Video Premiere: Chaos, Reality, and Truth on Tabah’s Feverish “Noble”

Life’s short as it is, I don’t need to speed up the process.

A cup of youth and a dash of wisdom is all one needs to get trapped in one’s own head. At some point, each of us has the sickening realization that our “individuality” that made us so special and unique in our parents’ eyes is, on the whole, no different from every other person’s “individuality.” If we’re all so unique, then aren’t we all the same? 90% water, 99.9% identical genetic material… There’s not much of that 0.1% differential, once you take a step back.

Tabah take one step back and two steps forward in the chaos-embracing “Noble,” refusing to conform to the surrounding world in a whirlwind of emphatic energy and resounding, charismatic spirit.

What do I make of “It’s all been done.”
A map already drawn, to take and run with
Or leave behind, You’ll see the same.
Wasn’t looking to sort the facts
I’ll keep learning through “Want some?” “Sure.”
Till the morning is never there
Listen: “Noble” – Tabah

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the music video for “Noble,” off Tabah’s recently-released debut album Symmetry Somewhere (independent, March 2017). vocalist/guitarist Cecelia Erholtz, Jeff Ley (guitar/vocals), Charlie Bruber (bass/vocals), Andrew Seitz (keyboards, vocals), and Murphy Janssen (drums/percussion), five-piece Tabah have become somewhat of a staple in Minneapolis’ local scene. They are gritty and clean, rock and folk, and overwhelmingly authentic in their embrace of music’s range of emotions and colors. Shot in vocalist Cecelia Erholtz’s father’s pull barn-turned hockey rink in Northern Minnesota, the “Noble” video faithfully captures the cabin fever and resilience of Tabah’s punctuated performance.

“’Noble’ was first heard in my head LOUD, with aggression and power, but I had a ¾ size classical guitar in my hands and went forth with the tune that day as is,” explains Erholtz. “It is a feeling that still time warps emotion for me personally. As if all of the BS of today was swirling around, making a tunnel of mayhem, and there I am walking through singing this melody that was inescapable of the despondency and apathy within myself and some circles of people around me.” Anger and hopelessness wrestle with nerves, angst, and sheer internal dissonance to create the swirls of emotion and energy that really push “Noble” over the edge.

“Wasn’t looking at making favors
But it’s so desperate now and then”
I just hand them a cigarette
It feels so fake, sometimes it hurts to stare.
Symmetry Somewhere - Tabah
Symmetry Somewhere – Tabah

“For me, ‘Noble’ represents the struggle to be bold and true to yourself in the narrow, suffocated society we live in today. People are choosing a surface reality through their devices rather than fully experiencing precious human to human connection,” quips bassist Charlie Bruber. “‘Noble’ represents a craving for real, true expression of what is within us all.” We certainly sense that desire for authenticity and truth in Erholtz’s impassioned vocal performance: She howls out her distaste for flavorless interaction and meaningless experience, the sort of plasticity that litters our attention-deficit “modern” society.

Of the video (shot by Black Feather Creative), Erholtz remarks, “When I was able to get the full band behind the tune and the arranging, the energy really grew to the level I had first heard alone in my head. It is a song we recently ventured up to Northern Minnesota to create a music video for. We shared a day in a pole barn, crafting a vision from the ground up. After all the brainstorming took place, we then realized we had to put out the energy and performance necessary. It was a big day, but after viewing the final edits of the ‘Noble’ video, all the chaos was well worth it.” The barn represents that connection with nature that we have so far removed ourselves from over the years. The big turning point in the history of human development was the switch from nomadic living to settled hunter-gatherers. Our ancestors stopped roaming, and began nesting – and while the wooden barn came thousands of years later, it certainly echoes a relationships that feels particularly lost when you’re staring at screens for a living, surrounded by white-washed walls in cities full of steel skyscrapers and over-paved roads.

Tabah © Taylor Donskey
Tabah (L-R): Cecelia Erholtz, Andrew Seitz, Murphy Janssen, Charlie Bruber, Jeff Ley // © Taylor Donskey

Yet the funny thing is that, for all Tabah struggle to comprehend the individual’s sorry place in modern society, they do their best to avoid too over-arching, definitive conclusions about the Western way of life.

As you continue on, noticing the familiar patterns, loose and wild.
Seeing that it’s interpretation, yet this place is not yours; you remain unaffected.
Can’t seem to get the universe around you, to exist with the one in your head.
So you ignore what you don’t understand.

Yes, much about our world is fake – Nirvana sang about that two and a half decades ago, and unfortunately not much has changed. In fact, our daily lives have probably deteriorated even further as mobile technology has progressed. But aside from pointing out the errors, Tabah are not exactly offering any answers – which, itself, is something Erholtz struggles with toward the end of the song, after tearing off the bottom half of her dress in an aggressive fuck you to the establishment.

Sat all alone as I waited for nothing
Besides, morning to sleep
Said “ Last night’s a little blurry and rough, around the edges, if you know what I mean”
What did I mean?  What did I mean?
Wasn’t looking for surface magic
Tricks and trades learned overnight
I can’t stand it
Feels so fake, sometimes it hurts to stare

It’s okay to not have an answer to this endemic plague. Just by singing about the problem itself, Tabah are able to bring to the forefront a taboo issue that is rarely discussed out and in the open. Why are we so caught up in ourselves? It’s disgusting.

Percussionist Murphy Janssen puts it quite plainly: “For me, the lyrics touch on themes of self-realization, the blur between objective and subjective realities and how it feels to pursue something true. We messed around with some costume changes and different cut shots to bring out those questions of what is fake and what is real, and if you believe it, does it even matter?”

Watch Tabah’s music video for “Noble,” and if I may be so intrusive, reconsider your own circle and rhythm of life. If you’re not happy, or content, consider doing something about it: There’s only the present.

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cover: Tabah © Taylor Donskey

Symmetry Somewhere – Tabah

Symmetry Somewhere - Tabah
Symmetry Somewhere – Tabah
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