Nosk Of The Void is a one-man black metal album/project from the mind of artist Chuck BB, begun in 2018 and based out of Los Angeles.
Though he’s never played in a band, BB has been tangentially involved in the metal community for over a decade, specifically through Decibel Magazine, where his comic strip Stone Cold Lazy has been running for 12+ years. In addition, what brought BB to Decibel was his comic book/graphic novel series, Black Metal (published by Oni Press), achieving the comic book world’s equivalent to an Oscar when he won an Eisner award for his work in Black Metal Vol. 1.
It only makes sense, then, that this award-winning visual artist takes the next step into the black metal void with Nosk of the Void, a tribute to the video game Hollow Knight, summoning inspiration from heavy greats like Darkthrone, Immortal, and Xasthur.
What the hell is Nosk of the Void?
Nosk of the Void is a true underground one-man black metal project. This album in particular is a tribute to the video game Hollow Knight. The name Nosk of the Void comes from the in-game creature, Nosk, who is a terrifyingly twisted version of the Hollow Knight dwelling in the deepest and darkest part of the maze. The void is darkness and emptiness.
How did you record this album?
Wherever I could find space, I put it towards this recording. The writing and recording happened simultaneously. It was difficult with a full-time job, and other personal and professional commitments. I tried to learn how to do everything, as this was my first time recording music. I would record before work, I would write and review songs while driving to and from work. I would set up in the bedroom, or bathroom, and very often the kitchen.
And if you hear the vocals, you will know why the downstairs neighbor was startled to hear the sounds of demons echoing through his bathroom pipes. I learned so much and grew a lot as an artist during this time.
What were your musical influences?
I wanted to make a black metal album, I’ve listened to so much of it for so long. But I didn’t want to ape anyone, I wanted it to sound like me. During writing and recording, I decided not to listen to black metal at all.
I listened to all kinds of stuff during that time, heavy, not heavy. Singer-songwriter stuff, prog, maybe even a rap or two. Pretty much whatever sounded good. But all of the black metal surely is an influence, from Darkthrone to Xasthur, it can’t not be.
How would you describe Nosk of the Void’s sound?
If I had to classify it, I’d say Atmospheric Black Metal is about as specific as I could get… For me, it is much more than that. I think there are a lot of different sounds within the album. But the atmosphere does loom large.
This album is an undercover tribute to the cult video game Hollow Knight? Can you speak about that? How does that sync with the genre of Black Metal?
Yes, it’s a strange and crazy thing to do, especially having never really recorded music. For me, Hollow Knight is very important, if not life-changing. I mean, I made an album about it, having never recorded music before, so yes… Life-changing.
Hollow Knight is an extremely challenging and expertly crafted piece of beautiful art. It has so many facets, the lore, the worldbuilding, all of it is so rich. It has a way of sticking with you, I can’t explain it – but you’ll think about it when you’re not playing it. Anyone who has really played it would agree. It is a winding game of dark claustrophobic pathways covered in spikes – something about it felt right for black metal.
How can you make Black Metal, living in sunny southern California?
The sun, it’ll kill you just like the snow given the chance. And let’s be honest, there isn’t black metal without the hell. In some ways I can’t imagine anything more hellish than the city of angels. I am not the first to recognize that. Additionally, I am sure the sound I created is influenced by the place I am from. But it’s black metal. Sure as shit.
You are a visual artist. You illustrated the graphic novel series Black Metal with writer & co-creator Rick Spears published by Oni Press. Tell us about that?
Yeah, it was an amazing project – I am very proud of that series. It’s a story about two twin black metal teens and their journey through metal into hell. I drew over 400 pages, more than that actually, I forget the number. It was really exciting as well, doing a comic about something I loved so dearly in Black Metal, and Metal generally.
Back then there wasn’t a lot of Metal in comics and pop culture – it got a lot of attention because of that, especially with metalheads. That was the most rewarding part, knowing that people I can identify with would connect over this.
You also have been writing and illustrating the comic strip Stone Cold Lazy at Decibel Magazine for over 12 years.
In fact – the comic Black Metal is how Decibel found out about me and reached out asking if I was interested in doing something with them. I was already a subscriber to that magazine, so it was a no-brainer. It’s hard to imagine that I have been doing it for so long, every month.
It’s actually pretty difficult making jokes about music. I have so much respect for everything involved in creating art – I don’t want to offend, but I also want to be honest to myself… and hopefully be funny!
How do you describe the relationship between visual art and music?
Well, basically it’s my feeling they are one and the same. A form of self-expression in the best of scenarios. You attack with a pencil, you attack with a key. I am no musical virtuoso, my skill has improved from all the work I did to make this record, but I have very far to go if I were to ever feel confident in the title of a musician. I am an artist, I make things that mean something to me. It’s important that what I make is true.
Interview conducted by Steven Perkins.
Nosk of the Void is out now and available for purchase and streaming over at Bandcamp here.