Interview with Naut from Necronautical
I am Naut, Guitarist & Vocalist of Necronautical.
You're onto your third album now "Apotheosis" which is set for release in September via Candlelight Records and Spinefarm Records, how would you describe the process for the new release?
It's been a long process, but the creative process is kind of a constant with us. We have already started on demos and ideas for our fourth album. We began work on Apotheosis immediately after we released “The Endurance at Night” (Cacophonous Records, 2016). This album has been the most rewarding of all that we have done, most notably because its the first we've made whilst we've been an active touring band, with Slugh joining us on drums in 2015. As usual we take a lot of time making demos, working into the ideas and structures, and at the same time developing our thematic concepts. But because of our situation as a very active live band, that's enabled us to be more collaborative, and jam on the new ideas when we rehearse. It really feels like the most collective album we've ever done, but somehow at the same time its also the most personal. I think it's definitely been our biggest project to date. Historically, we've always had a very DIY approach to recording. I recorded and mixed our first two albums myself. This time we wanted to work with other people, and so we recorded drums and did the mix with our friend Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio, which really lifted to overall sound of the album. We left a lot more “unfinished” before we began recording this time, which allowed us the opportunity to add new dimensions to the music right until the last moment, which made the whole experience feel very fresh and creative. Its been really good fun making this album, there are lots of new elements that add a different dimension to the sound, as well as retaining the fundamental core of what 'Necronautical' is.
Going back to your debut performance which happened to be with "Dark Funeral", how did that feel knowing your first ever time gracing the stage would be with a band who are legendary in the black metal scene?
We were in an interesting situation then, because we had already released two albums and signed a record deal before our first ever live performance, and so we already had something of a following. It was maybe a little daunting as we were still definitely cutting our teeth as a live unit, but between us we have plentiful onstage experience with prior projects. My attitude to gigs has always been just to focus on what Im doing, im not concerned about the size of the audience or who we are performing with, I just try to tap into the energy in the room and get involved with my own performance. That being said I think in the three years that have passed we have absolutely come into our own onstage, and our live performances are markedly better than ever before, and the reactions we receive from our audiences are testament to that.
Your first album "Black Sea Misanthropy" was released in 2014, 5 years later would you say that your sound has had any major changes to it?
Absolutely. But I think this band has always had its core fundamentals. We're all old friends, with a lot of common ground. We never seem to disagree about direction. Writing music has always been a very rewarding process for us because of that. I think we've taken steps forwards in many ways though. We try to learn and develop from every experience. I think we've improved as musicians and as songwriters, and we have a broader range of influences and resources than ever before. Since BSM we've integrated a lot of new textures and elements, and I think our sound and vision has matured with us, the longer we've worked together. We have a better synergy now than ever before, and that was strong with us from the beginning. We always try and do what feels right, rather than making too many conscious decisions about sound or direction. I believe the best music should always come from the heart in order to be sincere, if we made decisions to change to a more technical, or speed driven sound, for example, then immediately we'd be attempting emulation about honesty, and I believe artists generally produce there worst work when they try to do that. We just go with our guts, and any changes in the overall feel is simply a consequence of what we were experiencing at the time of writing.
"Nihil Sub Sole Novum" is available on Spotify, what type of reactions have you had for this?
Its been out for less than a week, but the response has been really overwhelming actually. The response from the media has been huge, our new label Candlelight have been very supportive and encouraging, and we are getting a lot of kind words from our fans. I think the song serves as an excellent gateway to the album. We always consider our albums to be one larger cohesive piece, and “Apotheosis” holds many more musical surprises than are present in “Nihil...”, but the response to that single has heightened our confidence in the album, and I really believe those that enjoy our music will not be disappointed by this record. I believe its our strongest to date and we're all really proud of it.
What thoughts came to mind when it came to explaining to David Thiérréé how you wanted your artwork for "Apotheosis" to look?
It wasn't an easy idea to articulate, in and of itself. The concept behind Apotheosis is “The Deification of Emptiness”, and so effectively for the artwork we wanted to anthropomorphize “nothing”, but for that “nothing” to have a greater power than everything. We actually originally had a version made by a different artist, who made a great effort, but it didn't quite hit the mark. We met David Thiérréé when we performed at Inferno Festival in Norway last year, where he was exhibiting some of his work. His artwork is simply outstanding. He had already met our drummer, Slugh, at Hellfest the previous year, and so introductions were made, and we agreed to meet for a few beers after hours to discuss a project. It would be fair to say we hit it off with David immediately, he's a really great guy in my esteems. It was ideal to be able to sit face to face and just talk about the concept and the music for a while, David seemed very in tune with us, and that creates the perfect situation for creating the right piece. He actually didn't go with our original suggestion for the art, but came up with something that was so much more perfect. I think thats the best way when working with anybody creative, you need to understand that its a collaboration, whether its music, artwork, a tattoo, a video, anything... you need to allow room for expression, and that will always yield the best results. David actually ended up creating further artworks for the album, so the physical release is something very special indeed, and he encapsulated the vibe of our band and music perfectly. Since meeting him we've adorned our homes with many of his pieces, and I sincerely hope we will meet and work together again. The same could also be said of Chris Feilding, our producer, and Ester Segarra who created our promotional pictures, they intuatively understood what we wanted, and added there own creative touches to the final product. It was absolutely a joy to work with these creative and respected individuals, and we feel lucky to have done so.
Would you say you try and capture a theme of mood at all when it comes to writing music?
Absolutely. I think that is paramount. Music is expression. My friend Shayan S. (of Trivax) recently said to me that he looks at creating music as “decorating time”, and that really stuck with me. A song, or an album, is made up of millions of tiny decisions. For us, every decision is made to serve the drama of the piece, to fit in with the underlying emotion we are trying to express. If that's not the reason for making music, then really all you are doing is exhibiting your abilities on an instrument,in the hope of attaining some kind of recognition for it. I have a great distaste for music made for those reasons, and honestly I believe it shows in the result, the music has no soul, no feeling. I am far from accomplished on my instrument, but I've always felt that when I'm creating, that there is something inside of me, and that if I could only manifest it, then somehow I would come closer to understanding myself. That may seem pretentious, but how could anyone be expected to connect with a piece of art if its creator wasn't somehow connected to it in the first instance? Playing extreme music is like playing an instrument at the height of intensity, its not just playing fast and brutal, to me it is a physical and emotional catharsis. I never want to feel like I'm just going through the motions. The day I do, I'll stop.
In your own words describe how you think Necronautical sounds?
Its very hard to be subjective about our own work. But id say melancholic and euphoric. We have this term between ourselves in the band, we jokingly call it “The Grim Euphoria”. We definitely go for the wall of sound approach, this is music to be performed at the height of emotion. We want to create something that's overwhelming, something that is at the same time depressive as it is empowering. In the way that our hardest times in life are often the birth of our becoming, we want our albums to be an emotional journey for the listener, born of our emotional interpretation of our own experience of existence. By the end of it, we hope the listener will feel like they've come through something, just as we have throughout the process of creating it.
You played "Incineration Fest" last month alongside "Mayhem" "Carpathian Forest" "Asphyx" and many more, what kind of reactions did you receive afterwards?
We didn't receive any reaction afterwards because we generally aren't recognisable offstage. However the reaction during our performance was unreal, the room was packed out, lots of headbanging, there was a mostpit, a lot of intense energy for us to feed off of. It was extremely hot and the energy in the room was really intense. It was a pleasure to perform at that festival and we are completely grateful to have had that opportunity to share that experience with those who were present. It was certainly a standout show in my memory.
Any shout outs at all?
We'd like to thank David Thieree, Ester Segarra, Chris Fielding, Matt Croton, Darren Toms and everybody at Candlelight and Spinefarm who have helped us bring “Apotheosis” to life. We'd also like to thank the guys in Winterfylleth for taking us on our first tour and being supportive to us. More than that, we would simply like to thank all our friends and supporters for believing in us and pushing us to this point in our bands lifespan. We've always just wanted to make music because we love doing it, anything that has come beyond that, be it performing, working with a label, going on tour or producing a video, it has always been because other people have enjoyed what we do, and encouraged us to take a step forward and given us a helping hand. Without the great people that have believed in us and chosen to involve themselves with our artwork, im fairly sure we'd still just be sat in my bedroom writing tunes to ourselves. But even if that were the case, we'd still be glad to be doing just that. Thanks for the interview!
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