Love ’em or hate ’em, Nachtmystium have put out some pretty important albums over the past decade. Their Black Meddle releases reinvented how black metal could sound and by mixing it with the psychedelic sounds of Pink Floyd they successfully created something new and highly interesting. While those albums may have been more “popular” than their pure black metal offerings, they’re never been afraid to try new things. Diehard fans will be happy to hear though, that with their new release Nachtmystium has returned to their true form with their most black metal-sounding album in ages. Read our interview with band leader Blake Judd for some insight and crank up the new record!
Hi Blake, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Century Media hasn’t sent the promo copies of the new album out so I’ve only heard a couple of songs (the title track and “Borrowed Hope and Broken Dreams”) that are already streaming online plus the “As Made” 7″. Now from what I’ve read, the album is a return to black metal. What led to your decision to “return” to BM even though the Black Meddle albums were so successful?
Blake: For us, we had decided a long time ago that the Black Meddle records would stand-alone and we would not continue that sound past the Addicts album. We just wanted to do something totally different from what was expected of black metal. I feel like we did that, but I missed the energy of this style of playing and these types of songs. I feel like Silencing Machine is a better representation of what Nachtmystium is all about and I feel that if we had continued to try and push the boundaries past what we did on Assassins and Addicts that it would have felt forced and people would’ve not respected that. I really enjoy both of the Meddle records, but I really love what we did on this album and I’m excited for everyone to hear it.
How come the band decided to release the As Made 7″ so close to the release of Silencing Machine? It seems like a bit of an odd thing to release two songs that are the polar opposite of black metal so close to the release of your new album. Judging by the comments on some metal sites it freaked some people out. Do you even care about what people think any more?
Blake: Don’t care at all, hahaha. If you look at the history of Nachtmystium, we usually release an EP or 7″ between full-lengths and so we just continued that with this one. Being from Chicago, we have an appreciation for industrial music and this was basically our hail to Ministry. That wasn’t supposed to be indicative of what we are doing now or where we will go, it was just us trying to sound like a Chicago industrial band and a 7″ is a good place to try stuff like that out. Once people have a listen to the new album, they will see that it’s not where our head is at – it was just something that we wanted to do, so we did it!
Check out the song: “I Wait In Hell”
Similar to the above: Why do you think there is such an “elitist” attitude among many black metal’ers in general? For a genre that stresses individuality there seems to be many who hold very “strict” attitudes about what is and what isn’t BM.
Blake: Yeah, that’s true and a valid point. I think it stems from black metal being the farthest thing from commercial music and people in that underground scene tend to get upset if they think that someone is infiltrating their scene or watering it down. I understand where they are coming from.
With the success of the last couple of albums have you guys been able to make any semblance of a living off of Nachtmystium or not?
Blake: Being in a band that sounds like us, it’s not the most profitable, but I’m a business man – I ran my own label, Battle Kommand, for several years so I understand how that side of things works. Outside of Nachtmystium, I don’t work a day job. The other guys have their other bands and stuff, Sanford does production for a lot of great bands, so we are pretty dependent on music as our livelihood.
Now in regards to downloading and file sharing: Are you an opponent or proponent and why? I’ve heard plenty of people compare downloading to tape trading, but personally I don’t see it. How do you feel about it? Also how do you think artists should be compensated for their work?
Blake: I don’t think of downloading in the same way as tape trading at all. Tape trading was personal and there was interaction to it. You would talk to people, trade tapes, find out what someone else was into and doing. Downloading isn’t that at all. Ultimately, I don’t want Nachtmystium’s album to leak or whatever, but I also understand that in this age of the music business, the music is actually a tool to get people to come to your shows, buy your merchandise, etc. So I think that you have to find some kind of acceptance with the fact that it occurs and we can’t stop it. If you like what you hear, come see a show!
What’s the touring plans for the rest of the year? Any chance you will be doing a trek of Canada at all?
Blake: Well, we have a run of dates and an album release show at the end of the month when the record comes out. After that, we’re planning a huge full North American tour for the Fall – I think November-ish. Then we’re starting to plan to get back to Europe in early 2013. Trying to be out there as much as possible.
Any newer bands metal or otherwise you’ve been getting into?
Blake: I’m always listening to new bands these days. After I had a break from running Battle Kommand for a bit, I kind of found myself becoming interested again in what was going on in the metal scene. I really like this band from Chicago called Drug Honkey. They are very experimental sounding black metal and I think they’ve created something new and innovative.
Anything else you wanted to say?
Blake: Thanks for the interview!
Check out the making of ‘Silencing Machine’