|The Nihilistic Front is what has to be called an EXTREME Death Doom band from Australia. The guys mock melody and focus primarily on Łber-heavy riffs that are thought out to turn your bowels upside down.|
|(1) Hello, and thanks very much for agreeing to be interviewed for Doom-Metal.com. Let me start by asking you to introduce yourself to our readers: who are you and where are you from?|
We are The Nihilistic Front from Melbourne, Australia.
(2) You've both been in the business a long time, with various different Black/Death bands. What brought you together as The Nihilistic Front, and why did you choose to move it into a Doom context?
I have wanted to do a Doom band for a long time, probably since I first heard Disembowelment back in about 1993/94. I took some time off after I left Excarnated in 2001 as I was burnt out on Death Metal, and eventually decided that Doom would be my next foray into music.
(3) Speaking of Doom contexts: the self-released albums I have proudly bear the legend 'Extreme Fuckin Doom'. What do you see as the essential qualities of that - musically and/or philosophically - given that Doom is already a fairly extreme genre in itself?
It's a fine line, but for me it's about taking the raw elements of Death and Black Metal (and even other non-Metal bands like SWANS and Skullflower) and putting them into a Doom context. I think its essential to want to push the music into other areas and do things other bands would not consider, an element of experimentation is required as well. There have been quite a few songs and albums we have done that Chris and I felt uncomfortable about releasing, which is ultimately a good thing.
In regards to the Doom genre in general, there are bands that are extreme (Corrupted, Moss, Monarch!), and then there are bands that are far from it (My Dying Bride, Cathedral). I like some of those bands as well, but its not the sort of music we are interested in creating.
(4) What influences, if any, do you draw upon when composing? Are there any bands that you feel have particularly inspired you?
Nothing in particular when I am writing music. Sometimes I have a sound/riff/feeling in mind and I will try to get it out of the guitar (usually unsuccessfully), other times I just start playing and see what happens. Most of the material I write gets thrown away. Disembowelment have always been a source of inspiration musically, Transcendence is one of my favourite albums and has been from the day I heard it. Godflesh and Morbid Angel are also just as important to me. Moss ďCthonic RitesĒ album is by far the most Extreme Doom album ever recorded so that one is always inspirational in a terrifying way. That particular album as well as some early Boris and Sunn O))) were instrumental in inspiring me to pick up the guitar again for this band.
(5) You've produced three full-length albums, an EP and a promotional compilation to date, all self-released over the last six years. How have they been received? Has it been difficult to gain much recognition or traction so far?
We don't do much press or promotion so we fly under the radar. Live shows are always talked about, but we are still just a duo at the moment so getting recognition is difficult. We are currently working with a label for this new album so hopefully things will change on that front. As for reviews, most people that have heard our music seem to like it, which is always a bit of a shock to me. Thereís no accounting for taste I guess!
(6) The forthcoming album, 'Procession To Annihilation', is going to be released through Aesthetic Death records. How did you hook up with the label, and how has it been working with Stu?
It's been great so far. Basically he contacted us for a trade and we kept in touch. We almost released the last album with him as well but the timing was no good so we ended up self releasing. He has been very patient with us which is good as there were a lot of delays getting this album recorded (all of which were my fault). The cycle for this album began in August 2011, so it has been a long process to complete this album, much longer than the other albums.
(7) How would you describe the new album? Is it setting any radical changes of direction, or more of a continued refinement and evolution?
It's got a lot of variation, all four songs are quite different to each other. Our Death Metal roots definitely came through on a few songs. I wouldn't say its a radical departure, no more so than our second album ďTotal Disgust..Ē. There are no synths on this album though, and only 1 brief sample at the beginning of the album. It wasnít planned that way, this album just didnít require those elements. Personally I think we are evolving, and the post-Procession material is shaping up to be quite different again.
(8) It's still in the production stage at the moment, I understand, but have you had any feedback on it so far?
Actually the album is completely finished now, the mastering process was completed in January. Only a few people have heard the mastered version. Aesthetic Death have an early mix of the album, and a few friends of the band have heard some unmastered material as well. No negative feedback from anyone so far which is a good sign. All I can say is it is different to the previous albums, but still sounds like us.
(9) Since you were kind enough to share a couple of the mastered tracks with me, I can only add to the positive feedback: very impressive. It sounds as though they've been mixed slightly differently to your previous works: with a sharper, more penetrating edge and separation to the instruments. Is that the case, and was it something you were deliberately working towards?
Thanks mate. Yes, I approach every recording with the intention of doing a better job than the last. I also thought this album needed something a little different production wise to the previous albums, I felt that the sound needed to be heavier and more defined. As a result of that thought process the mixing on this album was twice as long as every other recording and went through several mixes until I arrived at a point where I had reached my limit of what I can do behind the mixing desk. The equipment and software I used was virtually identical to the previous album, the only real difference was what I had learned form the last album and from research online.
(10) The other difference, to me, is that these tracks seem to have a more polished, almost hypnotic, quality in places. They're no less brutal and extreme than other TNF material, but evolved somehow to a more absorbing rather than directly challenging sound. Would you agree with that assessment?
I agree, and it was a natural progression for us (not forced or planned). Another major difference this time was that we outsourced the Mastering process to professionals. This was a big deal for us as up until now we have been in control of every aspect of the band. Stu suggested we use Greg Chandler (Esoteric) from Priory Recording Studios to master the album and he did an absolutely brilliant job at pushing the final mix of the album to that next level. I hesitate to use the word "polished", the album is still LO-FI in my opinion but it sounds fucking killer.
(11) Musically, you work in a pretty much stripped-down-to-basics format: guitars/bass/vocals with programmed drums and some samples. Do you ever feel you'd like to add anything more to that, or get anyone else involved with the project?
Not in the beginning, but the last few years have changed my mind. I would definitely like to move towards having a full band, so we can play a few shows. I have no interest in the band being a live entity, but a few shows a year would be good. And I am certainly interested in adding more elements, I think its the next logical step for us to start experimenting with different instrumentation.
(12) It may be a bit early, with the new album not out yet, but any ideas for the future? Have you got any other work in progress as The Nihilistic Front?
I have enough ideas in my head right now for at least one more album. We have already started working on new material with one song already written for the next album. It is a slow process for us, but we intend to rehearse more in 2013 so we can finish albums quicker. We are also in talks about doing another band in a similar vein, but weíll see how things progress throughout the year.
(13) And what about the various other bands you've formed or worked with. Are you still active in any of those?
Chris has a solo band called Pervertum Obscurum which is old school Thrash/Death Metal. He has also recently joined Sarfaust which is a new band formed by the ex-guitarist from Excarnated and Ignivomous. As for me, TNF is my only band right now, but another project is on the horizon and I will probably start work on that once I have more material written for the next TNF album which is my priority.
(14) Your website mentions the possibility of doing some live shows. Is that still on the cards at some point?
It's definitely something we talk about, but we are no closer at the moment. Maybe after Procession is released we will start discussing it again, we'll see! I donít want to play without a full band though. At the moment the laptop plays pre-recorded drums and bass when we rehearse, I would want to present our songs in a more live and chaotic environment if we played live.
(15) A few more detailed questions, if I may. Music and lyrics are simply credited to the band: do you work together on developing each song, or each contribute different parts or tracks? Do you feel both music and lyrics are equally important?
I write the vast majority of the music. Some of the songs are fully formed in the studio and demos are given to Chris, other songs are just a handful of riffs and ideas that are then worked out in the rehearsal room by the both of us (which is our preferred method). Chris has full control of the vocals and lyrics. The vocals are an integral part of this band, the music just isnít complete without Chrisí contribution. The lyrics are often quite different to what my intent was with the music, but it all works together as a whole. The only reason the lyrics havenít always been included on our albums is because the artwork design ultimately worked better without them.
(16) You're dealing with some extremely bleak and uncompromising ideas, perhaps best expressed by the band name and the album title 'Total Disgust For Mankind'. Is that how you see the world day-to-day, or are you venting those feelings through your music?
Itís a bit of both actually. Most of it is venting, but I would be lying if I said I have a positive outlook on the world. I have kids now, I donít want them growing up listening to me bitch and moan about the state of the world. I prefer to channel it through the music we create.
(17) All of your cover art so far has been plain, stark photographs of buildings, usually in a state of decay. Is that a metaphor for the state of humanity, or just a general observation of things falling apart? Are any of the places of particular significance to you?
The places in the photographs have no significance, only the feelings that the images evoke. I like to think the artwork matches up well with the music. I know times have changed, particularly the way people consume music, but for me the visual component is a critical part of any album. Having a jpeg attached to an MP3 isnít enough for me, and I donít approach the artwork from that point of view.
(18) You've posted a few rehearsal videos (Rehearsals) taken in what looks like a particularly grim dungeon: is it really as dark and gloomy as it looks on camera? Does it help set you in the right frame of mind?
We always rehearse in virtual darkness, from the very beginning of the band. I think it allows us to shed who we are and become something else. Itís a strange feeling performing in the dark, it can get claustrophobic especially when its really hot and the PA is too loud, but it all adds to the experience.
(19) What are the high and low points of your musical careers so far? Any regrets about the way things have worked out?
Every time I complete a new album is a high point, and every time we finish a song and nail it properly in the rehearsal room that first time is equally a high point for me. Every time a year goes by with no completed album is a low point. My only regret is I am unable to produce the amount of music that I need to in a timely fashion.
(20) And outside of music, what else do you do with your time? How do you kick back and relax?
I have two kids under four and work full time, so there is no such thing as kicking back in my house! If I manage to get a few hours to myself I am straight into the studio to get more work done on whatever it is I am working on at the time.
(21) That's covered all the questions I started out with. Is there anything more that hasn't been addressed, or that you'd like to add?
The new album should be out early 2013 on Aesthetic Death. More info including samples will be posted on our Facebook page as soon as the label allows us to, so subscribe to our page if you are interested. And all of our music can be streamed for free at our Bandcamp site if you want to check out what we do.
(22) It only remains for me to thank you again for your time and the opportunity to talk with you, and to wish you success with 'Procession To Annihilation'.
Thanks mate, your support is appreciated!
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