Noonie Bao is one of the alt-pop elite’s best-kept secrets, with credits including Charli XCX’s “Doing It” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Run Away With Me.” Her Instagram is littered with candid studio snaps with everyone from Danish star MØ to British chart-topper MNEK—but now, the Swedish singer-songwriter is gearing up to step into the limelight with the video for “Reminds Me."
Following on from the Noonia EP, released in fall 2015, new single “Reminds Me” is a colorful power-pop anthem with a sort of underlying saudade, and the video for the track shows Bao in a surreal desert landscape. In the oddly unsettling whirlwind of a clip, she's immaculately decked out in an array of bright suits whilst her face is periodically scribbled over and erased, and she’s chased by a car as she sings I just want the pain to stay. Watch it exclusively below, and read on for more on her friendship with Charli XCX and the inspirations behind her "castle-pop."
You’ve referred to Charli XCX as your “sister from another mister”, how did you guys meet? What is it like working with her?
NOONIE BAO: We met in a studio in London a few years back and decided the same day that we should go to L.A. and write songs together. She’s a genius, and working with her inspires me a lot.
What inspired you to venture out on your own as an artist in your own right?
I felt that my music needed to be out there, that I wanted to share it. It has always been the process of creating music that’s been important to me, I’ve never been interested in fame or recognition. I write music for myself because it works like therapy for me.
What was the inspiration behind "Remind Me"?
Me and [co-writer] lotusIV had just watched the movie Jane Eyre with Mia Wasikowska and loved it! We wrote the song on piano, and then wanted the production to sound like castles, white horses in slow motion, and dark forests. So the end result became a waltz á la castle-pop. The song is about when you would rather being in pain than feeling nothing at all, and it’s one of the songs I’m most proud of having written.
What was it like shooting the video?
It was probably the four craziest days of my life! To work with director Sebastian Mlynarski and being in his strange and imaginative world is the best thing I know. We drove out to Death Valley and shot the video in the middle of nowhere. So magical, beautiful and scary. Almost everything in the video was improvised on the various locations, but with zero phone reception and not too many gas stations around in that great desert, it feels almost like a miracle that we pulled it off. We stayed at the Amargosa Opera House and later found out that it has a reputation for being haunted. Lucky for us, we missed all the paranormal activities.
And finally—what's the secret to the perfect pop song?
Hard question. Great melodies I guess. And to feel what you write about, 'cause then everyone else will probably feel it too. I try not to think that much and just write and have fun. The songs I had a boring time writing never came out.