An ambient electronic group steeped in northern sounds is making its Fairbanks debut Saturday.
It’s sort of a homecoming for the group Nrrth, stylized “Nrrth” and pronounced “North.” Comprised of Rebecca Menzia, Josh Jeffries and Laila O’Sullivan, the three members each have deep Fairbanks roots, having lived, worked and performed in Fairbanks in years past. Menzia is a founding member of the former group Harm, of which O’Sullivan was a member, and Jeffries and O’Sullivan perform together in the band Kittiwake. Jeffries also performs electronica under the name Gardenss.
All three have performed at the UAF Pub, The Marlin, The Blue Loon, and at various venues and house concerts in Interior Alaska, as well as on stages throughout Alaska. Harm also performed tours in the Lower 48.
Nrrth, the trio’s excursion into group electronica, formed in early summer with Menzia and Jeffries working on songs and making their debut in September.
“It definitely feels like a homecoming for all of us,” Menzia said of their return to Fairbanks. “The three of us have been collaborating in various ways for almost 15 years.”
With Nrrth, the trio expanded into the ambient world, focusing on a source of inspiration that surrounds us all: the North itself. Their concept is to capture the soundscape and lyrical content of the North and translate that into an enveloping, melodic auditory experience.
“We can struggle with genre a little bit. It’s vocal heavy electro pop, lots of melodic focus,” Menzia said. “It’s really dynamic music. I wanted to start a band that was fun and easy and still end up making very nuanced, dynamic music.”
Earlier this year, the Rasmuson Foundation bestowed Menzia with a project award, which helped in Nrrth’s creation. Menzia credits the grant with making it all happen.
“It was my goal for years to learn how to make electronic music,” she said. “Josh said he wanted to be involved, and he’s probably the most prolific electronic artist in the state. He’s like my mentor.”
All three members pitch in, with Menzia and Jeffries taking on music creation and production, and Menzia and O’Sullivan offering vocals. Menzia helms the group’s lyrics.
“I appreciate a lot of nuance in music,” Menzia said. “I find with a lot of electronic music, it’s not hard to do but it’s hard to do well. The details have to be so specific. It’s how you put your own touch on it to bring out the nuance.”
The group has performed twice at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center and has gigs lined up for when they return to Southcentral, which is where they call home. For now, the trip north to Fairbanks came with one goal — to introduce Nrrth to a new audience.
“We had a pretty intense summer composing music and getting it off the ground,” Menzia said. “Now, it’s the fun part.”
Contact Features Editor Gary Black at 459-7504 or at twitter.com/FDNMfeatures.
If You Go
What: Nrrth, with Fat Trophy Wife and DJ Ga$h Money
When:10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16
Where: The Marlin, 3412 College Road
Cost: $5 at the door