Anyone with an interest in extreme music has had that moment where they listen to a band and wonder, “could music get any heavier than this?” A one-man project called Nott caused that moment to me. When Tyler Campbell turns up to eleven, you’d better brace yourself before he moves continents with the sheer weight of his music. The self proclaimed “seismic storyteller” has been at it for 3 years and counting, and his music has yet to relent. Some people call it downtempo, some people call it doom-djent, and some (or maybe just me) call it the sound of the apocalypse. Regardless of its definition, it’s safe to say that Nott is a force to be reckoned with. Campbell was recently kind enough to answer some of my questions about him and his musical ventures. Hope you guys dig it!
What were the first bands that inspired you to make music in the first place?
“I’ve always wanted to make music, but it took me many years to make any serious attempts at writing my own. I noticed that there were a lot of people putting out their own solo-project metal albums that didn’t rely on expensive studios, input from the band, or anything. That was fairly inspiring, but no bands in particular really provoked me to put pen to paper. When the time came where I actually gave it a shot, the bands that I listened to the most were Meshuggah, Gojira, and Lamb of God.”
Were there any bands that helped you form the style of playing you are known for today?
“Not exactly. I try not to sound like any of my influences –at least not directly, and I hope that comes through in the music. What I create is what I want to hear filtered through what I know how to do. Oftentimes the result is a bit different than the intent, but I’ve been satisfied with it. I never know how to classify Nott because I don’t deliberately write “death metal” albums, or “progressive deathcore” albums, for example, so I let other people play the whole genre game. Many of the bands I’ve been compared to recently are bands I hadn’t heard before then.”
It’s often said that a person’s environment can greatly influence how they approach creative expression. How did living in Alaska influence your output in Nott?
“I wrote Devouring Deities, the first Nott EP, during a bitter, cold, Alaskan winter. I don’t recall relying on much external stimulus to write the music or lyrics, but being in that environment certainly affected my headspace; it was a very subconscious, indirect influence, so it’s difficult to quantify the impact it had on the EP itself.”
All of your releases deal with Godlike monsters with a bone to pick with the human race. What drives you to write these apocalyptic depictions?
“For many bands, the music is a vehicle for the lyrics. That is not the case with Nott. In my mind, the music comes first. When I listened back to the stuff I was writing, it sounded seismic and destructive. I wanted to tell stories with my music, so I decided to write about things that were equally massive and devastating to back up what the music was doing. I figure everything should be synergistic to create as solid of a work as possible.”
You cite Ahab as an influence on Nott in the project’s Facebook page. In what way, and to what extent, do you consider doom metal to be a part of your sound?
“I’ve found a deep appreciation for doom metal, and I listen to it quite often. Ahab in particular inspires the hell out of me nowadays. They have an approach to creating size and atmosphere with their layering and progressions that really makes me think, and gives me new ways to approach building music.
I know that Nott doesn’t sound traditionally doomy, but the songwriting and moods are heavily doom-influenced, to a point where I personally consider doom to be a large part of my sound.”
Which is more important to you: technicality, or atmosphere?
“Both are important, and it all depends on what you’re trying to achieve. There are masterfully technical records that are jaw-droppingly impressive, but there’s no texture to them. Similarly, there are atmospheric passages that are stunning and evocative, but there’s really nothing impressive about them from a performance perspective.That being said, I don’t believe they’re mutually exclusive; a solid record should have its fair share of both. As for which is more important to me -and for Nott- I more often than not think that atmosphere trumps technicality, and that’s only because of the types of albums I’m writing. I’m not compiling a collection of riffs and wankery; I’m telling stories. Each new work up to this point has been a concept piece, where the whole album is telling its own tale through not only the lyrics, but especially through the music. In order to convey the feel and content of each passage, I rely heavily on the tone and atmosphere of the music behind the messages being delivered.”
What’s the most un-metal band you currently listen to?
“I’ve been listening to a lot of The Black Keys lately.”
One thing that especially stands out to me about Nott is the vocals. Do you put effects on your vocals, or is this monstrous delivery natural?
“Completely natural. Outside of standard production chains -compression, EQ, natural saturation, delays, and reverb- it’s just my voice through a Shure SM7.”
If you had the opportunity, would you ever assemble a band and bring your seismic storytelling to the masses?
“A live band for Nott is absolutely something I’m working towards at the moment. The tricky bit is finding the right people for the job.”
What’s in the future for Nott?
“More music, and hopefully a live band as previously mentioned. I’m currently based out of Seattle, so I’m aiming to capitalize on the robust music scene here and seeing where that takes the project.”
Q: Is there anything you can share at the moment?
“I’m currently writing the first Nott full-length. I don’t have much to say about it thus far, but it is actively in progress, and it will be harder hitting than anything I’ve written before now. Stay tuned.”
You Can Check out Nott Here
Interview By: Maxwell Heilman