It’s a rare artist who can make tracks to chill to and dance to at the same time. Chong the Nomad, whose real name is Alda Agustiano, manages to pull it off. Chong the Nomad started her journey in music production at the young age of 14 and mastered her musical prowess at Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts, where she studied classical music composition.
This blend of classical music savviness, with beat production expertise, led to Chong the Nomad’s unique sound, which she describes as “bedroom grooves.” The sound blends satisfyingly simple melodies with bouncy, lo-fi inspired beats. The result is music that is absolutely perfect to listen to when you’re consuming cannabis. A perfect example of this sound is Chong the Nomad’s latest single “Ghosts in the Shower.”
Now that festival season is over, and her newest track is out, CULTURE and Chong the Nomad had a chance to catch up and find out where she comes from, what inspires her and of course, the role cannabis plays in her music.
Are you from Seattle originally? If so, what part?
I grew up in Kent, Washington, about 25 minutes away from Seattle. Moved around in my teen years but eventually settled in Seattle for school.
What are your musical roots?which musical artists inspired you to be the artist you are today?
I’ve always liked to tell people that my mother taught me how to sing, while my dad taught me how to listen. I grew up singing hymns at my church next to my mom and would listen to gospel albums on long road trips. My dad would listen to Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, who would turn into big influences in my work today. “Overjoyed” by Stevie Wonder was the song that inspired to me to start writing when I was in middle school.
“If I’m having trouble with a particular sound [cannabis] can help me take steps backward and approach it from new perspectives.”
Does cannabis play a role in your music or musical process at all? If so, how?
Yes, it does. Depends on what type of day it is. Cannabis helps me flesh my ideas out clearer and pay more attention to fine details in my work. If I’m having trouble with a particular sound it can help me take steps backward and approach it from new perspectives. I came up with my last single, “Ghosts in the Shower” while I was high in my bathroom. Eventually, I like to tackle my projects without weed and see what I can come up with in that mindset. All about new perspective.
Is there a record or song you like to listen to, when you’re consuming cannabis?
Oh wow. I actually have a super recent answer to this! I traveled to the San Juan Islands earlier this summer with my roommate to visit an old friend. It was a bit of a trip since neither of us had cars, but we made it work and had a kickass time. It felt like summer truly began. Our friend offered to drive us back to the ferry, and we gladly accepted. Before we left, we had a
lovely meal and smoked [together]. My roommate took shotgun, and I sat in the back and decided to listen to music. The newest Sophie album, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, was released earlier that week. I went through the whole thing on that drive that afternoon completely awestruck with how incredible it was. The album made me feel so excited for the future of music, that there was a producer that succeeded in making electronic music that was truly her own, with how sonically weird and provocative her sound was. I’ve never heard anything like it. I love thinking about that day.
Catch Chong the Nomad Live!
Oct. 5 at The Crocodile in Seattle
Oct. 11 at Nectar Lounge in Seattle