Thursday, February 6, 2014

Nihilstinen Barbaarisuus Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus began outside Philadelphia in 2012 when co-founders Mika Mage (me) and Manuel Rodriguez decided to create music reminiscent of the arctic winter.  Manuel had a great collection of riffs but no time to record them, so I contributed my own and a few unique tracks and recorded a short demo myself.  M.W.S. (Serpent ov Old, Shadows in the Crypt, ex-Wykked Witch, ex-Evil Divine) heard it and asked me to record a full-length at his Thee Illuminated studio, thus 'Synkkä Tuuli' was born..  Manuel was only interested in creating one album and M.W.S. left to focus on Serpent ov Old, leaving things a one man project from the 'Väinämöinen' EP onward..

2.So far you have released a demo, full length, and an ep, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical sound that is present on those 3 recordings and also how do they differ from each other?

The self-titled promo and ST had tracks featuring equal contributions from Manuel and me, but since I wrote my riffs to complement his it's his influences that shine through.  All the material after ST was composed solely by me, and I think the stylistic difference is evident on the EP, and will continue to be more so on the next album..  I'm more progressively oriented, thus I took some creative risks that I hope the kvlt faithful respond well to..

3.From what I have seen so far is that the project was originally based in Finland but is now re-located to the New England part of the United States, what was the decision behind the move and how would you compare the black metal scene of the east coast to the one in your native country?

I'm a dual citizen of Finland and the US, my family still owns a cottage in Finland but I've lived mostly in America since I was a child, so America is where the band was formed.  Did we actively decide to start a black metal band in the US?  No, we aren't idiots, we're victims of geography..  I would compare the European black metal scene to that on the east coast but there is none to compare it to.. at least not in this area..  Sure, there are clusters of bands making great black metal here and there, like Inverted Trifixion in Maryland and our HPGD label mates Shadows in the Crypt and Serpent ov Old in Philadelphia, but I would hardly call it a scene..  There does exist a small scene for brutal death, which has bred some excellent bands (Sapremia, Nightfire, Black Crown Initiate) and musicians I like to commandeer on occasion for my own evil devices..

4.Can you tell us a little bit more about the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?

This music is a love letter to the frozen north, or perhaps more a suicide note..  For ST, I wanted to take the listener on a bleak voyage through a desolate arctic landscape, thus the opening track begins with footsteps fighting a blizzard, and the album ends with a melancholy acoustic piece implying a frostbitten finality..  I decided to keep the lyrics minimalist on all tracks except 'Anhedonia' to emphasize the wall of sound and compliment the searing, wind-like M.W.S. vocal style.  For the follow-up I looked to the Finnish national epic the 'Kalevala' for inspiration, further embracing my Nordic roots..  The EP 'Väinämöinen' is named for the hero protagonist and the lyrics to the title track are taken directly from the text.  The new album will follow suit..

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus'?

Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus (nihilistic barbarism in English) is a philosophical concept I came upon while reading 'The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality', a book written by French philosopher Andre Comte-Sponville.  I think he explains it best:

"Nihilistic Barbarism has no program, no ideal, no ideology.  It has no need of these things.  Its advocates believe in nothing; they know only violence and egotism, contempt and hatred.  They are prisoners of their own instincts, their own stupidity and lack of culture, and slaves to what they think of as their freedom.  They are barbaric because they lack faith and/or fidelity; they are the mercenaries of the void."

6.Currently there is only 1 member in the band, are you planning on working with another line up again in the future or is this going to evolve into a solo project?

Due to the nature of the music and my personal life it will likely remain a one man project..  Creatively this leaves me with more freedom, and managerially less headaches..  I find it's easier to just recruit session talent when needed, like on 'Väinämöinen' I had Lawrence Wallace (Shadows in the Crypt) program drums and play synth, M.W.S. returned to play bass, and James Dorton (Black Crown Initiate, Nightfire, Antikythera) sang.  For the new album I played guitar and bass, I split duties on keys and drums with Lawrence, and James signed on to sing again; for future work I will handle all duties myself (except perhaps vocals)..

7.Has the band done any live shows or is this strictly a studio project?

I'm not opposed to live shows if it were ever convenient, but as music is not my primary occupation (currently I work as a medical assistant until I begin medical school later this year) I have little time to coordinate a band.  The truth is, we already have label support and an international audience, thus I see little to gain playing dive bars in Delaware, especially since no one ever got laid playing guitar in corpse paint, at least not in America..

8. Currently you have Horror  Pain  Gore  Death  Productions releasing your albums on cd and Infernal Kommando releasing them on cassettes, do you feel that working with 2 different record labels has done a lot for getting your music out there heard?

The head of HPGD Mike Juliano was great and bent over backwards to make us happy when we released ST; as an American label it gave us some traction in the states and legitimized NB as an entity.  The French label Infernal Kommando Records came along after I put out 'Väinämöinen' (it was first a promotion with the blog Gun Shy Assassin), and I think it has done just as much if not more for NB, since they were the gateway to the international underground.. speaking of which, I want to thank Tuomas at Primitive Reaction in Finland and Sergiy at Depressive Illusion Records in the Ukraine for their awesome support distributing our CD and cassettes.

9.When can we expect another full length and also what direction will the music be heading into during the future?

I'm the only creative force in the band now and I think the new material will show for it, but the attitude is still very much the same.  Although I strive to create atmospheric tracks, I personally tend more towards melody and greater dynamic in riff structure, while still preserving the raw feel essential to this music.  The next album is complete except for vocals; James will be singing again but as Black Crown Initiate has recently become bigger than Jesus (opening for 1349 and Marduk on their upcoming tour) we have to operate on his hectic time frame..

10. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?

The faithful have responded very positively to us; the more raw the publication, the better the response.  It just goes to show this is a niche music for a niche group of people, an obscure sub-genre in an already obscure genre.  I listened to Velvet Cacoon when I first got into metal and I thought it was trash, but now 'Avalon Polo' is one of my favorite albums.. The 16 year old kid who shops at Hot Topic and listens to Amon Amarth and Lamb of God isn't immediately going to be into (let alone understand) raw depressive black metal, it takes time to get that grim.. but hopefully they find NB when they do..

11.What are some bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Manuel mostly regards Graveland, Hate Forest, and Horna as his influences, and that seems to be what most people recognize in ST; these days he listens to a lot of Altar of Plagues, Dragged Into Sunlight, and Ulcerate.  Manuel is admittedly a lot more kvlt than I am..  My taste is more progressive and I purposefully try not to listen to other ambient black acts since I don't want to be inadvertently influenced while writing, thus for black metal I stick with Hakuja, 1349, Rotting Christ, and Nagelfar..  My guilty pleasure is Sonata Arctica (their sticker comes with the new Finnish passport)..

12.Do you have any other interests than music?

Manuel has a degree in game design and works for a large video game company in Colorado.  I have a graduate degree in medical research and will be attending medical school in the fall to be a physician; currently I work as a medical assistant, and between that and NB I have little time for else.. as it should be..

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Thanks for the support and opportunity to speak to the trve grim out there, and keep an eye out for the next NB album later this year.. I know I already said in some press release it would be out this winter, but sh*t happens..  Also, the 'Väinämöinen' EP is still a free download on our Bandcamp (http://nihilistinenbarbaarisuus.bandcamp.com/album/v-in-m-inen) and at Gun Shy Assassin (http://gunshyassassin.com/news/exclusive-nihilistinen-barbaarisuus-stream-and-download-vainamoinen), so grab it if you don't already have it.. I know it's not so fun to download music if it isn't stealing, but do it anyway..

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