From Arkansas to Japan: Sitting Down With Singers joan & NOA

As alt pop duo joan enjoy the drop of their newest single 'superglue' featuring Japanese trilingual artist NOA, all three of them take us behind the scenes of their collaboration, writing the lyrics, and more.
All photos (some from the creation of the song) courtesy of joan and NOA.
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From Arkansas to Japan: Sitting Down With Singers joan & NOA

The combination of an alt American group and a Japanese artist isn’t one you normally hear about, so how did the collaboration happen?

NOA: I’ve always been a big fan of joan. It all started when last year, I uploaded a cover of one of my favorite songs “so good” on YouTube, and my fans sent them messages about this video through instagram and luckily the two of them noticed it. Soon as I found this out, I sent them a message directly to joan through my account, and when they came to Japan for a concert in November, I was able to meet them in person.

Later, I received a message from joan that they would like me to collaborate with them on their new song called "superglue"! It was definitely a dream come true for me.

NOA has such a diverse career in music and wouldn’t have been everyone’s first thought when you chose to collaborate with an artist for the song. What made NOA so special and why did you choose him?

joan: We met NOA when we played Tokyo last year and just immediately felt like we needed to do something together. When we started rolling out the album, we knew we had to have him on a feature. We’re so thankful to have him on the song, he absolutely crushed it.

NOA, what were your first thoughts upon hearing the song?

N: [It was] delivered to me in the exact ideal way I wanted the song to be like, if I were to collaborate with joan someday. I was also very excited to be a part of this song because I thought it would be a new challenge for me personally.

joan, the song is so precious and for many parents, they will understand the feeling of wanting to keep their children safe.

How did your mindset when creating songs change after becoming dads, and do you find yourself more conscious of the lyrics?  

j: That’s so sweet, thanks for saying that. When we had our kids, a lot about life changed. It made us think about something other than ourselves, it made us see the world in their eyes and with a fresh perspective, and it made us question a lot of things about life that we previously kind of took for granted. All of this happened around the time we were starting the album, and so those thoughts and contemplations manifested themselves into the songs that went on the album for sure.

Lyrics definitely hold more weight: I don’t know if that was necessarily from having kids or if we’ve just grown a lot in our songwriting so we’re more conscious than ever about the lyrics. Either way, they definitely take a lot more space in our minds these days.

When your daughters hear the song when they’re older, what do you want them to feel when hearing the song that was written for them?

j: My immediate answer is that I’d love for them to listen to these songs and feel loved and seen. Honestly though, I’d love for anyone listening to the song to feel that way. The song for us has a person in mind, and I hope when you listen you have someone in mind that is your “superglue” that puts you back together when you feel like you’re falling apart.

joan created the song as new dads for their daughters and of course, NOA, you’ve not got any children yourself.

What were your thoughts when recording the song and what message did you want to portray with the lyrics?

N: I made sure to keep the beautiful worldview joan has created in this song as much as possible.

You wrote the Japanese lyrics for the song: what was it like trying to adapt the message of the song and showcase the same emotions in Japanese?

Did you already know the route you wanted for your part when hearing the song?

N: This was the first time for me to write Japanese lyrics this way, so first I simply tried to catch the worldview that joan has created and dive right into it.

Then I searched for the message I wanted to add on to this song, but found it very difficult to express it in such short words in Japanese. However, at the same time, it was a great honor for me to be able to express my originality by adding Japanese lyrics to this song.

joan, you’re getting ready for a tour in Asia soon, including a stop in Japan.

What are you most looking forward to the most when traveling, and could NOA be a special guest when you perform there?

j: Last year was our first time in Tokyo, and it absolutely changed our lives. We literally talk about it constantly, how much we love Japan and cannot wait to be back. It’s such a beautiful place filled with beautiful people, the energy at the show was insane, we can’t wait to be back.

For NOA, we’ve got a mic ready for him if we wants to come and play with us :)

The visualizer shows the music and recording making process with NOA, but also moments of you all enjoying New York.

What was the inspiration behind the video and what do you want to express, or want people to feel through the different scenes?

j: Honestly we just wanted to document a day of spending time together in New York City, as well as recording the song with NOA. It felt like a nice authentic way to show a bit of our relationship growing through making music together. That’s the wonderful thing about music: there aren’t many other reasons to bring people people from Arkansas and Japan together to spend time creating something, that’s pretty amazing to us.

NOA, you’ve had so much training and experiences in the world of music, from training in Korea under YG Entertainment, to releasing your solo EPs, and even being in a temporary band named 8LOOM.

How has this helped you in your career?

N: I am grateful for all the experiences I have had so far, as they have made me the person I am today. I would love to collaborate with joan again, next time on a song I write.

This great experience of being able collaborate with joan also made me want to meet more artists from around the world.

What’s your favourite lyric from the song?

j: “Carve it in the pavement, every little thing you do” and “Flower in my garden, i can’t wait to watch you bloom”

N: My favorite part of the lyrics is, "When you're a million pieces I could be your superglue, It's always you".

I thought it was very beautiful way of expressing one’s loved one as a “superglue.”

What one message do you hope people take from the song?  

j: I hope everyone that listens to this song has someone come to their mind that represents their “superglue”: Hopefully everyone has someone that really understands them and can get them back to their centered state. That’s love, and that’s not something to take lightly.

N: I was reminded of how wonderful it is to have someone as important to me as in "superglue." I hope that all listeners will feel the same way, and listen to this song repeatedly thinking of their loved ones.

joan can be found on Instagram here and on all streaming platforms. NOA can be found on Instagram here and all streaming platforms.
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