Indie

Indie Mixtape 20: NoSo Is Most Inspired By Their Younger Self

On “Suburbia,” the debut NoSo single for Partisan Records, Abby Hwong reflects on the absurdity of a certain type of suburban upbringing, juxtaposed with loving memories of friendship and nostalgia. Rife with reverb-soaked guitars and shimmering synth lines, Hwong recalls their upbringing in a predominantly white suburb of Chicago that Mean Girls was based on, while also embracing the multitudes of simultaneous experiences.

To celebrate the new track, Hwong sat down to talk living in South Africa, Kate Bush, and Freaky Friday in the latest Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.

What are four words you would use to describe your music?

nostalgic, wistful, ambient, hopeful

It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?

that I had something to say and other people felt seen by the lyrics

What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?

I went to South Africa when I was 16 through a Carnegie Hall songwriting contest – we were sorted into bands and played at a music festival in White River, Mpumalanga. It was unbelievable. That experience jump-started my motivation to pursue music, so I’d love to perform there again someday

Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?

my younger self – I never thought I’d have the courage to write about vulnerable topics regarding my identity, mental illness, etc., and becoming more open/brave about it is an ever-evolving process. I always have past versions of myself (and future ones) in mind when I’m writing.

Where did you eat the best meal of your life?

My grandma’s house and every visit has been the best meal of my life. To make a savory Korean gelatin dish (dotori-muk), she literally harvests her own acorns and the process takes days, it’s amazing.

What album do you know every word to?

Carrie and Lowell by Sufjan Stevens.

What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?

Honestly, an ABBA tribute band at Ravinia Festival when I was eight years old, I was like holy shit THIS is music!!!!

What is the best outfit for performing and why?

All black to hide the sweat and look intimidating.

Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?

Meg Stalter.

What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?

I haven’t been on a full tour yet but when I go I’ll blast Carly Rae Jepsen’s masterpiece Emotion on repeat.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

apartment listings lmao

What album makes for the perfect gift?

Hounds Of Love by Kate Bush, or any Prince album.

Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?

I anticipate staying at very weird places and know my annoying persona will romanticize the shit out of it.

What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?

My first tattoo is an outline of my house in Chicago that i lived in for 16 years drawn by my friend Bella Porter. After I got the tattoo, that night we spontaneously went to a concert and also booked flights to Seattle – such fun chaos.

What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?

Paramore (from any era) and Rina Sawayama.

What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?

I went on a picnic and felt silly preparing so much but the other person one-upped me – she didn’t know what kind of food or drinks I like so she brought like five options of everything. That was very endearing.

What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?

YOU ARE NOT TOO OLD!!! THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IS AGEIST!! ENJOY BEING IN COLLEGE, SOAK IT UP! YOU ARE A CHILD OH MY GOD

What’s the last show you went to?

I saw Phoebe Bridgers play at a USC coliseum locker room literally two days before everything shut down

What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?

Freaky Friday or Booksmart.

What would you cook if Obama were coming to your house for dinner?

I can make really good egg sandwiches and smoothies!

“Suburbia” is out now via Partisan Records. Listen here.

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