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Eclectic Hungarian solo project Nagaarum has a prolific output, some of which crosses into Doom territory. Following release of the doomy 'Rabies Lyssa', we wanted to find out a little more about this experimentalism.

Interview with Nagaarum.

(1) Greetings, and many thanks for agreeing to be interviewed for Doom-Metal.com. Could we start by introducing you to our readers?

Hi Mike! The pleasure is mine!

Nagaarum as a project was established in 2008, but the name changed two years later. After we released the debut GuilThee album Lustration I felt that I hadn't issued some of my musical themes I wanted. These themes were written only on the synthesizers... I couldn't play guitars and bass at that time. Then I had to go to the hospital to a treatment for my knees, so I was forced to learn handling other instruments as well. My main instrument was the drums, but I couldn't play on it with my injured knees.

No problem, I wanted to play my music - I thought this - and as the time flew, I moved on to play the axe and the bass. Since that time my knees healed, so I am a happy man.

It was God's hand I think. If I hadn't had knee illness I wouldn't have played these instruments.

(2) So, Nagaarum is the name you use both for yourself and for your solo band project. Does it have a literal meaning or translation? You changed the band name from its original 'Pigballoon': was that, by any chance, inspired by Pink Floyd's famous 'Animals' dirigibles?

There is not any meaning of the word "nagaarum". This word is an outcome of a mistake I made in the past. I read about two bands in a Hungarian metal magazine, Borknagar and Arcturus. The two bands' names merged in my mind (I forgot both of them and their names became "Nagaarum"). I didn't know the bands, I had heard nothing of their music (in the past)... But the non-existent word "nagaarum" burnt into my mind, and I started to use it. This was maybe in around 2000?!

The project name's was Pigballoon first because I had an idea to compose musics which are similar to early Pink Floyd... But I listened a lot of old-school black metal a year later and my mind was touched by this raw shit. I felt that the name Pigballoon would be to soft for a project which contains metal elements too, so I decided to change the name. Anyway, you are right. The name was inspired by the Animals album by the Pink Floyd.

(3) Aside from Nagaarum, you're also still an active member of GuilThee. Do you consider one to be a main band and the other a side-project, or do they both have equal weight?

It depends on the dates... When I work on my solo project, the Nagaarum becomes the focussed stuff... But when we start to make a GuilThee album, I feel that the work in the band is my real work in the music.

(4) I wouldn't describe Nagaarum as a Doom band, in all honesty, but rather one which sometimes crosses into Doom territory. It's covered plenty of other ground, too: from Dark Ambient and Experimental to Black Metal. Do you have a 'musical manifesto' that you are guided by?

Not really.

I wouldn't describe Nagaarum as a Doom band, either. I can't even enroll any genres for my works indeed, so it is not an intent. When I write music for an album I would like to move along only my instinct. For example... There was the Oort album. I can't tell so much about the working process, because I feel that the Oort composed by The Universe. I was only a tool, a hand, but not a mind. The mind was The Universe which shot the themes to my hands. That album was made over two weeks only from the zero to the stream.

What kind of music could be heard on next Nagaarum album? I have not the foggiest idea.

(5) What would you consider the essence of Doom? Can it be replicated in other forms of music?

Ohhh... I think my knowledge about Doom too incomplete for describing it. I have to learn much more before taking statements of the musical styles.

(6) You've released 11 albums as Nagaarum now, all since 2011. That's a lot of work in 3 years! Do you do it all yourself - composing, recording, mixing, mastering, packaging?

Yes. In the Nagaarum project I do everything except the female vocals in two songs - fortunately :-).

(7) And then you make it all available for free download. You're clearly not driven by commercial considerations: are you creating the music purely for your own satisfaction, or do you hope that it will find an appreciative audience?

All the musicians who say "I don't care for the appreciation", they lie. So all musicians are curious somewhat how the public think about their music. My main goal is self-amusement of course, but good criticism brings me pleasure as well.

(8) Of all your releases, there are two which could most easily be considered Doom - the split with Dreams After Death, 'Kuiper', and the latest full-length 'Rabies Lyssa'. Both of these have now had CD releases through GSP: was that an important step for you, to have a label behind them and a physical pressing?

I would like to add the Oort and Oort II. to my Doom-like albums too. I started to experiment with the dark-slow-loud sounds when I composed Oort.

But to answer to your question, yes, I was very happy when Vitaly sent me a mail from GSP. Previously GSP issued the Kuiper split, and when I put the Rabies Lyssa to my homepage, Vitaly downloaded it. GSP did a good job, maybe the cover art changed a little, but their version is not worse only different from the original.

Anyway I think there is not too much significance to physical releasing nowadays. The CDs, vinyls made for only the collectors and the magazines. I mustn't expect a review without physical promo. So If anybody works for me this obliges me to send physical promo. It is a gift as thanks.


Nagaarum on GSP


(9) How did the 'Kuiper' project come about? Was it all jointly decided between you and Andras Illis?

To tell the truth I wouldn't have known the funeral doom genre If I hadn't met Andras' music. The first funeral doom music which I heard was the first Dreams After Death album. Maybe it is a weird story I think... After I wrote a review about this album on the Hungarian metal website Fémforgács, and I contacted Andras for an interview. His music is very impressive, loud and arcane. I found myself in another world, the funeral doom style was born for me.

Then we became friends.

Anyway I don't remember who had the idea-master of the split.

(10) What inspired the two bands to choose the Kuiper Belt as the subject matter? Is it related to your two Oort releases, presumably representing the Oort Cloud, with similar 'space' ambience and atmosphere?

Kuiper is not really related to Oort in subject. I'm interested in astronomy and sciences, and I felt that this atmospheric music similar to The Universe's flutters - vibrations... This is a common point in two productions (Oort - Oort II. and Kuiper), but only this is.

(11) In the end, the two halves of 'Kuiper' fitted together very well: it could be considered as a basically continuous work. Were you pleased with that result? How difficult was it to get to that point?

Haha! Very interesting opinion, but we feel the same. But we didn't expect that someone would agree with this. The two parts of the split fitted well despite that we didn't hear each others' work before the finish. I insisted with this method. It was a weird and gripping game and very inspirational.

When we worked about the track Kollidum, we dealt with which note collides interconnecting the end of Andras' part and the start of mine. This was the only coordinated moment on the Kuiper.

(12) Would you consider working together again? Have you any concrete plans to do so?

I told Andras that we could continue the joint work as a new split, but there are some point which should be solved before. Not a big deal but this plan would be delayed. But thank you for this question, this is a good reason to make a new pressure to Andras!

(13) So, after that, you did the two experimental 'Belaja Tajga' albums, and a Black Metal release ('Eventum Fatali'), before coming to 'Rabies Lyssa'. Where did the idea for that come from?

A thought that there are some styles which haven't presented in the palette by Nagaarum before, mainly the clear sounded and designed metal music. I very much like the raw sounds, the instinct-driven things, but not only those. No compulsion to conform or something... Maybe it seems that I would like to leave the raw sounds, but that isn't going to happen. There will be Nagaarum albums similar to Eventum Fatali in the future.


'Rabies Lyssa' (and other works) at Nagaarum.com


(14) We described it as "a work that offers a distinctly Doom atmosphere, without necessarily possessing a clear-cut Doom composition". Would you consider that a fair assessment, and was it what you intended for the album?

Usually I am in trouble, when somebody talk about musical styles, and I can't categorize my albums. I hear Doom elements when I listen to Rabies Lyssa, but as I said I need to gain more experience in the future for assessing such things.

(15) Is it in a style that you could consider pursuing further? Do you see Nagaarum as potentially covering more Doom territory in future?

No plans. Nagaarum is a free flight. No plans for the far future. Only that I drop out the themes from my mind and from my fingers... I am sure that I will compose new Doom albums, but please don't ask me when.

(16) At the same time, you were involved in the debut release of the 'In Vacuo' project. Is there anything you'd like to say about that work?

There is a good friend of mine at the Fémforgács metal site. Emp is one of my editor-mates, and he is a very talented drummer (educated musician, not like me), but his bands went on hold long ago. We both wanted to make some really heavy - aggressive black based album, and from this idea In Vacuo was started. We released our second shit called Experiment Today, which can be heard at our Bandcamp page. In this project Emp is drumming, singing, writing the lyrics, and managing the graphics. I pluck the strings, my vocal cords too, and one of our friends, Mr.Match (GuilThee), helped us with his saxophone when we recorded Experiment Today.

(17) As such an experimental and diverse musician, do you have any constant influences, musical or otherwise? And what inspires you to start composing a new set of works?

My main influences are Nature, Science and Space. I studied science in the Pannon University nonetheless I don't believe in evolution but Creation. I admire some of these tiny wonders day by day when I walk in the forest, under the sky, or if I only take a breath. These are unable to be self-created phenomenon I think...

Music? My favourite periods in music are the 70's psychedelic and the early 90' metal era. My greatest heroes are the Pink Floyd members maybe... I think what that five persons constituted between 67' and 77' is the high end of the (pop) rock music. In additional I listen a lot of Uriah Heep, Styx, Thin Lizzy and a Hungarian band Fonograf... In the contemporary field I would classify similar ones to these, for example the Porcupine Tree and the Australian band The Drones.

From early 90's came Darkthrone, Tiamat, Bathory... Or the young bands: Craft, Blut Aus Nord, Altar of Plagues, Valborg.

Sometimes I listen to softer music too, for instance Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears, Queen or some classicals like Beethoven.

And I would like to mention some of the brilliant Hungarian bands: Damned Spirits' Dance, Thy Catafalque, Mytra, Vad Fruttik, Burning Full Throttle, Remete, Velm, Kolp, Svoid, Müon, OctoberSun and Karst. Check them, If you have a little time!

(18) With such a busy release schedule over the past years, do you ever get time to relax? Are you considering any sort of break now, or have you more planned for the immediate and long-term future?

I don't really need to relax usually. I don't give live shows, so I have time to work on my albums. I have learnt what are essential for music productions, and I had experienced how I could work fast. Incidentally I don't like to polish an album too much... Maybe its originality gets lost by doing that...

(19) To close, I hope we've given you the chance to present a good picture of the band, but if there is anything you'd like to add, the last words are yours.

The band Nagaarum is equal to me. GuilThee consists four members. I am the last of the founders, but by the time we released our first album there was no founder members of the band, only me.

It is a hard burden to tell something about my bands... We are very very simple persons all four. So all that is interesting of us is the music only. :-)

This is a similar situation with In Vacuo, but there are two members in that band.

In Hungary it's nearly impossible to reach greater popularity, because the only metal magazine (Metal Hammer) puts forward the mainstream shit...

The exciting bands who look for the way of experimentation usually become better known abroad.

(20) Then allow me to thank you once again for your time and the opportunity to talk with you. It has been a pleasure, and I hope we'll be hearing more from you!

Oh, don't do this! I owe thanks to you! Salut to England!


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Visit the Nagaarum bandpage.

Interviewed on 2014-10-11 by Mike Liassides.
Aesthetic Death
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