jueves, 16 de febrero de 2023


 Good evening, thank you very much for answering these questions, how is everything going in Aalst?

Hi, thank you for the interview! Everything fine here, Aalst is counting down for its annual Carnaval fest.

1. Nachtmaer starts working around the year 2020 in the figure of Snoodaert, as a member of other bands of which you form peers, perhaps Kludde being the one that has been active for the longest time, why did you decide to undertake this solo adventure with Nachtmaer? Why did you choose the name Nachtmaer and what does it refer to?

Initially I did not plan to write a solo album, but as rehearsals and concerts fell away due to covid and lockdown periods, there was really nothing else to do but make new music. During the first lockdown, I mainly occupied myself with writing new music for my main bands Kludde and Welcome to Holyland, but when those lockdowns continued, I decided to start something new to kill the time, and thus Nachtmaer was born. The band name refers to a dark evil entity that sits on your chest at night and drags all the energy out of your helpless body, you wake up in the middle of the night and bathed in sweat, barely able to move and breathe. That’s most likely an experience with the Mære or Nightmare that came to ride you. A demonic spirit of a witch that rises from her body at night to inflict mischief on humans as well as animals. 

2. How did you face the whole process of writing and recording an album like “Van de mare bereen”, in which you had to take care of the whole process? What brands of instruments did you use to write and record the album?

For Nachtmaer, I mainly wanted to do my own thing without too much outside input. I wanted to go back to the roots musically and in terms of sound. A bit with the same spirit as our old Kludde demo "Langs Scheld- en Denderland", when everything was still pretty simple and uncomplicated. So I had my old torn-down Jackson Flying V from that period patched up and tuned up to standard tuning, got my old Trace Elliot amplifier out of the attic and started writing riffs. I had resolved myself not to put any sludge or doom influences into it, influences we mix a lot in Kludde. Initially I wanted to make fairly minimalistic repetitive songs, but the final result has become quite layered. Especially with the synthesizers, I did not hold back. Although the melodies are pretty simple I can assure you, it has a lot of different layers and various sounds. A lot of details are hidden in the mix; I strongly suggest listening to the album with headphones to have the full experience.

3. If it is also true that you have had some collaborations such as the presence of Basstaerd de Kludde on bass, how did you manage this collaboration and why did you decide to have him?

I’ve been playing with Basstaerd in Kludde for 18 years now so we know each other very well and are very good friends. During the lockdown period he was my close contact. Although I composed the music by myself, he basically experienced the entire writing process from start to finish. At first I borrowed a bass guitar from my brother when I was composing the album, but at some point he simply asked if he could do it. I immediately agreed. After all, he is a better bass guitarist than I am and he has better equipment. I in turn then started playing the guitar in Baroudeur. Basstaerd’s personal lockdown project for which he wrote all the music.

4. Another noteworthy aspect is that of the vocalists, this “Van de mare bereen” contains four songs, each one with a different vocalist, the presence of Cerulean de Kludde is somehow understandable due to your relationship with them, how Did you decide to have these vocal collaborations? What can you tell us about Acharantis, Ronarg and Uglúk also present on the album? What do you think these vocalists have brought to the final sound and focus of the album?

My first intention was to try it myself. For the song "Marevlechten" I recorded the vocals myself at home. Soon I realized that I don't have the right voice for the music I made for Nachtmaer. So better leave it to more suitable singers. I immediately knew who I was going to ask. Cerulean, who does the vocals and lead guitar in Kludde, had already heard the music and was immediately enthusiastic about the project. I let him choose which song he wanted to sing and it would be "Marevlechten". Acharantis  seemed like a perfect match for the second song "Mijn Vlucht door de Nacht" He is the vocalist of Soul Dissolution, a post-doom black metal band and putting a lot of emotion in his voice is kind of his trademark. I let him choose from the three remaining songs and he chose the song that I had in mind and thought was most suitable for his voice. Ronarg is the singer in the melodic fast black metal band Antzaat. It was a pretty logical choice that he sang on the album’s most brutal and straightforward song. He uses his voice in different layers and in different ways with tremendously incantatory results. That leaves us with Uglúk, who got to sing the epic closing song “De Drievoudschart”. He has a very expressive way of singing and can twist his voice in a lot of different ways. He was once the singer and the co-founder of Kludde, we started that band together. So working with him was an absolute must. Today he is active in the avant-garde black metal band Dissolve Patterns.

5. In some way the sound of this “Van de mare bereen” is influenced by the second wave of Scandinavian black metal. What bands and styles have inspired you when shaping the sound of the album? How would you define the sounds of the album for those who haven't heard it yet?

I could conveniently list all the Scandinavian classics, because what black metal musician has not been inspired by this movement. In a way, Nachtmaer is my personal homage to the genre, especially the glory days of the second wave of black metal. Now I should note that many people find many other influences in it as well. Like post-black metal or that typical American "cascadian" black metal style. Now I'm not the type who is stuck in the '90s so I can pretty much relate to those comparisons. Then to name some modern bands I listened to tremendously during the period surrounding the writing process of the album; The Deathrip, mainly the debut album "Deep Drone Master", Vemod's debut "Venter på stormene", the atmospheric black metal of the Dutch bands Fluisteraars and Turia and Vargrav from Finland! I am definitely inspired by these bands, without sounding like a copy of those bands. It’s only a fraction of the totality I listen to and been inspired from.

6. The lyrics, most of them if I'm not mistaken are written in Belgian, Luxembourgish, why did you decide to use your native language for the texts? Do the lyrics adapt to the music or vice versa?

I live in the Flemish part of Belgium where we speak the Dutch language. The lyrics I wrote for Nachtmaer are in Dutch because in my opinion it fits better and I am more creative with lyrics in my native language. Now, I did give all my singers the freedom to write their own lyrics, either to use mine, or to adapt or supplement them with their own writings. I also gave them the freedom to do so in the language they preferred. Hence, Ronarg's song "I Am the Nightmare" is in English. I would find it interesting should Nachtmaer's music include more languages on later albums. Eventually folklore about the Mære extends to other cultures as well. But of course, that all depends on the singers with whom I will work in the future.


7. The lyrics cover aspects related to the folklore of your country. Can you give us a brief description of the stories you tell in your songs and why you decide to treat them?

“Marevlechten” (“Marebraids”) is about a Mære who haunts the horse stable at night. When the farmer enters the stable in the morning, he finds his horses emaciated and exhausted. Their manes tangled and their tails tied together (hence marebraids), unable to do any more work in the field. The story of "Mijn Vlucht door de Nacht" ("My Flight through the Night") is about a Mære’s victim who is turned into a horse overnight and forced to take her on her night time flight. Both are common stories that I came across frequently in my books and on the Internet. These stories immediately set the right mood I wanted for the album. “I Am the Nightmare” is about a Mære who comes to terrorize a person during the night in his dreams. It’s written from the perspective of both the Mære and its victim, who slowly drifts into madness. This is perhaps the most typical and frequent story about the terror of the Mære. Uglúk's story “De Drievoudschart” ("The Triple Scratch") is one that really happened. In his teens, Uglúk had experiences with sleep paralysis and night terrors. As he lay paralyzed in bed at night he heard the repeating sound of scratching on his wardrobe... He was never able to determine the cause. So like no other, he was the perfect choice for a concept like this. In the past, with Kludde, we had already written two songs that dealed with this subject.

8. You have worked at Skjeft Studio to carry out the recording and mixing of the album, as well as the mastering at Blackout Studio, what can you tell us about the choice and the work done by both studios?

Sjkeft Studio is my brother’s home studio. I asked him to record the album because I know he would go to great lengths to manage the recording and mixing. He's also a drummer, so that was perfect for filtering out all the flaws and illogical things that were in my programmed drums. Nachtmaer was his first big project he worked on, and the end result is impressive! It took more than a year of work and tinkering, without his patience and skills the album would never have sounded this good. When we were in the Blackout Studio with Kludde to record our latest album “De Horla”, I asked Jérémie Bézier if he also would like to do the mastering for Nachtmaer. He agreed and so it happened. Besides being a very skilled sound engineer he also has a history as a bassist with Enthroned and he is still active in Emptiness, so he knows perfectly how black metal should sound. His mastering put the icing on the cake.

9. The cover reflects a dark, almost ghostly and disturbing aspect, the work of Wesley Dewanckel, what does this cover represent? How is it related to the content of the album? And why work with Wesley?

Wesley based the album cover on the story of “Mijn Vlucht door de Nacht”, which I explained earlier in this interview. For the general atmosphere I wanted him to create, I sent him an image of the work “Der Erlkönig” by Julius Sergius von Klever. There also had to be something typically Flemish in it, hence the pollard willows. A few years ago I started following him on social media and immediately fell in love with his style. One day I saw an artwork passing by called “De Bloedkoesj”, a subject we also had written a song about with Kludde. At that moment I was completely convinced to ask him to design the artwork and create the logo for Nachtmaer. When it turned out that he also lived a stone's throw from me, contact was quickly made. We were immediately on the same page. It also turned out that he had been following Kludde since our demo period. This resulted in a friendly and professional click. And in a new collaboration for the upcoming Kludde album for which he made some killer artwork and illustrations for a video clip and for live projections. Top guy and top artist!

10. The album has been released by Thenra Collectivum, maybe you are the owner of this record label? What can you tell us about Thenra Collectivum?

Thenra Collectivum is primarily the umbrella organization for all our bands and projects. It is not a purely black metal collective; our musical tastes extend far beyond that alone. The name Thenra is Celtic for “bubbling turbulent river” and is the oldest written name they found for the river Dender, which flows through our hometown Aalst. Bands that are part of this small circle are Kludde, Nachtmaer, Welcome to Holyland, Toorn, Baroudeur and Kraaienmars. We will use this monicker for any future releases and when we organize concerts. For the rest, we keep it fairly modest and we'll see what the future brings.

11. Have you released “Van de mare bereen” in digital format, cd and cassette, focusing on the latter? Do you think there is a revival of a format like the cassette and how it fits or what is its place today as a viable format for when listening to music beyond a retro component?

There is definitely a tape revival and I also think tapes are a good alternative to compensate for the overpriced vinyl market. Many people become pickier about what they are going to spend their hard-earned money on because of the extortionate prices. I note that many people who prefer their music analog are therefore more inclined to buy tapes today. As for bands and labels, it's also interesting, because you don't have to deal with those sky-high investments and long waiting times. Personally, my favorite medium remains the CD. It wears out the least and the audio quality always remains the same. I have CDs that I've had in my collection for over 30 years and still play perfectly. I also think that the value of an analog medium is a bit overblown. Eventually, most bands record their music digitally and have it digitally mastered, and then have it pressed onto an analog carrier. That doesn't make much sense to me. But of course that's my opinion; I'm not going to bother with what someone else prefers and I also buy tapes and vinyl, but only if it is not available on CD.

12. What do you think is the reason for the high number of quality black bands that are emerging in countries like Belgium, Holland and Denmark for some time now, following in the footsteps of the classics but with a significant contribution of traits? own? What is the extreme scene like in a relatively small town like Aalst?

Good question, but I don't really know the answer to it. I am a big fan of the local and Dutch black metal scene, though, and I try to support these bands as much as possible. I don't know much about the scene in Denmark, apart from Afsky. I think every country has at least one or more great bands; the question is rather which scene you focus on. There is so much good music, but how much music can you handle as a person yourself, especially if you don't listen to one genre specifically. It also has a lot to do with hype. Like for example, a few years ago it was mainly the Icelandic scene that was in the spotlight. The scene in Aalst is very small. In my teens there where a lot of (black) metal heads but not that many extreme bands, mostly punk and rock bands. About 10-15 years ago there was a whole thrash metal revival here, but that was only short-lived. Speaking of thrash metal, we do have the cult band Cyclone that recently restarted. And of course the pagan black metal band Theudho which has also been around for two decades now.

13. How were your beginnings in music: first concerts you attended, first albums you bought? What event in your life pushed you to want to be a musician?

I started listening to hard rock and metal when I was about 10 years old. An uncle made me compilation tapes with music from Guns 'n Roses, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Metallica, the classics, among others. Very soon I had the urge to seek out harder and more extreme bands, I got to know Slayer and Sepultura, then Deicide and Morbid Angel and when I reached the age of 13 I got a tape of the album “Frost” by Enslaved. That album triggered something in me, like I finally found what I was looking for after all those previous years. That sound, that atmosphere, that image. I was immediately sold. Then followed a whole journey of discovery in the genre, I got to know all the classics of the time, Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Immortal, Darkthrone,... but also Belgian bands like Enthroned, Ancient Rites and Gotmoor left a deep impression. In 1999 I saw my first black metal show; Marduk, with their Panzer Division tour. In that year I also started my first band Clauw, in which I met Uglúk. Then two years later we started Kludde.

14. What album represents for you the essence of black metal? What last albums have you bought?

“Transylvanian Hunger” by Darkthrone. That album is, in my opinion, the purest essence of black metal. Stripped of all unnecessary details, with an icy cold and evil sound, rid of any kind of variation, with only the essence remaining. That album puts you in that typical conjuring trance that I love so much in the genre. Genius album! The last black metal albums I bought are "Länge Leve Döden" by Hostsol, "Odcházení" by Bran and "Með Hamri" by Misþyrming. Ingeniously good records!

15. What future plans do you have for Nachmaer in the immediate future?

At the moment, I do have a tremendously busy schedule as next month I have two albums coming out from my main bands Kludde and Welcome to Holyland. But as soon as I have the time I will start writing a new Nachtmaer album. I will be working with new singers as well as a real drummer instead of a drum machine.

16. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions for Black Metal Spirit, if you want to add something for Nachtmaer fans this is the place. I hope the questions are to your liking.

Be sure to check out my other band Kludde, the new album will be the best we've ever made and should definitely appeal to fans of Nachtmaer. Buy our merch, enjoy the music and be sure to keep an eye on our social media for more news about Thenra Collectivum's future projects.


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