Nachtblut is a few days away from releasing their sixth production entitled ‘Vanitas’ this coming October 2nd via Napalm Records. On this occasion, we had the opportunity to chat with Skoll, the band’s drummer. We talked about almost everything, including topics related to their musical style and their new production. We invite you to read this quite entertaining interview.
HEADBANGERS LATINOAMERICA: Hello, my name is Pamela Calderon. First of all, thank you so much Skoll for taking time to answer my questions. From the entire HEADBANGERS LATINOAMERICA team, we really appreciate this opportunity. So let’s start. We’re living quite chaotic and complicated times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. How’re you and the band dealing with this difficult situation?.
SKOLL: Thank you. We try to make the best out of it. Luckily the release is not effected by the whole COVID-19 thing, but of course regarding touring and festivals, 2020 is a huge disappointment. Personally, I just hope that 2021 will be better again. I can’t change the situation, so I’m trying to use the time I would have been on the road with productive things.
◽️H.L: These are extremely complicated and difficult times for the music industry because everything had to be cancelled or postponed until 2021 (if a vaccine is found). Was it difficult for you to make the decision to launch your new production?.
SKOLL: Luckily the album isn’t really effected by COVID. The first ideas for a new record were made at the last shows of our Apostasie-Tour 2018. We recorded Vanitas from the end of 2019 ‘till early 2020, so before COVID became an issue. Of course, at that point the whole release was already scheduled and beside some difficulties we faced at photo or video shoots, due to the hygienic restrictions, the album production haven’t been influenced. In terms of shows, it was pretty hard. We never had to postpone a tour or show, but sometimes things are out of your control. But postponing the tour, were never a reason to postpone the album as well for us.
◽️H.L: ‘Vanitas’ is the title of your new album, and it will released next October 2nd via Napalm Records. So, how was the general writing and recording process went?
SKOLL: I would call it a “positive routine”. We did it pretty much the same way, as we did on Apostasie. We chose the Chameleon Studios in Hamburg and Chris Harms (Lord Of The Lost) as a producer again, which includes a great team of people. So we knew the team we were working with and the studio itself. That allowed us to focus on the songs and recording. We took a bit more time in the studio than for Apostasie, so we could work even more on details. I really appreciate the whole process and I’m more than happy with the result. Unfortunately, due to the smooth and enjoyable stay and working together, there are no big stories regarding our time in the studio.
◽️H.L: Were there any tracks that were more of a challenge to complete, or did everything go to plan?
SKOLL: No, not really. I would say there is always some kind of back and forth if it comes to songwriting. You’re trying new things, add stuff, then replace it and remove everything back to where you were starting. Once the demo is written, and we worked on the pre-production, everything is pretty settled and clear. So in the studio we rather work on little details then whole arrangements. Over the years we became an efficient team, so it’s pretty rare that we face major issues or challenges beyond the normal try out of things and elements.
◽️H.L: It is quite difficult to talk about a specific musical style when we talk about your music. On the album we can find black, gothic, industrial, techno and a lot of dark metal, but the lyrics are not the classic dark metal lyrics. How could you define Nachtblut’s music?
SKOLL: We get this questions quite often, I guess due to many facets our music offers, like you mentioned. I always say: describing music is a bit like describing food. I can tell you the dish is ‘salty’, but what is ‘salty’ to you? For me people should listen to our music and then define it for themselves. It’s the same for labels – I don’t really think about how our music is labeled. If people call our music ‘Dark Metal’ it’s cool, I adopt that. But in the end it doesn’t really matter how you label it, as long as you enjoy the music. If I need to superficially define it, I would say heavy riffs, groovy drums, sinister/dark sounds, great orchestration and meaningful lyrics.
◽️H.L: Vanita’s artwork looks very interesting. Seems like it reflects what is happening now, I mean, a group of skeletons waiting for something. Who decided to have this art as the cover of the album?
SKOLL: We did! As the record is called ‘Vanitas’ and takes up this issue in several songs, plus we are fans of the Vanitas still life art it was a no-brainer to adopt that to our artwork. So the artwork is heavily influenced by the classical paintings and art of that era. The general Vanitas-art is dealing with transience, mortality, lifestyle and consciousness, just to name a few. For the artwork, especially the cover-artwork, we stick to the classical ‘Vanitas’ symbolic: candles, skulls, music instruments, luxurious accessories, an hourglass/clock etc. They all have certain meanings, but I think it’s cooler if a fan figures it out himself, than me telling everything about it. It’s the same with the songs, often we put little hints in it, adding little details you may get listening to the song a second or third time.
◽️H.L: When a band releases a new record, it’s time for touring, and nowadays that’s almost impossible. Many bands have decided to stream live shows. Have you considered that idea?.
SKOLL: When it became ore and more obvious that show won’t happen for a long time anymore, at least the way we knew, we discussed several concepts. Streaming shows, having seated club shows, or shows in a drive-in theater. But none of the concepts we saw were really satisfying to us. It always has been a big part of our shows to have a lot of movement on and in front of the stage. Including a lot of interaction. People sitting in front of the stage or being in their cars, obviously doesn’t really work with that. So, we said go big or go home. Maybe streaming would be the option most acceptable regarding or vision of a concert, but we hope to have “real” concert again. We just played one open air festival with a hygienic concept allowing people to be “normal” in front of stage, they just need to wear a mask. That was really delighting.
◽️H.L: One of my favorites songs out of the album is ‘Nur In Der Nacht’. Even though I don’t speak German, I feel a connection with your music. Do you think that is necessary to produce records in English to be successful in music?.
SKOLL: No, I don’t think so. There are a lot of examples of not English singing bands or artist, which are really successful around the globe. As you stated, even with German lyrics you got the vibe of the song and feeling a connection. And as long as a song causing feelings or emotions people will listen to it, independent of the language. Don’t get me wrong, lyrics are very important to me and are definitely are the extra something, but they don’t need to be English to be successful.
◽️H.L: Have you ever felt that you have been compared to some other band?. If so, how did you manage that situation?.
SKOLL: Of course, there are always comparisons going on. For me it is, what it is. A bit like with the labels/genres. It’s the easiest way to sort things and to give a superficial description of the bands sound. In the end, it doesn’t really help, it’s the same with the salty dish again. If I tell you the band here is sounding like a mix of band X and band Y, how do you put this information together. You have it all and nothing at the same time, due to the endless possibilities to put this two information together.
◽️H.L: After six records (counting this last production), What is the secret in dealing with criticism, whether positive or negative?
SKOLL: For me there are two different kinds of ‘critics’. The one who are really constructive and respectful, positive or negative and the ones which want to be critical but acutely just being rude and/or insulting, of course those are negative all the time. The ‘real critics’ we acknowledge those and talking about them. Which doesn’t mean that every critic is justified or will have an influence on us. The ‘insulting critics’, we learned to not take them personal, even if they become personal. I read them, that’s it. I don’t waste any further time on them.
◽️H.L: What are Nachtblut’s next projects from now and on?.
SKOLL: We hopefully play our headlining Vanitas-tour in spring 2021 and will have a good festival summer. Luckily most festivals just postponed to 2021 and kept the line up, so we didn’t have to cancel an of the already announced festival-shows. Otherwise, we had a lot plans for 2020, which now will try to be put into 2021. Mainly touring a lot, but I can’t tell more details about it yet.
◽️H.L: What would be your last message for all Nachtblut fans in Latin America?. Will we have the opportunity to listen to the new songs live?, Next year, maybe?.
SKOLL: Thanks for your support! For your passion and patience. And we hope to come to Latin America as soon as possible to have a great time together at our shows! Stay safe an healthy!
◽️H.L: Thank you so much for your time. Congrats for this new record, and hope to see you on stage soon! Keep safe!.
SKOLL: Thanks for having me and the nice interview.
Pre order ‘VANITAS’ here.
📷 Photography – credits: Andreas Schieler