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‘King of All Rocker Foos,’ N8NOFACE, Unites L.A. Punks, Rap Fans, and Weirdos

Welcome to Taco de Sonido, our new monthly music column presented by Tecate, the official beer of L.A. TACO. Each month we'll bring you the latest up-and-coming artists that are staking a claim to the new sound of Los Ángeles. Read, listen,  share, and don't be afraid to share your comments or suggestions for new artists for us to check out. We've got our ears on the street but we want to hear from YOU.

[dropcap size=big]B[/dropcap]efore being dubbed “The King of All Rocker Foos” by @FoosGoneWild, Synth Punk God, Nathan Hose, was a native of Tucson, Arizona, with aspirations of originating his own musical frequency. Being from an area known for its proximity to the U.S. Mexico border, which shares a backdrop of the Sonoran Desert, Hose has always been a survivor.

Beginning his musical trajectory as a member of Crime Killz, whose music consisted of a hodgepodge of sounds made up of their own take on Nintendo Game Boy known as chiptune and early 2010s electro-inspired darkwave. Crime Killz wanted to produce their take featuring more sped-up aggressive melodies, serving as the perfect accompaniment for Hose’s screaming vocal performance. 

Photo courtesy of Valerie J. Bower for L.A. TACO.

While still based in Arizona, CK amassed a small, devout following here in Los Angeles through Myspace hits which eventually led to booking shows around the Sur Califas. He ultimately attracted the attention of The Hit and Run Crew, a group known for the live screen printing events that popped up throughout the city. H+ R Crew agreed to help support the release of their first record. After some time, the group would fall apart, and Hose was laid off from his aviation job in Tucson and needed to change scenery. A friend would end up reaching out, asking if he wanted to come out and live rent-free at his house in South Central to work on music together. 

At the time, armed with only his computer and synthesizer and not really knowing many people, Hose would devote an entire year to creating what would become the genesis of the N8NOFACE catalog. He draws inspiration from the hard-driven synth sounds derived from his love of 80s music along with his taste of creating hip-hop beats and fiddling with SP-1200 and ASR 10 drum machines and samplers he purchased out of the back of back pages of The  Source

Hose’s motivation is driven by a creative impulse that encompasses all of his interests and influences growing up along the border. Although at the time, none of his immediate circle of friends were into making music, and to him, learning how to play an actual instrument like the guitar felt too time-consuming, forcing him to strike out on his own using the only resources which were available to him.

His music connects to lovers of fast music on a primal level.

However, despite his budding interest in musical expression, being a working-class kid from Tucson felt insular. Especially since, as a kid with a strong interest in the arts, the reality was there weren’t many places to express oneself. 

Many of his peers took the path of street hustling along with selling and running drugs between the Mexico Border and the U.S. “Growing up in Tucson, you're in the Sonoran desert and being so close to the border, I had friends who chose a different path, selling drugs. A lot of that is around. It's an interesting place that feels like an outlaw town,” Hose says. 

Photo courtesy of Valerie J. Bower for L.A. TACO.

With its historical ties to the Wild West, Tucson is surrounded by places such as Tombstone and OK Corral nearby. Of course, these days, the cowboy outlaws have been replaced with narcos, who favor bling and expensive streetwear clothing instead of spurs and chaps of the 1800s. 

He strives to take his fronterizo (borderlands) roots into account when creating music, equally inspired by the tales told to him by his friends about street life. His lyrics tell stories of street survival of those whose reality consists of resorting to the hustling game as a means to an end. 

Photo courtesy of Valerie J. Bower for L.A. TACO.

The music N8NOFACE presents is a flurry of heavy orchestrated beats added to his signature punk-style vocals while riding his personal wave of synth sounds. In terms of the subject matter, Hose tells the tale of a cast of characters who are forced to come to terms with the consequences of their actions due to leading a life of crime and violence. The music of N8NOFACE aims to convey a sense of humility. It’s not a glorification of street life but rather living with the reality of having taken part in having to do so.

...displaying his signature gangsta lean meets post-punk kinetic dancing that provides a commanding presence as an artist fully realized.

“The stories you're going to hear are me growing up on the border, with my friends being in trouble, from a different aspect not and in a sense of glorifying it,” Hose says. The everlasting presence of heartbreak seems to hang in the background of many of his songs, like a brightly lit neon sign at a lone diner along a desert highway. It is an ever-present force that is not unlike other similar emotional traumas that are felt throughout any everyday person’s life. 

Despite the heavy nature of his songs, Hose makes it clear that there is always room for tenderness. “I'm a romantic. I like the idea of the outlaw who wants to do good and wants a good lady, but this world just won't let him. I guess maybe it is influenced by the desert and cowboy shit, you know? You're a tough guy, but you love your lady, or you break some hearts even though you don't mean to”, says Hose.

On a recent recorded N8NOFACE live performance filmed at Long Beach bar Supply & Demand, Hose performs in front of a black and white video collage that features iconic moments of lore such as Chalino Sanchez when he receives his infamous death note, cutting quickly to L.A. synth-punk Gods The Screamers, spliced with East Los own queer electro-punks Nervous Gender, cut to Onyx’s Sticky Fingaz Shooting up the Source Awards. These images represent a cacophony that serves as the musical DNA of N8NOFACE incarnate. Hose is alone on the screen and front center during the performance, displaying his signature gangsta lean meets post-punk kinetic dancing that provides a commanding presence as an artist fully realized.

“Fuck a genre.” 

N8NOFACE performed live for the first time since the pandemic began at a free show in McArthur Park last month. The hundreds of punks who showed up immediately vibed with his cutting-edge punk music and created a circle pit. His music connects to lovers of fast music on a primal level. The audience that night featured strong multigenerational attendance, with everyone from younger adolescent punks to individuals in their later 40 and 50s, all made up of Black, Brown, and White rockers, all reeling from a general sense of collective catharsis felt through N8NOFACE music. 

The music N8NOFACE, featuring a pelon (bald) rocker foo screaming at high volume into the abyss, alone on stage other than his devices, is very much the vibras that are undoubtedly felt by many after being cooped up this past year and a half. 

N8NOFACE performs to a crowd of punks in Westlake in March 2021. Photo by Erwin Recinos for L.A. TACO.

Recently, Blink 182s celebrity drummer Travis Barker sent a DM to N8NOFACE. He expressed how he was into his genre-bending punk rock and that he wanted to spread the love. 

“He told me, ‘you're crossing all these genres, but you're doing exactly what you're supposed to do. Fuck a genre.’” 

The blending of the genre in terms of the market value can be a tricky one. Hose admits he has been told in the past that labels wouldn’t know exactly what to do with him, but if his last show and instant attraction by high-profile musicians is any indication, N8NOFACE will end up having the last scream.

Find N8NOFACE's music on Bandcamp and follow him on Instagram to see when he is performing next. 

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