An Interview with Dutch Based Psych. Black Metal Band ‘Nefast’


nefast_logo_e4fNefast is a new Dutch based metal band, they play psychedelic black-metal. Their first EP “Discomfort” has been digitally released in Sept. 2015. “Discomfort” is a series of explorations of thought and doing which lead from realisation to a first attempt at comprehension of the Absurd. Currently they are recording a new album. Nefast will open the third edition of Rock for Eternity (April 23) in Amersfoort (NL). An interview with the members of Nefast follows below:

TMR: Hey guys this is ‘The Metal Resource’, how are things going there in Amsterdam?

Daan: Exciting times; everything’s in flux, as usual these days with Nefast.

TMR: Will you Introduce yourself and the band please ! [name and instrument]

D: Guitar and vocals are my game, although, for the gearheads: I could by now argue I also have a synthesizer of some sorts, haha. I have this separate effects loop, within my effects loop, that I make noise and drones with that are entirely separate from my guitar playing. They only come through the same amplifier.
Sam: I’m Sam, I drum.
Jesse: I play bass, I do some backing vocals and additional noise/drones.

nefast_live_shotTMR: Tell us the brief history of ‘Nefast’.

D: When we got together, a bit over two years ago now, we wanted to play black metal, but already from the beginning we felt the need to incorporate other influences as well, to make things exciting for ourselves. Those extraneous elements soon seeped into the rehearsal room and before we knew we b trippin.
S: And the black metal has been pushed way back, but still seeps through the cracks sometimes.

TMR: Why the name ‘Nefast’ ? Is there a story behind it ?

D: Nefast is still in use in Flemish, and an obsolete Dutch word for “fatal” – since an important theme in our lyrics is determinism it seemed like a good name for the project. It is for most people not a familiar word, hence without too many connotations.

TMR: How did you get into metal? 

D: The first CD I ever bought was Sgt. Pepper’, but as a child I didn’t realize what was special about the record, I just found a lot of other music quite boring in comparison with THAT. Maybe that album was too high (ha!) a standard to start developing your own taste in music with as a child, but I think that is one of the reasons I quickly got into music that was equally interesting or challenging to me. First I explored that in heaviness, (the regular story: I discovered Slayer in high school), later in psychedelic and experimental music – although I think all music that allows for one’s mind to wonder a little, and doesn’t force your thoughts in directions with predictable song structures, is intrinsically psychedelic.
S: I used to be a skater and listened to all the usual punk. I sort of slowly rolled into harder and harder music, but the process really condensed when I saw Bleed by Meshuggah on TMF. I was hooked.
J: My cousin gave me an Iron Maiden compilation cd for my birthday. Then it was years of Slipknot, Korn and stuff like that before I got in contact with more experimental music. That started when I first heard Voice of Seven Thunders

TMR: Everyone, what is your musical background ?

S: I started off playing melodic percussion in orchestras as a young kid, but after some years I switched to drums. Had lessons until I was about 16, but then I chose to leave the orchestras and focus on my own bands.
J: I’ve had a bass and a guitar for at least 12 years years, but I never really got around to actually playing either. It was when I started to play in bands that I got excited.
D: Everyone in my family plays an instrument. My musical development has been going downhill all my life: I had classical guitar lessons for eleven years, then I started messing around with electrical guitars and now I’m just making a load of noise and coming up with weird sounds to compensate for my lack of skill.

TMR: Who writes the music/lyrics in ‘Nefast’ ? … how do you get in the mood for writing music? And which bands/situations have influences you for writing music and lyrics ?

D: We create our music together in the rehearsal room. We come in with ideas – directions or phrases or sounds – and we jam with those until we’re excited about the outcome. I would say our main philosophy for creating our music is that it doesn’t matter what you do, at all, so we just go with whatever we think sounds good and is fun to play. One thing that’s exciting for us is improvising. We do it in the rehearsal room all the time, so we figured: why bother to pin it down and replicate it live? More and more, we try to create space, also in live settings, to improvise and mix things up as we go. That mostly results in playing along with whatever flow we are in at that moment, and makes, I think, the music much more engaging – and sometimes it gets messy; so what?
S: We get in the mood by just talking about what keeps our thoughts busy, those conversations project straight into music and lyrics. I’d say my biggest influences for drumming are Tomas Haake and Gavin Harrison. Not that I play like them, at all, but their approach to music and the drummer’s role is just so good.
J: The beauty in Nefast is that we all come from different backgrounds. Daan is really into 60’s and 70’s music, Sam listens to stuff so technical that I can’t make sense of it and my heart really lies with punkrock. Those three elements infused in Black Metal make for some interesting combinations.

TMR: What are some key principles or philosophies that you hold onto as foundational stones as who you are as a person? 

J: “Live slow, die whenever”
S: The universe is understandable, reality is not.
D: “Het moet wel leuk blijven.”

TMR: Is there already a highlight you will always remember, since the beginning of ‘Nefast’?

D: For me, every new step is a new high.
S: Definitely the show at the Terzij de Horde album-release event.
J: That.

TMR: And the worst thing were ? (if there is one)

D: No bad days.
S: ^
J: ^

TMR: So what makes you laugh?

D: The fact that Jesse still thinks his bass is plugged in during our shows or recordings.
S: Haha
J: :'(

TMR: What is your biggest fear ? 

S: Needles
D: h e i g h t s
J: Also heights. And seacreatures so enormous that we think they’re islands or continents. No joke. I know it’s not true, but damn..

NEFAST_LIVE_7e3TMR: What are some of the things you like to do away from the band? 

J: I’m in art school currently, which I enjoy immensely. And making more music.
D: Music, and other art forms – cinema, painting, drawing, sculpture and literature, some of which I like to practice myself – are pretty much the core of my interests. At the moment.
S: Chess, reading and hanging with the homies.

TMR: How do you promote your band and shows ?

D: Well, to be honest, we are quite laid back on the whole promotion thing. Sometimes promoting takes up most of the efforts put into a project, instead of actually making music. I take much more satisfaction in playing and developing our music than in reaching many people with it. However we are very grateful for every person that is into what we do, and we try to take them along our ride by keeping them posted through our facebook page and of course putting out recordings.
S: I embraced the fact most people will think our music is shit, so promoting it to a wide audience feels paradoxical.
D: I also feel the people who are into this stuff are very very loyal listeners, and rather actively find the bands they like – at least I do. It’s easier than having to stand out from a clutter of all kinds of bands with the same goals and audience.

TMR: Tell us about the hardrock/metal scene in your area please?

D: We are mostly involved in Utrecht actually, where Sam lives and where we rehearse. We have been lucky bastards, getting to know the guys from Terzij de Horde. They have been building up a reputation for themselves for quite some time and are at the core of the heavy and unorthodox underground in and around Utrecht. They regularly organize Footprints in the Void, an event that offers a stage to both established and new musical projects that make somehow heavy or experimental music. We got in touch and were offered to play FitV about a year ago. We kept in touch and ended up playing on TdH’s album release gig at Le Guess Who? festival, alongside Gnaw Their Tongues and Laster. The latter are three guys we happened to get along with very well, too. We share a similar vision, Laster and Nefast, in that we both feel sometimes trapped in the black metal circuit, and feel the need to break through that label into undiscovered territory, with an undiscovered audience of people who maybe do not realize or find what music they like through the existing channels. We think Nefast’s future lies in a scene that is neither black metal nor experimental-for-the-sake-of-experiments-music, but one that focuses on music that challenges and excites listeners, performers and musical expression itself.
Personally, I’ve sometimes had it with all things where “edgy” is the new standard and hence not on any edge at all. Slowly but surely we try to push our boundaries, and hopefully hit new grounds doing so. I think, for us, something new is not something we can jump onto in a day, but something we can evolve into as we are enjoying ourselves exploring the possibilities.
S: Laster is love, Laster is life.

TMR: How do you prepare for a show? 

S: I warm up a bit about 10 minutes before the show.
J: A combination of warming up and drinking beer.
D: I am often nervous but I try to keep it cool and chat and have a beer with the people present.

TMR: You guys play on the upcoming edition of the annual ‘Rock for Eternity’ in Amersfoort (April 23). What are your expectations?

S: I’m hyped to play in the new venue. Played at RfE two years ago with my other band, Despicable Heroes, so I know it will be a good one. It’ll be interesting to see how the heavy metal folks react though, indeed.
D: I hope we can touch an audience that is accustomed to heavy music in other spots than ‘wow fast’ or ‘wow br00tal’ and maybe get that ‘wow space’ or ‘wow horrible’ – preferably both.
J: It’s gonna be a blast!

DISCOMFORT_NEFAST_74dTMR: Speaking of recording, your debut album “Discomfort” has been released on Sept 6. of last year, what can you tell us about the album [such as the recording process, the songs, label etc.]

J:  I’m so proud that it exists, but from where we are now, it feels like a demo.
D: When we recorded that, and definitely when we put it out half a year later, after some delays, we were actually already beyond the music on that release. We just felt we needed to put out something and weren’t ready to record the new directions we were heading in yet. Also we just really liked the material we had, and wanted to have that recorded anyway. I’m happy with what it is; four good tunes, but I actually don’t think it really represents much of what we do now anymore, hahaha. We are constantly changing and transforming, though, that’s what we like to do, so I am not bothered at all by putting out material that is maybe different from what we currently do. It’s hard to keep up.
S: I’m really proud of what we put out, both the songs and the physical release. But yeah, after the release we twice played the songs live and then put it behind us.

TMR: About the cover artwork. Do you think it is as important as your music? Does it visualize the lyrics of your songs or what’s the actual story behind its concept?

D: It was a load of work!
S: And Daan did all of it, ghe.
D: Not true! I made and inked the cardboard sleeves for the tapes – Jesse directed and shot the photo we used as the actual cover art. The three of us spent two afternoons on snapping that one, haha, nothing was right.
J: I dare say the artwork was the most work of all. I still have several gigabites of conceptart. We just had so many ways to convey the lyrical and musical themes that it was almost impossible to find one picture that was good enough. That’s the hardest part of making an album: finding one image that captures the music completely.

TMR: What would be the ultimate cover tune for ‘Nefast’?

D: We’ve been discussing this a lot lately. I can hardly pick for myself, but I would really dig playing The Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray”, or a tune from Suicide’s first album.
S: This again? Fine, ‘The sound of muzak’ by Porcupine Tree.
J: Like we’re ever going to agree on this. “My Body is a Cage” by Arcade Fire.

TMR: What is your favorite concert that you saw and what made it so good? 

S: m e s h u g g a h
D: Too many to mention – but I saw Liturgy for the first (and second) time last year. I had tears in my eyes. Such transcendent beauty.
J: Second time I saw Liturgy.

TMR: Everyone, what is the most embarrassing music on your phone or in your collection and how do you justify it to others?

J: I have the entire Anal Cunt discography on my iPod.
S: Nefast – Discomfort.
D: I am ashamed of no music in my collection. Some might h8 on my Black Eyed Peas CDs, but they could only dream of the sixties gems I have.

TMR: If you could pick a band to tour with, who would it be? And where would the tour go?

S: m e s h u g g a h
J: I’d really like to tour southern Europe. I have it all mapped out. Now we just need money and a van.

RfE-2016TMR: What is the dumbest question you have ever been asked?

S: Why do you like Meshuggah so much?
J: Do you need those glasses to see?

TMR: What are the biggest obstacles for bands ?

J: Trying to conform to an idea.
D: That depends on what you want to accomplish. If you just want to play music then the only obstacle is the NS and a couple bucks for booking a rehearsal room.
S: Yourself.

TMR: As a band today, what do you think is the biggest challenge you face?

D: The only challenges for me are the naturally occurring ones: keeping the music we play and come up with interesting for ourselves.
S: Having to buy new sticks and cymbals every once in a while.
J: Beer gets more expensive.

TMR: Any (tour) plans for the near future ?

S: Recording and releasing a new album. It’s coming.

TMR: Guys thanks for your time and the interview. We wish ‘Nefast’ all the best for 2016 and the near future … Is there anything you wanna say at last ? [any final statement ?]

D: We are going to record new and exciting material SOON! And thanks for the interview!
S: Meshuggah.
J: See you at Rock for Eternity!

Band members:
J. V. Bass
S. R. Drums
D. van H. Guitars, Vocals

Weblinks: Facebook / Bandcamp

Video below: “Discomfort”

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