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Nachtmystium - Road Warriors

Discussion in 'Metal Interviews' started by Opeth17, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. Opeth17

    Opeth17 Bill Ward's Red Pants

    Oct 21, 2003
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    The Southland
    [IMGLEFT][/IMGLEFT]By Josh Phillips

    I caught up with Nachtmystium on their North American tour with 1349. What unfolded there is here now for all to see and likely ranks as one of the better drunken rambles of our time. Straight from the rapist van come the words of Nachtmystium's creative leader Azentrius, truly one of the most down-to-earth, funny and real people in metal today. Enjoy.

    You don’t want to be associated with the black metal genre. What is it about the bands and musicians who consider themselves a part of the black metal scene today that most turns you away?

    Basically, just that there is an overwhelming lack of creativity in the scene today. There’s so few bands doing anything interesting and it’s easy to reproduce garbage. 9 out of 10 bands are Darkthrone knock-offs, Darkthrone is great, and even early Deathspell Omega is a Darkthrone clone and early Katharsis could be labeled as that, but it’s effective. Black metal is so accessible, it’s such a myspace thing, everybody is all over that shit everywhere and it’s lost it’s appeal. That’s why we took our shit off, we burned for that shit, that’s where I come from, but I also have a very unique understanding of that fact that it’s not the way it was anymore. Not to sound like some old school hard ass, and I’m not that old school, 24, but I caught the late nineties and things are different. There was a mystique still and it’s not there anymore and that’s why we’ve abandoned it and we wanna do our own fuckin’ thing.

    Do you still listen to modern bands tagged as black metal such as Deathspell Omega, Taake, and Krohm, or do you mainly stick to the classics for this type of music?

    All of the stuff you mentioned are bands that I like, I mean I’m not oblivious to the scene, I run a label and distro so whether I really like it or not, I have to keep up on stuff that if it’s selling, I run a business, so I have to be aware of it and a lot of bands are great. I love Antaeus, Deathspell, I like all the NED (Norma Evangelium Diaboli) stuff and I like a lot of other bands. I like the stuff on this label, Ván, this label from Germany, bands like Ruins of Beverast, I licensed a record from them, Kermania, Funeral Procession. There’s still an effective underground scene out there, there are great bands that lurk kind of in the shadows, but the problem is that there are these great bands and they’re overshadowed by the amount of garbage coming out and nobody knows shit. We’re out on tour with these guys and people accuse us of being all rock star or whatever but the Norwegians (1349) don’t even know who the fuck we are when we get here so there’s so much happening that even a band that gets exposure like we have will go unnoticed in other countries or wherever abroad and that’s due to it being so easy to get a drum machine, get a four track, learn how to play some power chords and make a black metal record.


    A lot of people associate your band with the current USBM scene and bands such as Leviathan, Weakling, Xasthur, etc. You’ve worked with some of these bands in the past and present, so do you mind having Nachtmystium compared to them musically?

    Not at all. I don’t mind being compared to those bands because a lot of them - Leviathan and Xasthur, until recently. Well we didn’t have a falling out with him or anything, Scott has just become increasingly hard to work with, and he’s an isolationist, not in like the weird way he’s portrayed in the press.

    Yeah, it’s like there’s this mystique around him.

    Yeah, but you meet the fucking guy, I mean he eats, shits, sleeps and pisses just like everyone else. Anyway, you hear in the press who he is or what he is, the guy’s fucking human and he’s totally cool, he laughs, he cries, he watches movies, it’s so irritating because people are like, “Tell me about Xasthur!” and it’s like dude, you’d be so disappointed. The dude’s a weirdo for sure, but so are all of us, we’re not really that much different. But with Leviathan and Weakling, being compared to that as opposed to many of the other bands I won’t say the names of, we all know who else is out there right now. If our band is gonna be associated with people, I want it to be with people whom I respect. That’s why I started Twilight, I wrote to all those guys. I met Jeff from Leviathan and Scott from Xasthur, I’ve known Scott since 2000 and Jeff since 2002 and Krieg and I go back fuckin’ 10 and half years now at least. We put that together because we felt that we were uniquely different from the other bands that we were hanging out with. We were all kind of on a personal level, we got along better, we didn’t have the scene mentality and that’s why we started the little “clique” of us or whatever you wanna call it. Now the press has made it so fucking gay or whatever, but I’ve worked with those guys for years and being associated with them is not an insult to me at all, those are the people I respect the most.

    Obviously, Nachtmystium has evolved a lot since the early releases to Instict: Decay. Now you incorporate more psychedelic elements in your sound. Do you think that at some point, the band will evolve beyond the metal genre itself or do you always see some of its trademark elements, such as harsh vocals, as a part of your sound?

    I would really like to change it up to that point. I think Nachtmystium is an adventurous band, considering where we came from, but I do have the purist in me, so Nachtmystium will always be a metal band, no matter what, and if I wanna change it, like I’m hoping by the time I stop playing really harsh music and start doing stuff maybe more like Isis, because I’m into that shit like Isis and Neurosis, and I would love to do music like that but to label it as Nachtmystium would be hard because we’ve changed a little bit. I mean, the split with Leviathan, we did some really weird shit, lot of clean vocals, almost kind of Isis-y, really spaced out or whatever, but there’s still that core there and I think that will always be there to some degree no matter what. If I do go off and do something entirely different, I’m gonna call it something else. You have to have a respect for your own past, you know I don’t wanna go down as, to use a really broad term, like a Metallica or someone who did one thing and then did something else and I don’t want anyone to ever feel that way about us and I want them to know we always stayed true to our roots to a certain degree.

    There are artists out there, such as Hank III, who have infused dark lyrics and ideology into a form of music where you wouldn’t expect to find it and it has come out as a pretty amazing thing. Have you considered forming a vastly different side project that in a similar way could express your viewpoints through a very different medium?

    Absolutely. You wrote that question man? You know Hank III, my respect level just raised like 50 points right there man. I love that shit. I’m a huge Danzig fan, actually, I love the first four Danzig records, we’ve played those more in this vehicle in four weeks than all the other music we have here, we’ve listened to all of them like ten times and that’s kind of my normal thing whether I’m on the road or not. If I did something totally, totally different and whacked it would be along those lines like a fuckin’ sleazy, bluesy, 50s rock and roll combo. I love horror punk and I have a lot of friends who are into the psychobilly scene. My old roommate is in this band called The Massacres, they’re fucking incredible and it’s sort of like 50s horror punk rockabilly and I love that kind of shit. So if I did do something different it’d be like that. But I think that stuff is almost as extreme as metal because it’s like perverted punk rock with surf rock influence and the misfits fuckin’ makeup, it’s rad you know. Very cool.


    A lot of bands who play in a similar style discount the value of live shows and don’t see them as a part of their style. What is it that draws you to perform live for an audience?

    I’m not a misanthropist, I enjoy the company of others. I find myself to get really miserable if I’m at home for extended periods of time and considering that I’m a metalhead, I know how to do one thing and do it really well, I pay my bills with it, between the band and my label, but if I was shafted into any other part of life and had to have a day job, or something like that, I wouldn’t function, and that’s how a lot of these people are, but unfortunately, I don’t come from a background or family that will support my 30 year old ass while I don’t work and live at home. I have enough self-respect and personal dignity that I will find a way to make metal work for me without fuckin’ cheesing out, but I’m gonna get my bills paid and it’s a 75-80 hour a week job all the time or being on tour for four weeks, traveling from city to city, but I never complain about it at all. If I was doing this to go to work for someone else, traveling this much, I’d fucking kill myself, my boss and blow up the vehicle I was driving. But, doing this, this is what I fuckin’ bleed for and that’s metal to me. That’s why it always cracks me up when anyone cracks on us at all, because it’s like, dude, you don’t even fucking know at all. Go out there and road dog it, like you could call us rock stars or something because we answered Decibel’s interview? Fuck you dude, we live in this fucking rapist van man. We sleep in here, we shit in here, we fuck in here, we do drugs in here and we just go drive around and hang out with motherfuckers like these guys, yeah we do an awful lot of that. But yeah, this is where it’s at, I can’t do anything else, this is all I know and bands that don’t want to tour that means maybe they have jobs, maybe they can function in more of the societal thing, but for me, I look at life through a Satanist’s perspective almost without being a douche to anyone, that’s totally private to you, but to me a Satanist ascends, a Satanist answers to no one and rich-poor societal standards are irrelevant to me.

    What I know is that I’m a fuckin’ dirtbag and I do exactly what I want and I never worry about paying my bills. What the fuck’s wrong with that? And I hang out with people and I’m not a dickhead to anybody, I try to just fucking be cool, yeah some people come out and like our band, but we’re small fuckin’ peanuts. Look at the real industry, fuck that. This is why we’re here and it’s cool that people who don’t really know us pick up on our vibe. We are the real deal, not to talk ourselves up, but whether you like our music or not we’re living metal. We’re not getting rich, we’re not being assholes, we’re not denying people if they want us to sign something or they wanna hang out and buy a shot or do a shot with us or whatever. Not one person who plays in this band or travels with us would ever be rude to any of those people and that’s what it’s about. I’ve met so many bands that I love and I hang out with them for fuckin’ 5 minutes and I’m just like gag me with a spoon, this guy’s a fuckin’ rock star egomaniac prick and that’s not what it’s about at all. That’s why we travel.

    Have you played outside of the United States and if you had a choice of where to play a show anywhere in the world, where do you think you would go and why?

    Dude, we actually just went to Canada on this trip. We did four shows, it was cool. It was French Canada, which was really strange. We have tons of contacts in Vancouver, British Columia in general, Edmonton and Ontario, but the french-speaking provinces, I don’t know a lot people up there and even with my label, I know there’s a metal-scene thriving there, but I’ve had minimal contact, so it was kind of interesting. Montreal and Quebec, the crowds were cool to us, but I really don’t think we’ve been exposed up there as much. We didn’t know what to expect and I don’t think they knew what to expect. The crowds we’re cool though. Then we went to Royun Noranda and that was the fuckin’ place to be. We drove eight hours north of Montreal straight through the fucking woods. Four hours without even an exit or a rest area, not even a toilet, much less a gas station or anything else and we got up to this little fucking town and these people were out of control, man. Shooting cocaine, partying like maniacs, they were such savages and the crowd was amazing So, considering that that’s the only city in another country that I’ve ever played that I had a particularly good experience, I’d say go there. We’ve had opportunities to go to Europe before and it was just never a good move. We were not at a level where we’re at now where we are dealing with real booking agents, tour managers, people who have done this before and are organized. A lot of people have great intentions and want to put shit together, but after doing things the way we do it now, to go over and do something that I would consider more rinky-dink and DIY, not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just that we’re now at a place that we wanna do what we’re doing right now which is very organized and almost militant in scheduling and everything else. We want to do that in Europe, we don’t want to go over there and have some guy who’s really trying to bust his ass for us, but it’s not what we’re used to and when you’re not getting what you’re used to, you’re not having a good time. It’s not being a rock star, but it’s like yeah having cold cut sandwiches waiting for us at the venue so we can eat today because we’re making a hundred dollars tonight. There’s little shit you come to want and I’ve shied away from the European offers we’ve gotten because of that.

    You seem to have a wide range of influences that you draw from to create music. What artist do you think would most surprise your listeners to note has been a big influence for you and do you think there is any single band that has had the most influence for you?

    For ages I’ve always talked about Pink Floyd and because I’ve said those two words so many times, everytime anyone at a higher level has interviewed us we always get this Pink Floyd worship. Which it is, and that is my favorite band of all time and it’s not The Wall or Dark Side of the Moon, it’s like metal Atom Heart Mother, fucking Secrets, The Final Cut, all that shit. I do love the classics. My first concerts were like The Allman Brothers, Steely Dan. I saw Steely Dan when I was in third grade. When I hear Steely Dan I wanna get my teeth drilled now, but when I was in third grade, I thought it was pretty fucking cool. I have great parents as far as music fans goes and they are the reason, even though they probably hated themselves when I was about 13 to 20 when I was still living in the house as a metalhead, but they played me Led Zeppelin, they played me Cream, they played me Pink Floyd, they played me Steely Dan. I keep saying Steely Dan cause it’s kind of funny but my real influences were more like, my earliest memories of listening to music, I was a huge Beatles fan. But it was late era Beatles, it was Abbey Road, the White Album. Nowadays I don’t really like that stuff, but at the time it was just something I was connecting with and from then, I’ve always wanted to play music. I was huge into the Talking Heads when I was in Elementary school, that’s so much cooler than Dr. Dre and all that shit that was coming out at the time that all my peers were listening to and I was into that other kind of shit. That was all a huge influence on me just because I would see these guys playing music that I was exposed to and I was like “I wanna do that.” So, I would say, the weird shit that I like that might throw people off? I like roots reggae a lot like Peter Tosh and Bob Marley are a given, but also obscure shit. It’s not like my favorite shit, but when I’m at home working it’s really nice cause I get stoned all day while I’m doing my shit and it’s like way less chaotic to listen to something mellow like that than to put on my own stuff and be like AAAHHH! Freaking out. I’m way into Portishead, Square Pusher, Aphex Twin. The only thing that I don’t get into that a lot of metalheads do is classical music. I respect it and appreciate it, my girlfriend’s really into it, but I don’t connect with it at all, it’s not my thing. The cool thing about Nachtmystium is that we don’t know how to play our instruments, we don’t take lessons. Some of the guys I play with know how to play their instruments really well, but I personally stopped learning intentionally because I don’t wanna learn to be a soloist because then I’ll never be able to write a song.


    I’ve always maintained that the music bears the most importance to the listener, with lyrics being a secondary element to the product. Some believe they have equal importance or that it’s the ideology that matters most. Where do you stand on this and which do you generally write first?

    I was never really into lyrics. Obviously we have lyrics, but Instinct: Decay and Eulogy IV were the first records that I actually really wrote lyrics for. The music always comes first. When I write the music, I'm just feeding off of a personal vibe, good, bad, drugged, whatever. My state of mind is causing me to want to play my guitar and be creative and I don't even try to connect with what I'm feeling, I just try to put it out through the instrument, which is kinda weird because most guys would be like "I'm really sad so I wanna write a sad song." I'll be really sad and write a really angry song, I just go with it. From that I develop an idea for a lyrical theme and things like that. Nowadays it's way more important to me and that's because, as I was saying earlier, I feel black metal is lacking right now. There's a lot of bands that are just "Satan and goats oh geez." Old news, that's not fucking evil. I'm a super nice guy but I connect with the sinister side of life. There's that fuckin' sick, horrible side in my head and that's what comes out with the music and the lyrics. That's where I let it out, I don't bring it into my day-to-day life and social situations of any type. I release that hate, aggression and negativity with the lyrics and the music. Music comes first and then lyrics are based off of that.

    Interviewer's note: Markus from Nachtmystium has a side project coming out entitled Blood of Martyrs. It's based around black metal elements but goes far beyond it in ways few have explored. This is transcendental, trippy, ancient music. Ambience is used well, unlike some other acts where it might put you to sleep, this band uses it to great effect to create some skin-crawling moments. This is dark, epic music with double-digit length songs. There are thrashy, heavy metal riffs, covered in the smoke of psychedelia. If you think black metal is in need of something new, real and genuinely evil, you'll want to keep your eye out for a future release from this band.

    Nachtmystium’s Official Website
    Century Media’s Official Website

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