Archive for System of a Down

Walking Through the Mine Fields w/ NC Shuva of PUi

Posted in Fashion, Interviews, Music, NYC Bands with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2011 by thefrogge

Sitting down with NC Shuva of PUi, is somewhat similar to walking through a field of mines. For real. This is because when you are with NC, you never quite know what you are going to get. He alludes to somebody who has two conflicting personalities, somewhat similar to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It almost sounds as if I am insulting Mr. Shuva, but what I just said about NC is something that he would most probably admit about himself. In fact, I am not insulting NC at all. He is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met… And I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole world way feels the same way very, very soon.

I’ve been sitting on this interview for a while now, but the past two months have been incredibly exciting for the band. On Saturday, December 11th PUi sold out The Gramercy Theatre as they headlined Gotham Rocks presented by Live Nation. Friday, January 7th was their big west coast debut as they played The Troubadour, the famed rock n roll venue in Los Angeles. To top it off, they have been in the studio recording their new tracks (which are awesome.) It seems to me there is no better time to post this interview… Enjoy!

The Prince of PUi: NC Shuva

The Frogge: So here’s a question everyone is just dying to know… What in the world does PUi mean?

NC Shuva: It means Chinese-albino-midget!

TF: No it doesn’t…

NC: I can’t tell you what it means, but it’s the hardest question that people ask me…

TF: Why is it a secret?

NC: Because it shouldn’t matter to you what it means! It means something to me. What should matter to you is how the music sounds.

TF: Correct me if I am wrong, but I feel, music is all about sending messages, and sometimes before people actually hear the music itself, they hear the name of your band… So if they can’t understand what it means, what message is that sending?

NC: You’re right. The songs are about sending messages… The name of the band is completely selfish… It is a message, but an introverted message.

TF: Are you a selfish person?

NC: Horribly yes! Very, very selfish.

TF: Well, at least you can admit it. Are you doing anything to try to become a “better” person?

NC: Better? Hmm, I think I am just trying to become more selfish…

TF: Not really sure what I am supposed to say to that… Moving along… Who is PUi?

NC: PUi is a collection of very handsome gentleman trying to make fresh sounding, edgy, heavy, yet melodic, and at times, soft music… We are very eclectic. The members include, Leo Henry (vocals) Brain Hosey (bass) Ory Baum (drums) Tunc (percussion) and myself (guitar, vocals.)

TF: That sounds like a big feat! To be heavy, yet to be soft…

NC: English is my second language… I don’t know what that means…

TF: It means, that it sounds like a large goal to accomplish, in a good way.

NC: When you say you are an artist, you have to create something new… Because if you are doing what someone else has done 20 years ago, you are not an artist… You may be a “performer,” but you are not an artist. When you first see an artist, you should be scared. That’s what Elvis did, that’s what Madonna did. People didn’t know what to do with them, they didn’t understand them at first. I am not comparing myself to Elvis or Madonna because I am not that cocky, but they are my inspirations.

TF: Are you sure that you are not cocky?

NC: I am selfish, but believe it or not, I’m extremely honest with myself. I’m not cocky because I can always admit to my shortcomings. I am the first person to say that “I’m not good at this” or “I can be better at that.” I have to be that way because if I wasn’t, there would be no room for self-improvement.

TF: What do you think PUi does better than anyone else?

NC: That’s a hard question to answer. I think PUi does PUi better than anybody else. I can’t say that I’m the best guitarist, because I’m not. I can’t say that I’m the best singer, because I’m not. But I do think I’m a good performer. PUi does PUi…

TF: I could be wrong, but I feel you are influenced by System of a Down, Metallica, maybe even Tool

NC: In a very general, broad sense, yes. Those are bands that I personally like. When you like something, of course it is going to come into your own music. But, comparing PUi to System of  a Down or Metallica is very general. I guess if I absolutely had to compare us to someone, that would make a little bit of sense.

TF: Do you know what Keith Haring said about influences?

NC: No, what did he say?

TF: Keith Haring said, “I’d like to pretend that I’ve never seen anything, never read anything, never heard anything and then make something. Every time I make something I think about the people who are going to see it and every time I see something, I think about the person who made it.” I just think that idea is so interesting… It’s like, what would you, NC Shuva, make if you never heard music before?

NC: You know it’s interesting, I went to art school, and I heard many ideas similar to that the whole time I was there… I actually had to write an essay about this once. Is influence stealing or is it influence just a reference point? I think you need a reference point at some point in time, or your art may be too experimental. That’s the thing with having influences, it’s things that people have early on and you take them… Because if you look too far out, which I’m not the judge of what that is, if you don’t care about selling your albums, if you don’t care about money… Go on your own journey! Go all out! Don’t have a chorus to the song, don’t have a verse, make the song 20 minutes long… Those are all interesting thoughts, but it isn’t the reality.

TF: So are you saying that you care about “money” and “selling?”

NC: No. I don’t care about money.

TF: Really? So what do you care about? What is the goal? If you are not interested in money… are you interested in fame?

NC: I am interested in satisfaction. Because, money, what is money? Money is just paper.

TF: I agree that money is just paper… But I am not talking about the money itself… I am talking about what money can do for you… For example, let’s say you really wanted to go to Thailand… Money can take you there…

NC: I am happy here, doing what I am doing.

TF: That is beautiful. Speaking of “beautiful” I think one of the reasons that I enjoy watching PUi so much, is you are a really great visual band… Tell me about your visual style…

NC: It’s hard for people to believe when I say, and I really mean this, that I am not cocky. I just think confidence is the only way that you could do anything! Even if I fail at something, I want to fail with confidence. If I do fail, I am the first person to turn around and say, “Man, we fucked up,” but let’s try that again! It may look like I care about things that money can buy or that I’m a shallow person, but most of the things I buy are $10 or $20… unless it was a gift from someone or from a very special occasion. I guess I know how to make cheap things look expensive to other people, but they are always very cheap. I love making clothes by just wrapping a piece of cloth around my body.

TF: I did not know that you made your own clothes. Is this something that you learned in art school?

NC: I’ve always had a very visual mind that goes along with the music. Most of the time, I just get these ideas. We have a band stylist, her name is Angella, and she is a lot more talented with making things, so she makes a lot of our clothes. Conceptually, I come up with a lot of the ideas, about the clothes. I know how I want to look… For me, the visuals go hand-in-hand with the music.

(SIDE NOTE: For a closer, more intimate view on NC’s unique personal style, check out his interview on StyleLikeU.com! For those of you who are not familiar with StyleLikeU, they are an online style site dedicated to finding extraordinary & inspiring individuals who tell the story of who they are through the clothing they choose to wear. They recently featured NC and you can catch that HERE!)

NC Shuva of PUi says he's a man who isn't afraid to wear a skirt & F you if you have a problem with it! Photo taken from StyleLikeU.com

TF: So, let’s talk about the music… How do you start writing?

NC: I usually come in with an idea, or a concept, and then Leo will come up with the vocals, then Ory will come up with a beat. So, it starts out with me bringing in something and then together we develop the idea further.

TF: Do you consider ‘For the Gods’ PUi’s single? Ps… it’s my favorite PUi song… And also the new one Maara!

NC: I think ‘For the Gods’ represents us very well because we’re the type of band that has range. We can be angry, but at the same time we’re soft. At times it’s very violent and primal, so it feels basic, but then there are parts that break-in that are more complex.

TF: Do you consider yourself a musician, a performer or both?

NC: I think it goes hand-in-hand. I am a performer, but I am also a musician, I’ve had a guitar in my hands since I was three years old.

TF: Who gave you a guitar when you were three?

NC: My father, who is also a singer in Turkey.

TF: Is your mother an artist as well?

NC: Actually, both of my parents are doctors but my father is a classically trained Turkish singer who happens to be pretty famous. We recently had an honorary concert in his name and the president of Turkey gave him an award. Of course my father’s music is a lot different from what I do…

TF: It seems to me that PUi has a really good support system. I don’t want to use the word “fans” because it seems like the people who support you are more than just fans… But more of a core group of individuals who come together and really get what you are doing… It’s pretty exciting…

NC: I never liked the word “fans” either  because it’s really the people who make the history…

TF: PUi has moved people to the point that quite a few individuals have tattooed the bands symbol, the Crescent, on their body…

NC: Yes, we actually had to tell a few people not to get the Crescent tattooed on themselves! Of course, I want everybody to listen to our music, but if I don’t see you as my family member, I would rather be honest with you and say please don’t get that!

NC's Crescent Tat! Large & In Charge!

TF: So why did you choose the Crescent?

NC: It’s a very nice story actually, and it’s quite meaningful! It goes back to the moon. The moon is very primal, before there was anything people gauged everything by the moon. Batman used the bat symbol because he is afraid of bats. So, if I use the Crescent, I can conquer my own fears. For example, in Nazi Germany, they used pink triangles to label homosexuals, so, what did the gay community do? Instead of being held down by that label, they adopted the color pink as their own. If somebody tries to push you down with a symbol, the best way to not be afraid of it is to adopt is as your own. Now, I am not religious at all, and I do not support religion, in fact, I do not support any form of fanatical nationalism (basically, anything authority based, any organization, I do not support) because at this point, everything is meaningless, it’s like Coca-Cola. There’s no difference. So, I took a symbol, a symbol that labeled me as I was growing up [in Turkey] and I gave the symbol the exact opposite meaning. I have freed myself.

TF: That was beautiful, so I think we should end with that… But, is there anything else that you would like to say to me or tell me??

NC: If I wrote you a symphony, just to say how much you mean to me, what would you do?

TF: Hmmm, probably melt.

People of the Moon! Unite March 18th @ The Highline Ballroom!

P E O P L E   O F   T H E   M O O N !

U N I T E !

March 18th @ Highline Ballroom

 

Love your friend,

The Frogge ❤

PS… Tweet at me HERE! No Twitter follower gets left behind 🙂

 

 

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