UK’s Necronautical recently returned from a mini-tour around the country, yet presenting their latest release Slain In The Spirit (2020).
Here you can read an interview I had with Necronautical’s Naut (vocalist and guitarist), who talked about the tour, possible more shows, the latest album, as well a few words about the other band he’s aboard, Winterfylleth and others.
Greetings Naut, nice having you here to Antichrist ’zine, how is everything going?
Hello. It’s my pleasure. Everything is going well, thank you. Busy of course, but no complaints.
You had just finished a mini-tour in the UK, how was it?
It was excellent. It was hard to know what to expect, coming out on the other side of this virus with a new album, we know that Necronautical has seen some growth and popularity, but its hard to quantify that until you get out on the road and play the music. For Necronautical headline shows, these were certainly the best that we have done. Many of the venues ended up full to capacity, with audiences headbanging and responding to our music with such passion. As well as this, our friends in Wolvencrown were great touring partners, super professional and easy to work with, great company when it all degenerated into partying, and just a stellar band, it was awesome to watch them play killer sets and get a great reaction from the crowd. What more could we want? It was a brilliant little run.
There are more shows confirmed for this year, I hope it will go well, no more restrictions… Do you plan more shows for summer/autumn?
We have a couple of plans, nothing too heavy. The virus has made it complicated but we are working around it. Figuring out which plans we can manage and which we cannot. Normally we would wish to pursue shows at festivals but mostly they are trying to honor the agreements from years ago. Instead, we choose to work on our own terms, get out and do our own thing. It’s been working well, I don’t know of many bands that have been on stage as much as we have in the last six months. We plan to head overseas in the summer, we have a show in Czech Republic, our first time in the country, at Rotten Fest, which is headlined by Hate (PL). We also will return to Hungary to play the Blackened Mysticism Festival with black death horde Andartar and our drummer’s Slughs death metal band Foetal Juice. This concert will take place in Budapest. We have been to Hungary to play once before and we loved it. We can’t wait to get back out to experience some new places. We have already played the UK extensively since releasing Slain… and so we are only doing a handful more shows, there is no use in overdoing it. We hope to play more international stuff in 2023.
Let’s talk a bit about Necronautical latest album Slain In The Spirit. It was released last summer, considering the pandemic times back then still, was the album recording or the release of it affected by the pandemic?
Yeah, inevitably the pandemic had its effect. We were quick to write Slain…, I believe by March 2020 when we were out in Portugal with Akercocke, we were already looking at 6 or 7 completed tracks in preproduction. Because of that, a lot of the riff writing was already in place, which was beneficial. The only two tracks written during the lockdown were ‘Death Magick Triumphant’ and ‘Necropsychonautics’. Although we couldn’t get together, Carcarrion still contributed some riffs to both those tracks. We all live in different cities anyway, and so sending little riff ideas through video messages is quite a normal way of working. Once the material is accumulated, I create the foundations of the recording in my home studio. Obviously with restrictions, it was hard to get the studio time to record it, but we are lucky in that there is so much we are already doing before we hit the studio. I used the time I had locked in my home to get really deep and detailed with the keys and synthesizers, as well as tracking the guitars to be reamped. Anchorite worked on the lyrics, sometimes back and forth with me through voice notes or whatever. There were times when visitors to the house were allowed and so that allowed me a chance to record the takes for Carcarrion and Anchorites guitars. Once that was done we were free to enter the studio to record the final drums, vocals, and guitars, as well as the awesome contributions from Victoria on vocals. I guess it all worked great. The only regret really is that because of the sequence of things Slugh had to lay his drums down over songs that were already very complete. He did some brilliant creative stuff and inspired a lot of change and influence over the songs, but still, in our heart of hearts we are a band and ideally, we would be trying different stuff in a room together before the ideas are committed. This is one thing we are determined to do differently going into the next record.
Is the album a concept one? What’s the theme behind it?
Loosely. We like to have a theme running with the music and the lyrics, but it never ends up like a full concept record in the traditional way. I feel like it’s good to have a sense of direction but if you get too strict with it you end up imposing boundaries on the project, and we try to be as artistically free as we can be. Anchorite is the guy that really fleshes out this aspect of the band, he is our primary lyricist, he is really good at delving into a topic and uncovering details and depths that are really interesting, and this yields some really cool topics to weave into the lyrics. Because of this, I won’t talk about the concept at length. The lyrics are focused around altered states of consciousness, be it dreams, hallucinations, or a deep spiritual state, the lyrics were intended to reflect the kind of psychedelic chaos that we felt was conjured through the songwriting. So we were examining Occultism, Thelema, Magick, Spiritualism and Psychadelia, stuff like that… and trying to channel all the emotion of the music through that contorted lens. All the glory and terror of experiencing a level of being that is far from familiar.
As I listened to the album, I can hear not just black, but also some death metal elements, which makes the album sound heavier, powerful. Do you agree with this?
Yeah, I agree. We set out to make the music feel heavier. I don’t really care how people define it. black metal fits just fine, and I think that genre best encapsulates the world that our instinctive sound belongs to. But ultimately we have never been concerned about creating a pure form of black metal, Necronautical is our own expression, and through it, we can and will integrate any idea that serves our vision. On Slain… you’ll hear moments that evoke black metal, death metal, traditional metal, progressive rock, orchestral and ambient. We don’t care what it is. I think we think of ourselves as an extreme metal band. We don’t try to stay within the lines, we just want to do what feels right to us.
You’ve joined Winterfylleth in 2020 replacing guitarist Dan Capp. You only took part in the live album Live At Bloodstock 2021. So far, how is the experience with Winterfylleth?
I’ve really been enjoying my time as Winterfylleth’s guitar player. Sometimes I still find it a little surreal as this was a band I’ve been listening to since reading about them in a magazine many years ago, in fact it was Carcarrion who introduced me to their music way back in the early days of Necronautical. It’s been great not only because of the caliber and stature of the band, but more so because these guys are already good friends of mine, as well as to the others in Necronautical. I’ve known Chris since 2015 when we collaborated on a project together. We’ve been good friends ever since. Winterfylleth took Necronautical out on our first European tour in 2017 with Fen and Weigedood. We were a very small band then and the opportunity was huge for us, we learned a lot from doing that. I think that tour was pivotal in growing into the band that we are today. We never asked Chris or Winterfylleth for any help, and yet in hindsight, he is one of the people in our circle that has always advocated for us, supported us, and advised us. That is simply his nature. He loves music, he loves metal and when he finds something that he believes in, he is willfully their to help you along the path. People like this in our industry are few to none. So I was already blessed to be able to call him a friend. So of course, whilst I was surprised to read Chris’ message that they were looking for a guitar player and that I was in consideration for the role, I was tremendously excited. They are an incredible band with a sound that influenced the direction of the genre, and paved the way for a new breed of black metal bands in the UK, opening the door for many that followed (Necronautical included) and proving that a band from this country can reach the artistic heights of our international peers. In my mind, this role was already mine, I love those guys and had no reservations that this would be a wonderful new dimension in my life. I worked hard to make sure I was ready to meet the demands of their band and to be ready to honor the commitments they had undertaken. The Reckoning Dawn (2020) was a hugely inspiring album to me, and to find myself performing those songs, as well as the classics from the catalog in the rehearsal room with them only a few months later was surreal, but the whole thing just felt natural and really good fun. I’m so excited about my future as a member of Winterfylleth.
Are you guys working on a new Winterfylleth album already?
Not really. In normal times we probably would have been by now. However there have been some extra dimensions, myself joining the band was one of them, we committed a lot of focus on making sure I was ready to go live with them when it was permissible with the restrictions. As well as that, The Reckoning Dawn was the biggest release of their career. We all feel in the band that this album deserves to be toured. We don’t want to just move on simply because shows are late. These songs are heartfelt artworks that connect with ourselves as well as the fans, and so we are waiting until we have taken these songs at least around Europe before we dig into the new one. There are, however, a couple of new riffs and ideas kicking around, even a few that I have come up with. I’m really excited to get into the songwriting process with my new brothers in Winterfylleth.
Is there anything else would you like to add? Thank you for your time having this interview!
Thank you for the interview. If you are reading, please take the time to check out Slain in the Spirit (2021) from Necronautical, and The Reckoning Dawn (2020) from Winterfylleth, which are both out now on our label Candlelight Records. We’ll see you on the road!
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