The USA Black Metal scene is nowadays one of the most hailed scenes worldwide, not only because of the high birth rate of Black Metal bands they have at the moment, but also because of the undeniable quality of them. One of the most powerfull hordes of the American scene is without a doubt Nachtmystium, which has proven with it's last two releases (Demise and Eulogy IV) that they are ready to claim the Black Metal throne. In this interview Azentrius (who is the mastermind behind the band) shares with us his thoughts on his band, Black Metal, famous musicians and if that wasn't enough, he also gives us ome details of the highly expected US Black Metal project Twilight. Enjoy.

What is Nachtmystium's musical aim and ideological stance at the moment? What do you wish to accomplish with the band? What is Nachmystium's purpose of existence?
Nachtmystium's purpose in existance currently and always has been an outlet for me through black metal. Nachtmystium is all my feelings of hate, rage and intolerance released through audial torture. I believe in using the means of audio recordings to put pain, sadness, fear, hate, anger, disillusion, and all other negative entities that form within me into the hearts of the listener. This music is not here for entertainment, it's here to make you feel something, it serves a purpose beyond humouring ones self.
Black Metal bands in the underground seem to be obsessed with maintaining a "pure" Black Metal sound and that often makes bands release nothing more than a carbon copy of their previous release(s). But on the contrary, I feel that Nachtmystium has woked to have an always changing sound in each release and yet, maintain a pure Black Metal essence. Is this constant change something conscious for you, or is it something that happens naturally? How is Azentrius' writing process? What inspires it?
You bring up a good point...most bands are just carbon copies of eachother, musically, lyrically, image-wise, and ideologically (although I question how big and evil half these maggots are...I think for most people that claim to be in a 'black metal' band it's some kind of gag or 'fun' thing for them...) We don't need to follow paths that others have already paved...I feel that we did that too much when I started the band, although I was about 16/17 years old at that time. Today, I see pathetic new-comer 30 year olds trying to be 'true black metal' for their first time...it's really insulting to the genre and to those of us that have been doing this as long as we could conceive of what it is. As for our sound constantly evolving, it's not really intentional...it's just what happens, I force myself to release the same energy through new creative writing techniques and processes that you obtain knowledge of by playing your instrument constantl! y. I also listen to a lot of other music besides Black Metal, this is another big part of the reason that you can pick out the obvious influences that AREN'T black metal oriented. I've obtained a lot of this inspiration from other music that has nothing to do with the piddly state of modern black metal.
I was very pleased when I learned that you have a broad musical taste; I'm personally quite sick and tired of all that stupid "kvlt" posse many people have taken. Anyway, in which ways have different musical genres influenced your music? Is there anything really important that you have incorporated from another non-Black Metal band into to your music?
Refer to the previous question for a response to this, I think I covered it.
OK, there are loads of crazy rumors about the USBM all star project Twilight. It would be awesome if you could finally shed some light on the subject. Who is in it? What are their roles? When will it be released? Which label will release it? What can we expect from it?
Ha, 'crazy rumours' about a record that a few of us got together and spontaneously recorded in a cheap hotel room on a 4 track...I love hype because it always results in severe disappointment. Twilight was and still is an experiment. The people involved are myself, Wrest (Leviathan), Imperial (Krieg), and Malefic (Xasthur). (Hildolf from Draugar also made some vocal appearances on the record) The whole thing spawned from an idea I had one night sitting around thinking about my music situation...I said "wow, it would be fucking cool to hear what it would sound like if you put Nachtmystium, Leviathan, Xasthur and Krieg in a blender and mixed it up and created an album", so since I knew all the main beings of the aforementioned groups, I emailed everyone and said "I have this grand idea...let's all get together and record an album". Everyone was into the idea, but we did nothing with it for about a year...then Wrest started to pursue the! idea again with me a little more, and eventually, Imperial and myself flew out to California and started working on it. We recorded about half the album there, then Wrest finished a bunch of it on his own...about 5 months later, Wrest came out to Chicago (December 2004) and we spent a week in some shitty hotel room finishing the record. Malefic did his parts all through the mail as it was totally impossible for us to all be together at the same place at the same time. So - the end result is what it is - an experiment. The four of us may have done some things on our own that people hail as being very good, but that doesn't necessarily mean we can absolutley create something as great with other people...regardless of who they are. Now - don't get me wrong, I like the Twilight album a lot and I think other people will too, but it's not some life-changing album for any of us. At the same time though, we're all very critical of our own music...some! stuff that we think is terrible others think is great, it's all just an artists own critique of his own work in this situation I'm talking about here amongst all of us. Over all, the record was a success and it's being released in Europe on CD by Total Holocaust Records, and in the USA on CD and vinyl by Southern Lord. Southern Lord has also signed Twilight for another album. This next one will be VERY interesting I think...for any official information on Twilight (or Nachtmystium for that matter) go to my label's site ( www.battlekommand.com ) we have an official news page for both bands there.
There's something that intrigues me; how did Twilight managed to actually exist? what's the story? You see, there are many comments of some of the musicians previously mentioned (specially Malefic and Wrest) in which they admit it's impossible for them to work with other people when it's about creating their art; even you have said that Black Metal is something very personal for you. So the question is, how come four different entities could manage to get together and create art together? Was it hard for you to comprehend each other? Or did you have a very similar idea in common?
Again, I covered a lot of this before I think, but to answer your question very directly - yes, we learned that we can do very well on our own but recording with other people is definitly a challenge for all of us. However - it was a great learning experience and it forces us to become better musicians overall simply from the experience of doing this. And like I said, we're doing another record that will be even better than the one we've got recorded already I think. The self-titled album is very good in my opinion, but the future holds a lot more for this project I think.
What lies ahead for Nachtmystium? Any new material soon? What can we expect from it?
New album being recorded sometime in the not-so-distant-future. It's being released on CD and gatefold LP by Drakkar Productions. The title will be Instinct: Decay This will be our pinnacle recording to date, I'm certain of it. It will kind of pick up where Eulogy IV left off, but it's going to be a lot more deadly and punishing this time around. Less sorrow and more anger/rage in the overall music. We do intend on continuing with experimentation, especially with guitar leads and strange vocals. Should be interesting to see how it comes out. Other than that album, we have split 7" EP's to be released as well, one is a split with Krieg (on Eerie Arts Records) and the other, a split with Mortifera on GoatoWaRex. Not a whole lot else planned beyond that...we flooded the market with releases last year I think, so I'm taking a bit of a break from it...besides, as you can see there is plenty to come still...by the time all the aforementioned stuff is said and done, I will probably be finishing up something else. Only the future will tell...
There are many views about Black Metal being played live. Some say it is something useless as the atmosphere could never be recreated, others say it's OK to bring the music live. Nachmystium obviously supports live Black Metal. What can you say about live performances?
Don't knock it until you've tried it. If you live and burn inside for this music like I do, then it's the ultimate experience. Presenting your hatred to a live audience. It's incredibly intense and cathartic for me. I do realize the value in playing with very certain bands on very certain occasions however...Nachtmystium does not play any 'local shows', we do gigs in Chicago from time to time, but it's only for special occasions. For example, we've played live with Metalucifer from Japan (who the hell else can say that? fucking band rules and was totally worth prepping a gig for...), we recently played with Morbosidad, who are good friends of ours...we opened for Satyricon a while back just to do it because it was another oppourtunity to reach a new audience (even if 3/4 of them would never understand who we are, what we are or why we do this), etc. But you will never find Nachtmystium playing for 30 people at some cheesy ! venue playing with grind bands or something....we're exremely particular. The only gigs we have planned now are to play with our good friends Usurper in April, 2005 and then we're scheduled to play with the mighty Sabbat in September. 2005 when they come here for their North American tour. A european tour is possbile for us too, but that all depends on Drakkar...
Considering your broad musical taste, it would be great if you could give me your personal views of the following gentlemen and lady (musically speaking only) in a few lines:

Varg Vikernes: Phenomenal musician, hasn't done any music since the late 90's, I've got no opinion on him now. His beliefs and politics don't interest me.

Robert Smith: Not a fan of The Cure, but can respect him for his musical legacy the same way I can respect Eric Clapton or any other massive artist that actually HAS musical talent...something not found in 99% of TV-fed 'bands' through MTV and other Zionist means of demoralizing young American's artistic standards.

Roger Waters: Quite possibly the most influential musician ever for me. Pink Floyd and some of his solo stuff (namely the album Amused to Death) have some of the darkest moments in music for me. Listen to the Roger Waters' song It's a Miracle from the Amused to Death record and tell me you don't feel like shit when it's over. Not going to happen. VERY little music can really take me to the place that he has many times. Not all of his shit is mindblowing, but when it is, it REALLY is. Pink Floyd alone has taken me on journeys that most people could never understand...I recommend the albums Animals and Meddle, absolutely incredible pieces of art. As cliche as it sounds, I also think Wish You Were Here is one of the most incredible albums of all times. The music is amazing and the lyrics are fucking brilliant. Mainly focuses on the injustices of the music industry and feelings of entrapment an! d the feelings of being 'owned' by your record labels...I've learned a lot about how I handle my buisness just from the lyrics to the song Have a Cigar. Needless to say....Roger Waters is a god to me. (**note, I do notice how massive of an influence David Gilmour had on Pink Floyd, but I feel that the darkness in the music was 99% a result of R.W.)

Tori Amos: Excellent pianist, excellent lyricist. I can deal with certain songs on certain albums, the ones I like I really like, but a lot of her stuff really is just too fucking 'girly' for me...I'll proudly admit that I paid a lot of money to see her live one time and it was an excellent performance.

Could it be possible seeing Azentrius doing a non-Black Metal musical project?
It's already happening...I'm a huge 'stoner doom' fan and have been working on material for a record someday. I have no name for it, just some riffs...think Sleep, Floyd, Yob, Electric Wizard, St. Vitus, and Kyuss all mixed together..that'd kinda be what I was going for.
Do you remember your first Black Metal experience? How was it like? What did you think the first time you heard it and what motivated you to create Black Metal?
I remember it distinctly. I was reading a magazine and bam, there it was...some little article about it, saw a picture of a band and was totally mesmerized...felt like i'd found my place in the world. I was probably about 13 when I made that assumption, and I was right.
If you could collaborate with any musician in the world, who would you choose and why?

Hmm...awesome question and a tough one to answer. So - I'll give you a couple people and brief explanations as to why...

Roger Waters - for the above mentioned reasons.

Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance of Beherit - just because this guy made the sickest black hell I've ever heard and I'd love to study his writing style, as its so primitive I as a musician can hardly conceive of writing things so barbaric...it'd be interesting to almost intentionally regress my musical capabilities in order to create something as harsh and devastating as Beherit was.

Matt Pike of Sleep/High On Fire - I worship this guys writing style. It's incredibly simple, often incredibly slow - but always aggressive in it's own way. Captures a lot of different feelings and molds is into this crazy canvas of sound...very motivating stuff for me to listen to. Fuck what any little 'kvlt' fag's got to say about me liking a 'trendy' metal band like High On Fire...no black metal album I've heard in the last year or so can hold a candle to anything that band has ever done in my opinion. So yeah - Matt Pike's definitly on my list...

And lastly, instead of explaining about 'who' i'd like to play with...I'll talk about someone I was able to work with that I felt was a massively honoring experience, and that was to work with Akhenaten of Judas Iscariot. He was someone who fucking KNEW what black metal was...someone who could create riffs that made the hair on my arms stand on end...someone who just truely fucking believed in this music and knew what he needed to do to create it. Nachtmystium had the privelige of working with him on our self-titled MCD, as he was the engineer on it (aka - D.o.A.). That was a killer experience for me as I'd seen and listened to his other band (Sarcophagus) since I was in my very early 'metal years' probably dating back to being 11 and 12 years old...so he was influential for me then as a death metal musician, and then again later as a black metal musician...so it was great to get to work with him.

Thank you very much for your time, it is an honour to be able to interview you. The last words are yours.
It's more of an honor for me to be able to answer some intellegent and interesting, meaningful questions. Thanks for the killer interview and the support. Fuck off to all you jealous little faggot message board fucks and backstabbing cocksuckers in the chicago area (you know who you are) - you're all nothing to me...keep grabbing at my coat tails and continue to fail in your miserable attempts to ride out someone else hard work!! Continue your little internet message board wars from behind the safety of your computer screens!! Die scum!! And to the rest of you...abandon all hope...for all you know...you're full of cancer right now.