Nolti Nan Gana Nan Nolta: Band Of The Day

By on 28 October 2014

nngnn

In recent months we have given exposure to some exciting new thrash bands from England, namely Exxxekutioner and Insurgency, but there are also musicians north of the border who are staying true to the dark roots of thrash and keeping the tradition and legacy of evil thrash metal alive and well. Nolti Nan Gana Nan Nolta (or NNGNN as they are often referred to due to the long winded nature of their chosen moniker!) really impressed me with their aggressive violent black thrash assault live on a couple of occasions, which is firmly rooted in the old school and these young metal maniacs clearly worship at the altar of bands such as early Bathory, Venom and Hellhammer  as well as newer bands such as Aura Noir,  Abigail, Nocturnal etc… and with song titles such as ‘Black Thrash Massacre’ and ‘Death By The Venomhammer’ you have a good idea exactly where these guys are coming from musically and lyrically! The band recently finished up their first ever studio recording, an EP titled ‘Death By The Venomhammer’ so I thought it was the perfect time to get in touch with the band and find out more, they collectively fired back answers to my questions…

WORDS: Kat Gillham

WHO ARE THEY: Nolti Nan Gana Nan Nolta
WHERE ARE THEY FROM: Edinburgh, Scotland
FOR FANS OF: Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer, Aura Noir, Abigail, Nocturnal, Destroyer 666, Deathhammer, Darkthrone
LATEST RELEASE: ‘Death By The Venomhammer’ (2014, self financed/released)
WEBSITE: Facebook and Bandcamp

Hails! Please give the readers a brief history/background on the band and please tell us who currently does what in the band?
R: “I’m Rockwell, sometimes Graham. Guitar player, riff summoner… As for band history, we’ve been a unit since May 2013, in that time we’ve been writing, honing our sound and playing a lot of shows.”

D: “I’m Duncan, and I provide bass, vocals, and lyrics.”

T: “I’m Tam. I deliver the percussive ordnance with varying but slowly ascending levels of competence.”

You have been in the studio recently to do a proper studio recording which will be released soon – please tell the readers what they can expect from this recording in your own words. What format will it be released on? Can you reveal the title of it and the tracklist? When will your debut studio recording be unleashed upon the extreme music scene?
T: “The EP was released on August 1st. Listeners can expect a very honest rendition of the music we deliver live – with a sound which certainly echoes that. This isn’t a gratuitously polished, revised or enhanced work, and when it comes to our sound, I think that’s the best way to go about it.”

R: “Yeah, it’s a live rehearsal room recording done by ourselves, well done by Duncan (recording/mixing/mastering). Raw is good. Raw but also cutting.”

D: “The EP is titled ‘Death By The Venomhammer’, and the tracklist is:

Flagellate the Heretic
Black Thrash Massacre
Death by the Venomhammer
Black Realm of Terror
“It’s available on our Bandcamp for name-your-price download, and we’ve got CDs as well. Possibly cassettes in the near future too!”

Where was it recorded?
D: “7th Harmonic Studios in Edinburgh – a great place, we’ve been there from the very start of the band.”

Is the cover art sorted for it, can you tell us a bit about the cover concept?
R: Firstly it was done by a guy called Pariah, of Tyrant Design & Print (http://tyrannical.co.uk/). We wanted to find someone who would be able to depict the Venomhammer in all it’s evil glory, as mentioned in the song (same as EP title). I personally don’t see how it could have been any more fitting, not only did he nail the aesthetic and keep it from being cartoony, he also created the “lunatic horror” who can be seen wielding it. It was primarily a shirt design and it’s been really well received on that score. Hail Pariah! (He Who Wrought Thy Black Weapon Ov Great Evil)

Typically how does a typical NNGNN song come together from birth until it is a full song? Who is responsible for most of the songwriting?
T: “Our songs tend to be born with a degree of spontaneity. Rockwell brings the riffs which he has crafted at home, and I attempt to fashion percussion to complement them – usually the songs come to life in quite a piecemeal basis, evolving and mutating at the hands of all three of us. Songwriting occurs very sporadically, almost at random; sometimes even in spite of us – for instance we can be rehearsing our current material, and the five minute interludes between rehearsals become ten, fifteen, twenty, and we suddenly realise we’ve created a sizeable portion of a new track.”

R: “Indeed, for me that’s a good way to work, we nail new material when the inspiration hits. I kind of have a lot of riffs and ideas kicking about at any one time, some I would rather develop before bringing into the fray and some just burst into life in the moment. There is a really good dynamic in the band for the building of the songs.”

D: “When we have a handful of riffs that fit together, we start jamming out the structure of the song. We usually end up adding in more riffs as we go, and I’ll usually mark a few sections out where vocals can fit. When we have the instrumental side sorted, I’ll go and write some lyrics, and then it’s more or less complete – we usually change some minor bits after a period of playing it and properly getting to know it.”

Lyrically, what inspires you to put pen to paper?
D: “The lyrics all kind of relate back to the story behind the band name. I wouldn’t say that they’re explicitly conceptual, but they do all tie together in a way. For the most part, the themes contained within are mostly around conflict, death, torture, and telling a story within the song. I take a lot of influence from bands like Aura Noir  or Destroyer 666 in terms of raw fury and power, but I’m also a big fan of the lyrical style of Bal-Sagoth – I try to inject a sense of storytelling in the lyrics.”

You guys are a very active live band, where have you managed to play so far? What can people expect from an NNGNN live assault? Would you eventually like to get out and tour and possibly even play outside of the UK?
T: “One thing which has united all of our shows is an iron will to deliver wherever and whenever we play, and this determination has had the consequence of tightening up our live-performance. From an audiences perspective, I’d like to think we give an energetic and at times intense experience. Beyond that, it might show that we have fun on stage. Theatrical, esoteric and gloomy showmanship has a place, and can deliver a superb atmosphere, but we don’t do that – we’re the more human side of the coin. We definitely feel electric while we’re playing live – it’s like a heightened state of sorts, different from the rest of life… but for me, it’s not (usually) some obscure occult witchcraft, it’s the magic of heavy metal.  This band has forced me to improve my game when it comes to what I do, but I don’t like to praise my own work too much – I’m just honoured that people seem to legitimately enjoy seeing us play.”

D: “We’ve mostly played in Scotland – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, and Aberdeen – but we’ve started making our way down into England – Barrow-in-Furness (shout out to Matt/Almost Fatal Productions!), Newcastle, and Manchester. Touring the UK and elsewhere is definitely a goal for us, we’re in the very early stages of planning a UK tour for next year at the moment. Playing outside the UK would be amazing as well, so hopefully we can get out there when we can!”

R: “We are bringing thrash tightness and pace, and the evil feel of black metal. The energy onstage is definitely picking up as we become more adept at what we’re doing.
I’m happy so far with where we’ve played, people seem into booking us. We’ve been lucky to have played on some great lineups so far, we supported Inquisition in mid-July and that was a first class experience.  As for where we’re playing in the future, we are putting no limitations on where we play.”

What live thrash assaults have you currently got in the pipeline?
R: “As of now we have:
17th October – Banshee Labyrinth, Edinburgh
7th November – Ye Olde Northern Oak, Nottingham
8th November – Scruffy Murphy’s, Birmingham
9th November – The Yorkshire House, Lancaster
13th December – Bannermans, Edinburgh
Next year we have a UK tour in the works around easter time, and have plans to play in Europe somewhere (still deciding where!)”

Please tell us about the band name Nolti Nan Gana Nan Nolta and how come you decided to settle on such a hard to pronounce name? What does it mean? I take it is Gaelic?
R:  “Ha not Gaelic! This is a question we get a lot as you’d expect, and it’s got a good story behind it. It goes like this: I had a really vivid dream about 7 years ago or something, where I was some kind of spirit or demon and was fighting another similar being above a huge fire. I killed the other and gained some kind of power-up or maybe the opponent’s life force and was granted a title or name. I woke up with the name in my head and wrote it down, mind blown. The name was……..Jeremy…..no the name was Nolti Nan Gana Nan Nolta, I’ve always wanted to use it for something and this band seemed right for it. It didn’t fit instantly but now it fits like a glove, and we’re making it fit. Luckily these guys were into it.  I like the fact that my subconscious came up with it and that there’s no other name anything like it (that I know of)”

D: “And this is where the lyrics start relating to each other – the story is basically of the spirit and the fight, and then what happens after. Which includes raising undead armies, mass slaughter, grizzly deaths, that sort of thing. Violence and warfare on a universal scale.”

T: “The name certainly seems unusual to begin with – a bit ridiculous even, but given a few months it grew on me a lot. Words you’ve never heard before can seem weird until the thing which they stand for – the band – connects to them, which is what happened in this case. I can’t really imagine being called something else, now.”

What attracted you to old school black / thrash metal in the first place? What was it about such a style of music that made you want to form a band in this style? Which bands fuel and shape the sound of NNGNN influence-wise?
D: “When I first got into black thrash, it was through hearing a German band called Flagellator’s album ‘Channeling The Acheron’. It was just something completely unlike anything else I’d come across to that point, total furious energy. And so I wanted to play music that had that kind of drive and power behind it. As for influences, for me personally, Venom and Bathory (of course), Aura Noir, Destroyer 666, later Darkthrone, the aforementioned Flagellator… Loads of stuff, really. And that’s more the direct influences, there’s also things like Bal-Sagoth, or Helloween’s first EP and album…”

T: “The old-school side of things is definitely my preference; it often seems to have a closer tie to the real spirit of what metal is “about”, although that’s by no means a stance against bands doing anything new and  interesting. I don’t limit myself. Black thrash carries an energy and intensity which I’ve always admired. It’s a very empowering sub-genre, and often carries more atmosphere than straight-up thrash; everything from the filthy, rusty-nails sound of bands like Nocturnal, Abigail, and the like, right through to the majesty and swagger of something more grandiose, like Destroyer 666 or Ketzer. I gravitate towards both of those styles. Naturally, because I enjoyed listening to it, I wanted to play it too. As far as concious influences go with my drumming, the black-thrash bands I’ve already mentioned are definitely candidates. Ultimately, I don’t track my influences consciously – it just sort of happens, and I prefer it that way. When I contribute to songs, I draw from my idea of what works for me in black-thrash as a whole, not generally from specific bands.”

R: “As Tam (kind of) said, I think black thrash has got a lot of power because it’s got black metal intensity and thrash aggression. It’s good to have both weapons at our disposal! Sometimes we are not thrashing at all, and the black metal is at the forefront. I’ve played bluesy thrash and death metal in previous bands, but the kind of sound we are creating now is much more involved and empowering. At the end of the day we are setting out to play intense, evil music and it’s got to hit that nerve. There’s a certain mindset and psychology to writing something that can truly get that across, that’s the aim when it comes to the riffs and where they come from. For me it’s definitely not about trying to sound like other black thrash bands specifically. Absu are a great mix of extreme styles in a similar way to us, I think. Cruel Force and Terrorhammer are both absolute belters. I’ve been told we sometimes sound like Aura Noir, they’re definitely an influence. We’ve been compared to Venom and Celtic Frost as well, and obviously I’ll take that.”

Describe the band in 5 words only!
D: “Riffs, thrash, speed, power, UGH!”

T: “Irn Bru powered war machine.”

R: “Extreme blackened Newcastle Brown thrash.”

What is your opinion on both A/ the current UK thrash metal scene, and B/ The worldwide thrash metal revival that has taken the metal scene by storm in the past 7 years or so? Which current thrash bands out there do you feel an “affinity” with from both home and abroad?
R: “There are some cracking bands for sure. In particular there is a wave of old school/black type of thrash which we seem to be part of, along with Exxxekutioner and Insurgency. All 3 bands are pretty new. Obviously in Scotland we have Croatian-founded legends Evil Blood, as well as Black Talon, Amok, Thrashist Regime, Blackened Ritual. Risen Prophecy are also an outstanding band.”

T: “The UK thrash scene has always been a solid B+. It never quite hit the peaks which Germany and the USA did, back in the day, but it has always done its thing – it tends to make up for a lack of “huge” thrash bands by spawning interesting, quirky bands like Sabbat, and I think it still does that to some extent. The black thrash here is what I most notice, and at the moment that seems to be doing particularly well; Cultfinder, Satanic Dystopia, Craven Idol, and a few others. It’s very pleasing to see. As for the worldwide thrash revival itself, it’s like most movements of its sort; it has its ups and downs, plenty of derivative bands, but plenty of gems hidden amongst it too, managing to do something more fresh. Even the most stereotypical pizza-thrash outfits of the last decade often manage to be fun live though, which can be a real redeeming feature, for me.”

D: “I think the scene’s pretty healthy at the moment, as said above. Not just in the thrash scene as well – we’ve played quite a few gigs with bands that play old-school extreme metal of varying styles (whether that be death, doom, or black), but it all fits together, and the support is definitely there. Bands like Bonesaw, Uncoffined, Plague Rider, Live Burial, Blind Spite, and Fed To The Boars are all pretty different from our strain of blackthrash, but they’ve all been great to gig with and are worth supporting.
As for the more worldwide scene, I must admit I don’t follow it much. I tend to like my thrash old, blackened, or preferably both… And a lot of the “revival” bands don’t do it for me at all. Less party, more power! On a more positive note, I love the stuff that’s been coming out of the Kolbotn Thrashers Union bands. That’s the good stuff right there – especially Nekromantheon, Condor, and Deathhammer. And of course, the mighty Aura Noir and Darkthrone. I’d say that we feel an affinity with bands that play uncompromising extreme metal. This includes our friends in the UK scene, and bands we listen to from elsewhere – bands that play good music, for the right reasons, that support each other.”

What are your plans after the debut proper release is out? Are you guys fast songwriters and already have more new material in the pipeline?
D: “The next step is a full-length album. We have several completed songs that aren’t on the EP, and have a few more in the works. That will hopefully be out next year, assuming all goes well!”

T: “It’s looking like we’ll inevitably have more than enough material by the time it comes to recording a full-length. As for the moment, it looks like we’ll be playing live shows, refining and writing, for the immediate future.”

R: “What they said basically. Keep driving NNGNN forward, letting it evolve and improve. We are focused.”

The last words are yours, thanks for answering this short interview!
R: “Pronunciation: Nole-tee-nan-ganah-nan-nole-tah. Also, cheers for featuring us Kat!”

D: “Thanks for the interview, and thanks to everyone who checks out our music. Support the underground and listen to Evil Blood! UGH!”

T: “Not much for me to say that Rockwell and Duncan haven’t already. Thanks for the interview!”

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