Listen to our interview with Ncognito:
Cigars & Leisure: Do you have any desire to go mainstream or do you want to keep and maintain a more indie vibe?
Ncognito: I doubt we’ll ever really go mainstream because our values are different. Our main goal is to make people happy by presenting a product full of joy. Right now it seems like our focus is different than what mainstream media is trying to convey. If mainstream were to switch their focus then who knows but as it stands, Ncognito gives that a big “No.”
Imagine you have the opportunity to collaborate with any music artist or band, dead or alive. Who’d you have up on stage rocking out with you in the studio?
First and foremost, John Mayer will be the hands down number one collaboration request. We love everything he puts out. That being said, we wouldn’t mind working with Earth Wind and Fire and have Chris Botti play alongside us just to add a little punch
For those unfamiliar with your music, how would you describe your sound and overall style?
Honestly, it’s hard to describe our sound because I’ve never heard anything like it. We get most of our influences from bands like Coldplay, John Mayer, D’Angelo and The Police but merge a little jazz and our personal harmonies with every piece. You really have to hear us to describe our style.
Is there any band or artist out there right now that you regard as an idol or someone you’d like to model your own path to success and fame after?
Well, we get our lyrical and musical influences from a big vault of musicians. The more notable ones are John Mayer, Coldplay, The Police and Stevie Wonder but as far as an idol to mirror our own path, we’re following somewhat of an unbeaten road.
In an industry now dominated by artists like Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande, what in your opinion is the state of popular music today?
Today’s industry is in a bit of disarray. It emphasizes too much sex, too much money, and not enough actual music. It’s handicapped creativity and individualism, everything music comes from. Hopefully within the near future someone will come along and change the current state but for right now, it is what it is.
If there was one song from your catalog that everyone needed to hear, which track would you recommend we all listen to?
“Definitely Normal.” It sends such a powerful message to our youth. A message of creativity and individuality that is not highlighted enough in today’s society. It really is a masterpiece and deserves to be heard by as many people as possible.
Where did your band’s name come from?
Well, we originally started out as just a cover band playing at restaurants and bars in the Raleigh-Durham area. As a cover band we wanted a name that showed we weren’t trying to be the center of attention but a group that would set a happy atmosphere where ever we played. Josh blurted out “Ncognito” during one of our sessions and it just clicked.
Where are you from and what’s one thing a visitor to your hometown should do if they really want to experience your hometown?
Aarik and Josh grew up in Smithfield, NC. You cannot drive through Smithfield without going to their famous Carolina Pottery Outlet Mall. An’s from Vietnam but spent most of his life in Austin, Texas
What’s your favorite vacation destination and what do you enjoy visiting, seeing or doing when you visit it?
Aarik: Disney World! I freaking love everything about the place… It holds such great memories for me and my family
Josh: Miami, FL, is definitely my number one. I’m a big fan of beaches and alcohol and they have an abundance down there.
An: I don’t get to travel much or go on vacation but just being anywhere I can play and talk to people.
We’re sure you travel a lot to perform. Where would you say you’ve had the best meal at while traveling?
Aarik: I love Beasely’s right here in Raleigh with a passion. It’s a little crazy how many times a week I eat at that place.
Josh: All-time favorite has to be Hot and Juicy in Washington, DC. Seafood is a big passion of mine sooo… yea.
An: I like to cook for myself and try different dishes from around the world.
For some of our readers, cigars are their guilty pleasures. What are yours?
Aarik: Chick Flicks… Yea, I’m weird.
Josh: Seafood and Candy its an awkward combination so I don’t do them together LOL
Performing often in clubs or at parties, we’re sure you have your choice beverage to get you in the party mood. What’s your favorite adult beverage?
Jim Bean whiskey is drink of choice. It really helps our voice when we sing. We have a bit of tradition when we play actually. We all get shots of Jim Bean Whiskey; Tap our glasses to a good performance then tap the table and sip.
A lot of big artist today complain that with piracy and digital music killing the album and that they make most of their money from touring and merchandising. How do you all turn your passion for music into both a profession and something that supports you?
Well, we’re a pretty new group. At this point in our musical careers we just want people outside of our area to hear our product. So for us piracy is a good thing! Whatever way we can get our music into someone’s ear and we are all for it.
What can we expect this year from you or your band?
An EP coming out before the start of summer and then a summer tour of the North East. Also of course playing at a restaurant or bar near your!
For more, check out our interview with John Rich!