Today we speak to South American band, Nahtaivel.
What’s your history, Nahtaivel?
Well, I started in the musical scene playing keyboards in black and doom metal bands, after some time I wanted to gather my love by synthesizers and Depeche Mode with my love by extreme music, like black and death metal. So I started a project when I could make dark and harsh electronic music in order the achieve that.
What genre of music do you consider Nahtaivel to be?
I consider Nahtaivel to be an Industrial band, or a dark electronic band. Actually I don’t bother too much with genre definitions. I try to give each album a different feeling. I like bands like Morbid Angel, Bathory, King Crimson, etc. Bands that have never done, or almost never, the same album twice. So you can hear from Nahtaivel a very straightforward and aggressive album like Killer Speaks, or a big beat and groovy influenced album like Midnight Sessions, or a slow, doomy and epic album like my last one, Epicus Doomicus Electronicus.
How has your style evolved?
In the late 90s I did several intros and ambient music for metal bands, this reflected in my first album that is full of dark ambient stuff. Since the second album I started to use virtual analog synths and the project had become much more electronic. When I did Killer Speaks I was really into Psy Trance, that’s why it is more dance floor oriented. I’m also always changing my studio, and I think the experimentation with new equipment and software influenced my music as well. The last couple of albums I started to use real analog synths and I think it gave the albums another flavor. And now I’m able to use modular synths. I haven’t started to make the next album, but for sure I’ll use modular synths a lot, and it will give the album another different shape again.
What can you tell me about your instruments? (i.e., Are you subject to brand loyalty or will you play with whatever is available? What made you choose the instruments you have now? Was it cost or was it a style/model/brand/colour preference?
Nowadays my instruments consist in monophonic analog synths like Minibrute and DSI Mopho. A Nord Wave for polyphonic stuff and when I need a more digital flavor or samples. And a modular synth, when half of the modules are from a very good Brazilian brand called EMW. I also use a lot of virtual instruments and my main DAW is Logic. I rather hardware over software, touching knobs and have a physical feedback gives me more pleasure than using a mouse all the time. Of course I would like to have much more equipment and synths, but I’m happy with I have now and that’s what I can afford for the moment. Moogs and more DSI stuff are in my wishlist, but I also need to eat.
What inspires you to make music?
I feel a strong desire that compels me to write music. I can’t live without making art. If I haven’t been doing that maybe I would kill people, rape nuns, or other not so sociable activities. Everybody have lots of dark thoughts, for most of the people those are just thoughts, other ones have to live it for real. Fortunately I’m able to express and experience those thoughts in the form of music.
Who is your greatest musical influence and why?
I like a wide variety of genres. In each one I have my favorite bands/composers. In Electronic music I can mention Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, Skinny Puppy and Frontline Assembly. For metal would be Mercyful Fate, Slayer, Morbid Angel, Bathory and Emperor. I also like 60s and 70s stuff like King Crimson, Yes, Beatles, ELP, Gentle Giant, etc… Classical music is a great part of my listening time too. Mahler, Beethoven, Chopin, Stravinsky,etc… I can listen to a Burzum album and right after that to a Chemical Brothers album, and I can steal (or be influenced by) elements of both of them to forge a new song. Sometimes consciously, sometimes not.
Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
Usually I start playing some notes on a synthesizer with a certain mood in mind. When a good riff or melody appears I record it into a sequencer and begin to build around that. After all the instrumental part of the album is ready I start to write lyrics and record vocals. Sometimes I’m able to invite some friends to write lyrics and to record vocals for me.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
I think the biggest challenge is not to give up. There is almost no money involved. So, as most of the underground artists do, I spend more money than I earn. Making music is a very time consuming activity, I would like to have more time to dedicate to music making but I have to have a day job in order to make money for living. It sucks hard…
To have your music heard is a big challenge as well. Nowadays there are too many bands, so it’s very difficult to stand out from the crowd.
How have you overcome it?
I’m trying yet. It’s an everyday fight.
Who have you performed with and where?
I have played as an opening act for Project Pitchfork in São Paulo, Brazil. And I played several concerts in some states in Brazil, like São Paulo, Tocantins, Paraná, Santa Catarina e Rio Grande do Sul. I’ve never played abroad, but I’m really willing to that.
Who shot first Han Solo or Greedo?
Han Solo, of course! I hope they don’t put Mickey in the middle of it now too. I’m a trekker, though.
What’s your ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking fame and fortune?
My ultimate will is to be a rock star! So of course I’m seeking fame and fortune. Lol
Unfortunately it isn’t happening, I must have done something wrong, but who knows? It could happen some day.
While it doesn’t happen I will continue to make the music I would like to listen to, and to enjoy the process of music production. I love to extract sounds from cold machines.
Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set play list?
At my concerts I usually played the fastest and more dance floor friendly songs. I have lots of more progressive or slower songs that I would like to have performed, but I think they wouldn’t work well on a concert situation.
I played a couple of Depeche Mode covers as well, and the set list was always changing.
Actually I have taken a break from playing live, my last concert was one year and half ago. If I receive an invitation to play in a festival, a special occasion, or a tour I would accept, but I’ve been keeping Nahtaivel as a studio act only today.
Playing abroad is a dream that I still have, so if I were invited I would accept as well.
Advice for those interested in joining your field?
I think the main thing is knowing how to properly play an instrument. If you start to make songs and record by yourself, try to get a good DAW and master equalizers, compressors, reverbs and delays, you will use it a lot in almost all channels. You won’t need too much money, there’s a lot of good virtual instruments available for free. If you have some money, try to buy something with knobs, it’s much more fun!
I’m finishing the recordings of the new album of my black metal band, Insane Devotion. The last album of this band was finished more than 10 years ago, so we are really looking forward to release it. And next year I’ll start to record a new Nahtaivel album. I don’t know how it will sound, but I think a bit of trip-hop and a more sci-fi mood might sound good.
Any last words?
Keep the flame burning and listen to good underground music!