Interview with Nyk E. of Possession
Possession is a band that definitely has a sound of their own. I remember meeting them in '92 at Cornerstone and was really impressed with heir musicianship, especially the King Diamond style vocals, meaning that he is very diverse and has an excellent falsetto. Very intense! This is band that everyone might enjoy, especially all you King D. freaks! Conducted on 3/12/99 with vocalist Nyk E. Interview by Mike Coles. Pictures/logo taken from web-site
The Outcast: When did you become a Christian and how do you know that this is the path to walk in life?
Nyk E: For all intents and purposes, I have been a Christian all my life. I made the decision to be a Christian when I was eight years old. Obviously, at the age of eight, I was incapable of basing my decision on complex theological arguments, but as time has passed I have studied and learned many things in many subjects that have all ended up supporting the decision that I made when I was only eight. How do I know that this is the right path? I know because Christianity makes sense, it is logical, it is evidential, it is historically sound, and it is scientifically sound. However, it is more than just arguments of the mind; it is of the heart as well. It fills the void that every person spends their entire life trying to fill and by doing that, it frees me to spend my energy living a fulfilling life, instead of wasting away chasing empty dreams.
The Outcast: How do you know that this is the only path in life to walk to have a peaceful after life? What is your proof?
Nyk E: The easy answer that if the Bible is true, which I believe it is, and it says that this is the only way, then it is the only way. However, if we can agree on one simple concept, that is the existence of absolute truth, then there can only be one way for a peaceful afterlife. Why? Because if something is true, then the opposite of it cannot be true. Therefore, if there is not an afterlife as an atheist would claim, then there cannot be a heaven. If people simply are reincarnated until they have successfully detached themselves from the illusion of life and then cease to exist as the Buddhists would claim, then neither the atheist nor the Christian is right. You see, only one reality can be true and Christianity is far and away the best supported concept of what is true by the sciences of logic, reason, archeology, statistical probability, and historical fact. Logic and reason are my guarantees.
The Outcast: If you've accepted this faith since childhood and never questioned it, how are you so certain that this is the right choice to live by?
Nyk E: Even if I haven't questioned it myself, I have others who are more than willing to question it for me everyday. If anyone thinks that they belong to a minority or an unacceptable group of some kind, they should attempt being an admitted Christian for a few days. Then they would know what it's like to be despised in this society. From TV, to radio, to music, to movies, to the people that I work with, my faith is being mocked and questioned perpetually. So I have plenty of opportunities to research and study what it is that I believe. Still, I have been taught since Jr. High to question everything that people say and find the truth of it myself. All the teachers and pastors that I have had always told me not to take their word for what they are saying, but to figure it out for myself. It's humorous to me that non-Christians love to accuse us of being brainwashed sheep, just blindly following whatever our latest leader says, yet at the same time deride us for having so many different denominations and points of view. The fact that there are many different doctrines proves that Christians are not mind-numbed robots, but rather informed and thinking individuals who sincerely study the materials available and come to our own conclusions. Unlike many of our accusers who simply regurgitate the same old time worn clichés regardless of their foundation in reality. Granted, there are Christians who are similarly lazy and just spout off at the mouth about things they know nothing about, but that's their own problem not mine. Judge me for what I say, not by the words of some loser on television that claims Christianity for his or her own!
The Outcast: Why do you think people go from one extreme to another? (From a Christian to a Satanist and vise versa.)
Nyk E: First, I would contend that Christianity and Satanism (actual devil worship not La Vey Satanism) are not extremes. I would say that Atheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. are the extreme points of view. Christians and Satanists at least have the same foundation in reality that the others don't. We both believe in God. We both believe in Satan. However, we choose different lords. The others are extreme in my estimation because they either don't believe in the supernatural or they don't believe in the natural. Those are the extremes. But to get to your actual question, the reason that I think most of them make such a drastic switch is that they are spineless people who are blown about by which ever wind seems to be the strongest at the moment. They don't really have any core beliefs. They rely on their feelings rather than their heads. That isn't always the case, but I would say a majority of them are this way. I think that this is just as true for Christians as for anyone else. I've met many Christians who I know didn't have a clue as to why they called themselves a Christian. Of course, I met many, many Atheists who didn't have a clue why they even existed. It is important that every one of us use everything that we have to answer the questions before us. Not just our emotions but our intellect as well.
The Outcast: Have you ever felt like giving up on your faith and living a different life?
Nyk E: Certainly there are more challenging days than others but I've never doubted the truth of Christianity. I've never been shown a reason to doubt. However, I did at one point in my life decide to simply live for myself instead of others. And I did so almost at the expense of my wife, my son and my family. I won't go into details but I will tell you that I did exactly as I pleased for about a year and it was the darkest, most miserable year of my life. What a relief it is to put your faith in God rather than yourself!
The Outcast: What is your opinion on religion?
Nyk E: I define "religion" as man's attempt to reach God or heaven or nirvana, etc…, in which case I would not consider true Christianity as a religion under that definition. Christianity is simply not what man can do to reach God, but rather what God did to reach man. So I would say that religion really just misses the point despite the fact that it does promote some sort of personal responsibility in people who follow them correctly. Which is better than the current liberal mind set that has taken over this country, where responsibility should only be felt by oil companies, logging companies, and big tobacco. Personal responsibility is nonexistent. Still, religion in the hands of people who have no sense of responsibility can become a powerful weapon against the masses. Of course, so can government and science, yet no one ever suggests doing away with those institutions, do they?
The Outcast: Do you ever feel like a hypocrite?
Nyk E: If we are honest, don't we all? In fact, aren't we all at one point or another? I would love to meet the person who always practices what they preach. That failure is a part of being human. The challenge doesn't lie in never being hypocritical but in not being a hypocrite. That being someone who consistently lives a life apart from what he "preaches." My question to everyone who whines about hypocrisy (not the band) is, does the person's hypocrisy change the truth or falsity of what was preached in the first place? Obviously, the answer is NO. I wish people would just focus on keeping the main thing and not get caught up in all these tangential issues.
The Outcast: Do you think that by "forcing" a child to go to church or by following "rules", that when they reach a certain age (16-whatever), they will rebel against it/God?
Nyk E: Absolutely not. In fact, research shows that a child who goes to church in the first seven years of life is far more likely to continue in the church in the future. Critics would say that they have been successfully brainwashed but I would dispute that. Of all the people that I grew up with and have kept in touch with, all but three still go to church and those who don't on a regular basis have not in anyway rejected or rebelled from the teaching they received as children. Most of the time children are not forced to go to church. (You've never met my mom my brotha! - Mike) I remember certain days when I didn't feel like going, but my parents made me anyway. However, that builds dedication, devotion, and the understanding that we need to do what is necessary, not just what we feel like doing. That is a very important lesson because people who live as a child, only doing as they feel, instead of living as an adult and using their head and will, can never accomplish anything they set out to do if they ever even set out to do anything at all. Also, life without rules is anarchy and despite what some people will say, no one wants to (or even could, for that matter) live in an anarchistic society. It would be impossible to survive without rules and we had better learn that at an early age. Even the person who denies any higher power or absolute truth will always tack on the ever so popular phrase "as long as it doesn't hurt anyone" when asked how to determine right and wrong in today's post-Christian society. The question that I have is this: on what do you base this single rule, "as long as it doesn't hurt anyone"? I have never received a satisfactory answer.
The Outcast: Do you think that people have a right to voice their opinion about a religion, or a religious belief without actually experiencing it first?
Nyk E: Yes. Do you have to experience every disease in the world to become a doctor? Do you have to play a particular sport in order to coach it or be a commentator or broadcaster? Of course not. But what do all those people have in common? They all have studied their profession intensely and therefore they know what they are talking about. That is all I ask of people who want to discuss religion with me. I don't know everything there is to know about all that I speak of but I make an attempt to learn as much as I can and I'm always open to correction.
The Outcast: Do you believe that evil can be used for good and good for evil?
Nyk E: Well, I've tried to think of examples of both situations, but after thinking about it for awhile, I've come to the conclusion that while evil can certainly be turned around and used for good but I don't know that good could be used for evil. If you can think of an example let me know because I can't think of any but I wouldn't rule it out.
The Outcast: What are your concerts like? Do you preach your beliefs at shows? What factors are involved whether or not you preach at a show?
Nyk E: Our concerts are powerful and energetic. Very intense. I do not preach at shows. I approach it with the same attitude as most bands I would suppose. Although, I've heard many "secular" bands who preached a lot if you ask me. If our band is the opening already unregenerate. What difference will it make to him eternally? Will it save him? No. Personally, I think that popular music that talks about relationships and sex is far more detrimental to society than any Cannibal Corpse CD. Cannibalism and murder isn't natural, sex is. Therefore, songs about sex are far more influential to the people listening to them than C.C. could ever hope to, not that they actually hope for that. If you are strong in your faith and you keep music in its proper place, there shouldn't be a problem.
The Outcast: Heavy metal music is an aggressive style of music. To me, music is a mood. Why did you decide to play such an aggressive style of music? Do you ever feel uneasy or "stressed" out so to speak, by listening to such a musical style?
Nyk E: I don't know that music is mood but it certainly conjures a mood and affects mood. I play this style because I live it. To me it is power. It is the most powerful style of music ever created on earth and I feel that power is positive. How can death and destruction be positive? I find the stories put forth in the majority of this music to be highly entertaining. I think it is good to exercise your imagination with fantasy at times and that's how I view most of the bands that I listen to. But the power really lies in the music itself. No, I don't feel uneasy at all. I feel this is the path God has led me down. I am never more at ease than when I am engrossed in Metal. I do think that lyrics can enhance the music but you can have a great album without great lyrics. One example is Covenant (from Norway). They have produced an excellent album but the lyrics make no sense to me at all. I still love it though. Sometimes I like a band whose lyrics are opposed to what I believe but they are written so eloquently, such as Skyclad, Carcass, Candlemass and even Coroner. These bands have incredible lyrics even though I don't agree with what they are saying. That doesn't keep me from enjoying them. I could only dream of writing as magnificently as Cradle of Filth. I do draw the line with lyrics that are blasphemous. Carcass has one, COF has several, Dimmu Borgir has one as well, as Samael, but I just skip them and move on to the next song.
The Outcast: I've heard some secular artists claim that Christians only play metal for propaganda purposes, not because they like it, your opinion?
Nyk E: Unfortunately, that is true for quite a number of "Christian" bands but to broad brush all of us because of a few would be foolish. I don't think that it is wrong to spread your belief through your music. Everyone does it, why can't a Christian do the same thing that every other band in the world does everyday? Is there a double standard? There is, but there shouldn't be. Each band should be judged for their merits. I mean, you can tell who is real and who is fake. There are just as many posers in Black Metal today as there are in "Christian" metal. I say judge the music.
The Outcast: Who are some of your favorite bands?
Nyk E: King Diamond, Cradle of Filth, Carcass, Dimmu Borgir, Samael, Extol, Dark Tranquility, Fates Warning, and Manowar to name only a few.
The Outcast: Do you think it's wrong, immoral, or against Christ to listen to secular music?
Nyk E: "Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible but I will be controlled by nothing." Each person must make that choice based on his own conviction, for me it is not a problem but choose for yourself.
The Outcast: What's one thing you struggle with in your faith, if anything?
Nyk E: At this point there is nothing that I struggle with in respects to my faith. This doesn't mean that I haven't had struggles in the past or that I won't struggle with something in the future but for now my foundation is unwavering. Of course, I still struggle daily to live in obedience to God, not only out of gratitude but also for my own good because I know that this is how my life will be lived to it's fullest. Still, it is a struggle every day, nothing magical, just a decision and determination empowered by the grace of God.
The Outcast: Would you agree or disagree, that there are a lot of people that use Christianity for their own evil intentions? Do you think that is one of the many reasons why people can't accept faith?
Nyk E: Yes, I would agree but that is an idiotic reason to not accept eternal life for free! However, that is only an excuse, not a reason. In reality, if such a person were honest, it would always come down to selfishness. The fruit in my garden is rotting and maggot infested but I'll continue to eat it until it kills me because it is MY fruit and I will not subject myself to you! How pitiful! By the way, I am not being self-righteous or holier than thou. I've said the same thing in my life many times and that was stupid and pitiful as well.
The Outcast: Are all the members in your band Christian? Would you ever consider having non-Christians in your band? Why or why not?
Nyk E: No, not all the members in Possession are Christians. I guess that answers the next question also. I feel that Possession is mine, it is me. True, I don't write the music for the most part but I formed the band and I handle the promotions and the lyrics. Basically, Possession says and stands for what I sat and stand for, therefore, I feel it is important to surround myself with the best musicians I can regardless of their own beliefs. To me, the music and the message are two different things, and without the best music the message is meaningless as far as being a band is concerned. Obviously, the message is everything but we are a band, not preachers. We write music, not sermons. So without the music we would not be much of a band, would we? Possession is a band. I am a Christian. Possession espouses Death Metal. I espouse Christ. It's as simple as that.
The Outcast: Any closing words?
Nyk E: Thank you for one of the most challenging and compelling interviews I have ever done! I have been looking forward to it since I met you and it was as great as I anticipated it to be. I only hope that you will change your mind and continue on with this concept, it's great. I am always open to personally corresponding with anyone who would like to write and of course, we have two great CD's for sale as a package for $11.00 ppd. We also have T-shirts so please write to us at: Possession - PO Box 3031 - Olathe, KS 66063. Stay heavy! (As the King would say.)
(Write before sending money. - Mike - 2006)