Welcome , it's a big pleasure to have one of my favourite nowadays Black Metal bands on our zine. Two new releases of Nachtmystium appeared in the last months, first the "Worldfall" EP and now your new album, "Assassins: Black Meddle Part I". How do you feel after so much work? Is the response being good?
It was sort of necessary to have 2 releases to show the progress between instinct and assassins. we think they both turned out really well and the response has been really great.
I won't lie to you saying I liked this new album since the very first listen, as it's never like that with Nachtmystium's music since the last three recordings. "Assassins..." is not the kind of album that goes directly through your mind without apreciatting all its depth. But, please, let's start a bit sooner, since the very beginnings of the band, when you started just as a raw Black Metal act, not specially original, but with some strong attitude and good songs Did you ever think Nachtmystium would become the kind of band it has become years after all that evolution? How did you envision the band back then?
We've always appreciated progression in music and when it comes to the modern black metal scene, there's very little creativity or originality anymore. that probably changed the original vision of what the band was supposed to be. we're proud of this band's history and wouldn't change it for anything, but people change and so does music.
During that evolution, we already could see progressive/psychedelic traces here and there, specially from "Demise" and "Eulogy IV" until this new album, but they were slightly introduced until "Instinct: Decay", were finally they had a big role, and "Worldfall" continued that sound. Do you think it was natural that those influences appeared as the years passed or it was more because of a change in your personal influences and tastes? Is there a band that clearly had a big weight, as an influence, on that change?
All of the influences on our newer records have always been with us personally, it was just a matter of time before they showed themselves in the music. it just took a little bit of maturing bandwise and not caring what everyone else thought about it and only pleasing ourselves. obviously as we've stated before, bands like pink floyd, hawkwind, isis, etc. had a role in bringing a different sound.
You have more releases than other more reknown bands within the Black Metal scene, but it seems Nachtmystium didn't hit very hard in Europe until your last releases, even if now you're on the cover of Terrorizer mag. Was it due to a lack of promotion or there wasn't a big interest for your music from our side? I imagine the last tour had a good effect on that side. How was it? Which are the best memories you have about it? And the worse?
There was some interest in us doing tours in Europe prior to the Genghis Tron tour, but they weren't on the level that we wanted to work in. partly due to lack of promotion i guess due to everything before worldfall was basically released or affiliated in someway through battle kommand meaning all finances would come out of our pockets. our first euro tour was great for us, good crowds, good response, and many good times. other than a few small bumps in the road it was a very positive experience for us.
Having a look to the cover versions you did during your history, one can have some kind of idea of what influenced that sound. On one hand we have a big raw Black Metal background (you covered Darkthrone, Nargaroth, Burzum, Judas Iscariot, Ildjarn(gods!) and Von) and on the other some Sludge/Drone/Rock godfathers like Earth, Motörhead or Goatsnake, not to forget that great Death In June cover on the "Worldfall" EP, which always shows some kind of predilection for raw but droning and kind of prog/psychedelic feelings. Have all these elements been playing a role creating the sound of Nachtmystium? On which degree you feel closer to ones and the others?
I can't really say one is better or more important than any other. we just choose bands we have respect for and try to portray the song in a way that is pleasing to us as well as not detracting from the core of the original.
"Worldfall" can be seen as some kind of bridge between the raw psychedelic Black Metal of "Instinct: Decay" and the big change of sound with the new album. Was it meant to be like that? Did you need to show the progression correctly from one album to the other? I ask you because I know it was going to be a split with Leviathan, but finally wasn't, so I'd like to know if in fact it was recorded sooner or if it's more or less what I meant before.
Yeah, it was written and recorded over a year before we even starting writing for assassins. i don't think it was purposely supposed to be a bridge between the two, but i guess you could say it worked out that way.
That EP contains two new tracks, a re-recorded version of "Solitary Voyage", from "Demise", and two covers, Death In June's "Rose Clouds of Holocaust" and "IV" from Goatsnake. Why did you decide to re-record that "Demise" song? It sound really different now.
We felt the tempo and production of the original didn't really do the song justice, we had been playing it in the live setting a little differently and decided to it would be a good fit with the rest of the tracks on that ep
About Death In June's cover, I must admit I loved it, as a big fan of that band. Why did you cover them? Apart of that, I've seen Azentrius on some pics wearing Arditi and Puissance shirts, so I imagine you kind of like all that Neo-Folk/Dark Industrial scene, just like me. Don't you think it has been pretty misunderstood, as the most of extreme arts/music?
We're definitely big fans of those bands and that scene, so doing a death in june cover seemed natural for us. visually, i think alot of those bands are misinterpreted, but that's usually the case when critics base their views solely on image without even researching the content.
About "Assassins..." now, how would you describe it for somebody who never listened to Nachtmystium before? I must admit you have a unique sound, and I'm not sure I can call it Black Metal anymore, as there are too many different influences, ideas and sounds in there. If I had to compare your evolution to another band's, it easily would be Enslaved, not for the sound, but for the progression we were speaking before. What do you think about this? Do you feel any resemblance with them?
Yeah, we've gotten that comparison before and we take it as a compliment. there's not an Enslaved record i've ever been disappointed with. i don't really like trying to explain what we do to people, it's easier for them to just listen themselves. one of the descriptions i've heard recently was some guy in a record store saying we sounded like rogers waters doing black metal vocals in a punk rock band or something. that sort of sums it up i guess.
On this recording not only the psychedelic vibes are present, as we can find a varied mix of Black Metal(with more melody now), Prog'Rock, some seventies rocking vibes... Furthermore, there's a big step forward from you rawer recordings to a cleaner and heavier sound(even the old logo isnt' there!, hehe), with which I don't mean I see your music as more "accessible". Were you tired of the raw sound and the comparisons with classic Black Metal bands?
A rawer production on this record would've been pointless. there's quite a few things going on at certain points and those sounds would've been lost. we aren't really tired of a raw sound, it just doesn't fit the type of music we're doing anymore.
The cover and artwork of this new album are really cool and it's far from what we can expect from a Black Metal band. I feel a strong connection with Doom/Stoner from the eighties. Am I wrong? What does the girl cadaver on the cover represent and which is the connection with the lyrics?
There wasn't really some super in depth concept between the lyrics and the artwork. the idea that would become the cover presented itself and we felt it worked really well with the material, so we went with it.
Could you introduce us a bit into those lyrics? I'd like to do it through questions:
- What will happen "One Of These Nights"?:
- Who are the "Assassins" going to kill?:
- Why did those "Ghosts" lose their "Grace"?:
- How far is "Away From The Light"?:
- Why did you turn "Omnivore"?:
- What did enable the "Code Negative"?:
- When did he become "Your True Enemy"?:
- What do you do when you become "Seasick"?:
The lyrics are pretty straight forward to us personally, but i'd rather people take what they will from them on a person to person basis
I've seen on your myspace site that you're touring the US with Boris and Torche, two great bands. But, how is it for you to make a tour for such a different audience as you will find? Do you feel any pressure about the response? Is this showing a total change for Nachtmystium towards that kind of sounds or your heart will always remain on the "Black" side?
Playing with black metal bands is easy, people know what to expect and will stick around to watch you because they either love you or hate you. touring with bands such as torche is a little more challenging. their fans might not be aware of who we are so we have to prove ourselves to them you could say. obviously touring with bands like boris is what we would like to do more often, but obviously metal and black metal in particular is in our blood, and that won't change.
As this zine is focused between two scenes like Sludge/Drone and Black Metal/Doom, I'd like to know what do you think about the fact that those scenes had been coming closer recently, seeing labels of one side releasing stuff from the other and even cooperations of the artists, especially knowing that Azentrius was working on Twilight's album, with people from Xasthur, Leviathan or Isis, among others.
The two genres have always been somewhat related, the emotional aspects in the music show that. now it's just more noticeable to people, because labels like southern lord and hydrhead are introducing all of these black metal bands to the doom crowd and vice versa.
Well, I could go on for hours, but I imagine you've had enough answering my questions, so we can put an end to the interview here. Thank you very much for your time and let me tell you that it's a pleasure to have you on our first issue of Reacciones Negativas. Just add anything else you want...
Thanks a lot and hope to get back to Europe soon.
Gia Thanatos is a webzine dedicated to music for the apocalyptic times. No matter the scene or genre it comes from, and mainly chosen according to its author's taste.