You know you’ve got a chuckle fest on your hands when an EP opens with samples from Darren Aronofsky’s movie, Requiem for a Dream (just save yourself some time and watch a few baby seals being clubbed to death: same effect.) And so it proves to be the case with Resilient (Prophecy), the four-track comeback release from Black Metal happy campers Nachtmystium.Continue reading →
“We haven’t been doing any interviews, so it’s a miracle it’s been getting out there at all. Europe seems to be latching on to this record, so that is good.”
These are the first words Stavros Giannoplous said to me concerning the just released final album from bleak black metal super-group Twilight, III: Beneath Trident’s Tomb (Century Media). In addition to Stavros, the group is made up of underground metal luminaries like Wrest (Jeff Whitehead, of Leviathan, Lurker Of Chalice) Imperial (Neill Jameson) (Krieg, N.I.L.) and Sanford Parker (Corrections House, Minsk, Nachtmystium, Buried At Sea) and alt-rock legend Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth, Chelsea Light Moving). Steve was on tour with his main band, The Atlas Moth, but took time to chat with Ghost Cult back stage at The Sinclair, in Cambridge MA. He talked about the difficulty in finishing the album, some drama going on in the band, the idea of a whether a super-group can really work in this day and age, and working with Thurston Moore.
Right off the bat, he first touched on why Twilight is ending:
“The reason this is the final record is with all the negative shit that’s going down with Blake (Judd), I think it’s just best. Me and Jeff, Sanford and Neill are all really close friends. I have seen everyone, all but Jeff on this tour and we wanted to continue to make music. But at this point we are just mired in bullshit. Also before we started this band, before I even became involved with it there were no movies with sparkly vampires (laughs). Shit’s changed and it’s for the best. I was in Philadelphia just 48 hours ago and we were talking about doing something else eventually, so there is always a door open to work with Neill, Jeff, and Sanford again, just not under this name. We definitely won’t call it Twilight. I wouldn’t say its the total end of the band, but the end of this chapter with this band. We we very adamant about cutting the ties. Especially since Blake isn’t even on this last record.
Pulling no punches, Stavros gave us an inside view of the events leading up to Blake’s departure from the group and the aftermath of trying to finish the record without him:
He brought in a couple of songs, but once everything went down, that was it. It was two songs and they made up a very short amount of the record. We were just, not wanting to deal with this anymore. He had pulled some really backhanded shit, and I won’t go into the details. The songs he brought in, we got rid of them and made it known that this was it. He’s got problems. Unfortunately at some point or another when you end up in a scenario when you are constantly getting shit on, whether it’s on purpose or not, or just happenstance, it doesn’t matter that someone is just fucked up. At some point or another, no matter how much you care about a person, you can’t deal with them business wise. When I met Blake, he was not as nearly as fucked up as he is now. People change that way. I absolutely wish him the best, and good luck to him.
We mused about the notion that by nature super-groups are not really meant to last. Stavros argued that it depends on the collection of artists in question:
“Look at even Down, right? That band put out one of the best fucking records I have ever heard in my entire life to this fucking day, and what did it take, 7-8 years before they ever put out another record. It was a while. It kind of all depends on the timing, I guess. With this particular group, there isn’t a live presence to our band, nor will there never will be. So I just can’t see it being in the forefront in out minds. See Imperial does stuff all the time. Sanford does production all day long, and also he has Corrections House now, which is almost like a full time band now. This is something like the flip side with a so called super-group where Corrections House can work. That is one of those things for instance for Bruce, where Yakuza and Bloodiest don’t work all the time. Sanford doesn’t have a full-time band. And both EyeHateGod and Neurosis tour limitedly. So these guys, that is the other side of coin of the super-group story. Like “Oh! Something like this works, because we had some free time.” Or we happen to have some free time. So for Twilight, particularly for our group, inevitably it would get longer between records, or maybe even never have another one. You never know.”
Since most of the remaining members of the group live far from each other in some cases, we asked about the creative process and how the tracking was all done: “Jeff was living in Chicago at the time, so he and I wrote the bulk of the record together. Actually all the guitar riffs that weren’t Thurston’s, were written by me and Jeff. And you know…we just added on top of it and added on top of it, and added on top of it. It’s much different than a band that is just in one studio. Thurston came in and did his parts. We could do all kinds of looping and other crazy shit. All of the sudden someone is banging on a jug of water, which is cool. The two records that we did together, we just settled into a certain vibe. That is just how it works. That is how we write music for that band. It kind of showed. The song structures definitely vary throughout any of the Twilight records, and we were pretty loose form wise, and we definitely got experimental with the writing.”
Century Media is doing a very nice, limited digipack release of the album along with other formats. We asked about the value of limited edition releases, and if other versions will be forthcoming.
“The vinyl is out. You know honestly as far as I know, there will only be the digipack and the vinyl forever. Because I didn’t do any more layout work than that. At the time everything was going down with Blake, everyone was mad at each other, not particularly us at each other, but more all of us at Blake. really. And so when that started happening, everyone stopped giving a fuck. And then our relationship with the A & R guy fell apart, so I had to take control of everything business wise and then I got busy with some other business opportunities too. I really didn’t have much help. And I didn’t really want to take the time to put together a booklet for a record that everyone had checked out on, since everyone was so mad. So there is not going to be more a limited release than there is now, but knowing Century Media, they will keep it in print anyway.”
Sometimes in the business of music the challenges come from outside of the band too, as Stavros learned: “I’ve always done all the business for The Atlas Moth. But this is like a machine. It’s the five of us, a well-oiled machine working together, grooving together and sharing the responsibilities together. I am not running the show here by any means. We’ve all worked our way up together, so we know how the inner workings of the band goes. But all of the sudden when it comes to being voted in as the guy to handle stuff, someone already had their hands in the pot mixing things up before me. So I was the guy that almost had to come in and clean it up. It was definitely a bit much for me, and I was already dealing with a ton of crap. The Atlas Moth will always be my first and foremost priority. So I was doing countless, worthless hours dealing with bullshit, doing stuff for a record no one seemingly gave a fuck about. I’m really happy everything came together, and we are all really proud of it. But at the same time, under the circumstances, you can hate something! (laughs) The things that bring up memories from the record, man, that could really piss you off. But in hindsight we are all still really stoked on it now that we’ve gotten a little hindsight. It’s been almost two years since we recorded it.”
One of the real bright spots of the record was working with Moore. Not only did the mainstream media latch on to the notion of him joining the band, the band was equally intrigued about working with him. A seemingly random sequence of events led to their collaboration:
“He came in for the second half of the session. We did two sessions and he came in for the second week. The Sonic Youth sound guy worked with Sanford in his studio in Chicago. He told us Thurston was really into black metal. This was around the time of the second record. And we said “Send some of this stuff to Thurston Moore and see what he thinks about it. And see if we wants to do a record with us.” And he did! (laughs) And I was like “Well I’ll be damned!” (laughs) “We’d better write a brand new Twilight record!” He was incredible. He was super rad to work with. He was totally mellow and great to work with. He totally knew his black metal. It was fucking awesome to be able to write a record with that dude. And also to watch him play and get that much closer to someone with a unique style, it was awesome. He was super awesome to work with. We talked about including him for future sessions, which I would love. He is just a music library. He is fucking incredible. I don’t know how that guy puts it all together in his head. He’s something else man!”
While it is great to hear that Blake Judd is out of jail and looking to get on the road to dealing with his addictions, this update will come as distressing news to the band’s fans.|http://ow.ly/qsHyu
Blake Judd of Chicago-based extremists NACHTMYSTIUM, who was arrested early last month on charges of theft by unauthorized control of property not exceeding $500 in value, has posted the following message on his official Facebook page:
“Hello, everyone. I’m home, alive and well. Much to certain people’s dismay, the last month wasn’t that big of a deal and I actually did some serious soul searching and have made some amazing steps within my own mind on where I’ve been and where I’m going.
“It’s no secret to any of you that I’ve dealt with serious substance-abuse issues (breaking a leg and getting a four-month supply of Oxycodone from a doctor is where that began back in 2009… not by deciding one day, ‘Hey, I want to be an opiate addict!’).
“In regards to this issue, I’ve never tried to hide it; listen to the words in my music. It’s obvious what I’ve been dealing with.
“Today, however, I’m clean as a whistle THANKS to this situation I’ve been dealing with and I’m SO incredibly grateful that this happened, as it’s probably saved my life.
“As for the merch issues and money stuff, yeah, I’ve fucked up with a lot of you and for this I’m terribly sorry. When you’re in the throes of addiction, you’ll find yourself doing things that are completely out of character because you’re enslaved by something more powerful than you at that point in time.
“I’m ashamed of what’s happened regarding this as I’ve never wished to cheat anyone out of anything nor was it ever the intention. Money just goes quick and one’s priorities are completely fucked up when you’re in the place that I’ve been in on and off over the last few years.
“The only thing I can do is to do my best to start clearing up each and every debt that I can as I can afford it over the next few months and hope that will clear my name on this matter with each of you who fell victim to this unfortunate set of circumstances.
“I’m leaving Chicago tomorrow and will not be coming back for quite some time. I’m choosing to spend the coming months with my family and getting additional treatment for my issues with substance abuse because this is the fucking bottom for me. I’ve hit it and hit it hard. I have no intentions of even attempting to play any shows or work on anything else music related until I’ve got my life 100% under control again.
“Actually, I’m not even sure if I will continue on with NACHTMYSTIUM, as it’s been a catalyst for chaos in my life in its very existence and what it represents creatively.
“There is nothing ‘fake’ in the contents of my music, particularly on a lyrical level on the last few records. Those are the words of truth from my life. I don’t hide anything, it’s out there and it’s real. So, if you’ve paid attention, none of this should come as a surprise, as much as I hate to say that.
“On a positive note, however, I’ve had an amazing run with NACHTMYSTIUM and been to many places, seen many things, played a lot of great shows, met hundreds of or maybe even thousands of amazing people through it, had experiences that most musicians can only dream of having and I was fortunate enough to get to live out many of the dreams of my own that I’ve had since I was a small child in regards to playing in a successful and well-known rock band. Most importantly, I’ve made a lot of records that I’m very proud of that I know many of you (per your feedback to me) have enjoyed very much, and for that I’m so grateful. I can only hope that those records will serve your collections well for many years to come and be enjoyed time and time again.
“I have one more in the pipeline recorded last summer that will be out sometime early next year, appropriately titled (given the current climate of my life), ‘The World We Left Behind’, and I feel that it may be the perfect epitaph to this wild ride I’ve been on with NACHTMYSTIUM for the last thirteen and a half years. The record tells a story and is easily the most honest work I’ve ever made, so with that being said, it may very well be the band’s last record as it completes the circle for me, I feel. That could always change, but as of today, that’s how I’m feeling about it.
“As for the shit-talking on forums and in comment threads on metal news sites and the childish moves of the people at Hells Headbangers with their attempt to further exploit this situation, I find it to be not only incredibly immature but also very embarrassing for them. I’m just thrilled to know that I have no association with this label or these other phantom Internet people who speak about me as though they know me or have a fucking clue about who I am and how I live my life. In doing these things, they’ve only ensured to all be on a short list of people whom I will not be going out of my way to ‘make good’ with after such a ridiculous move on their part, regardless of what the issues between myself and them may be.
“That’s the only time I’m ever even going to address that topic, as I will not waste my time on such ridiculous shit. Life’s too short to be worried about things like this.
“Anyways — that’s what I have to say for now.
“I’m fine, doing better than ever actually and I’m looking forward to getting out of Chicago for an indefinite amount of time and completely focusing on my life and not worrying about this band or anything else until I’ve completely regained control over the demons that have been haunting me for the last three years.
“To all of you who’ve left supportive messages over the last month, I truly appreciate it and thank and commend you for your public support of me during this time of trials and tribulations in my life.
“And now, I return to my silence.
“I will be back here sometime in the not-too-distant future to get back to work on my music when the time is right.
“Love and light to all of you who have stood by me. Your support nurtures me greatly and is appreciated on levels greater than you may know.”
NACHTMYSTIUM‘s sixth album, “Silencing Machine”, was released in July 2012 via Century Media Records.
Hate Meditation will probably be a vaguely familiar name to many, from the relatively distant past; the band formed in 2003, recorded a three track demo entitled Condemned To Death, and then disappeared again, seemingly to be forgotten forever. However, founder Blake Judd – yes, him of Nachtmystium and Twilight – reformed the band with a radically different linuep in 2012 and recorded Scars, the band’s debut full length album.Continue reading →