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Meet the experimental Calgarian duo Sandstone City 

By Nimra Amir, December 14 2022

If you too have ever wished that the music being played at your local shisha bar was just more poppin’, then Calgary-based duo Sandstone City, made up of members NOYAN and Obsinema, has made your wish a reality. The duo met in middle school — both interested in music already — but it was not until after high school when NOYAN sent his first couple of beats to Obsinema who recorded vocals over it to create the shisha bar music that they had wished for.

“That was basically the start of Sandstone City,” said NOYAN. 

They went through different names for a week at a time but ended with Sandstone City. A nickname for the city of Calgary because sandstone pulled from the Crowchild Trail area was used to rebuild the old heritage buildings in downtown Calgary after a fire in 1886 burned them down. A nickname for them that commemorates the fact that like Calgary, the duo from the Crowchild Trail area can rebuild their music whenever need be. 

“We always have that foundation but we are not afraid to burn it down,” said Obsinema.

Especially when Sandstone City allows for the duo to be as experimental as they wish to be — to rebuild their music whenever they need. Almost like a “sandbox,” said Obsinema, where the duo with two different musical styles — as far as vocal performances go with Obsinema having a lighter pop sound and NOYAN having a harsher rap sound — can come together to “play.”

Their first single “Insomnia” was released in 2019 with an accompanying music video. But the music video was actually shot as a final project for the film program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) when the original musician for the video could no longer do the video. 

“That video was not supposed to happen technically,” said NOYAN.

Since then, the duo has consistently released music — including an album Sandcastles released in 2020 and an EP Poseidon Collections released in 2021. Their latest release is their pop-punk trap single “BODY BAG FIT,” with an accompanying high-energy, plot-driven music video. But all their music has the goal to inspire people to have fun. 

Before becoming a musician, NOYAN said he used to “overthink anything,” including his music — because he wanted perfection. But through his music, he has learned to let go and have fun. 

“Practice makes perfect — unfortunately, with art, there is no perfection so you are never going to get all the way there but we definitely keep trying,” said Obsinema. “But just because the music is not perfect to me or just because the music is not perfect to NOYAN, won’t mean that it won’t be perfect to somebody else. Our song, “BODY BAG FIT,” is the first song where I have gotten a lot of messages from people being like ‘This is my favourite song. I am listening to it every day.’” 

As Sandstone City keeps rebuilding their experimental music, they are currently working on a follow-up album. As a listener, it is hard to know what exactly to expect from the duo but you can at least expect that it will be fun. 

To stay updated with Sandstone City and the release of their follow-up album, you can follow them on Instagram. Until then, be sure to listen to the rest of his discography on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, iTunes or watch their music videos on YouTube

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