and his hometown of Tucson. Join us in conversation with N8NOFACE, and watch “HOMECOMING” on February 24th on the official Analog Cases YouTube channel & Passion Weiss!
What is it like as an artist amidst the pandemic?
It’s been crazy. I was working a job on planes and we got laid off for a bit. So, for me, it was a bunch of mixed feelings: like, I have time to create now, but there’s also so much going on, and a lot to be said. I found the time to create, and I went full throttle. And, it’s a weird story of how I was already really strong on the internet, but when COVID shut everything down, people stopped going to clubs, shows and events, which made them notice me on the internet even more.
I hate to say that I’m grateful for becoming noticed in a time when people struggled, myself included, with the layoffs and protests, but it gave time for people to reflect. Being an artist, I definitely used that time to create and speak to what was going on with the layoffs and my struggles at home with my own issues— it was the time I started to get sober and focused on myself. Honestly, as hard as it was, I used it as a moment to better myself.
Tell us about your partner, Valerie & your circle of support?
Val is just everything to me. She met me at a time when I was kind of a mess, real bad, and she showed me that wasn’t the move — she showed me that if I care about my music, the first thing I need to do is care about myself. So, she pushed me to leave drugs behind and to take my music seriously.
Before, I was a person who only cared about the song; I didn’t care about anything else—the business side of music, the marketing, what I gotta do, or how I should act. There’s a lot of young kids looking up to me, and there were a lot of times I wasn’t really caring about what I was doing. But, she a shined light for me to care about everything— the business side, my health, and how I should act and be for others.
The biggest thing Val shows me is empathy. You know, when you’re on drugs you’re lost and blind to others’ emotions.
And in terms of the others, I’m just blessed. I’ve got a whole crew of people, and a city behind me, who have shown me so much love. Any person who has ridden with me for all this time, I just love to death— the people who’ve helped me put my art out, or understood it, and stood by me even during the times I let them down. With drugs, I let people down, and didn’t show up to shows sometimes, but people supported me through it all and in bettering myself.
I’m so thankful for Val, my circle of friends, and my management, Daniel Hall— I really do have this amazing circle of people around me.
How are you feeling about the upcoming documentary?
I’m loving it. Jose has only sent me a little piece so far and I love it. I’m like, ‘Hurry up, I want to get this out!’ I’m always a weirdo when I’m seeing myself, or watching interviews of myself, so most of the time I don’t like what I see, but he has shot it so well. And I’m happy that it shines a light on my city. The fact that it’s all about me coming back home to Tucson means a lot to me, and it’s going to mean a lot to my people back home.
Where is home for you and what is home like?
In my home city of Tucson, Arizona we have some people who’ve made it, everyone’s doing their thing. My city is tough sometimes, and there’s not a lot of jobs out there. I get DMs all the time from youngsters saying, ‘I hate it, how did you get out?’ You know I love my city so much, the people are so deeply rooted, but I do get those DMs. So I think when they see this documentary, it’ll mean a lot to them— they’ll see that you can’t let your environment stop you, and you’ve got to keep creating.
Sometimes you feel like you’re in a dirt town, where no one even knows about us— you see other cities on TV and in movies, but no one is talking about Tucson. It’s important for me to say: ‘Yes, I’m from Tucson. I’ve been in LA for ten years, but I'll rep Tucson 'til the death of me.’
I’m really grateful that the documentary caught that moment of going home in August for my show, and I’m so grateful that so many people turned up and turned out. It was like multiple generations all closed the gap: guys from forty years old to new fans came together over a love of art and creating. The new generation who only knew me from LA said, 'Oh shoot, that guy is from Tucson, he’s one of us.' Tucson people, if you live and grow up there, have a bond— you immediately know everything about each other. I don’t want to generalize, but the bond is there, and it’s a family.
How does Long Beach compare to LA?
When I first moved to LA, I was living in South Central and everything was really Hollywood— everyone was selling something, or starting a clothing brand. When I got away from South Central to Long Beach, everything was a bit more chill -working folks, working-class, no one's trying to slip you a script - just working class, which is where I come from and what I love. And then right when I moved there, one of my friends said, ‘Bro, Long Beach is like Tucson, but by the water.’ And I felt that, because everyone was just working, not trying to sell anything to you— and I’m not saying everyone in LA is like that, but in my first year it was all I experienced.
Tell us about the Tucson speciality, the Sonoran Dog?
It’s a hotdog from Sonora, but if you ask anybody, the best ones are in Tucson. And it's in a unique bun that isn’t open. And then they put everything in the dog that you think wouldn’t be good but, for some reason it’s the best thing ever! Every time I’m in Tucson, no doubt I go and get a Sonoran dog.
Where is the best place to get a Sonoran Dog?
Well if you say the wrong place … oof! I go to BK’s, because Val doesn’t eat meat - so I’d say BK’s, but someone might chop my head off for that answer.
Any plans for a final return to Tucson?
It’s something I always think about. I tell Valerie that’s where we’re going to go when we retire. But she’s such an LA girl, the heat would just melt her. But I think once you put the work in, you can move to a small city and be a satellite. That’s my end game, to own some land in Tucson, and be a hippie desert artist.
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