Interview with Nachtlieder
Interview conducted by Michael F. Coles on 3/09, pictures were provided
Like most of us these days, Nachtlieder first caught my ears attention while I was on myspace checking out the bands music. When I heard the song Polar Night, I immediately thought of Burzum upon hearing this tune and became interested in hearing more of Nachtlieder due to the fact Burzum was my favorite band back in the day when I first got into Black Metal; well, Burzum actually tied with Mysticum and Limbonic Art. What reinforces my Burzum comparison as well is the fact that there is only one sole member in Nachtlieder. Anywayz..... Since Nachtlieder is relatively new, no need to waste more time on introductions, eh?
The Outcast: Please give us the history behind Nachtlieder. What exactly does the name mean?
Nachtlieder: There is not much history. I started writing songs last summer. Most of them went in a certain direction and I got this concept and name finished in the autumn of last year. Nachtlieder means "Songs of Night" in German. Unfortunately I don't speak German, but I think it's a beautiful language, yet ferocious, exactly what I want my music to sound like. The name also connects to the atmosphere I try to create in my music.
The Outcast: How long have you been performing music?
Nachtlieder: Since I was a child I played violin in a folk music band, with breaks now and then throughout the years. The peak has been the latest 4-5 years when I moved to a bigger city and joined several bands.
The Outcast: What bands were those and what happened with that? Do you prefer to work alone, or with others? Do you ever see bringing your violin into Nachtlieder?
Nachtlieder: My earlier bands are none worth mentioning. If they were, I'd probably still be in them. Right now I, apart from Nachtlieder, play bass in a death metal band called Wicked, and have been doing it for several years. I have no problem working with others as long as it's the right people, but from my experience such people are really hard to find. Here people focus too much on image and too little on playing well, and are really naive to how a band should work. When writing I prefer to work by myself, it's difficult having to compromise with a really good idea. I want to keep Nachtlieder to myself for this reason. It was many years since I last played violin, but I love this instrument, and if I pick it up again I'll definitely find some use for it.
The Outcast: I hear a strong Burzum influence in your music. Am I wrong for assuming Burzum is an influence? Who are your musical influences?
Nachtlieder: I actually don't have any direct musical influences. I find it limiting to try to make similar music to someone else, though I find INSPIRATION (a completely different thing) in everything from art and folk music, to my favorite popular musical band. And yes, a lot of it in Burzum, he, he! Call me a blasphemer, but I actually didn't listen to Burzum until the first comment I got for "Polar Night", the first song I recorded. "It sounds like Burzum." With this embarrassing confession we move on to the next question.
The Outcast: Was I the first person to make that Burzum comparison, or have there been others who have assumed the Count as an influence? With no disrespect, the fact you had never heard of Burzum until the comparison compels me to ask how old you are and when did you get into Metal? Thank you for the confession by the way!! :)
Nachtlieder: No, many people have done that and definitely not without reason. It does sound like Burzum, he, he. I am not very old. I'm in my early 20's, but I have been listening to metal and later extreme metal for nearly ten years. Like many others, I got into the music through more melodic and well-produced bands like Dissection and Naglfar. The first time I heard Burzum as well as other Norwegian Black, when I was around 16, it was too rough for me and I forgot about it. Taste changes over the years though, now I find ultimate beauty in this kind of music.
The Outcast: I didn't know what to expect vocally, due to your songs not having any vocals on your myspace page at first. When I received your demo, I was surprised and was glad that they were not what I expected. They are very haunting and obscure! Who are your influences vocally speaking?
Nachtlieder: I'm not a vocalist, so the vocals have been a challenge, but they are getting better. I love Kriegtalith from Darkestrah. Her voice is so clean and her pronunciation and phrasing is wonderful. Another inspiration is Attila Csihar; he seems to be willing to experiment with his voice.
The Outcast: Definitely great influences to have! Attila is one of my favorites for sure as well in the extreme vocal department. What do you wish to express with your art?
Nachtlieder: I actually don't want to answer that. How I perceive what I do could be completely different to what other people feel when they hear it. I don't want to ruin that. But I want to describe it as melancholic, dark and cold, with some touches of aggression.
The Outcast: Fair enough. Your demo was originally supposed to have more than 3 songs, what happened? When can we expect a longer release?
Nachtlieder: A lot of stuff happened. I planned to make the demo as a gift to my family for Christmas, that deadline broke due to school, work, "should I record real drums"-ideas, stomach flu, etc. By January this year I had been working on the songs for so long that I just wanted them out of the way. I am currently recording my second demo which will contain four longer songs. I hope to get it finished by June.
The Outcast: What does your demo's cover represent? Did you come up with it?
Nachtlieder: It's an old aquarelle/charcoal painting of mine. I found it suitable for the demo since spiders are nocturnal animals, but mostly because the original looks like what the record sounds like! I think it's important that covers reflect the content of the record, especially now that you can get the music easily in mp3-format. I want to make them myself as far as my skill goes and the next cover will probably have more work behind it. I can't sort myself out sometimes. I am a rabid perfectionist, but yet I can let little things like the cover picture not having enough height, so....
The Outcast: Who are some of your favorite bands; Metal and other?
Nachtlieder: I am VERY picky about music, and not many bands get the label "favorite." But some of them are Opeth, Darkestrah, Bolt Thrower, the fairly new addition Burzum, Porcupine Tree, Imogen Heap (the cutest sound nerd ever!) and, one of my largest sources of inspiration, Tori Amos. Among art music, I like Modest Mussorgskij, Erik Satie, Igor Stravinskij, Arvo Pärt, Claudio Monteverdi, Franz Schubert.
The Outcast: Off to other subjects now, what are your opinions on religion?
Nachtlieder: Religion is a necessary support for some people and a poisonous brainwashing method for others. Nothing is black and white. Personally, I prefer to find spirituality in other things rather than religion.
The Outcast: You say you prefer to find spirituality in other things rather than religion. What are these things? Do you think music is spiritual and do you think music can influence a person's state of mind/mood?
Nachtlieder: Art and nature are almost equal to spirituality to me. Music is definitely spiritual, though some music is more than others. I don't believe just anyone can create spiritual art. You know when you are looking at a piece of art, or listening to a song, and can't pinpoint the thing that makes it good? Maybe you even find many reasons for it to be bad, but yet you can't stop looking/listening? That is a very spiritual experience for me, and I want to believe it has something to do with a "higher force." Maybe some kind of personal, emotional transmission from the artist through the work, I can't really explain it. But whatever this force might be, nature is full of it. I am happiest walking in a forest on a sunny autumn day. And music does influence a person's state of mind, that's why we listen to it, right?
The Outcast: You say you are; "happiest walking in a forest on a sunny autumn day." You sound like a very happy person on the inside. What attracts you to Death Metal and Black Metal when these styles of music are so dark and could be considered negative to a person's state of mind?
Nachtlieder: Something definitely lies in the old saying "all true art comes out of suffering." I also heard someone say "what's the point in expressing 'I'm fine, everything is good." I had a very rough time in life during my adolescence, and I don't mean just regular teenage confusion. Because of this I know how lucky I am today and I guess I can embrace happiness easy. But it does not mean I don't have up's and down's like everybody else. And darker forms of art are simply more beautiful! ;)
The Outcast: You say - "And music does influence a person's state of mind. That's why we listen to it, right?" Do you think Death and Black Metal could negatively influence a person's state of mind then? Maybe influencing a person to accept a satanic belief they would have never accepted if they wouldn't have listened to this style of music to begin with?
Nachtlieder: This is an issue I could talk about for hours! For starters, you have to separate art from entertainment, and then Satanism from devil-worshipping. Most people in Black Metal claiming to be Satanists just say so because it's the specific aesthetics of the scene. They are more influenced by their friends than the music they listen to, which in itself is very contradictive to the satanic belief that embraces individuality. Good art, in my opinion, triggers emotions, makes us feel something. Lyrics can have a message but in Black Metal I believe only a few people really believe in what they sing about, i.e. it's entertainment, even though the MUSIC can be artistic. This is complicated and I could develop it much, much further, but it has little to do with me and my music so I'll keep it short.
The Outcast: You mention a "higher force", so you are not an atheist then? You do believe in some sort of creator of sorts?
Nachtlieder: I've been considering myself agnostic for some years. As I said earlier, religions don't appeal to me because they encourage a certain way of life for all people, which in turn triggers human conflict, and I don't like that. But I'm too romantic to believe that there is nothing more to life than surviving and breeding and dying. But if this somehow turns out to be the truth, I'll accept it. A creator? Well, since I'm open to the thought of it, I guess, yes? But saying it like that makes me sound like some religious fanatic, which is not the case! Science and evolution and abortion rights are the shit.
The Outcast: What are your beliefs on Satan and God? Do you think they are actually beings? Why or why not?
Nachtlieder: He, he, he! No, I am Swedish.
The Outcast: I do not understand the reply to this question. What does being Swedish have to do with you believing in Satan or God and them being actual beings?
Nachtlieder: Sweden is a very secular country, and has been for a long time. Only a minority of the population are Christian believers, and an even smaller group follow other religions. And Satan and God are Christian entities. Most people here are more or less atheist from birth, even though religious traditions like baptism, Christmas, church weddings, and even confirmation, are still strong. But it's because of commercialism and ignorance, not religion itself. For example, many young parents believe baptism is for the baby to get a name, and the largest reason for youths to get confirmation seems to be to "get presents." Stupid!
The Outcast: Do you believe that Jesus Christ existed and is who he claims to be?
Nachtlieder: I am convinced Jesus existed as a historical figure, kind of like Muhammed, and that they obviously did some great things in their life times since there are religions based on their beliefs. But the bible is written to control people, the deeds of Jesus are greatly exaggerated for certain, and most of it is probably just plain out lies.
The Outcast: So you do not believe that Jesus Christ will come back as the scriptures claim?
Nachtlieder: No. But I own a very beautiful bible; Rembrandt Illustrations, oooh. :)
The Outcast: What is your #1 philosophy in life?
Nachtlieder: Follow your heart, with emphasis on yours. It's a cliché, but it's damn true.
The Outcast: What do you hope to find after your life has ceased?
Nachtlieder: I'm too young to think about that now. When I die I will find out anyway. Or simply become all corpsefied and gross.
The Outcast: Some say that Heavy Metal is the devils music, what do you think of this opinion?
Nachtlieder: Well, since the tritone was forbidden in churches for hundreds of years, it must be true, he, he!
The Outcast: What do you think of Christian un-Black Metal or Christian Metal in general? Do you think it is a contradiction?
Nachtlieder: My over-all opinion: Let them play it if they like it. No one forces me to listen.
The Outcast: If there's one thing you want the listener to leave with after they listen to Nachtlieder, what would that be?
Nachtlieder: A musical orgasm, of course!
The Outcast: When can we expect a full release? Any time soon?
Nachtlieder: My song writing is going well, so I should have material in about a year. When I do a full-length, it's going to be properly done in a good studio and also with a good drummer, if I can't master the drums myself by then, he, he. I'll probably keep releasing demos until then.
The Outcast: What is life like outside of Nachtlieder? School? Work?
Nachtlieder: I'm taking my bachelors next year and will become a true fucking librarian. Right now I also earn some extra cash as a music instructor for teenagers in beginner bands. It must be the best job in the world.
The Outcast: Thank you for the interview, any closing words?
Nachtlieder: Thank you for interviewing. Support the scene, stay metal, etc.