Readers, we're sad to report to all you black-metal-loving locals that Nachtmystium has cancelled their gig at the Bottleneck's Metal Monday next week. But that won't stop us from running our interview with them. After all, the band has been hailed by those well-known black metal experts over at Pitchfork as "the biggest and most important band in American black metal" (read the review here) and they've got a new album, Silencing Machine, which arrives on July 31. They've got a hometown record release show in Chicago on that night as well, so you LFK metalheads might want to consider a roadtrip.
We're honored that the band's Blake Judd made time for our hijinks, despite the fact that Chip claims he hasn't listened to anything "heavier" than Aerosmith (the ballads) since his mother once burned all the Metallica records she discovered in his dorm room.
Check Nachtmystium out on FB here and pre-order Silencing Machine here.
Now enjoy this interview, in which Chip asks frontman Blake Judd about Satan and we chat about the band's return to their black-metal roots after two acclaimed but more experimental records.
Richard: There's a lot of talk about how your new album is a return to the pure "black metal" of your first record. How exactly does it differ in sound from your recent albums? And do you think newer fans will be surprised or disappointed by the changes?
Blake: I definitely don’t think that this record is “pure” black metal at all. It’s more of a return to our style of black metal. To me, that means that this is a lot more straightforward record. We don’t break out into saxophone solos on this record at all or anything like that. Don’t get me wrong, I like those two Meddle records a lot, but it would have felt very forced for us to find another way to “outweird” ourselves so we decided to go back to the sound that we had previously created. I think we made an amazing record and I think fans will agree with us there.
Chip: I grew up in small-town Kansas listening to country music. When people down there think of "black metal" they think of devil worship and human sacrifice and pentagrams and maybe goats, for some reason. Will I be required to worship Satan at your Bottleneck show, or is it merely recommended?
Blake: Religion has no place here in Nachtmystium so you can do whatever you want to, hahaha.
Richard: Those scenester tastemakers over at Pitchfork have give you some absolute rave reviews and even called you "the biggest and most important band in American black metal" when reviewing Addicts: Black Meddle, Part II in 2010. Do you pay attention to what those hipsters think of you? And how do you think they'll respond to your newest work?
Blake: I read the reviews, but I don’t care what anyone says about our records. Of course, it’s great to hear that they think we made a killer record but, what I mean is, we don’t make records so that we get praise from the press. Everyone has their own musical taste so it’s cool if they like it, but if not I’m not too concerned. With regards to this new record, I’ve actually done an interview with them and they premiered a new song from this record so it seems as though they dig it.
[Read that Pitchfork interview here ]
[Read that Pitchfork interview here ]
Chip: The song titles on your new album are really bumming me out. "The Lepers of Destitution." "These Rooms in Which We Weep." What's the best time to listen to a Nachtmystium album?
Blake: The new record is very dark. The themes of this album are much more “black metal” than the previous two albums. You can listen to the record whenever, but I think that everyone will have their own “best time to listen”. Black metal is not for easy listening; it’s not something that people put on for background music.
Richard: I'm guessing you've seen some wild and violent behavior at your shows. Can you share a concert experience that will amaze and/or terrify our readers?
Blake: You know, I actually talked about this in an interview where someone asked about Randy Blythe and his whole situation in Prague right now. [find details on the Blythe case here via Rolling Stone]. Strange scenario… we were playing in Vilnius, Lithuania and some teenage guy (probably 18-19) ran on stage at full speed directly at me with some large object in his hand and I couldn’t see what it was. I immediately turned and got into a stance where I was ready to have someone try to tackle me or attack me, and it turns out it was some crazy fan with a record and a marker (?!) who literally felt it was the appropriate time to get an autograph from me whether I liked it or not, right after our first two songs on stage in our set that night. I was super pissed at first and I started writing “Fuck off” on the kid’s records, but I felt bad, so he has a record that says “Fuck Blake Judd,” signed by me, hahahaha. The situation was startling, however and I spoke to the promoter after the show about his security as it was a rather large and rowdy crowd to begin with.
Richard: Aside from the new album, what else is on the horizon for Nachtmystium in terms of music and touring?
Blake: Well, we have a short tour at the end of the month leading to an album release show in our hometown of Chicago. After that, I am going into the studio with my Twilight bandmates to record our new album. The next thing on our agenda is a full scale North American tour, which is already being planned and will happen in November sometime. We’re also talking about getting back to Europe in the early part of 2013. Nachtmystium tours a lot and stays very active so that’s what the plan is at the moment. We are also talking about going to South America, Australia and some other areas where we have never played before. One way or another, we’ll be out there playing, that’s for sure!
Chip: Can you give one piece of advice to any angry young black metal fans who might be reading this piece?