Conforming to a certain genre is no longer the norm in the electronic music industry. Artists nowadays are looking for ways to separate themselves from the masses and make a lasting impact on listeners. Rather than following the common fads or trends, it is those standout artists that can vividly tell a story and exemplify unique complexities in their songs that leave us having their tracks on repeat. Dave Nothaker, otherwise known as NOTAKER, is a perfect example of how this is being done with our breakthrough artists of today. Notaker has disrupted the electronic music industry over the last couple years releasing EP's under some of the biggest names in music, Monstercat and most recently Mau5trap. We had the opportunity to sit down with Notaker and talk about his recently released EP 'EREBUS I' and his progression as an artist.
For the readers who may not be too familiar with Notaker, tell us about yourself.
Well, my name's Dave, I'm an electronic musician from St. Louis Missouri, and write music under my artist name Notaker which also happens to be my last name (Nothaker). What separates me from the rest is my ability to tell stories through my music using song mood, artwork, and sci/fi space type concepts.
What type of music did you listen to growing up?
Growing up I went through many phases but in general I loved to listen to all kinds of music. For a while I was huge into skateboarding and watching skate videos, from that passion I listened to a lot of music I heard in those videos and dove into a lot of those artists. It was always pretty wide ranging from David Bowie to RJD2 to NAS to Stevie Wonder. It was a weird way to get all kinds of influences from all over.
When did you discover your love for electronic music and who are some of your idols/ inspirations?
I'd always kind of liked electronic music but I never really knew what to call it, it was all just beats to me. I think after I went to my first rave, experienced the culture, the energy of the music it all kind of came into perspective for me.
At what age did you start producing electronic music?
I began producing at 20 years old, so this will be my eighth year writing music, about my fifth year writing seriously.
How did your family respond when you decided you wanted to pursue a career in music?
I think it was a general, "huh? you can do that, hmm ok ¯\_(ツ)_/¯" My family is pretty supportive of it. It makes me happy and I think they see that.
How would you say your music has evolved since when you first started producing?
Well my initial productions were rooted in trance. That was really the first style that made an impact on me and the first style I wanted to produce. So I tried trance for a while and over time I moved more into progressive and house music and found my sound there. Later on I began producing less "DJ set formula" type music and began experimenting at more lower tempos with the same mood of my progressive sound and I think that's where most people know me for.
Tell us about your new EP, Erebus I, that was released under MAU5TRAP.
This EP is my third artist EP and my second Vessel EP. The goal for this EP was to go deeper with the story telling using the vessel. I really wanted to bring my passion for sci-fi and space to the art and associate that strongly with the music. It's much darker than my previous work but I think it came together really nicely and fits well with mau5trap.
Your music really exhibits the theme of sci-fi and space, where do you find your inspiration for your music currently and how has that evolved overtime?
I think a lot of it comes from movies I love. Fillms like A Space Odyssey: 2001, Alien, and Interstellar were all big inspirations for EREBUS I and the story behind that EP. Making electronic music which in general sounds like it could be sci-fi movie music helps evoke the liking of those concepts and ideas in the movies.
Talk to us about “The Vessel”.
The Vessel is a device that I developed to take my listeners on a journey with me through space and time, to different worlds and other dimensions. It's a fun way to tell stories and infuse my music and art with my love for sci-fi and space.
Releasing an EP under MAU5TRAP is a huge milestone in many artist’s careers, as an artist do you feel like “you’ve made it?”, if so was there a certain time or event that took place that made you feel this way?
I have that feeling when I reach these milestones but I think as an artists I'm always looking forward to the next thing. It's amazing to get to release music with one of my favorite labels but I'm usually focusing on what I want to do next, what stories are left to tell, what direction I want my music to go in. So in short I feel like there's always more for me to do and that I need to keep striving for better.
What type of legacy do you want your music to leave?
If I can look back in 10 years and be proud about my music and feel like it added something new and innovative to the world that would be fantastic.
What advice would you give young, aspiring producers, djs, and youth interested in a music career?
Have fun writing music, don't worry too much about the business side of things.
What can we expect from Notaker in the future?
Much more music, more performances, and more story telling.