Interview: Ivana Sataić (email@example.com)
For the reason I can’t tell Nachtmystium is one of bands whose work is familiar to me the interview with bands frontman, Blake Judd, was a special challenge.
In the same time, the inteview with Blake is, thanks to his honesty and open mind, one of the most inspiring and for sure I’ll pay some extra attention to bands new album ”Silencing Machine” that has been released today. Why? Read below and listen to the new album of American black metal heroes.
VENIA: Setting aside the band’s official biographies, if you needed to introduce yourselves to someone for whom you are sure has no idea who you are – what would you say for yourselves as a band in a few words? What would you like to be written about you?
BLAKE: I would say that we are an “experimental black metal band,” I think that sums it up pretty well. To me, what the press writes about us is inconsequential. Of course, if they like what we’ve done then that’s totally cool with us hahaha. But, we don’t do things with the hopes of fans or press writing about us. We just make music that we think is really killer.
VENIA: Your new album ”Silencing Machine” will be out on July 31. What can you tell about the writing and recording this album, what is the main inspiration behind it?
BLAKE: Nothing too specific. It’s like most of our records, to be honest. It deals with personal stuff. We’ve already been around the drug thing. The guys in the band and I have been pretty chilled out for a long time now; everyone’s older. So there’s not really that struggle there anymore. It’s more just about our lives. There’s a little bit of a black metal theme that happens throughout the record where we’ve got some songs that attack religion. Not in a cheesy, satanic kind of way, but more of an educated, what’s-going-on-in-the-word today way.
One thing that I and a couple of the other guys in the band struggle with are these intense highs and lows in our lives. When we tour, it’s “go, go, go” for two months. Then you come home and it stops instantly. That’s a weird thing, especially if you don’t have regular work at home, which a lot of us don’t– we just do this band for a living. So we get back and life just kind of suddenly stops. It creates a weird situation where you’re living on a series of highs and lows. It’s stressful in a lot of ways– the uncertainty in your future. All that stuff’s been really prevalent to us as we’re getting older. We’re starting to hit the 30 marker; we’re starting to get married; we’re having kids. There’s some chaos that needs to be worked out in all of our lives in order to be functioning adults, and I think a lot of the lyrics deal with that struggle.
VENIA: What does the title ”Silencing Machine” means and represent, what is the real meaning behind it?
BLAKE: It’s a reference to a Nine Inch Nails lyric hahaha. I wouldn’t say it’s a reference to them as a means of trying to say, “We like Nine Inch Nails,” but I’ve always been into The Downward Spiral. It’s one of those records that have never aged for me. It sounds like it could have been recorded last year. I always liked the lyrics and I thought that line was a particularly sinister one. It was ringing out in my head, and with the industrial influence in the music, I thought it was a perfect title to this record. It wasn’t intentional to spoof on Nine Inch Nails, but it just conveniently worked out.
VENIA: The artwork seems rather reserved and gloomy. How is it connected to the music?
BLAKE: I think that the art is a perfect representation of the album that we made here. It’s bleak, it’s sparse and it’s very “black metal” to me. I think that’s very relative to what we did musically. We took out a lot of the really weird stuff, like saxophone solos, and made a more streamlined black metal attack. The art is also close to the lyrics. The topics on this record are very dark and I think you can see that through the artwork that we have for ‘Silencing Machine’.
VENIA: What are the main advantages and disadvantages if you compare this release with your previous album?
BLAKE: I like this sound live a lot and I think it has some great energy. And I really didn’t know where to go next with that whole adventuring process we did on those last two records. It’s just not what we wanted to do for this record; we wanted to capture what we sound like live in the studio. On this record, there’s never more going on in a song than we’re capable of recreating live, which is a really big thing for us, because there’s so much on those last two records that we can’t play without having a number of extra musicians onstage at any given time.
VENIA: With this album, we might say, you also mark the first 10 years since the Nachtmystium is on the scene. What do you think how did the band changed and developed over the years and what direction will the band take in following years?
BLAKE: Yeah, if you started with us at the ‘Reign of the Malicious’ LP, then it’s been 10 years (it’s actually a bit more than that but the greater awareness of us is about that time). I think we’ve come along way since then. Our sound has certainly changed a lot and I think it’s for the better. I really like what we did musically back then but I think that we really created a different sound and I like the evolution of Nachtmystium. Moving forward, it’s really hard to say what we will become next. I think people know a bit of what to expect from a Nachtmystium record in that it will be based in black metal, but it’s hard to tell (even for me, haha) what will strike us when we start writing again.
VENIA: When you look back and sum all of yours now almost six albums, what would you name as Nachtmystium biggest advantages and disadvantages in relation with other bands with similar music expression?
BLAKE: I don’t really look at us in comparison to other bands. I hope that we’ve done something different that sets us apart from all of the other bands in the scene, but I don’t compare us to them anyway!
VENIA: What would you name as bands greatest success so far, why? Where do you see Nacthmystium in 2 or 5 years, which goals you hope to achieve?
BLAKE: We’ve done a lot of really cool stuff. We’ve shared the stage with a lot of bands that I really admire, we’ve put out records that have gained a lot of respect and we’ve toured the world multiple times. In the next five years, I plan to have done even more. We want to play more countries, which we haven’t been to yet. Mainly though, we want to make killer fucking music!
VENIA: You’re coming from Chicago, how does the black metal and generally alternative scene looks like in Chicago these days? Is there some new interesting names worth to pay more then average attention to?
BLAKE: I think that Chicago has a great scene. I’ve lived in this area for my whole life and so I’ve seen the scene change over the years, there have always been great bands here but now there are some really great bands who are making unique and interesting music. Some of the bands have gotten more widespread attention recently like The Atlas Moth and Yakuza. There are also other bands who are starting to make noise in the Chicago scene and I think will be getting that same kind of attention soon. Check out: Drug Honkey, Lord Mantis, Avichi, Surachai, Murmur… All of them are interesting in their own way and are making fucking great music.
VENIA: What can we expect from Nachtmystium when the album is out, do you already have some tour plans, when can we expect to see you in Europe?
BLAKE: We will first be touring North America. We have some dates this week and next week around the release of the new album. After that, we will be planning for a full North American tour in the fall, which will be announced very soon. Once we are done with that, we hope to be back in Europe by the early part of 2013. We love playing over there and can’t wait to get back!
VENIA: Talking of concerts in Europe, we’re all still follow the situation around Lamb Of God’ Randy Blythe who is in prison in Czech Republic. What are your thoughts on Randy Blythe case and, in your opinion, how this will affect on American’s bands tours in Europe in future?
BLAKE: I think it’s really, really fucked up that Randy is being held on fucking manslaughter charges for pushing a kid off a stage into a crowd of people who are obviously stage diving. The crowd catches people when they dive or get pushed off the stage at a show that packed, I’ve watched it happen a million times. It was NOT Randy’s intent to hurt that kid. Regardless though, the kid shouldn’t have been on the fucking stage in the first place and if you ask me, that kid is dead because the club’s security failed to do its job of keeping the band (especially a super high profile band like Lamb of God) and the fans separated. That kid should have never been able to get on stage. If he was passed up by the crowd from crowd surfing, then the stage security should’ve been there to pull him down like they do at any professional venue I’ve ever played where this kind of thing is occurring, get the kid down on his feet and usher him down the front of the stage on the floor behind the gates (that should’ve been there, not sure if they were or not in this situation but I’m assuming they were) back into the crowd or kicked outside for violating the clubs policy about stage diving, crowd surfing, etc if they have one. (which all clubs should to prevent things like this from happening. You can have a plenty good time at a rock concert without doing stupid shit like that.)
I don’t think this one unfortunate, isolated incident is a reason to bar the Czech Republic’s metal fans from seeing us perform. It’s not their faults that the people governing that country have law enforcement out there that think this should be pinned on anyone other than the faulty security at the club where this occurred. The family should sue the shit out of the club owner, get a bunch of money for their loss and if anyone should go to jail it should be the person that WASN’T there to make sure that that kid and Randy were both safe and nowhere near each other.
Nachtmystium totally supports Randy Blythe. I personally know Randy and I think quite highly of the guy, more so than most of the people I’ve met in music actually. He’s a really stand up dude and a hell of a front man. He’s a lifer in a way that I hope to be when I get to be his age. He’s the last person on earth to deserve this, and I will do anything I or my band can to help support the Free-Randy-Blythe cause.
VENIA: In the end, is there some message you’d like to send to your fans in Croatia?
BLAKE: Thanks for all of your support. Make sure you check out ‘Silencing Machine’ on July 31st. We will be back to Europe soon and hopefully we will see you soon at a show!
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