The Blerd13 had the chance to chat with Nachtmystium leader Blake Judd and producer and Nachtmystium keyboard/synthesizer player Sanford Parker about the band’s upcoming album Silencing Machine (Due July 31st on Century Media), their recent stint at SXSW, and about being one of the most diverse Black Metal acts out there today:
1. Going into your 6th album, how would you compare Nachtmystium 2012 to Reign of the Malicious-era Nachtmystium in 2002?
Like oil and water in many ways, and more common than ever in others. Sonically, we are a much more professional sounding band and much progressed songwriters versus the material and recording quality presented on “Reign of the Malicious”, but in terms of spirit and attitude, we are just as punk and DIY in many, many ways now as we were then. The core concept of “fuck you and fuck the world” hasn’t changed much.
2. What can you tell us about the new album so far? Are there any song titles yet or an album name?
“Silencing Machine” is a reference to something that entered my life in an unpleasant way and resulted in silencing my personality and spirit for a long time. Doesn’t matter what it was, there should be a bit of mystique to these things I feel and I can just let the music do the talking. There are song titles, and they will be revealed when the record is released.
3. When can fans expect it out?
July 31st, 2012
4. Describing Nachtmystium to friends, I usually say you’re “black metal Queens of The Stone Age” so when the first taste I had of Black Meddle Pt 2 was “No Funeral” (which was quite a departure even from Black Meddle Pt 1 stylistically), I was thrown once again hearing Ministry and Killing Joke influences thrown in the mix. What influences were put into the new record? Can fans expect a similar departure for the new single?
The single that’s coming out on the 7 inch EP is very much total 90’s industrial worship. Ministry, Skinny Puppy, “Broken”-era Nine Inch Nails, etc. We had considered taking the album in that direction but wound up bailing on that idea and are letting the industrial influences make themselves present in a different way than what you will hear on the single. As for the new record, at its core it’s a ripping, violent and ultra-negative sounding black metal record. Possibly the most abusive stuff we have ever done. It leaves the listener with a feeling that things are very, very wrong, and that’s exactly what we were going for.
5. What initially brought about the change in sound (This is coming from a fan who got into Nachtmystium in the later years)?
Just growing as a band and as a musician myself personally. I don’t like to repeat myself, so I try not to with this band. No one needs a catalog full of the same records. There are plenty of bands that do that. We in Nachtmystium feel that it’s best to keep things fresh and interesting.
6. Are you planning on previewing any new material at the upcoming SXSW show?
We just returned from there actually, and yes, we played a new track at all five shows and it was well received.
7. Do you have more touring plans laid out after SXSW or will you be waiting until after the album is completed?
Yes, we are doing a headlining European run that starts at Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, Holland. We are doing the tour at this time specifically because we wanted to play Roadburn again, as we all feel it’s the best and of the most important festivals in the world for a band like us, plus we were exclusively invited by our Canadian friends Voivod (!!) who we toured with back in 2010. They apparently liked us enough to ask us to be part of their curated day at Roadburn, which is a massive honor for us. So, that’s the only tour we have booked and confirmed at the moment. State-side, we will do a full US tour sometime after the record comes out. However, we are doing a one week mini tour with our good friends and legendary U.S. underground black metal act Krieg. We are heading out to the Rocky Mountains for the very exclusive and uber-underground black metal festival, The Gathering of Shadows Festival, which is organized by the guys in the excellent Colorado-based black metal NAND, Nightbringer. This will be our second time at the fest, the first being seven years back in 2005. We are very much looking forward to this.
8. Speaking of touring, with the range of styles and sounds Nachtmystium has developed over the years, how do you formulate a set list every night? Do you tend to choose more songs from the last 5-6 years because that’s where the band has evolved to or do you pull out older songs to even the set and appease longtime fans?
It all depends on the show or tour package. That’s the nice thing about having a diverse catalog, you can shape shift to make more sense with certain sets for certain audiences.
9. There have been a lot of members of Nachtmystium over the years, do you feel that you’ve reached a steady/favorite line up finally?
Absolutely. We have been the same band more or less for two years now and have played more shows in those two years than we did in the nine years proceeding this line up. We are more stable than ever I’d say, and everyone involved seems to be really into what we are doing as a group. It feels like a “band” more than ever before, which is a great thing.
10. With everywhere that Nachtmystium has played, do you have a favorite venue to play? Do you prefer playing stadiums to clubs or would you be happy playing in someone’s backyard?
I prefer playing in tiny clubs or DIY spots. It’s way more intense and personal for both us and the crowds. Big venues, festival stages, etc tend to be a bit impersonal, so I’ll take the basement show with a bring your own beer policy over the arena gig any day of the week.
11. With all the studio work you’ve done, do you prefer being in the studio as a musician or as an engineer/producer? That said, do you prefer the studio to the stage?
The Stage is where I prefer to be. I love the tribal/ritualistic vibe of pounding on instruments, screaming and just making people fear you. I believe therapy through violence is a very positive thing. Live shows should be therapeutic not just entertaining. With that being said the studio is my home away from home. As much as the stage is a way for me to get out my aggression, the studio is how I let the creative juices flow. I equally love being a producer as much as a musician. I can be very creative in both mind sets.
12. How do you separate yourself from being a member of the band to being the producer?
Just years of doing it, I have gotten to where I can switch left/right brains pretty well. I can pull myself out of the song and look at it from a producing point of view then dive back in as a musician to write and create.
13. What’s the main difference working on a Nachtmystium record as opposed to the recently released Artificial Madness by Chris Connelly stylistically and mentally?
A huge part of my job is knowing how to read people and interact accordingly. I have to figure out which guy is the trouble maker, which one is the complainer and which guy gets the job done. Working with Chris is a piece of cake. He’s just one guy and has the most gentle soul out of anyone I know. Nachtmystium on the other hand………is not one guy.