“NACHTBLUT” INTERVIEW By Craig Obert
Germany is home to many great things. BEER, legendary automobiles, Classical composers, The Autobahn, Wacken Open Air and NACHTBLUT….and beer.
Nachtblut, which means Night Blood, was formed in 2005 in Osnabruck, Germany. They gift us with outstanding Melodic Black Metal. To be fair, their music transcends many sub-genres. Their music flows with a brooding, aggressive delivery, at times bordering on orchestral.
Singing in German, their music is delivered with an undeniable sense of urgency. Harsh layered guitars, VERY heavy drums, majestic keyboards and sinister vocals are their hallmarks. Lyrically, subject matter ranges from social commentary, politics, world religions, historical events…mostly with scathing slant.
To be clear, there are (or were) 3 bands named Nachtblut, all from Germany. MHF Magazine has been giving the opportunity to speak with THE Nachtblut. Their new album, Apostasie is due in October on Napalm Records.
Thank you so much for taking time out to speak with us. How are things in your world?
Skoll: First, thanks for having me! Things are pretty good at the moment. Right now, our headlining tour kicked off, Apostasie is just released and even before we were touring in China. So pretty busy, but excellent respond everywhere so far.
You stand apart in the fact the majority of your songs are about social issues—a thinking man’s Black Metal if you will. What are the most pressing issues to you? What issues do you see yourselves addressing in the near future?
Skoll: There are so many problems in this world, it’s really tough to pick one. An issue I experience every day more and more is, that people losing respect for others or their environment. As I don’t see an ending for this progress, there are hard times to come. But of course, this is just a part of a whole bunch of problems. If you really start to think about all the fear and hate that is spread in this world, you will probably go mad. I´m just waiting for the final straw and the consequences we all have to carry then.
Your lyrics are very provocative, to put it mildly. 2 songs that speak to me are “Wien 1683” and “Tote Mich.” Can you expound these songs?
Skoll: Both songs are from our last album „Chimonas“. Wien 1683 is song with a historical reference. We are friends with „Varg“(Band) for long time and we toured together. On one of those tours we decided to do a feature. So, in tradition to the pagan-metal-lyric-storytelling, we did likely. „Töte mich“is a critic to the german law for euthanasia, sung from the perspective of a person, who don’t want to live anymore, but can end his life by himself. It’s forbidden in Germany to assist suicide. So even if you really want to end your life and you can’t do it by yourself, no one is allowed to help you. You have to travel to Switzerland, Netherlands or Belgium for that. So, you suffer for long, living is a pain for what reason so ever and you don’t want to vegetate till your natural death. But you are not allowed to get help committing suicide. Doesn’t sound like self determination to me. We think, everyone who really wants to end his life in a professional institution, should be allowed consult this establishment.
Clearly, you are socially conscious and have a lot to say. If you could not express your opinions/views/thoughts through music, what would you do instead? Are there other avenues you may explore or perhaps have explored in the past?
Skoll: Hard to say. I´m not that good at drawing or in dancing … probably I would write lyrics. Maybe because it’s somehow related to music. But I can’t really think about not doing music, it feels too natural to me.
As far as I know, you sing exclusively in German. This brings an extra layer of music to my American ears. Have you considered maybe singing in any other languages? What obstacles, if any, have you encountered from singing strictly in your native language?
Skoll: We never considered singing in another language. It just feels natural to us to sing and express ourselves in German. An obstacle could be that promoters hesitate to book us in non-German-speaking countries. But there are enough examples to proof, that you don’t have to sing in English to be successful around the world. As I mentioned, just before our tour in Europe we went to China. The response has been incredible! But you can also pick bands like Solstafir. For me, their most famous songs are not in English ones or take a Black Metal Band from Norway or Sweden. Many of them don’t sing in English and still touring the world.
You’re considered Melodic Black Metal. I hear some Industrial and perhaps orchestral leanings as well. Any plans to expand your sound over the years? Where do you see the band musically and socially in the next…? say 3 years?
Skoll: It’s hard to say. All the things we do, developed naturally. There never have been a plan like „let’s use more orchestra on the next record “or „we have to sound more like XY “. It’s a natural growing, a mix of things we listen to, we discovered for us and so on. So, I really can’t tell right now, where we will be in 3 years, or how our sound will evolve. I can just say, we will stay true to ourselves, which is the most important of all things. Also beside music and lyric.
You’ve played many shows and festivals, often as the headliner. How was your experience at Wacken Open Air? I swear I am going to go one year!! Any standout moments from other performances?
Skoll: Wacken is a great experience! I mean we are talking about the holy ground for metal. So, brace yourself to have a great time there. I would say at that point, our show at Wacken Open Air have been the hottest one so far. Meanwhile we played hotter shows, but this is what I still remember. And of course, the amount of people in front of the stage. We played in this big tent, in middle of summer and about 10.000 people went crazy. That was great!
Tell us about the new album, Apostasie. How does it differ from your previous work? Anything special you would like to share about the album? What themes/subject matter can we look forward to?
Skoll: I would say its more varied. On the last records, we often broached aspects of other music genres. This time we put that on another level. But you better listen to the record. Describing music is always a bit imperfect. Also, as we did some conceptual records we always put some boundaries on yourself. No matter if in musically or lyrical content. This time we loosen those bonds. Don’t get me wrong, we still love conceptual records and probably will do one or two in future again. But it felt relieving this time and you probably can hear that.
Tell us about the songwriting process. How does each member contribute overall? Has this evolved over the years? I imagine the more time you spend together and with more experiences gained, each member’s influence will change as well. Any recent world events shaping your songwriting process?
Skoll: Usually we never stop collecting ideas and new influences. You can’t stop living and reflecting your environment. So, everyone is putting his thoughts in our stock of ideas. Those ideas mature over time and at some point, we have a demo-song. Most songs are written by Askeroth. As he is a keyboard player he thinks in different terms of guitar riffs like a guitar player would do or a drummer about beats. So, each member will work on the song and in the end, this is the pre-production, which is followed by recordings in the studio with a producer. So obviously every member has an influence on the songs.
Your sound can be complex. Presumably, there are many influences. Who would you say are your 3 key influences…and please name 1 (or more if you like) non-musical influence.
Skoll: It’s hard to pick just 3. Black Metal always have been an influence to any of us. I guess as a German Metalhead you have to mention Rammstein as an influence as well. And furthermore, I would say music in all its facets. A nonmusical influence … books, films and mankind.
You have played with Sodom, Satyricon and Belphagor (3 renowned artists.) What band would really like to tour with? On a personal note, I picture a day when fledgling artists aspire to tour with the great Nachtblut!
Skoll: Probably every artist would love to go on tour with his idol. But I would say, I always enjoyed touring most with cool people. So, any band that knows how to behave and you can have a good time with, is welcome.
You have spoken of the expense of touring in the U.S. and how promoters and venues are hesitant to work with a relatively unknown band. Now that your career has advanced, how likely are we to see you in the United States and Canada? What are your plans for touring in the future?
Skoll: Unfortunately, still can’t confirm anything. But I hope that for example, our tour in China proves, that Nachtblut also rocks outside of Europe. So, let’s hope, someday we make it to the U.S. and Canada!
Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing Apostasie. Any comments you like to leave with our readers?
Skoll: Be yourself and keep supporting music!
Craig Obert/MHF Magazine