Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: Alaska’s Nott

Because every day another band records another song.  Because 83% of those songs are unlistenable and you can’t be bothered to sift through the dreck.  Because metal is about not giving a shit and waking your own personal storm.  Because music is universal, expression is boundless, and even indie labels (whatever that means these days) don’t know everything, Decibel brings you Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack.

Seriously, there’s too much music out there for anybody to find all the good stuff.  Even keeping up with the major movers ‘n’ shakers in the scene can become overwhelming; keeping on top of unsigned wonders verges on the exhausting.  It’s gems like this new EP by Nott that keeps us happily, hungrily in the game.

Alaskan-raised Tyler Campbell has absorbed a myriad of influences and blasted them all back out as 18 minutes of atmospheric death prog havoc.  The fire on this recording is almost physical.  Guitar and drum arrangements and performances are certainly exciting, but the vocal scourge truly sets this apart from the pissed-at-life crowd.  Catch the EP at Bandcamp (or scroll down and press play), and hear about Nott’s origins and imagined pathways straight from the dude himself.

Who is Nott?  What life/background led you to these dark creations?

My name is Tyler Campbell, and I am Nott. It’s who I am and what I do. I’ve always loved darker music. When I was a kid I heard some Pantera from my parents, and it absolutely enthralled me.  As the years went by and I found myself searching for more and more things, the darker and heavier the music always got.  One day I decided to try my own hand at creation, and thus Nott was born.

Where did the project name come from?

When I was deciding on what to call the project, I had a few characteristics I wanted in mind. I wanted it to be a pseudonym –more than a band name, since I alone am not exactly a band- and a short word at that, so after a good bit of brainstorming it came to me. After some research, I discovered the Nótt was an Old Norse goddess, the goddess of night.

This happy little coincidence struck a chord with me because I come from a strong Scandinavian heritage. Where I come from means a lot to me, as it’s what influenced who I am today. Nott seemed fitting, and taking the accent off the ‘o’ made the title a little more mine.

You’re in Alaska?  Where exactly?  Have you always lived there?  What do you like/dislike about your locale?

I grew up in Southeast Alaska, but currently I live in Seattle to attend music school. I spent my whole life in Alaska, and it’s where I call home. I grew up in a cold and forested area, and the music I was getting in to definitely reflected that, especially when I began explore the worlds of black metal.

While it was a nice place to grow up, there was zero room for expansion and evolution in terms of local music, and it was extremely difficult to get anything outside the town. I had a death metal band in high school and we played a few local festivals, but it seemed impossible to advance. Now that I’m in Seattle, I’m beginning to find a much larger market for the type of music I make, as well as a much larger network of people that are helping to make things happen for Nott.

Have you worked on other music projects before Nott?

Nott is this first real project of mine. Never before this have I seriously delved into something creatively, so in a sense this is the beginning.

Your song lengths are remarkably consistent on the new EP.  What gives?

I had a three-act piece and enough music to play around with each bit somewhat evenly, and the idea of implementing a 666 in the works not only fit the words, but also was just too good to pass up. One thing about it that was very interesting was that it started out as a small and simple concept, but ended up being a fairly difficult procedure in the writing process. When you want to progress a song a certain way to fit a story appropriately, constraining each song to an extremely strict time limit was challenging. It forced me to make a lot of creative decisions that I don’t believe I would’ve made otherwise, but I’m very happy with in the end.

What music is exciting/influencing you right now?  Is there any non-heavy music that you’re enjoying?

I seem to always be listening to Gojira, Opeth, Meshuggah, and Ahab. There is of course much more, but those bands are always standing out as driving forces for me creatively, and when I listen to them I get inspired like none other.

In terms of ‘non-heavy’ music, I’ve been listening to a lot of Steven Wilson’s projects and Russian Circles as of late. I love how in both cases they’re able to explore very dark and beautiful avenues musically without the need of sonic heaviness. I think about that a lot when I write for Nott. I believe that when you want something to sound extreme in certain regard, you need to also supply the polar opposite for contrast. Otherwise, the sound –especially during a lengthier piece- gets a tad dull and uniform, no matter how intricate and intense.

What was the writing/recording process like for Obsidian Depths?  Anything particularly different from the way the earlier EP came together?

With Obsidian Depths, I had an overarching vision of the story I wanted to tell and how I wanted the music to progress. I filled in the gaps accordingly until the piece was complete. I wrote it all at home on my laptop, and began the recording process there as well. I engineered the guitars and bass direct into my interface and used plug-ins from there, and used Toontrack products for the drums. I brought the stems back home to my good friend Lance Fohrenkam where he engineered my vocal sessions, then mixed and mastered the whole thing.

Devouring Deities, the earlier EP, came together in a very different fashion. I wrote out the music with almost no direction, whereas the lyrics follow a cohesive and continuous story. Obsidian Depths, on the other hand, was written both musically and lyrically with the whole in mind.

Have you played your music in a live setting?

Nott has never been performed live, and that’s not because I might not one day want to. I haven’t yet pieced together a band for the material, and I’m not certain if I ever will. That depends on the capability and passion of the fellow musicians interested in joining me.

What plans do you have for this project, or any others you might have brewing?

My plans with Nott are to keep it going for as long as I can manage. I have begun writing for a third EP, but it’s far too soon to tell when it’ll be completed. Currently, Nott is the only project on my mind, and the only one I’m devoting this level of attention to. Obsidian Depths got Nott a fair bit of attention, and I’m very excited to see where it goes as I make more material.