After taking on the review of Black Shape Of Nexus‘ latest album “Negative Black,” Cheryl Carter decided to throw a few questions at the band. Geb, Malte and Stef all chipped in with their answers and thoughts on the album, song titles, the writing process, the hype surrounding sludge/doom metal scene and much more…
Negative Black is your first full length since 2008’s Microbarome Meetings, and the first with Malte on vocals; did the writing/recording process differ this time around? Would you like to comment on this change in vocalist?
GEB: That’s wrong. Malte has also did the vocals on our first 12″ from 2006 but it’s the first full-length he was fully involved in the songwritng process. Probably you mean our former bassist Michael. He has also did many vocal parts.
MALTE: When I joined B·SON in 2006 the tracks for the self-titled debut were already written and recorded. I added vocals to tracks III and VI. Michael can be heard on track II.
The writing process for “Negative Black” differed in the way, that we had a huge pile of unfinished material that was dissected and rearranged for “Negative Black”. Talking about the recording process our main goal was to get as near as possible to our live sound. Thanks to our guitarist Ralf we’ve also made some huge steps in recording techniques.
Your song titles always have that element of intrigue, and are a little bit ambiguous as to meaning, do you go into recording with the titles in place? Is there much reasoning behind not giving too much away about the tracks, and does this record have any recurring themes (obvious or not)?
GEB: The song titles on this record are random products. Malte replaced some components on his amp and the song titles and the record name were printed on one of those parts. That’s all. On our previous releases we simply numbered the songs. It’s easier to remember. Hahaha!
MALTE: Song titles are overrated.
The cover art for “Negative Black” is extremely dark and that little bit terrifying; what is the concept for the album art and how did you go about finding the right piece of work for the record?
GEB: The guy who did the artwork has been a fan for years. Sahba got the demo recordings and was inspired by it. For me it has become very consistent.
MALTE: As Geb stated there is no specific concept on it – only inspiration. We’re not working on a conceptual base in general. Everything we do is a product of a current state.
What kind of influences do you have? Vocally, musically, lyrically and such? And do you find those creeping into recordings much?
GEB: Of course there are a lot of different influences on this record. Maybe too many to mention. Each person who’s involved in the writing process is leaving his mark.
STEF: For myself, I’m listening to so much music, and while I’m aware that this has an influence on me, I never try to adopt a style, because I rather like to let things grow naturally.
MALTE: Direct influences for me are the daily life and the things happening in my head. Musically, I’m heavily influenced by early Hydra Head and Tortuga recordings releases.
How does the creative process work within the band?
GEB: There’s a full team of three or four guys writing rough versions of songs or throwing some fragments into the ring as basics for the next steps. Especially on this record we picked up some old ideas we recorded six years ago.
The record is overwhelmingly heavy, how do you get such a massive sound? It’s exhausting! But damn, it’s good.
GEB: It’s about playing as heavy as we can. We want to develop our skills and being excited about the options lurking behind the next bass frequency.
STEF: I guess we’re trying to work on getting nearer to the live feeling, at least that’s what we did with “Negative Black.” That’s somehow strange, but that’s the best way to show what the music is about.
MALTE: Our guitarist Ralf did a great job on recording and mixing this album. Role from the Tonmeisterei gave the final polish to it.
What’s your take on the current state of the sludge/doom scene? Doom especially seems to be making quite the resurgence of late, are there any bands readers should be on the look out for?
GEB: I don’t know if there’s a downtempo hype these days. Some years ago it was black metal, today the hipsters are into occult-retro-whatever-rock and nobody knows what’s up next. There’s a bunch of sludge/doom bands that have been around for years. It’s worth a listen to Obelyskkh, Ghost Of Wem, Wall, Dust, Crowskin, Lord Of The Grave, Tekhton and Versus The Stillborn-Minded.
MALTE: You know it’s a hype when you’re getting asked if it’s a hype.
The annual Roadburn Festival is the place to be for everything heavy, dark and left-field. Would you guys like to play there?
GEB: We played at the Roadburn Fest in 2008. It was amazing.
MALTE: I’d love to play again. Best festival on the planet. I’ve been there as a visitor four or five times.
Will you be doing any touring/festivals to promote the album?
GEB: We toured in April and are planning some further shows later this year. There are no specific plans for a longer tour. Everyone of us is busy with work, so there will be only a few weekend shows.
MALTE: If you wan’t us to play in your country write to firstname.lastname@example.org. We don’t take fees. Just organize transportation and give us a place to sleep, food and drinks and of course a heavy backline.