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Noah Kahan - Stick Season

2023-01-25 | 🔗

Noah Kahan is a singer and songwriter from Strafford, Vermont. Last year, in 2022, he released Stick Season, his third record. The title track from that record went viral on TikTok when Noah was first writing it, and posting pieces of it. One of those videos has over 10 million plays. And as of this recording, on Spotify, the full song has almost 100 million streams.

For this episode, Noah talked to me about the process of making that song: What led him to first post half a song on TikTok, and what happened after that. You’ll hear the raw recordings off of his phone; the different drafts he made as he worked; you'll hear the different versions he first shared on social media; and you’ll hear his bracingly honest appraisal of the winding path he took  —  in his life, and in his music – to get to where he is now.

For more, visit songexploder.net/noah-kahan.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
dear listening to song explorer where musicians take up their songs and piece by piece tell the story of how they were made i'm reputation your way this episode contains explicit language what country is a singer and songwriter from strafford vermont last year in twenty twenty two he released sticks either his third record that track from that record went viral on tik tok when knows first writing it and posting pieces one of these videos has over ten million plays and as a recording on spotify the full song has almost a hundred million streams for this episode no talk to me about the process of making that's on what led him post half us onto talking and what after that
here are the raw recordings of his phone the different drafts he made as he worked you'll hear the version c first shared on social media and you'll hear his bracingly honest appraisal of the winding path he took in his life and in his music to get to where he is now the vermont but it sees another sticks and that soccer mom she forgot that i exist my fault but to start to pay the victim all drink alcohol till my composed the christmas and my name is no account i graduated high school and i got a record deal when i was a senior and i had the canada side between and a two lane and whirlwinds or taken his record dealing in our the pretty easy choice i was never a great student never really apply myself and kind of just fucked around in school and i didn't think college was be something that was beneficial for my parents were kind of like hey this is so
expensive like if you can get a record deal like go presume music them do it but but ultimately i was sorry fledgling artist and fledgling signing for the company that it wasn't like immediate ras start and it was kind of i go back to your parents house and start writing some songs and building up the portfolio and i didn't realize that it was going to be such a process of development and alive development will spend in strafford so stick season canna goes back almost three there is now stick season is between autumn and winter rather leave throughout the trees i have been the term my whole life from all neighbours and though in new hampshire vermont where i grew up ever was yes taxis and is the worst i would always just gonna get super depressed at that time a year i have been trying to write a song mystics using it for awhile i saw it i was called the season of the sticks i was just the gloomy interlude track that never ended up seeing the light of day but i is really trying to incorporate in that that phrase
so i was in los angeles making my second record in november of twenty twenty at the time i thought like i was making music that i didn't love and it was tough making record and feeling that where a definite but like the last pop centric record that i was gonna make my heart is always been without me it can storytelling and solid go back to my air be or wake up my baby in the morning before the session and try to write well stories about new england in china songs that sounded like the ones i loved growing up in our dislike counting crows and eva brothers and paul simon guys that stories and transported you to a different place in my life ass feeling insecure and i was really looking for a way to kind of have a burst approval that might artificially we feel better about myself and so like i'm centre right of earth and i cannot put it up on tiktok because want to feel approval from people set certainly wasn't coming from myself
so i started writing about being stuck at home which is something that i felt for a long time i started writing about a person that doesn't stay in one place but can't leave and that feeling of separation in kind of somebody leaving you and knowing it and do anything about it and knowing that may be some of its your fault they said it to the metaphor of driving fast smee that i was more than all the mouse combined must have had yourself a change of heart halfway through the job because your voice trailed off exactly ass he passed by the cap dr drive and in future to the road stuck stepped between my in the plane facing memories or something ne been smoking we cannot replace and i am terrified of weather because i see what it brings in dark domain of travel but there's cove it on the plane so i am from the folks
it must suck you suck that fuck and i can't it i don't want to keep an we'd from high school kids anymore feature is the perfect caption for a song about feeling like you're stuck in your hometown yeah posted it and i was not confident in it at all phone down for a few minutes and went in a brush my teeth and got into bed and what did my phone like man no one is react this like this does suck and i do so perfect i welcome the next morning and the sound had really started to take off on tiktok and ethnic fight there's six hundred comments which for me was so much and people post poster for song poster i'm like oh no i have not written anything else besides this and so kind of fell into this trap where i half of the song and people
liked it and i knew i needed to write a chorus which is a little bit daunting and i thought you know this is a folk song it feels like it needs to be simple need to be musically all over the place i kind started a right over those courts that never over again and and i remember but i had a song called the season of the sticks and i started singing i love vermont i think i kind of wanted to sound like a country song it's always like our love vermont and i was singing it like with a twang from one season to the states your mom she forgot the get so narcissistic would always the distant and somehow made it like way easier for me to ray i don't know i was like this is cool fella outside of myself for a second it was fine and kind of stuff bet it's always mess around with a ton of melodies and i think i was
trying to do some falsetto off lips and air in each night if you the do boy do we do mama buenas fill them home at all you know that's all the same morning i believe those october twenty ninth you know i'd conduct where i was like struggling so much to right then i if i have something cool i need to sit down and finish this or else i will not come back to it and so the cap china digging at it that morning and i wrote the chorus and posted the chorus talk to me to travel but it's cold on the planes you know vermont but it's the season of the sticks and i saw your mom and she forgot that i existed and it's my fault but i'd just like to play the victim tumult drink
now though till my friends come home for christmas it all very nice native son origine you that they not but i did not lose all your tire tracks in one pair of shoes in late and that'll have to do and then the chorus really did well in tiktok people are into it and then it became like another added layer of like oh my gosh i have to write a second verse the second verse took a lot longer to write i didn't finish it in los angeles i had returned to vermont because it was the holidays was like thanksgiving and i spent like for full days dislike sitting around mess around with lyrics and ended up in writing a little bit about my dad saw refer
but something good and oh my bad that i could cancel that the darkness i inherited from dad i am pressure and anxiety which i hope with my entire life and my dad and my mom both dead and my dad protect i they struggles with depression and a lot of my life i wasn't dealing with my depression in the railways is trying to just tore through my depression or drink might oppression or eat through my depression and pilot these things are supposed to be fine cool over a really real problem and it was not working for me but i find that in songs and i grew up listening to when i was really struggling with a problem that i thought no one else in the world had i we hear a song lyric that just hit the nail on the head with what i was feeling and it would make me feel understood i feel like the amount of that i got from when i was growing up but if i can provide that for somebody else then maybe the comfort of talking about my
dad's depression would help somebody the next thing for the life of the song was starting to play at live tom people are new the words to the song there was a first tour after code so that covert on the plains line was really exciting for people what was funny about sticks season was how easy it came and beginning and how difficult it ended up being to see it through to the end my manager manages a producer engage simon and so i went down the national work of game and we spend couple hours economists hang around talking and i felt so comfortable and i was real they are the success to song habits from this very nonchalant airbus and tiktok and i was like kind of trying to make it like that fund
energetic but not too self serious firstly we recorded a games we did like a vocal and guitar to a click just a kind of get a scratch down and actually felt really good and the next thing we did was we try to couple different guitars and gave used take guard the kind of create the rhythm and sound almost like a kick drum which was a really cool touch the netscape simon find the banjo on the record professor that he has not evangel play about that he played it quite nicely i just like home to me in a lotta ways like when i was growing up my mom played the banjo and when lived in hanover we lived red cross the road from appellation trail and we would like it all the time you know i felt like
your brain that was kind of an ode to appellation waterways one of my favorite lines of ever made was drinking alcohol to my friends come home for christmas discuss it to such a so true to my experience living in strafford when all my friends were gone but to stack to pay the victims thank you my friends come home the christmas or just gonna come the day is down until december twenty for my bodies will get back from college and in those days friends came home felt like i was kind of back to her normal life which was a really valuable to me at the time and so we did a bunch a gang vocals at the annex i wanted to be like all my friends were back home singing in the last chorus with me it was gave in cannot now yelling and shouting conrad's died
engineered it myself but i had to start to play the victim i'll drink to my friends come home for christmas the we sent in a draft to management there i didn't really cool but i think it might be a little corny dislike huge at the end of this kind of more stripped back intimate song and we're like think you might be right and then i went down the rabbit hole of production try new things and we recording vocals definitely a slogan grind after the second verse hits i want the given another left with some harmonies dream so i am the biggest fan of like a beautiful harmony like re when it click send to the melody like it just feels so satisfying but the ending
it feels to me like our union with friends coming from christmas the people back in that feeling of being alone not being there so much anymore what i really wanted to accomplish the game vocals of like i'm not alone anymore but i think there is a more nuanced way to do it by the time the sun was finish it was called are gonna have that full circle moment if you know going from a place for i was feeling very burnt out creative we too have in my most successful song be one that i just wrote cause it was funny and made me happy in boredom air baby i've come to the realisation that no amount of success and no man of creative fulfilment will ever make me a complete we are fully happy person night i think it used to be if i can just get in there and with this person or if i can get this
these dreams or play this then you then i'll be happy now unfortunately not really how works and i had to do a lot of work and thereby industry my life trying to find out it makes me happy and how to find fulfilment i think it was really cool about the whole process was that seem people real just stick season in that way reaffirmed my belief in what creativity means and what a job in the music industry can look like about her feelings about stick season has that change it all to you like that time of year better now that it's responsible for this big head of yours i still absolutely hates texas in vermont its miserable there's just now redeeming about it so gray and cold everyone my family gets like super depressed number allah grumpy an annoying to be around so no absolutely not i can write a million solid festive season out still hated
and now you're sticks season by nor can in its entirety as he promised me that i was more than the miles combined you must have heard yourself change that i through the drive because you boys exactly as you pass my exits kept on driving straight in the future to there right now i am stuck between my anger in the brain that i can't face memories or something even smoking weed is not replaced and i am terrified by the cars i see what it brings talk to me to travel but there's covert on the planes in burma but it's the season of the sticks and a soccer mom she forgot that i exist did it
my fault but i had to start to play the victim out drink alcohol till my friends come home for christmas tree nato so bored that they didn't lose your tire tracks in their shoes and then that'll have to do the shot though titled something good and bad that i cared about the darkness i inherited from dad though i am no longer funny mister wheeler puts call me forever and you still can't call me back into the shop she forgot that i exist half my phone but i stalked the victim of drink alcohol to my friends come home the christmas tree each night of the but didn't lose your train tracks and one pair of shoes should have made it but that'll have to do the burma british the season know the sticks
i she forgot that exists my fault but to start to pay the victim all drink alcohol till my friends composed the christmas tree all fur or visit song exploded dot net you finally to buy or stream stick season and you can watch them is it video i've also linked to the original tiktok videos that noah made when he was first writing set aside a song explode was made by me craig ellie tackling smith and married poland the episode our work by carlos lemme and i made the
the music and logo songs butter is approved member of radio tokyo from pr acts and that work of independent listener supported artist own pocket you can learn more about our shows at radio tokyo that if you can find me on twitter and instagram at risk your way you can follow the show at song explorer you can also a song exploiter teacher at song exe odor dot net slash shirt russia case your way thanks for listening radio do i want to tell you about another radio tokyo show this day in esoteric political history it's a package that tells the story of a fascinating moment from u s history when it took place that day and discusses what that event might have to teach us about our
current moment this day is hosted by my friend jody aberdeen formerly of five thirty eight and thirty four thirty five cast along with two history scholars kelly carter jackson of wellesley and nicole hammer of vanderbilt the episodes are short and fund listen to ever make you think check out this day an esoteric political history wherever you get your broadcasts
Transcript generated on 2023-01-27.