Black metal is on the rise again, the genre has matured from its wild church burning infancy to a genre that is getting more respect and interest as time goes on. One band that has been emerging is England’s Necronautical who bring an atmospheric take to the genre. The band’s frontman Naut talks about the band’s origins, their music, signing to Cacophonous, and black metal itself.
Jack: Hi, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you doing?
Naut (Vocals): We’re doing good thanks! We are currently preparing to finally return to the stage this weekend to play songs from the new album as well as developing some ideas for new music.
Jack: You guys formed in 2010, how did you all meet?
Naut: Myself and Matt [Anchorite] met in high school, and were playing in various bands together since we were teenagers. Matt met James [Carcarrion] a few years later and we’ve all been good friends ever since. We started jamming and working on the band in 2010 but we are all friends since long before that.
Jack: The name is taken from the Greek words, nekros meaning “corpse” or “dead”, and nautes meaning “sailor”. A person who experiments with near-death experiences in order to explore the underworld. Have you always been interested in Greek mythology?
Naut: Whilst we’re not specifically focused on Greek mythology, ancient history, religion, and mythology has always been a keen interest of mine since childhood, I think this is probably the same for the other guys too. We draw a lot of inspiration from these kinds of topics for our music and lyrics, whilst we might not always write about them directly. Necronautics is the exploration of death, and so we thought this would be an appropriate name from an extreme band, as well as an idea around which to create our own kind of mythos.
Jack: When you formed did you know you always wanted to be a black metal band?
Naut: Not necessarily but we all certainly shared a strong passion for the genre, and so we naturally gravitated towards that style of playing and writing. But when we started we were trying to integrate other styles and riffs as well, some thrash, death, Viking, or folky kind of stuff but I think the black metal style was always dominant with us. At the same time we don’t impose any rules on ourselves when it comes to what kind of stuff we’re doing musically; we just want to create extreme, epic songs with a lot of feeling and atmosphere.
Jack: What black metal bands are you into?
Naut: Far too many to list… of the classic bands key influences are Emperor, Darkthrone, Dissection, and Burzum amongst many others of course. At the moment I’m listening to a lot of newer bands like Akhlys, Nightbringer, Blaze of Perdition or Cult of Fire. Of course the genre is really vast and I’m into a lot of it, I could list music all day to that end. I like some different stuff outside of black metal also, and the other guys are listening to a lot of different bands from me, and that all influences our work as Necronautical.
Jack: What first drew you to black metal?
Naut: When I first heard black metal, at first I couldn’t get past how different it sounded, I guess I didn’t get it straightaway, but the more I was listening to other kinds of metal, the more I found myself drawn to that more atmospheric and extreme sound, it’s obscurity and sincerity. Around that time in 2005/2006 myself and Matt [Anchorite] would spend a lot of time travelling overseas to see some performances from classic bands like Dissection, Emperor and Immortal. Pretty quickly after that black metal became something of a musical obsession that we’re still embroiled in over a decade later.
Jack: What was the first black metal band you heard?
Naut: Emperor – In the Nightside Eclipse was the first black metal I heard.
Jack: Would you say black metal is the most creative metal subgenre?
Naut: It’s certainly branched out into a great number of different styles and sounds. For something so niche and relatively obscure it definitely yields an unbelievable amount of diversity and creativity, and I think it has potential to explore a lot of new ground still.
Jack: Has black metal matured as a genre?
Naut: I would say that it has, I think now is a good time for the genre, a lot of musicians are taking the style into some new territories, it’s growing all the time.
Jack: There’s been talk of a second wave of black metal bands led by Winterfylleth, Fen, The King is Blind and with the revival of Cacophonous. Do you think black metal is getting more popular or is it just getting more exposure?
Naut: Black Metal is definitely becoming more popular. The kinds of shows extreme bands are playing over here are in front of substantially bigger audiences than they were ten years ago. It’s a relatively young genre and something that I think younger generations will continue to discover just as I did. It’s great that there’s a lot of bands such as the ones you mentioned from the UK making their own impression on this form of music.
Jack: How does it feel to be part of the Cacophonous roster? Were you an active follower of the label’s releases?
Naut: It feels great, we are very proud to be a part of the Cacophonous roster. The label has put out some very important releases for the black metal genre, which of course have been influential on ourselves as well as countless other bands. It’s an honour to be on this label alongside some of the best the UK scene has to offer right now.
Jack: Your excellent album The Endurance at Night came out in July, are you happy with the response it got?
Naut: We couldn’t have been happier with the response to the album. The reviews have all been fantastic across the board, and we were really pleased that people had engaged with the concepts and themes in the music, and that all that stuff was put across the way that we had intended. The response from our fans has also been really great, we’ve heard a lot of great words about “The Endurance…” and we are very grateful for that support.
Jack: Is there a theme to the album?
Naut: The concept for The Endurance at Night is the insignificance of the self in comparison to the infinite expanse of space and time, the fractal nature of all things micro to macro and the notion that our entire personal existence is but a forgotten moment, turning the wheels of cause and effect in an expanse of nature too ancient and vast to comprehend in our lifetime.
Jack: Did you approach the writing and recording process differently to Black Sea Misanthropy?
Naut: Yes, with Black Sea we had the album pretty much mapped out to the note before we started recording. For The Endurance at Night we started recording with only a few riffs, and just added to it as we went, so it was a lot more spontaneous and also made the process of making the album more exciting as there was more of a sense of discovery to it as we recorded it. We worked on the lyrics and concepts simultaneously, and reworked the music in some parts to integrate better with the lyrics. Once again we recorded and mixed the album ourselves, but this time Samuel Turbitt from Ritual Sound added the finishing touches and really brought the mix to life. Next time we’ll try a different approach to the writing and recording, maybe try some new songs live before the next album, for example.
Jack: There has been a two year gap between every album, because of this can we expect the next release in two years?
Naut: We’re not aiming to follow a pattern, but we are working on some new material at the moment and it’s plausible that there will be another record in two years’ time.
Jack: What are your upcoming plans?
Naut: We’re playing our first show in three years this weekend in Manchester, following that we will soon be announcing some UK dates for November. We’re playing again in Manchester on December 10th with Melechesh, Foetal Juice and Sathamel, and at Eradication Festival in Cardiff next April. We’ll be announcing more dates in 2017 also, and are continuing to work on new material.
Jack: When I interviewed The Watcher from Fen, he said that “pseudonyms are one of the defining features of black metal”. Why did you decide to use pseudonyms?
Naut: It simply goes hand in hand with the kind of mythic elements of our music and concepts, it’s not a new idea in black metal but it was one we have chosen to adopt, our names aren’t particularly significant and it’s an extra element to the broader imagery of Necronautical.
Jack: Finally, is corpse paint making a comeback?
Naut: Did it ever go away? For me it helps me to feel more extroverted on the stage, I don’t think it necessarily matters if a band is wearing paints or not, bands should just do what they want to do. We’ve always wanted to use these visual elements alongside our music.
Jack: Thank you so much for your time and I hope to see you play London soon.
Naut: Thank you for the interview and I’m sure you will!