Ahead of Nur-D’s performance at First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2019 in the First Avenue Mainroom on Saturday, January 25, we got to him a few questions. Read what he had to say below:

AQ Mohamud: Growing around Minneapolis, how does the city influence your music?
Nur-D: The city influences my music by its very nature. Sometimes, depending on the day or the street you can be in a different atmosphere which allows for different types of musical influences. Also, real talk, the fact that we have such extreme weather on either side of the spectrum will influence stuff. We get that deep, introspective, stuck inside in a blizzard type music and also that hot, party out on the lake, dance-type music too. Then you take how both hip-hop, Americana folk, and Rock & Roll have such interconnected roots here. It just leads to a different writing style that most other places don’t really have I think.

AQ: You’ve mentioned how you want to dismantle toxic masculinity through your music, what is the process to that?
Nur-D: Well if I could give you the foolproof 100 step plan to effectively dismantle toxic masculinity I would be a very rich dude! While I know the concept is pretty massive in scope for the purpose of this or any one interview I think a good way to start is for more male-identifying people to express their feelings of longing. I know that might sound weird but the fact that men have a need to be desired and want to be wanted is so often seen as weakness. The ability to embrace that part of yourself that wants to be seen, held, desired, cared for is not something that every man feels the safety to explore. So often because of that, they lash out in ways that are destructive for everyone in a society so often run by males. If my music can show that being vulnerable in your skin, being gentle, being teachable, and expressing complex emotion is ALSO a “manly” quality I think that helps us move in the right direction.

AQ: Favorite Netflix Original Show?
Nur-D: Oh dang you’re killing me with this one! There are so many good ones. I would say that it’s probably a good 3-way tie for me with Bojack Horseman, Big Mouth, and Black Mirror.

AQ: You love comic books and other stuff that use to be considered “nerdy.” How do you go about showing through your music that that genre is not nerdy at all, but fun and amazing?
Nur-D: See I think that comics, manga, D&D, all that stuff is still profoundly nerdy. I don’t think my music does anything to change the fact those are pretty nerdy things. But I would like to think that my music shows that’s totally awesome! You can be nerdy AND fun AND geeky AND sexy AND weird. Being odd is mainstream now. So I think it’s time to let our freak flag fly a little higher—plus it allows for people to see that you don’t have to be huddled in a dark basement to enjoy these things. You can be a nerd on a stage in front of a thousand people and it’s great.

AQ: Who deserved NBA Kia MVP in 2017? Russ or Harden?
Nur-D: Harden. The states are pretty clear that, overall, he was doing the most. The spots where Russ overtook him weren’t by so much that he should have lost out to him. But Russ is a great player and I can see how he took home the gold.

AQ: Here in Minneapolis, is it safe to say that at your live shows the majority of the audience is white? Assuming yes, how does that make you feel? 
Nur-D: I can say that the audience of shows that I book myself often look different then shows I find myself being booked on. 
As far as how I feel about shows where the audience is mostly white…most of my time in school was in Rosemount, MN a majority white town, in a majority white school district, with majority white classmates. Every theater, choir, football game, etc. was filled with a majority of white people paying to be entertained. It’s nothing new for me when I look to see a majority of white faces in a crowd. 
I could probably go on for a long time about all the different factors that make this happen. But to focus on one of the positives I can genuinely say that I am so happy that my music can bring peoples from multiple cultures together under the umbrella of shared interests and fun tunes.
When I look out and see all types of people woven together I kinda feel like I am doing my part to break down the barriers that so often keep us from growing as a society.

Blog by AQ Mohamud (Marketing Intern)