Q&A Interview Noble People Young & Human Series
Noble People is a multidisciplinary creative platform and artistic concept label, for up‑and‑coming artists in the fields of music, fashion and art. Its founders and team-members are all young-adults who believe in the power of collaboration. We spoke to Noble People's Founders, Axel Lagerborg and Nnamdi Obiekwe and it's Director of Operations, Undine Markus.
When culture arises from a genuine passion for creative expression, being #normal ceases to be an option, instead exploring that which is out-of-the-ordinary becomes key. There is something refreshing and authentic about multi-cultural artists from all over the world and different walks of life, working with other unsigned artists to advance each other's creative projects. Their drive to stand out from the norm has enabled Noble People to produce events and content that transcends the traditional, always looking forward.
For more information on Noble People: www.noblepeople.london
Tell us a little bit about yourselves? Where do you all come from? What are your personal and professional backgrounds? How did you all meet?
Nnamdi – I was born and raised in London and went to university there too. I started off as a musician, rapper, producer and musician with aspirations to score for films. When I met Axel my whole life changed and still is changing.
Axel – I feel the same way.
Nnamdi – When we started Noble People we each had our specific roles, I was a musician and Axel was strictly a graphic designer. We felt quite pigeon-holed though and thought ‘wouldn’t it be great to mix and match our roles and responsibilities’.
Axel – I have just graduated from London College of Communication in the Media & Design School. People who surrounded us at the time mainly influenced me. Because I was at Central St. Martins foundation, the people that were working there were very much pushing different kinds of disciplines.
Nnamdi – Axel and I actually first met when he designed the artwork to my album cover. We had all these amazing people around us, and that’s when creativity became fluid between us and we saw no boundary really.
Undine – I came into the picture in April 2015. I grew up in Hong Kong and then studied film theory at Kings College London. After deciding I wanted more practical skills, I took matters into my own hands and began filming in my free time.
Nnamdi – Undine sees no boundaries; she’s visual, and she’s business-orientated. I think that’s what it’s about in our team. Everyone has a different background, but anyone can lead an idea, no matter if they are a musician, filmmaker or graphic designer.
Undine – Our first and primary intention is to place the creativity at the forefront of everything we do.
Nnamdi – We really want people to understand that we’re primarily a platform, and we’re here to promote interesting artists across art and music. We also have a closer relationship with some singers, which allows us to be a label as well.
Nnamdi – Right now the norm is to defy the norm. To be recognised you have to be conceptual. We are trying to redefine the normal thought of what a label is.
Could you explain what Noble People is?
Nnamdi – the name is a nuanced but pertinent adjective, because everyone really does embody the idea of ‘nobility’ within our team. It’s so nice to see so many talented people who are willing to take on constructive criticism to advance their art and their discipline. We love to bounce ideas off each other and to apply our skills to different media, formats and artists.
Undine: We don’t necessarily have a clear-cut structure for each project, there’s never one single authority. It’s more about whoever brings the primary idea and then others start running with it, which is cool.
Axel – The goal is also to get people down to a physical space, for the energy of live music and art.
Nnamdi – It’s artists managing artists working with artists. It’s a brand that can be applied to a lot of faces. It’s fluid and shape shifts.
School of Life or School of Books?
Nnamdi – School of life for sure, but you’ve got to be balanced with everything obviously.
Axel – I learnt quickest from the school of life, but you need to be able to back it up.
Undine – I agree that you need a balance. You need a foundation of books, but life is where you learn.
What does ‘normal’ mean to each of you?
Axel – Normality consists of the fear of stepping out of social pressures. I believe through the path I’ve taken through art school, I’ve been able to see both sides of normal.
Nnamdi – For me, when growing up, normal was associated with being quite safe and conventional and a fear of stepping out. At school kids are mean, we all know that, but you are ridiculed for looking, dressing or speaking different, and I think there should be no fear of being different.
Axel – Or being normal.
Undine – For me, if you feel normal with yourself, that internal normalisation is the most important.
Is there a moment in your lives that made you stop and think ‘Am I normal’ or ‘Is this normal?’
All – Yes!
Nnamdi – I think setting up Noble People has definitely made us think about whether or not this choice is a normal one.
Undine – Yes, everyone is always asking us to define ourselves.
Axel – We’re in a period of our lives now where everyone is stepping into the unknown - you need to get a job and the pressure of society and family is big. Us not doing that straight away and instead opting for a less traditional career, those probably elicit the biggest question for am I normal?
Nnamdi – When you hear all of our friends from university are getting jobs and regular salaries, and I’m thinking that’s great, but I’m setting up my own company with my close friends and we’re not doing a 9-5, is that normal? Should I worry about that? No! We’re all working so hard and feeling so inspired, that’s the common denominator. Normal just wasn’t right for us.
Undine – As a girl, obviously, it’s also a question I ask myself often: am I normal for taking up filmmaking, a predominantly male industry?