Christian Morant, aka Learical, one half of Charleston’s tag-team Noisy Boys, embarks on an innovative spiritual and musical endeavor. By redefining his mental state through mistakes, Morant undergoes lyrical development and rediscovery. The 30-year-old unveils his narrative in his upcoming 2021 album, The Void.
With Noisy Boys partner, Josh Davidson, they have established impressive videography and saucy beats to accompany their gritty lyrical visions. Like most metal and industrial bands, letting their aggression out on stage has been a therapy source. But for Morant, he’s felt the universal tug to remove toxic habitual traits that expanded beyond band life.
“There is a time and place for certain things, something I learned while writing,” he expresses. “When the emotions arise, I don’t want to take them out on another human. There is a creative way to handle it. Just getting everything clogged up in the brain out makes a huge difference.” He adds that spending more time on their solo projects has “strengthened [the Noisy Boys] pen game,” and he wants to keep the band to “fun matters.”
Morant took to the pen and wrote “I Am Not A Rapper”, a separate entity from The Void. “It won’t be heavy like the rest of my work,” he states, “but summarizes my story.” Since then, music has become his playground as he developed “lyrics that potentially stand on their own.” Thus giving rise to The Void‘s introductory track, Overloaded. “It’s a soft-spoken intimate beat,” he describes, “that flips halfway into a more aggressive tone that sets up the rest of the project.”
As he enters a new headspace, Morant’s hesitation rests on “am I going to deliver it the way I intended?” He desires “2021 to allow the space to let things grow more organically.” Although he dubs his new projects as “therapeutic brain dumping,” it seems more like finding the middle pieces of a narrative puzzle.
And to end 2020, Morant’s latest music video single, “Mr. Robot”, produced by Wooz Beatz and named after the TV show is quite suitably themed. Much like Noisy Boys’ lyrics, “Mr. Robot” holds no boundaries, a healthy release, although not for everyone. Essentially producing the song to bring attention to our society’s destructive fixations, Morant discovered it was also a hidden reflection of his life.
“We forget that machines are tools,” he affirms. “When you’re done with a bike or hammer, you don’t think about it anymore. We are getting used to our attachments to our phones. We don’t learn shit anymore.” He builds on his insight by referring to Alan Watts’ theories of automatic lifestyles. “Texting gives us ground to calculate our responses to where in-person seems weird when it’s entirely normal. I don’t hate technology, it’s done us a lot of good, but I found a way to express how I feel about it.”
In addition to reading Alan Watts, the idea for “Mr. Robot” came from a quote from rapper Abstract: “It’s crazy that we have ability to observe that we observe”. The lyrical inspiration was to allow no hooks, just straight bars ending in -tions (convictions, etc.). “Finally! Everything I’ve been trying to express is out,” exclaims Morant when the song came together. “My goal here was to end with a single question: Will we ever come to learn our lesson?” As it ends the track and stops the reel, the question, in theory, needs no immediate answer or an answer at all. “Mr. Robot” is a summary of years worth of aggression. It’s a debate and conversation starter, the beginning of a change that helps ease the pain.
The song expects to bring some push-back as it showcases Morant rapping over a projection stream of modern propaganda reels. However, it has helped regress his tech addiction usage and brought about some peace in his life. “What scares me about becoming a parent one day,” he reveals, “is losing our child-like senses. Because we excessively wrap ourselves in work, we lose ourselves.” He notes that societal contributions are vital, but failing to balance self-care can become dangerous.
One machine that does bring stability to his life is the camera. Whether it’s a Learical or Noisy Boys production, each music video is a flavor of eye candy. Their signature is releasing a video instead of a formal single release announcement. It grabs our attention spans and is more sharable. For Morant, he is drawn to cinematography, something he wishes to pursue further in the future. “When you’re editing,” he explains, “you’re reliving the role. Because of this, I have more of an appreciation for films.”
“The Saw series is special to me because my dad and I would watch them every year together,” he notes. Beyond this, Morant found “the puzzle factor intriguing” and gives him an image of the director’s perspective. Yet one person he credits, closer to his profession, is the comedic musician and director Lil Dicky. “His visual pioneering is outstanding,” he says in admiration. Lil Dicky’s track “Pillow Talking” is a 10-minute narrative and a craftsmanship Morant aspires to bring to his resume.
The darkest moments in our lives can be constructively remedial if we allow it to be. That’s precisely the thought process that has helped Morant develop outside of music. As the world turns over a new year, he hopes his message with The Void resonates with people. The title explains the hollow feeling he felt himself in, now “validating” as he explores the science behind our emotions through reading while encouraging his friends to keep a daily journal.
Exceeding his advice, Morant arms himself with pen and paper, ready for any thoughts that might arise in any environment. Writing “is a thing [he does] because time is the only historical reference we have.” He reminds us that “memories fade, and wants to track that.” Reflecting on his memories, he shares that reading Lois Lowry’s The Giver sat with him throughout his life, even for a kid not fond of reading. From that story, he wrote a poem called “Colorblind.” “I truly believed that I didn’t see in color. I only saw in black and white, yes or no, and ones or zeros,” he grapples. “There was no grey area. It was a terrible way to look at things.”
Eventually, this poet transformed into the rapper that he is today. His outlook from The Giver wrestles over the negative attention drawn to rap music. “So much of it gets a bad taste because you hear basic things,” he emphasizes, “and then judge it because it doesn’t sound like the label box it’s thrown into.”
Over time Morant entered himself in the no-judgment zone and now describes his core personality. “Passionate,” he believes, “best describes me. However, I want loyalty to become another descriptive term.” These terms accurately detail his work ethic, and he wants them to reflect his personal life equally. Moreover, he has learned to appreciate his tangible environment especially. “I haven’t necessarily exhausted Charleston,” he stresses, “but you start to get a little stale when you’ve lived somewhere for so long. I made it harder for myself by not seeking out the city.” He has a fondness in his view of the bridges and beaches he once took for granted.
Furthermore, he extended his fondness to his family, another part of his life that wasn’t always a full-time investment. “I had to start owning that I can be more than a son or brother,” he states. His family, he remarks, helped propel him into the man he is today. He hopes to film a documentary, capturing the variations of his family’s history.
While evaluating his relationships with the world and himself, he found that “detachment was significant” in his success; however, he began isolating himself “too much.” Alas, Morant has a new appreciation for the word ‘no.’ “I’m at a point where I’m more respectful of my boundaries and value the people I care about who respect those boundaries.” Moreover, he is learning to stabilize his emotions, realizing that his interactions with others affect him.
One echo Morant prefers to sum up his chronicle deriving from G.K. Chesterton yet retold by Alan Watts is “It is one thing to be amazed at gorgon or griffin, creatures which do not exist. It is quite another and much higher thing to be amazed at a rhinoceros or giraffe, creatures that do exist and look as if they don’t.”