Quebecois extreme metal stalwarts Necronomicon have been plying their trade for fifteen years now, amassing a wealth of material and garnering a loyal hardcore of fanatical followers. With their latest album, Rise Of The Elder Ones (Season Of Mist), just released, we thought it was time to catch up with guitarist/vocalist Rob ‘The Witch’ Tremblay. He shared with Ghost Cult the connection between their new album and 2010’s The Return Of The Witch, and explained why for him, it’s still all about the fans.
Hi there! What’s the latest from the Necronomicon world?
We just did our new album release party, that was a huge success. And now we’re working on some tour projects. Beside the usual things likeband practice and all the usual stuff goes around that.
Do you feel Rise Of The Elder Ones is a progression from your previous album?
It’s not really a progression but more the conclusion; where The Return of the Witch was the call, this one is the answer. Return… was built around the concept of femininity—or creation, if you prefer—the realisation of the power in your own body and the opening of that power to create yourself first, and then to create changes all around afterwards; to influence and change your own destiny and beyond. Rise… is the awakening of that power, like a rebirth to see the world in a different way, and see what was hidden to the mortal eyes. Things start to happen on a different level, and not really on the rational side or the way everyone would have expected.
How did the writing and recording process of Rise of the Elder Ones go? What were you guys aiming for?
The process is simple: I build the songs on my computer at home, like the guitar, bass and drum tracks plus a basic version of the orchestration, and then I give it to the rest of the guys and they work on it and add their touch. There was no real aim besides doing the continuation of Return… but better produced this time. Just doing what we’re here to do; dark music for the ones who dare to be something other than a follower of the false system and god. Don’t get me wrong, our music is really positive and I don’t have time to waste on bashing the church and so on, because a lot of people already do it really well. We love to play live and tour and just go around seeing that people love our stuff. We don’t do it for the critics, only for the fans. So we could say that’s what we are aiming for.
Where many extreme bands seem to push the boundaries of musical technicality just for the sake of it, Necronomicon seems to be more about writing good songs with even a bit of melody here and there. How do you see things?
We are not fans of technicality, its more about groove and feeling. Music is the language of the soul and it is supposed to breathe, not feel like something that you do like maths. I don’t need to be praised for my skills but if someone tells me that my music touched them in the darkest part of their soul, I will have succeeded in my work. This is why I think one of the best bands on the market right now are Rammstein; simple, groovy and direct. Even a monkey could learn a technical pattern if you give it time, but to compose a really deep, emotional and powerful song is not given to everyone.
The band was founded in the late 1980s. What are the biggest changes you’ve witnessed from the band’s formative years up to the present day?
Well, business-wise everything is so different, firstly because of the Internet. That totally changed the entire way we work, for good and for bad. A lot of things are easier now, but others are totally screwed up now, like independent music shops that were extremely good for the metal scene. The main thing that is really good is that things can be done faster now, where in the past you had to rely on surface mail a lot. That wasn’t really always safe. The other thing is that metal is the worst place for music in a way, because everyone, especially in the metal media, are always comparing an artist to another artist, instead of just listening to what the band do from a neutral point of view. You never see that in other kinds of music, just in metal. What does it matter if a band does some part that sounds like this or that? Everything has been done before already, so just enjoy the music, and if you don’t like it just listen to something else. In that way, the metal scene is pathetic, blasting fans of commercial music for not being open-minded, but at the same time closing their ears to their own metal community and new bands. It has become really sad.
The band has played on some of the most prestigious festivals around and you guys also did the the Barge To Hell cruise. How do you look back on those experiences?
Amazing, we just had a blast. We were surrounded by so many friends that we have toured or worked with, and all in the same spot. The fans were so happy to see us there, so it was really memorable. I really hope to do it again. The vibe is something like you can’t feel anywhere else, because it’s a boat. So yeah, there were some tricky aspects, like trying to sing when your mic stand is moving by itself, but you have to laugh at that. Where else but a boat is your mic going to move around like that on stage? (Laughs) I only have good words for this kind of event and I hope it will last a really long time. It’s amazing for the fans also, because they can talk with their favourite bands almost at any time or anywhere. For the bands, you don’t need to play the rock star game, like I said fans are everywhere mixed with the bands, so if you don’t like that, don’t go there. Overall its a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What touring plans do you have in support of the new album?
Unfortunately, we had some cancellations, which really doesn’t please me, but shit happens. We are working on that as we speak, so hopefully things are going to be put back in place as soon as possible. In any case we are a live band, that’s our stuff, so we can’t wait to go back on the road.