Music

Pop punk sensation NOAHFINNCE explains why he simply laughs off transphobes

Marcus Wratten June 3, 2022
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NOAHFINNCE against a wall of black and white checkerboard tiles

NOAHFINNCE. (Frances Beach)

Pop punk star NOAHFINNCE talks LGBTQ+ representation in music and tackling transphobia with humour

From the recent success of Olivia Rodrigo to the return of icons Avril Lavigne and Paramore, the pop-punk revival has well and truly arrived. Noah Adams, otherwise known as new punk-pop prince NOAHFINNCE, has a theory as to why.

“In terms of the state of the world right now, the state of the government — punk music always comes around when there’s something to be mad about,” he tells PinkNews.

There certainly is a lot to be frustrated about. We’ve been through a pandemic. We’ve survived a Trump presidency. Then, there’s the “f**king Tory government” and its “bulls**t” stance on trans rights, which Noah acknowledges with an “eurgh”. Punk, he says, was always bound to come back with a vengeance.

The 22-year-old Brit has been adding his own brand of playful, dynamic punk anthems to the revival for several years now. From 2018 single “Asthma Attack”, which detailed his anxiety around his own transition, to his latest EP, My Brain After Therapy, written following his first experience of therapy, NOAHFINNCE is slowly becoming one of the genre’s brightest stars.

Growing up in the social media age, he got his first taste of stardom through a blossoming fan presence on Instagram and YouTube. Alongside original music videos and a host of covers, Noah regularly shares videos with his 800,000 subscribers documenting his experiences as a trans man, many of which are peppered with self-deprecating humour or light-hearted jabs at transphobes. In one video, uploaded in January, he ranks the worst transphobic comments he’s received. This, he says, is intentional.

“For a lot of people online, especially queer people, we are flooded with the worst f**king homophobia and transphobia everywhere,” he says. “If we can make people aware of it and also just make a bit of a laugh out of it, I think it’s a much healthier way to deal with it.”

If nobody is reaching them, then nothing’s really gonna change.

Noah also prefers to use the platform he’s built to educate — since starting his channel, he says he’s received hundreds of messages from people who had unknowingly held transphobic views.

“That’s an important audience to me,” he says. “Because if nobody is reaching them, then nothing’s really gonna change.”

Away from his socials, NOAHFINNCE is keen to carve a space in the music industry where he can simply be a musician, rather than a trans musician.

“I think people think being trans affects my music way more than it does, which is kind of an irritating thing,” he says. While “Asthma Attack” dealt specifically with his experience with gender identity, his later material has looked at mental health more broadly. His latest EP, for example, is about unpacking experiences from his childhood, rather than dwelling on issues around being LGBTQ+.

NOAHFINNCE says there’s more work to be done across the music industry

NOAHFINNCE in a checkerboard room
NOAHFINNCE. (Frances Beach)

Unless he’s speaking to an LGBTQ+ publication like PinkNews, he tends to try and steer clear of focussing on his sexuality and gender identity.

Recently, after speaking on a radio show, the producers got in touch to ask why Noah hadn’t told them he is trans, as they would’ve wanted to discuss it.

“I feel like as soon as an LGBT [person] comes out, a lot of the straight population think that that letter in the LGBT community defines them completely,” he says.

However, he acknowledges that even in the music industry, where artists from Lil Nas X to Rina Sawayama have started to dominate, more needs to be done before LGBTQ+ artists are fully seen, able to take up space, and appreciated for their work.

“There’s definitely been a massive improvement,” he says, “[but] if 99 per cent of the music industry is straight white men, it’s not representative of the wider population. So until it is representative, then we need to do more work.”

He wants to see an industry where LGBTQ+ artists are ubiquitous, where trans artists are seen simply as artists because there are so many of them, rather than being defined by their identity.

“There’s trans people everywhere,” he says. “There’s no reason why trans people shouldn’t be in the music industry.”

NOAHFINNCE
NOAHFINNCE. (Frances Beach)

How can the problem be fixed? Noah isn’t sure. He says it’s likely due to music industry leaders not scouting for talent in queer spaces.

“There is a massive queer music scene, a massive queer punk scene — like, we’re everywhere. I think maybe people are just looking in the wrong places.”

He adds that, specifically in the rock and punk scene, some of the older fans may still hold homophobic views, which can prevent artists from evolving in the industry.

“I think a lot of the rock scene in general may host a good amount of people who, maybe they’re an older generation and they’re not quite up to date with how people are and, you know…big homophobes!

“If there’s a bunch of homophobes in the scene, it’s going to be a lot more difficult for queer artists to feel comfortable in those spaces.”

For Noah at least, he’s happy with his position in the industry, and the way his label affords him the freedom to pursue the music and the career he wants.

“I can do whatever the f**k I want and my label are happy with that,” he says. “As long as it’s a good song, I can kind of do anything I want.”

As My Brain After Therapy is unveiled to the world, NOAHFINNCE is embarking on his first tour of the United States. Fans will probably catch him playing the drums, guitar, bass and ukulele — he performs all three — as well as a Taylor Swift cover, thrown in for good measure.

Thinking about the rest of 2022, his plans are pretty consistent with what he’s already been doing: more music, more touring. In September, he’ll tour eight dates across the UK. His aim is to release one or two new songs before then, too.

“I think I’ll just be doing more of the same but in a bigger way,” he says. “This is really only just the start.”

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