Thursday, March 23, 2017

Grá - Ramsvarta Tankar (NEW VIDEO OUT!)

   Swedish black metal act Grá have just released their new music video today, March 24, 2017. Here's “Ramsvarta Tankar”, by Carnal Records, March 24, 2017. You can find my full interview with frontman Andreas Heljarmaðr HERE . Enjoy, folks! 








http://grahorde.com/
https://www.facebook.com/graofficial/
http://grahorde.bandcamp.com/
http://www.youtube.com/grahorde 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Interview: Blake Judd (NACHTMYSTIUM)

    Probably one of the most appreciated psychedelic black metal bands, with a tumultous background. Wicked music, intertwined with the vicious claws of excess. After a long time of quasi-silence, Blake Judd is here to discuss some black metal, an ample story telling the nightmarish years of addiction, successes, as well as things he is now less proud of. And most of all, plans!

pdn: Hello, Blake. Thank you for accepting to have an open conversation with me about your creative, yet turbulent implication in the metal scene.
Please tell us a bit about the time you first got into metal; what were your favourite/ inspirational bands, and usual activities that you used to love, that kind of came with

the music.

Blake:
Hello, Laura!  First off, I’d like to open this interview by thanking you, specifically, for reaching out to me, wanting to do this interview. I have been completely silent in the music press since very shortly after Nachtmystium’s final album (“The World We Left Behind” LP, 2014, released worldwide on CD / gatefold double LP and digitally on Century Media Records) due to the turbulent and awful state that my life was in at the time and continued to be in for quite sometime after. We’ll get into all that here in the following questions, though.  Now, to answer your question….the first metal music I ever heard was around 1991, and it was Metallica’s “Black Album” and Guns N Roses “Use Your Illusion” albums….just whatever tracks were getting played on the radio at the time.  I was about 8 or 9 years old then.  I just remember being blown away at how heavy sounding those songs were (especially the Metallica tracks they were playing….I remember really getting hooked to the track “Wherever I May Roam”. That song is what officially turned my into a metal head and changed my life forever.)  As I grew older, I progressed into more extreme and underground metal stuff.  I was probably 11 or 12 when I first heard Slayer’s “Reign in Blood”, and then I was turned onto the Emperor self-titled EP and Enslaved’s “Hordanes Land” EP (which had been released together as a split CD by Candlelight Records.  That was the first extreme metal I’d ever heard at all, and it completely changed my life forever.  I knew the first time I heard “I Am The Black Wizards” from that Emperor EP that I had finally found the music style I’d been looking for my whole life.  The rest in history, haha!

pdn: Which band would you say was the most fun to tour with so far and why?

Blake:
Oh wow, thats a tough question, and for many reasons.  First off, I was so blessed in terms of having been able to tour as much and as frequently as I did between when Nachtmystium started touring in 2005 and our final tour in 2012. I got to tour with many bands whom I’d been a big fan of for many years, and also bands whom I became a big fan of as a result of touring with them. I can’t really think of any bands i didn’t have a good time with, to be honest with you. However, if I had to pick three bands we toured with just off the top of my head whom I had a really memorable time with, I’d have to say: 1. Watain.  We did their first ever U.S. tour in 2007 along with Angelcorpse.  That tour was absolute chaos and so much fun. 2. Eyehategod and Brutal Truth in North America in summer of 2010.  Just an awesome tour package and everyone in both of those bands were so cool and fun, plus it was EHG’s first tour in close to a decade as I recall, and it was also Brutal Truth’s final shows before breaking up after a long career pioneering the grind movement, so it was a huge honor to have been able to be a part of that.  3. Cradle of Filth North America March/April 2011. I am not really a fan of COF’s music, but they were the nicest fuckin’ guys and easily one of the biggest bands (in terms of success and drawing very large crowds) we ever had the opportunity to do a full tour with. That was the longest tour we ever did (7 weeks) and we were direct support to them for the whole thing, so we got a 45 minute set every night, got a proper sound check every single night and we were making enough money that we could afford to have a full road crew on that tour, so having our own front of house soundman playing in very large theaters every night resulted in us sounding about as good as a band can sound in the live environment, plus we had the best live line up we ever had during that time period and we were ridiculously tight...so, put all those factors together and the result was a very successful, extremely fun and extremely lucrative tour for us.  I truly felt like we had “made it” as a band on that trip. Those were the 7 most rewarding weeks of my life as a member of Nachtmystium.  A decade of extremely hard work and dedication really paid off on that one, I felt.

pdn: If you could pick three albums to take with you on some empty planet, which would those be? (Except your own releases, haha!)

Blake:
Pink Floyd - “Wish You Were Here”, Ministry “Filthpig” and a tie between Placebo “Without You I’m Nothing” and Swans “White Light From The Mouth of Infinity”.  Those are four of my very favorite albums of all time.

pdn: You have made some statements that show you don't like bands labeled as "modern black metal" too much. What are the bands that, opposingly, you do love that had are legendary and you feel have never mixed outside elements with BM? I also have a feeling you don't like the limits that labeling implies, judging by your impulsivity in sound (which can be much more expressed)

Blake:
As for black metal, Burzum has always been my favorite BM band. I feel the first four Burzum records embody everything I love about the 2nd wave style of BM that was primarily coming out of Scandinavia in the early-to-mid 90’s. The atmosphere, the production, the hypnotic, droning vibes of many of the songs (especially on the latter two of the first four albums) all perfectly embody what I love about that style and that era of BM.  No one had ever done anything like it before.  Its truly innovating music and to this day, it still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I hear it. A few other bands I really enjoy who arr active today and doing very creative, ground-breaking and boundary-pushing work, I feel, are Blut Aus Nord, Deathspell Omega, Deafheaven, and Leviathan. Those bands can seem to do no wrong in my ears.

pdn: You were involved in several bands on the Nachtmystium, that started as a side-project itself, yet it might somehow be the one you are closest to, maybe? These bands shifted between members a lot. How much do you think that affected the outcoming music?

Blake:
Well, the bands i was most active and involved with were (obviously) Nachtmystium and Twilight.  Twilight was just a studio project, though.  Not so much a band.  Both bands / projects definitely had a rotating cast of characters over the years though, and that certainly affected the music coming our of both bands. Nachtmystium’s line up changed frequently generally because I needed people who could keep up with the relentless touring schedule that I liked to keep. The second someone couldn’t keep up with the touring, they were generally replaced. I tried to keep line ups that got along well together as long as possible, but it seemed like there was always someone on their way out and someone new on their way in in that band. Of course, this affected the bands sound. As for the records, though, I did the majority of the song writing (contrary to what some assholes on the internet like to say...nothing offends me more than reading people making the comment that I didn’t write my own music in Nachtmystium. I didn’t write all of it, but its fair to say I wrote 85% of it, at least. Chris Black, our long-time producer, helped me tremendously with arrangements and lyrics, however. That was never denied or a secret, though. I hired him initially to help me do the things I was convinced could be better. He really helped me glue my ideas together and take my vision for what I wanted the band to sound like and really perfect that vision.  We made a hell of a team, in my opinion.  Add Sanford Parker to that equation when we did “Assassins” in 2007 (he stayed on board for the following two full-length LP’s and a slew of EP’s in the wake of that record as well) and we had the perfect team for Nachtmystium between the three of us, and subsequently made our three best albums together (“Assassins: Black Meddle Pt. I”, “Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. II”, and “Silencing Machine”)  With Twilight, the core of the music writing was always handled by Wrest (Leviathan) and myself, and the lyrics / vocals (and a song or two worth of music) was always handled by N. Imperial (Krieg) and then we’d add different folks to the studio line up to kind of add to our foundation on each record.  Namely, Malefic from Xasthur on the debut self-titled album in ‘04, Aaron Turner (Isis), Stavros Giannopolous (The Atlas Moth) and Robert Lowe (Lichens / OM) on “Monument To Time End” in ‘09, and then Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) on “Beneath The Tridents Tomb” in 2012.  So, thats where the variations in the sounds of those albums came from.

pdn: You've released an LP with your side-project called Hate Meditation in 2013, "Scars". It is a little bit different than Nachtmystium, not as experimental. Was there a source of raw black metal lurking inside that needs and outlet sometimes? Do you plan such projects in for the future?



Blake:
Hate Meditation is a project I formed in 2003 basically to pay homage to bands from the 90's second wave of black metal that got me into the genre in the first place. Ildjarn, Von, Beherit, Profanatica, Blasphemy, etc were all big influences on the intial demo, "Condemned To Death", that I recorded in 2003 and released only about 20-30 cassette copies of. The project then laid dormant for many, many years. In October of 2012, I finally put a line up together that consisted of would-be Nachtmystium drummer, Sam Shroyer (who played on the final Nachtmystium album, "The World We Left Behind", in 2013), and Job "Phenex" Bos, a Dutch guy who had been playing synths for German black metal band Dark Fortress, whom supported Nachtmystium on a thorough European headlining tour in April, 2012. Thats how I met him. We decided on that tour that we should work together, and then I met Sam while record shopping one day in Chicago shortly after that tour...and hence Hate Meditation was reborn. The "Scars" LP (released on Indie Recordings, Norway on CD, LP and digitally) was more influenced by the early 90's Scandinavian black metal recordings that I adored growing up. Theres a very obvious early Emperor and "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" influence on the album. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out and that also, after nine years of procrastination, I finally somehow managed to write, record and release the album. That record was made during the height of my heroin use. How I managed to get it done still blows my mind, considering what a mess I was. My (now ex) wife and I had just split up in August, 2012 and I was absolutely spiraling more out of control than ever in the months that followed. Anyways...as for projects in the future like Hate Meditation, or another Hate Meditation record....I'd say both are highly unlikely. I've made plenty of black metal records. If i start a new band or project, chances are it won't even be a metal band, much less a black metal band or project. My interests creatively lie way more in the indie rock / shoegaze and electronic spectrum these days.

pdn: The last Nachtmystium album "The World We Left Behind" was either loved or hated. Do you feel like the opinions are honest or they come affected by the personal problems, as in some people cannot separate artist from music?

Blake:
I can say with almost total certainty that 90% of the negative reaction to "The World We Left Behind" had nothing to do with the music within the album. Some of Nachtmystium's best material is present on that record, and fans who looked at the album objectively nearly all agree with that point. Sure, like any of our (and any other bands) records, theres certain songs that aren't as strong as others, but overall it's far from a bad record, in my opinion. Considering I used a bare bones line up during the initial recording sessions (me, a bass player and a drummer wrote and recorded that album before the other two people credited on it stepped in to add their contributions) and I handled literally 90-95% of the writing musically along with 100% of the lyrics, which I hadn't done since "Instinct: Decay" on the musical side of things (and lyrically since "Eulogy IV"), I had gotten very used to the group effort working with people like Chris Black and Sanford Parker, both of whom had massive influence creatively on both "Black Meddle" albums and "Silencing Machine". So, all things considered (and the fact I was still battling serious heroin addiction throughout the entire recording session, which included me being in withdrawals aka 'dopesick' for half or more of the recording sessions due to the fact I intentionally went to Wisconsin, far away from Chicago, to record the album for the specific purpose of getting away from the distraction of drugs during the sessions) I think I did a pretty good job. I don't really care if people like it or not, that was never my concern making any of my records, but I think its unfortunate that some fans of the bands previous works shunned the album because they chose (or continue to choose today) to not be able to separate the art from the artist. That's the way it is though, such is life. I know I put my heart into that album as much (if not moreso, because I knew it was going to be the last one) as I did any other previous record of mine.

pdn: You have admittedly had substance abuse problems over the years. What was the worst experience you've had during your darkest hours?

Blake:
Indeed I have. I have been battling addiction in one form or another since I was a teenager.  Well, actually, I’ve been battling addictive behavior my whole life.  I am the text book example of an addict, behaviorally.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of starting to use drugs at a very early age. Like most drug users, it began with pot, drinking and psychedelics like LSD and mushrooms in my early teenage years.  When I was 17, I tried cocaine for my first time (ironically, the same year I started Nachtmystium) and I fell in love with it immediately. I also tried ecstasy for the first time around this time, which I also greatly enjoyed. This was the beginning of a long run of abusing hard drugs. I could never get enough. It became a part of who I was. I “wore it on my sleeve”, so to speak.  Anyone that knew me through these years knew me as the guy who always had a bag of something in my pocket and that I’d do just about anything I could get my hands on and put up my nose.  However, I never touched heroin (or any opiate, for that matter) or anything that involved a needle throughout my early and mid 20’s. I stayed away from drugs like oxycontin and heroin because I knew I was an addict and that if I started playing with that shit, that’d be the one that would “get me”. Boy was i right. When I was 27, I had an accident.  In March, 2009, I slipped on a wet floor in a grocery store and I broke my left leg (during the recording session for Twilight’s “Monument To Time End” album)  The injury was severe enough that I had to have a major surgery and I was then stuck in a wheel chair for the better part of 3 months while I healed up from the surgery. With this physical recovery, I was prescribed percocet (a name brand pill for oxycodone, which is the same drug in name brand Oxycontin, just a slightly smaller dose than what you find in Oxycontin pills)  Having no tolerance for any opioid drugs at this point in my life, though, these pills were a real heavy dose of opiates for me and I found myself REALLY liking the pills and my physician had no issue refilling the prescription for me any time I asked him to during the 3-4 months after my accident and surgery. Right off the bat, I was taking 4X the prescribed dosage 3 to 4 times a day.  By the time I had healed up a few months later, I was full-blown addicted to the oxycodone painkillers and when the doctor was no longer prescribing the pills to me, I immediately found someone who could sell them to me illegally. This is where my full blown addiction to opioid narcotics began. Within a matter of about six months after I had healed from my accident, I had moved on from the percocet to high dose (40mg, 60mg and 80mg) Oxycontin tablets and 8mg Dilaudid tablets, and also gone from orally injesting and crushing / snorting the pills to crushing them, dissolving them in water and injecting them intravenously with a needle. Once I crossed that line, that’s when “the plane started to descend” towards its inevitable crash, so to speak. It was no longer about getting high to “feel good” or “have fun”, it became “I have to do this in order to function or feel ‘normal'”.  Things got real dark in my life, real quick. The needle use began right at the beginning of 2010. However, it was about 9 months before I was physically addicted to the point that I was getting “dope sick” (which is when an opioid user goes into physical withdrawals.  Being “dope sick” is, without a doubt, the most miserable, uncomfortable physical ailment I have ever experienced in my life. I, like every other opioid user, would do just about anything necessary to ‘keep my sick off’, as junkies say.) The only reason I was able to get away with doing the drugs the way I was doing them (IV) for as long as I’d been doing them was because I toured so frequently, and I couldn’t obtain these types of drugs on a daily basis on the road, and if I brought any with when I left, they were gone within a few days, as I am not able to control or ration out a certain amount per day. If I have pills or heroin, I do it until it’s gone.  Oh yeah – heroin.  Keep in mind, by this point, mid-2010, my pill source had dried up and new federal laws had been passed in the United States making it much, much harder to obtain strong opioid pain killers, as the “opioid epidemic” had begun in the States and people were dropping like flies from overdoses nationwide…enter heroin into my life.  Cheaper, stronger and extremely easy for me to get. I was living in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on the infamous west side of Chicago, which, to this day, it’s probably safe to say it’s the epicenter for heroin in the United States. At least in the midwest. Chicago’s west side is also the largest ‘open air drug market’ in America. By ‘open air drug market’, I mean hard drugs like heroin and crack cocaine are literally for sale out in the open on just about every street corner, made available by violent street gangs that control the neighborhoods.  If the police come and shut down a corner operation, it’s really just a mild disruption.  Within 2-3 hours of any bust, theres a brand new group of guys out on the corner picking up right where the guys who just got popped had left off. There is no stopping it in this part of Chicago. It’s been like this there my entire life, and I’m sure it was probably like that before I was born. Having traveled as much as I have, I’ve experienced shitty neighborhoods in other cities around the world, and never anywhere in the world that I’ve ever been have I seen anything like what goes on on the west side of Chicago in terms of drug sales / availability. It’s insane. I’ve seen some really terrible shit being over there as well.  I’ve seen a teenage kid get his brains blown out right in front of me literally 30 seconds after buying a bag of dope off of him in September of 2015. I’ve been shot at by being in the wrong place at the wrong time and had a handgun round pass my face so closely that I could feel the heat and smell the gun powder. I’ve witnessed people doing absolutely unimaginable shit to get their drugs. I’ve lived in abandoned buildings because I let things get so bad after my music career completely fell apart (in the wake of me fucking a bunch of people over on orders and, rightfully, getting called out on it very publicly) that I wound up homeless for about a year during 2014-2015. You ask what the worst part of my battle with addiction has been?  Losing a life that 99% of musicians could only dream of having that somehow I was blessed with because I was too arrogant and too stupid to stop when I had the chance, a million different times, before shit got that bad. I thought that I could skate by using heroin and that somehow I’d be spared the inevitable guaranteed consequences of heroin addiction because I thought I was just that smart. My ego and arrogance were unparalleled at the height of Nachtmystium’s success, and I deserve every fucking thing I got in the long run. And I’m glad it all happened the way it did, because I had to go through the shit I’m sharing with you in the interview right now in order to become the somewhat decent, humbled person that I am today. My success with Nachtmystium in combination with the fact that I was on drugs that completely destroyed any mild grasp on ‘reality’ I may have had prior to getting hooked on smack resulted in me becoming an egomaniac of biblical proportions. Me today would’ve probably tried to fight the me of four or five years ago. I was such an asshole because I was so fucked up out of my mind all the time, and I was somehow getting away with it and I just so happened to be good enough at making music and handling the business side of things that I was able to make a living off of it. Earning my living this way allowed me to get away with and afford doing drugs in quantities (and at financial costs) that most people that use these drugs wouldn’t be able to sustain for a fraction of the amount of time that I did it. I had a $150 to $400/day heroin habit during the majority 2011 and 2012. I got married in the summer of 2011 (believe it or not, that lasted all of about 14 months…poor girl, I feel terrible for having put her through that. I hope some day I’ll get to apologize to her and have her know I actually mean it.) and if you look at photos of me from the wedding, I literally look like a skeleton covered in grey skin. My face is all sunken in, I look like a zombie.  It was really, really bad. I didn’t realize just how fucking awful I looked until after I decided to get sober in October of 2015.  I’d finally had enough of being on the street, lying and cheating and hustling every minute of every day of my life in order to buy a drug simply so I wouldn’t get physically sick from not having it.  It finally dawned of me that I didn’t need to continue living like this. I used to pray (literally) that the next shot would just kill me, because my life was so miserable. I’d fallen so far from what I once knew my life to be just a year or so before this, it seemed impossible to be that it’d be possible to snap back from it. And also, what did I have to “go back to”? I’d think that all the time. I’d lost all my friends, my music career was long gone and wasn’t going to be able to be esurrected because I fucked that up way, way too much (I’m still shocked I’m even asked to do an interview today…), I had no money, no job, no where to live, no family within 500 miles except for an aunt and uncle who (like everyone else) had had enough of my shit and theres no way they were going to suddenly be like “Oh yeah, Blake, come move in with us!”  Getting out of the hole I was in seemed completely impossible. So, my thought was “one of these days, I’ll just over dose finally and die”. Well, that day never came, as much as I would hope it would and I’d try to make it happen. After seeing that kid get his brains blown out all over the sidewalk right in front of me and then a week later nearly getting shot myself being in the wrong place at the wrong time, it dawned on me that yeah, I was probably going to die out on the streets – but it wasn’t going to be some peaceful, dreamy over dose…no, someone was going to fucking kill me or I was going to get killed by some kind of violence just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The thing I was even more afraid of than that, though, was to go to jail again…for anything, for any amount of time. As most people reading this probably know, I was arrested in October of 2013 on a theft charge (I pawned my roommates guitar for drug money, and he figured it out and called the police to get it back…can’t blame him for that) and I spent 29 days in Cook County Jail in Chicago…the largest and most dangerous county jail in America.  I’m white, and I’m not in a gang.  Not a good place to be in that situation.  The only reason people didn’t fuck with me when I was in there was because I was so fucked up looking and covered in festering open sores from being a dope fiend and not using clean needles…I had all kinds of pussing abscesses and shit all over my arms, hands, wrists, legs, feet, etc…anywhere I could stick a needle pretty much.  I think the only reason I didn’t get beat up (or worse) is because the would-be aggressors were too afraid they’d catch something if they touched me.  Seriously.  It’s embarrassing to say that, but it’s the truth. I hate to admit any of this shit to anyone, but to be able to say it publicly today is very therapeutic for me.  It’s humbling.  I’ve been to the bottom. I know what hell is like, and I survived it and made it back to tell the tale. Anyways – to finish my thought on why I decided to finally get some help….the thing I was more afraid of than dying a violent death on the street was the very real possibility that I’d get arrested for something (probably drug possession, because aside from that, I really wasn’t much of a ‘criminal’ on the streets…I just begged for money generally, I wasn’t like robbing people or shoplifting, etc like a lot of people do) and that I’d wind up back in jail. I was on probation for the two years during which I spent a good chunk of that time homeless, and if I got popped for anything, I was going to go to jail for that charge AND have to serve out the rest of the probation sentence in prison. Nothing scared me more than the possibility of going back to jail or even worse – prison. So – the day I got off probation (October 17th, 2015), I walked my ass into a hospital and checked in to detox and said ‘send me to rehab, please, or I’m going to die’. They did. And it worked. Somehow I’m ok today. If you’re interested in all the details of what I’ve done since then and more about my recovery, there is an extensive audio interview I did recently that will be up on youtube here in the next few weeks that goes into all the details of what happened since then. In a nutshell though, I went to 30 days of inpatient rehab after 12 days detoxing in a hospital psyche ward, and upon completion of rehab, I immediately came to Louisville, KY (I have family here) and moved into a half way house, got myself a job and started taking recovery very, very seriously. It’s not been perfect, but today I’m still employed, I have a roof over my head, I don’t live in a recovery home / halfway house anymore, I’m certainly not homeless, I’m not on heroin and I’m still alive.  Can’t say things are just amazing, they’re not, but my life is a hell of a lot better than it was and I can look at myself in the mirror today and have respect for the person looking back at me. I appreciate things a lot more than I ever did before. I’m not the egomaniacal prick that I was for many years.  I’m honest today, always, with everyone. I don’t fuck people over anymore. I don’t think I’m untouchable anymore. I live in reality and I’m grateful as hell for what little I have built back for myself. That’s all I can really say.  I’m like a completely different person. It’s nice. My family tells me they like me a lot more than they used to, haha, and that’s a good thing. I have some new friends here, I have a little money in my pocket (not much, but I can pay my bills and shit at least). The best part is that I don’t have to be “Blake from Nachtmystium” anymore.  I’m just me today. Everything about who I was was a big fucking show.  It was a façade to hide from having to be myself.  I was never comfortable in my own skin, which is why I was so attention hungry. I needed validation. That’s why I had to get on stage and perform for people…I wanted to be important, and it was all rooted in insecurity. The one thing I can say is this: Nachtmystium’s music and lyrics are extremely honest.  Probably the only honest thing about me during that time period in my life. The struggle was real, and it’s presented in the music…which is probably why the band did well. What people were hearing (and still hear when you listen to it today) is someone truly struggling with life, and black metal was the perfect medium for me to express that through. I am glad I went through the extreme highs and lows I’ve been through, because today I can be somewhat comfortable with myself and I know that I’ve seen it all. I know what its like to be in a big band, and I also know what it’s like to be homeless begging for change.  It’s been a wild fucking ride and I have a story I can share with people now that maybe will help someone like me from making the same mistakes I did. I’m hoping that I can share my story with as many young people that are struggling with a drug dependency issue as possible and maybe, just maybe, it will save even just one of them from going through the hell I put myself and so many people who care(d) about me through. If that happens, then I’ll have done my job. That’s all I have to say about that.

pdn: Let's talk to Nachtmystium fans for a moment. The problems you have had seemingly brought them some bad experience buying band merch. Is it true that you are planning on some redeeming acts to combat the situation?
In such chains of problems and hard times for everyone, gossip always pops up at some point to expand outrage. What could you claim was the most atrociuos lie you've heard concerning you and your bands.


Blake:
I’d really like to give the people who made orders from me their money back someday, and I’ve vowed to do that IF and WHEN I can afford to, but I don’t know if or when that day will ever come. I’m starting from the bottom here trying to build a life for myself coming from nothing, so I barely can afford to take care of myself at the moment. What I’m hoping to do realistically is to get this collection of unreleased material I have released at some point in a nice CD and vinyl package, and send every person who didn’t receive an order at some point (who would like a copy) a free copy, along with anything else I can scrape together to throw in for them. That’s more realistic than me suddenly having thousands of dollars available that I can afford to throw at that issue. If I had a big wad of money, it’d be a different story, I’d do it in a second, but that’s not the case and anyone who thinks it is is out of their mind. Hopefully some day I’ll be able to do what I’m talking about with a free release of some sort, or perhaps I’ll get real lucky and come into a big pile of money somehow at some point down the line, but I’m not going to count on that.  As for the atrocious shit people say about me, the things that bother me the most that are absolutely not true are the following: FIRST OFF, my girlfriend I had since getting clean passed away in January, 2016.  She was also a recovering addict. That’s how I met her.  Anyways…she relapsed on heroin while I was literally at a 12 step meeting on January 18th, 2016 and I came home to our apartment to find her dead on our bathroom floor. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life and some fucking pieces of shit online who don’t know me or her from a fucking hole in the wall had the audacity to suggest that I “killed my girlfriend” or that I had gotten her to start using heroin again. Not the case. I haven’t touched the shit since I got clean last October and I was doing nothing but trying to help her (and me) stay clean and rebuild our lives. Her death was a tragedy on a level greater than anything I’ve ever dealt with in my life, and if anyone thinks for one second that I did anything other than try to help that girl, they couldn’t be more wrong. Also, they better pray that they never meet me and let me find out they ever said something like that. The other thing that really bothers me is when I read people suggesting that I didn’t write my own music. But that’s petty compared to the comments that have been made regarding Megan’s death. That’s really the thing that bothers me the most. However, in the wake of reading that shit being said regarding Megan’s death, I decided to completely stop reading / paying attention to any of that shit and certainly am not reacting to anything I may hear about or accidentally stumble across.  These idiots that are still worried about me or what I’m doing when I’ve been completely out of the picture for almost three years now really need to get a fucking life. My success in life today is the best revenge towards those wankers. So they can all kiss my very-alive and very-sober ass. 

pdn: We all know that overcoming the effects of such is very difficult, how did you manage to decide to start your rrecovery

Blake:
I think I covered this in the answer to question #6.  Again, theres a very in depth audio interview that will be up on youtube here in the near future that will go in to great detail regarding all that stuff if anyone is interested in all the gory details of everything past, present and future regarding my recovery.  The main thing I can say is that I’m focused on it

and it’s worked out well for me so far.  I’m just taking things ‘one day at a time’ (as cliché as that sounds, it’s truly what you have to do when you’re recovering from an addiction as serious as mine is) and so far, so good.

pdn: Where do you stand at this moment in the process?
What are your near-future ambitions musically? What about future plans on a personal level?


Blake:
Again, one day at a time. Where I stand at the moment in the process is this: I didn’t get high today.  I am going to do my best not to get high tomorrow. That’s about as far out about it as I think. Anything more than that is overwhelming and unnecessary. It gets easier and easier every day because it’s just so not a part of my daily routine at this point that I don’t even really think about it. Plus, my life is SO much better than it was a year ago and two years ago and three years ago, that the idea of putting myself in a position where I could be back in that place is sickening to me and seems really, really stupid. So, I just remember where I’ve been and keep trying to take it ‘one day at a time’ and as long as I keep doing that, I’m pretty sure I’ll be ok. As for musical ambitions, I finally just got a new guitar of my own for the first time in probably close to 2 ½ years. I’ve played when I’ve had the chance in the last couple years (it’s pretty much only been possible ever since I got clean, but I haven’t had an instrument of my own again until just recently) I got a nice Washburn electric guitar from a friend of mine as a gift recently and I’m really psyched about it. I’ve been playing quite a bit. I have a bunch of new material written, but I have no intentions or plans for what I’ll do with it. I don’t see myself starting a new band or anything at this point in time.  Maybe some day, but we’ll see. I’ve got a lot of other work to focus on regarding my life and getting ‘me’ together before I can be worried about something like that.  I’m sure some day I’ll play music with people again, but I don’t see myself pursuing it the way I did with Nachtmystium. I don’t have any desire to go out and tour again or any of that. I’ve done that already. I want to do something new with my life.  However, I do still love to play and I can’t help but to write music when I get the chance because it’s just something I do and have always done. It’s almost like I ‘need’ to do it….I know other musicians know what I mean by that. As for my personal future plans – I’m just working on getting through my first year of being a contributing member of society again. After losing Megan, I’ve decided I’m not going to pursue having a relationship of any sort for quite a while. I need to just work on myself. Get total self-sufficient and used to being in the swing of normal day-to-day life before I can take on too much more. I’ve never had to live a ‘normal life’ with a regular job and shit…remember, I started Nachtmystium when I was 17 and other than that and running Battle Kommand Records from the time I was 21-26, I have never really done anything else work-wise, so I’m like a 33 year old dude learning to be an adult for the first time, haha, it kinda sucks, but whatever…I’m looking at it as a new adventure. I’m enjoying living in Louisville for the time being, but I think at some point in the next year or two I’m going to find a way to move out west. I’ve always wanted to live in the desert somewhere for at least a year or two, maybe in the high desert in southern California, or in Nevada somewhere. Think I’m going to try to find a way to do that. Go experience something totally new. I’ve got nothing to lose. Louisville is cool, but this is merely a place for me to learn how to get back on my feet. Once I’ve got this ‘adulting’ thing all figured out, I’m going to go do some livin’ in a new place and experience some kind of new adventure in my life.

pdn: Thank you so much for having this chat with me! Is there anything you would like to leave your fans out there, in closing?

Blake:
Thank you so much for being willing to talk to me and to give me a platform to share some of my story. I hope that maybe someone reads this who is inspired by it or it helps them in some way. As for my fans, thanks to all of you for the support over the years. And to anyone who may have fell victim to my bullshit when I was in active addiction, I am sincerely sorry for hurting you and letting you down  If I can make it up to you all somehow, someday, I will. And finally, to all the people whom have written me on facebook or sent an email to the old band account expressing their support or just sending me positive vibes regarding my recovery, you guys don’t know how much that shit means to me. I’ve gotten more of those messages than I could’ve ever imagined, and every single one of them touches my heart and gives me strength I didn’t know I had to keep pushing forward coming back from the hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life. I love all of you and I wish each and every one of you nothing but the best. Thanks again, Laura – and thanks again to all of you who have taken the time to read this.


https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nachtmystium/ 
https://myspace.com/nachtmystium 


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Interview: Sotiris Pappas (WOMB OF MAGGOTS/ PROCREATE)

    The band I am about to present on Playdeadnation this time went through some sound- and line-up changes over the years, and it sounded badass both as atmospheric death metal pumped up with industrial influences, and the straight-out brutal death metal it is today. 
  I've had the pleasure to see Womb Of Maggots perform last year, after which we went out for some beers and more metal. What I can say is that I can't wait to see them again! Here is guitarist Sotiris Pappas for a little chat!

pdn: Great to have you here! As I understand, you guys live in Athens. How would you describe life for a raging metalhead around there?
Sotiris: Glad to be here! To be a raging metalhead in Athens has its pros and its cons. For example, there are many shows you can go to with quite big names and in good prices, there are many great local bands you could support and a few places you can hang out and have some drinks listening to good music. On the other side, there are no big festivals as they used to be and if there will be, it’s way too expensive and not worth it at all.


pdn: At around what age and how did you get into playing metal? And inspired by...?
Sotiris: I was 15 years old and all started when I first listened “…And Justice For All” by Metallica. I loved it so much, I wanted to play every riff in that album. So, I bought a guitar and tried to play “One” immediately. After that, I had to find more albums in this genre, so Sepultura’s “Arise” and Slayer’s “Reign In Blood” were next.


pdn: There was this temporary metamorphosis of Womb Of Maggots into Inactive Messiah, and back. This also brought changes regarding the sound, at present being brutal as it ever was. Could you tell me a bit about this journey?

Sotiris: After the first Womb Of Maggots album “Life Odium” and some line-up changes, the band created a more melodic and less aggressive or dark album, so the name didn’t fit anymore. That’s the beginning of Inactive Messiah and some years later I joined the band. We recorded two more albums together, we toured Europe four times, we shared the stage with great bands like Vader, Krisiun, Malevolent Creation, Septic Flesh, Rotting Christ and many more. But, as a death metal fan myself, I came to a point that this wasn’t enough. All these were great experiences for me but I wanted to play the music I love, so I left the band at 2009. Years later, Lefteris (bass guitar) asked me if I still want to play death metal and create such a band with him under the name “Womb Of Maggots”, which now fits. Something that we discussed many times all these years but never happened. I said “yes” and this is where we are now.



pdn: Which was the most exciting venue you have played so far? Where would you be dying to play in the near future?

Sotiris: I played in some great venues in the past. I remember Z7 in Pratteln Switzerland or Effenaar in Eindhoven and Patronaat in Haarlem. They are huge venues with great equipment. But, to be honest, I prefer playing in smaller venues because the vibe is better. In small venues there’s a connection between the band and the crowd. Nothing beats that! As far as where I’d be dying to play, I’d choose either Japan or the United States. Both are countries I have never been to.


pdn: And if there is one band you could choose to tour with, who would this be?
Sotiris: Probably, I would tour with Behemoth. My favourite band for many years now, with great albums, great stage performance, the whole package. Even if my younger self screams for Metallica or Slayer!


pdn: How do you guys usually prepare for gigs? Do you have any particular "ritual'?
Sotiris: The gig is by far my best part of being a musician. I can’t wait to be on a stage every single time. So the first thing I do and the most important for me, is try to think about it. To appreciate the fact that there are people in the room that came and paid a ticket to see me doing my thing. It’s an investment of money and time that is not easy for everyone. Meanwhile, there is some warm-up and some beer of course because we have to be relaxed and enjoy the event as well…


pdn: What do your nearest plans and ambitions look like? Something new we can look forward to, maybe?
Sotiris: First of all, we’re waiting for our new album “Decay Of Humanity” to be released these days via Lord Of The Sick Recordings. As far as some gigs, we are playing at New Long Fest in Athens in July and at Hazardous Open Air in Croatia in August. We haven’t booked anything else yet but we’ll do for sure for this fall. Probably some more countries in 


Europe or a small tour but nothing confirmed yet.



pdn: Thank you for this awesome interview! Is there anything you would like to leave in closing for all of our friends out there?
Sotiris: We would like to thank our Romanian friends for supporting us since 2003. We always enjoy to play there and we wish to be there as soon as possible! Last but not least, cheers to our brother Titus Constantinescu for his help all these years, and to you of course for your time!


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Interview: Heljarmaðr (DARK FUNERAL/ GRÁ)

   With a steady spot in the history and future of black metal, Dark Funeral have presented their new vocalist, Andreas Heljarmaðr, just last year. After finally seeing this legendary, mainly Satanism and anti-Christianity -themed band at Metalhead Meeting 2015, I had a little chat with Andreas about his numerous projects. Enojy!

pdn: Hails, Andreas! In a Swedish interview, I read that you were introduced to extreme metal at an early age, before your teens, if I am not mistaking. Which were the first important bands that you remember caught your attention and lit up your interest in metal?
Heljarmaðr: Yes that's correct, I must have been around 10 or 11. My cousin and I snuck in to his older brothers room when we were kids, borrowing albums from him which we copied to cassettes for further listening. I remember that one of the cassettes had Bathorys Blood Fire Death on one side and I think it was At The Gates or something like that on the other.
I remember that when I was introduced to the now classic Scandinavian stuff like Darkthrone, Enslaved, Emperor, At the Gates, Dissection, Dark Funeral, Marduk, Ophthalamia and so on, something really woke up inside of me and that's when I started to take up playing music myself, back in the mid 90's. I also liked the Greek band Varathron a lot.
At an even earlier age I was exposed to Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Megadeth and so on. Usual story I guess. I think the first album I bought myself was Iron Maidens ”No Prayer For The Dying”.

pdn: Please tell me what Dark Funeral meant for you prior to joining the band. Were you a fan, or did you guys know each other?
Heljarmaðr: I think my first contact with the music of Dark Funeral was through that first Blackend compilation, probably among the best compilations ever made. By the way, why aren't there any cool compilation albums anymore? I don't mean those that a label releases with a magazine or whatever just to sell their own stuff but those with real thought and concept behind them? Anyway,  then the ”Secrets” album was released and it was so fucking intense!
I have lived in same the town as Lord Ahriman originate from (I come from even further up north originally but moved down to Luleå in my teens),  but he is older than me so he had already moved to Stockholm when I moved there and we never actually met back then. We found out recently that we do share some old friends from up there though.
I've never had any contact with Chaq Mol or Dominator before but I did meet the whole of Dark Funeral when they invited Grá to be the support band for the 20:th anniversary show in Stockholm last year. After that gig we started to collaborate in silence until we unleashed the ”Nail Them To the Cross” single in late 2014.

pdn: What about Grá, how was the idea of this band born and which were the first steps?
Heljarmaðr: Me and Dimman (the drummer) formed Grá as a vent while writing material to the Cursed 13 album ”Triumf” back in 2010, shortly after the split Cd we did with our friends Domgård. We felt that we weren't coming anywhere so we just jammed around at the rehearsal place and the first Grá EP was born from there. We recorded and mixed everything really fast and in the moment. We asked around if anyone would be interested in releasing it and were amazed by the positive response. It was eventually released on Cd by Greek underground label SonicDeath Armageddon and we made that first video (Klagan och Längtan), with a crappy camera and no knowledge of video editing, to accompany the release. When we realized that it would actually be released properly we dared to start with the outlines which we had discussed loosely, to make a concept around Charon and the passage between this life and the beyond. A concept which ended with the new album, suitably called ”Ending”, which just hit the stores.

pdn: Could you describe the state of mind you are in while performing?
Heljarmaðr: When I go on stage it feels like my aware mind is withdrawn from my body and I watch myself from behind or around, outside of myself. Something possesses my body and I'm aware of it every second. After a gig I feel completely drained of energy and it takes a while to recover.

pdn: What is your connection with/affinity for Iceland (if any)? As I know, your name, and also Grá was partially inspired from the language.
Heljarmaðr: This seems to be the most frequently asked question at the moment. Both Heljarmadr and Grá are Scandinavian words. My affinity with Icelands ends with the historical ties we have regarding linguistics, mythlogy and so on. Many things were kept alive there longer than it was on the Scandinavian peninsula. I don't see it as being inspired by Iceland but rather reclaiming pieces of our Scandinavian heritage. I have a bunch of Icelandic friends and I would like to visit the island at some point but that's about it. I would also like to do cultural research on parts of the British isles for example.

pdn: You were and are involved in quite a few projects. How do you manage to do a hell of a job in all of them, considering the hours of a day are...well, limited? What does your schedule usually look like? You must be a busy person, and of course you probably need time for more than music!
Heljarmaðr: This year has been absolutely crazy regarding the amount of work versus time. For me the key is to make sure to not leave any loose ends, finish things up and don't add more things than you can manage to complete. In a band there's always others that are also involved and it's not the best thing to keep people waiting because you have taken on a burden you can't carry. When I joined Dark Funeral I wrote a list of things I wanted to finish up before the summer and I did actually make it all happen. That's my best advice actually, make realistic plans ans don't leave loose ends that'll come back to bite you in the arse.
It may seem like I have thousands of different projects going on but in fact I have (and have had) everything (well... mostly) planned for a long time ahead.

pdn: Do you have any other passions except music, activities that you invest time and attention in?
Heljarmaðr: I have but the last years I've put all my focus on music, you should strike while the iron is hot. Creativity comes and goes and practice makes perfect so I've been exploring that side of myself 100%. I do miss reading though, I rarely let myself have the time for good reading. I actually have a huge bunch of books that I've bought during the last years but haven't had the time to read. I also like to travel and visit historically interesting sites.






pdn: We haven’t talked about Cursed 13 yet; any plans? Have you ever thought of taking this act outside of Sweden, or your main focuses fall on the other two projects?
Heljarmaðr: There's only one certain plan and that's to get a new single out, two brand new songs to be released by Carnal Records on a luxurious gatefold 7” vinyl during 2016. After that we'll see what happens, Cursed 13 has never been a fast band when it comes to release new material and I want to keep it that way. No rush, no stress, it'll happen when the time is right. I'd love to take Cursed 13 out on the road but that's just not up to us really, it's up to the promoters to book us and I see their dilemma, Cursed 13 is not a big name and it's expensive to bring bands from Sweden. Should we get a good offer we would gladly accept of course, but we're not hunting for it.

pdn: We’re all curious! What is up next for Dark Funeral and Gra, regarding new material, tours?
Heljarmaðr: Regarding Dark Funeral we have lots of things going on. We're working on the new album as well as preparing for upcoming festivals and so forth! Keep yourself updated on the websites and social media! There's darkness in the horizon and a smell of death surrounding the future, that's for sure!

With Grá the priority has been to get the final chapter (the new album, ”Ending”) out there. Next step will be to finally release all the old albums on vinyl. That will be concluding the work we started 5 years ago, all according to the original plan. Where to go after that? Time will tell...

pdn: Thank you for your time! Is there anything you would like to add for your fans, friends?
Heljarmaðr: Thank you for your time and interest! To all fans and friends out there: thank you for the massive support! See you all on the road. /Heljarmadr

http://www.darkfuneral.se/
https://www.facebook.com/darkfuneral/
https://www.youtube.com/user/darkfuneral



Monday, August 3, 2015

Interview: Matt Barlow (ASHES OF ARES/ ex-ICED EARTH)

   Today, Playdeadnation is honored to feature someone that definitely doesn't need much introduction: Matthew Barlow! He has written 'metal history' in legendary band Iced Earth as lead singer, then, after joining forces with bassist Freddie Vidales and ex-Nevermore drummer Van Williams, Ashes of Ares resulted! Matt talks about AoA, as well as some aspects of his everyday life! Enjoy!

pdn: Hello, Matt! First of all, please let me say I am honored to do this interview with

you! What are Ashes of Ares up to this summer?

Matt: Thanks! We are currently working on songs for the next AoA record, as well as, preparing to do a few shows in September. Other than the Midweek Madness show in Atlanta before ProgPower USA, the other shows are TBA.

pdn: How did this project start? After letting Iced Earth go, did you feel like you still needed/ wanted an outlet for the artist within, or how was the idea born? Please tell me a bit about it.

Matt: Freddie and I started AoA after he was done with Iced Earth.  I had been out of that band for a year or something, and we had thought about doing something together prior to that…so we did!  After we had a couple tunes kinda written, we approached Van about joining our merry band.  Since Van and I have known one another for a long time, and actually like each other J, it kinda made sense.

pdn: Also, when and how did you start singing, and knew you wanted to take it further?

Matt: I really started singing in high school, but I was always “performing” since I was a kid.  I loved to sing and dance to my dad’s old Elvis records. Yep…45’s on the old turntable!  That shows how old I am, right?

pdn: What do you do to prepare your voice before live shows, recording, etc.? Do you have any particular 'warm-up ritual'?

Matt: I don’t really do too much warming up before shows.  I usually practice pretty hard leading up to a performance, so I usually lay back the day of a show.  I may run through a couple of scales, but that’s about it.  Same goes for recording.


pdn: How does your job as a police officer get along with your musician side? Did one often interfere with the other? You also have a beautiful family, so you must also be a busy dad as well! :)

Matt: It’s sometimes a challenge to juggle family, career, and music, but we all find a way to make it happen.  We can’t really do extensive touring for the most part, but do our best to plan things in advance and adjust our schedules accordingly.

pdn: I think it's always fun to talk about music, to say the least. Who was your favorite artist growing up? And did you feel they helped shape you in any way, on a
personal, as well as on a musical level?

Matt: I’ve had a lot of influences and many “favorites”. It’s really hard to nail down just one.  I think that most “artists” have many influences.  We tend to take the best of all of them, and use what we can.  Be it, style, performance, or whatever.

pdn: You've been actively touring with bands you were/ are part of, for quite some
years, obviously! If you had to choose one prominent, important memory from touring, from the beginning and up to this moment, what would that be?

Matt: There have been many cool experiences.  I really enjoy performing for large or small crowds.  You get something different from both.  The larger shows usually give you an energetic crowd, but the smaller shows can give you a more personal connection with the folks.  Love the folks!

pdn: What are the nearest plans of Ashes of Ares? Perhaps we could hope for a European tour sometime?

Matt: That would be awesome, possibly after the next record.  We hope to have the record out by the end of the year. 

pdn: Thank you kindly for your time, Matt! In closing, is there anything you would like to add for those who have been supporting you throughout the years?

Matt: Many, many thanks, to everyone who has supported my musical endeavors for so long.  It has been a wonderful journey, thus far, and I look forward to the future.  Cheers!!!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Interview: Johan Nephente (NETHERBIRD)

   Founded back in 2004, Netherbird are an excitingly dark combination between Scandinavian underground black metal and death metal, tangled with some goth, symphonic and other influences. Today, I had an insightful talk with Johan, lead singer and founding member of the Swedish band! Have a great read! ;)

pdn: Greetings Johan!
Please tell me a bit about the time you got the idea to lay the grounds of a band. In your official biography, you guys stated that you had no intention to have limitations regarding the line-up. Why was that specified, was the stability of it in any way uncertain to begin with? And then, some changes did indeed occur with time.

Johan: Hey Laura, hope all is well!
When I, Grim and Bizmark founded Netherbird in 2004 we all had previous experiences from working with bands, and it often tends to become a situation where different people want to achieve different things and in the end start opposing against each other. The result is that so much energy is put into the internal affairs of the band resulting in little or no creativity end up being used to actually write and record music. So we initially agreed that we would only focus on writing music and then we would get people to join us on a session basis for recordings and so on. So for the first 6 years or so we actually only met to write and to record music.

With the passing of time we ended up with a line up anyway, mainly to make it possible to rehearse and to play live shows. In hindsight I actually regret that, we did the same types of compromises that we first set out not to do. We learned a lot, but it also meant that a number of musicians that joined the band never really got a chance to become a full part of it despite our best intentions. We still had the “old” mind-set of a band with session members even when people joined as full members. So we had our fair share of conflict and strains like most bands. Perhaps it had to be like that for a while, most bands know how it is. We still have managed to stay creative but the recordings have taken way to much time in my opinion.

So after the final gig of 2014, our 10th year anniversary show, we decided to end the band in its current form. We are now working to find a form where we will have a core line-up of members and then we then have friends joining as session members for recordings and for live shows. It is not set in stone, but this way I hope to allow for creativity both for recordings and for the live situation. Perhaps I am just impossible to work with really, that could be another reason for having to have this set up.

pdn: What or who are/were your main influences? Knowing you also nurture a passion for visual arts and literature, and guessing they could have something to do with this question, please do share your favourite poets, artists, movies.

Johan: I write the lyrics for Netherbird and despite being a fan of underground black/death metal my lyrics tend to be quite different from most (not all) music coming from that sector. So I guess one could say I am not so influenced by the extreme metal genres when it comes to the lyrics but rather my biggest influence is things I see and read. I want to reflect and ponder upon our existence, so most of my scribbles are just that: thoughts about life, death, passion, loss, belief and lack there of. I write my lyrics following a pattern where I set a title for a song based on the demo track, and then I write the lyrics to explain the title to myself… I try to elaborate the images and thoughts it invokes… like a flow of thought. Sounds perhaps a bit more poetic that it really is, it is a painful and tough process but it is how it is done in my case. I also try my best to keep the lyrics open, non descriptive, to allow for the listener to form their own interpretation. So the listener finding their “truth” in my words when hearing the same song as I heard when I wrote the words creates the songs, when it works the way I want it to.

I have to many favourites to list, but some people have really influenced me lately. The late and great Christopher Hitchens, one of the greatest thinkers of our time. He is absolutely essential reading for any free thinker. When it comes to more classic literature I would urge people to read Kurt Vonnegut, Isaac Asimov and Michail Bulgakov. All masters in their own right!

As for art I think the Swedish master Marcus Larson has created some of the most impressive and strong paintings of all time. We used one of his motifs on the cover of “The Ferocious Tides Of Fate” and the title is my own interpretation of what I felt when I saw his painting. Another token of how different forms of art “communicates” even long after the creator is gone. His legacy lives on and nurtures our art and us.


pdn: What does your 'composing ritual' look like? Do you have a special custom for these occasions?

Johan: These days me and Bizmark tend to collaborate quite closely, so he is the main composer writing riffs on guitar and then we create the arrangement of the songs together. Sometimes he has prepared riffs or outlines of songs, sometimes he writes them ad hoc as we sit down together. Then I take the songs to elaborate on lyrics and he continues to fine tune riffs and forth in parallel. Then we do the final arrangement including the lyrics in the studio as we record. The rest of the band are involved at certain points also in order to provide their feedback and ideas, so it is a collaborative journey. Bizmark and me flesh out most of an album out in two weeks. It is the recording of the final thing that tends to take (too) long. So we constantly try to make the process quicker since the riffs are always the best first time you play them, every iteration that follows kills part of it in my opinion. So in time I am sure we will be able to write and record a full album in less than a month. That way it would be new songs also for us, not just the listeners.


pdn: If you could share the stage with any artist, dead or alive, who would you choose?

Johan: Easy, Quorthon of Bathory.


pdn: Netherbird kind of creates transparency between the borders of death and black metal, and with some added elements, even; you like to 'mix and match', clearly. Is there any other genre you could think about including in an upcoming project?

Johan: All in the band share a profound appreciation of the Scandinavian black and death metal underground. We all think that the most innovative and interesting extreme metal was recorded somewhere between 1989-1994. So it is very natural for us to drink from that well of influences in what we do. But back then bands were not so afraid to incorporate other influences as bands are today. If you listen to a band like Unanimated, their first two albums have a rich depth of influences. So we try to stay as open minded and unrestrained as some bands were back then. So we add what ever feels natural, I would guess more heavy metal and also alternative rock will surface in our future creations. As long as it is honest and dark, I will be confident to say it is Netherbird.

pdn: Do you have a 'best' and 'worst' memory from the history of the band so far? Any near-future plans, prospects of a tour, maybe?

Johan: As I am writing this, summer 2015, Netherbird is currently on hiatus. We have finished our first tenure of ten years of underground recording and touring. Currently we are looking into how we could make it interesting and rewarding to keep the band going for another 10 years. Having a band these days is costly and it takes an enormous amount of hard work. So if we return we do that in order to fulfil new goals, and that would mean recording better albums and play shows that will be something that both our fans and we will be thrilled about for years.

There are of course bad memories and tough situations when you run a band for more than 10 years, but I try not to let that get to me and I do not dwell to much on them really. It is not important from the greater perspective. Lows are needed in order to fully appreciate the highs.

The best memories is with out a doubt the powerful moment when we meet our fans at good gigs, both from the stage and afterwards. That is the pure essence of why I am doing this and I think the rest of the band agrees on this. We would like more such moments, and that is why we now look into how we can make that happen in a way we feel is befitting both our fans and us.

pdn: Thank you, Johan! Is there anything you would like to add for your fans out there?

Johan: Thank you for the interview Laura, and thanks to YOU for reading it. If you are into melodic black/death metal, do yourself and us a favour by listening to our music. You can download all we ever recorded for free at http://netherbird.bandcamp.com (just enter $0). Our CD:s and vinyl is available worldwide so check your favourite store.

Make sure to also visit http://www.facebook.com/netherbird where we post most news relevant about the band. Our eternal home in the shadows is www.netherbird.com.



Thanks, keep supporting the underground metal scene.