NACHTLIEDER are back with a new album “Lynx” that totally rocks the socks off anybody that listens to it. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
You have used a John Bauer painting for the cover of your latest album “Lynx”. How hard was it to get the permission to use it? What does John Bauer’s images mean to you and how did you first get in contact with them?
-All of Bauer’s work are in the public domain now according to copyright laws. Copyright (at least in Sweden) expires 75 years after the death of the artist, so it’s all free for everyone to use. I’ve loved Bauer’s images since I was a child. Both the connections to the fairytales but also his aesthetic style that so perfectly captures Scandinavian nature.
How does the art work tie in with the album title and lyrics? What kind of themes do you deal with on this album?
-The fairytale that it comes from is of course about something completely different, but here the girl Lilla Lena got to represent knowledge, solitude and strength despite being outnumbered. She represents the lynx, which in turn is the representation of the themes of solitude and clairvoyance.
I write a lot about death, or rather endings and decay of different kinds, on this album. ”Claws and Bone” for example is about a close encounter with death, ”Dark matter” and ”Law of Decay” about destruction of the soul and body respectively, and ”Song of Nova” about the complete annihilation of everything. The song ”Eyes ablaze” though was inspired by a story that I read while researching the cultural significance of the lynx. I read about a swedish local news article from the beginning of the 1900’s where a lynx had found it’s way into the sheep housing at a farm and killed all the animals, seemingly just because it could. The lynx was hunted down and eventually killed, but the hunt was not easy and all the hunters would briefly see was the lynx yellow eyes in the shadows.
Everything about my album themes is not simple to explain, there’s just usually too much in there. I felt like ”The Female of the Species” was misinterpreted as a ”one concept” album and the fault is partly mine, haha. But it was certainly not, it’s just like ”Lynx” is. A group of more or less intertwined themes explored from similar aesthetic viewpoints.
I do not make a difference between male and female metal musicians but when I read that Myrkur had been submitted to death threats and stuff I started to think what it is like to be a female musician playing black metal, the manliest of manly metal (said with irony). What kind of experience do you have from being a female metal artist?
-I’ve definitely felt how I’m being seen as a musician would have been different if I was male, but I have never experienced shit of a Myrkur proportion. Then again for several reasons in the eyes of the trolls I have more credibility than Myrkur. I’m quite sick of talking about these things so I’ll just keep my opinions blunt: As a female you need to fulfill one or several of some certain ”cred” criteria in order to keep trolls away. Play your instrument(s) perfectly or you will get attacked. Work with people with high BM cred or you will get attacked. Have a long, documented experience of being ”true” or you will get attacked. In the case of Myrkur I even saw a meme where her skinny figure got more negative attention than her skills as a musician, so I guess it doesn’t hurt to have some curves as well. It all makes me sick. Some times I think I’ve never received these comments (at least not to me personally) just because no people know about Nachtlieder, but I HOPE it’s because the trolls are intimidated by me. It’s certainly not because they respect me. People like that have no respect for anyone, it’s just that they prefer to show their hate for some people rather then others.
What is black metal to you? I am old enough to have been there from the early 80s and followed the evolution of the genre and all its sub-genres.
-I wrote my bachelor in musicology about tonality in norwegian BM from the mid 1990’s so I could go on about this forever. But instead, let me quote a YouTube comment that shined up like a moment of clarity in a storm of shit. I’ve forgotten who wrote it though. ”Black Metal is about the absurdity of your existence and the certainty of your death”. I’ve never seen anything summarized so good on social media and it fits my view on the genre perfectly. This can be explored both musically and lyrically, it’s dark and it’s twisted.
When you finish a recording and then sit back and relax, what kind of feelings do you get? Are you glad it is finished? Does the anxiety grow, not knowing if everybody will like it?
-I’m confident enough in my music that I know a good number of people will like it. I wouldn’t release it if it wasn’t good, so I’m never concerned about these things. I don’t know. The feeling is different every time and in different stages of the process. When I finished writing the songs this time I felt extremely satisfied because I was so very happy with the material, but we still had drums to write and rehearse so there was a lot of work left. Once everything was recorded I just felt good. The same when we got the release sorted out and Nigredo Records finished the layout of the CD. I never relax, I always have some kind of art project going on, music or something else. I would get drenched in some kind of everyday work stagnation depression if I didn’t.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? With the ability to upload your music as soon as you’ve written it the freedom to create has become greater but are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans now that every Tom, John and Harry can upload their stuff?
-I don’t have much of a network to speak of, so for me a label is extremely important. I simply wouldn’t be able to reach anyone otherwise. I don’t see much negative with this. Bands who release themselves simply work as their own labels now. Some people say that the speed of releasing kills the magic of musical experience but I don’t agree. If you love music you love music. The only downside that I experience myself is that I tend to forget many albums that I bought or listened to digitally. My record collection though is always there and I re-listen to older albums as much as I can.
Playing live still seems like the best and most important way to spread and band’s name. But when you don’t play live how do you best reach out to people so that they know that there is a new album out? Had I not by accident seen a post in a group on FB I had not known that there was a new NACHTLIEDER album out.
-Well, that’s sort of how you need to go about it. Spread the news everywhere and as much as possible. I have also personally written to people who have liked my previous work in hope they will pick up the new one (you saw that FB post before I got to you, haha). this is why a label is so important, all of this is hard work. Katia has a good underground network an has done a lot to reach out of the circle that are already familiar with Nachtlieder. But yes, live would be the best with all that comes with it.
I also can’t stress enough though how important the fans are. Every like, share and link click helps, but shares and tagging are especially important. A lot of success is a matter of luck only. You need to have good material of course, but you need to be lucky to find the right people to listen to it. The more social media shares, the more the chance of being lucky increases.
Does location mean anything? Do you feel that you are part of a special metal vibe just because you live in a place/region that has spawned influential bands?
-No. I’m not a part of anything. I’m, like, the loneliest person in the world, hahahaha.
What is your opinion of digital versus physical? Is it the death of music as we know it or the natural evolutionary road of progress?
-Think I pretty much answered this in question 6. Music will never die, it’s too important. But yeah, the physical format will probably be more and more of a collectors thing, if it isn’t already.
What does the future hold?
-My body has passed it’s prime so I’m in a state of decay now until it’s time to die. Hopefully not too soon though. I’d like to do a couple of more releases first, but you never ever know.