Greetings Rob, First of all let me congratulate you and Nox with the very powerful 'Ixaxaar'. As you can read I was very satisfied with it. How has the response been from press and fans so far?
So far the reactions have been nothing but positive. Earache called me a couple of times to tell me that they couldn't keep up with the demand for us. They have more extreme bands on their roster (really? MR) but it appears that Nox is something special. They're really sorry they didn't release 'Ixaxaar' earlier. Nowadays it's really hard to sell extreme music but 'Ixaxaar' seems to sell itself. The record definitely is hungry and WANTS to be spread.
This is only the second Nox release and the First full-lenght. Could you give the layman a short lesson in Nox' history?
I founded Nox together with drummer Bob Dussel in December 2001. At the time, I still was active in Centurian so Nox shouldn't be seen as a new version of Centurian, as many people still think. Centurian exploded in April 2002 which made it possible for me to focus on Nox completely; all the material I wrote was very usable for Nox. At first I wanted to write material for two band but this didn't work out, simply because all the material I wrote was perfect for Nox. Bob and I worked on material for about a year until Patrick Boleij and Seth v/d Loo joined forces in January 2003. We recorded our demo 'Zazaz' that summer and we did a handful of shows. 'Ixaxaar' was recorded in 2005. In 2006, Seth left Nox for personal reasons while Bob had to leave because he had other priorities. He went back to school but wants to keep drumming in the near future; he wants to revive the band Zi Xul together with guitarist Oskar van Paradijs. Niels Adams (Prostitute Disfigurement) joined Nox at the end of 2006 and for me he's the perfect guy. He's a true animal on stage and he's extremely driven. We're also in the middle of recruiting a new, very talented, drummer and if everything goes as planned, we'll hit the road in the summer of 2007.
To me, the choice for Niels as the singer seems rather awkward. First of all, his singing voice is extremely different from Seth's and second, Prostitute Disfigurement is at the verge of a breakthrough. What's your vision on this?
As a matter of fact, Niels was the very last option I used. After talking and listening to some singers I concluded that the search for a competent singer might be a heavy struggle. Ultimately Niels approached me with the question why I didn't ask him for the job. I only heard his voice from Prostitute and as you mentioned, his style is completely different from what I was looking for. He told me he could sing in that fashion as well and he proved it to me in a studio from a friend. He rerecorded 'Choronzon the Eternal' from the 'Zazaz' demo and he immediately blew me away! His voice is even more articulated then Seth's. That guy has more up his sleeve then we all know and he will be using the 'new' vocal style in Prostitute as well. Indeed, Prostitute is doing really well and the same goes for Severe Torture but both Niels and Patrick have the need to do something different from their own bands.
The band's theme fits the music perfectly; very sinister and occult. You as the composer are the main responsibility for this. Did you write all the material on this record or did the other members have influence on the creative process as well?
I practically write all the music and lyrics just because I have the perfect view on how Nox should sound and be presented. Naturally, this doesn't mean I don't respect ideas from the other members but it just goes that way. Patrick (bass, MR) writes the music for Severe Torture, which is completely different and the same goes for Seth's Severe Torture lyrics. At first, I write all the material at home, then I go to the practice room with the drummer until we come out with a certain amount of tracks. During that process I try to write as much lyrics as possible so that the singer can find out what lyric fits what song best.
Is the rest of the band involved in your/Nox's dark theme's?
This doesn't really bother me, anymore, that is. The people I know who are doing the same stuff I do just can't play, are in a mental institute, in jail or dead. I'm not sure if it would be wise to have band members who are out of their minds. The music has to be executed perfectly and as long as the band members aren't in hell's way, the gods should be happy. The binding factor in Nox, not considering music, is a healthy dose of misanthropy. I encountered many 'happy' dudes during my search for musicians, but there's no place for them in Nox, obviously.
Could you tell us how the deal with Earache came to a conclusion? It's one of the biggest extreme labels and not many bands manage to get signed with just one demo. Does the fact that some members are/were active in Centurian and Severe Torture have something to do with it?
The only thing Patrick did was sending a demo to Earache; they liked it and wanted to sign us. Whether or not they signed us because of our history is not of my interest. Nox is on a mission to send as many souls to hell as possible and some shitty, underground label isn't gonna help us with that.
People from the underground tend to ask us why we signed with a 'mainstream' label and if that's a 'true' thing to do. Fuck that shit! I really can't imagine why some losers would make a record and spread only 666 versions (hand numbered of course) because only the 'real' fans are allowed to listen to their crap. If I would make music with those intentions I only would be able to sell two or three copies and that's not worth all the trouble.
Without a doubt, this record deal means a lot to Nox. What are the long-term plans considering making records and doing tours?
We have a four-record deal and if I was to say, we'd already be recording the second full-length this year. Of course we want to go on tours but we'll have to wait and see what Earache is going to offer us. They'll help us out financially but often a lot of things still have to be arranged by the band. It also is a matter of what and when other bands are going to hit the road. A lot of things have to come together perfectly. We've had some tour offers already, but they simply came at a bad time. It will turn out just fine.
Let's talk about 'Ixaxaar's music. The main influences clearly are death and black metal but could you name some specific artists who made Nox sound like Nox sounds?
Musically, a lot of bands inspired me. Not because they are that great but more because they sound so damn uninspired and have no decent message and feeling in their music. That has been the reason for me to make music; if I don't hear what I want to hear, I make it myself. Sure, there are enough acts I do appreciate, some examples are old Morbid Angel, Diamanda Galas, Buckethead and Lustmord but what they are doing, they are doing. Nox sounds like Nox because of certain entities who want to shape together. Nox is a sonic form of chaos, made by and for chaos. 'Ixaxaar' should be seen as a path to a chaotic state of mind; far away from logic, matter and the human way of thinking. In the end all we want is to achieve some kind of freedom, which we're not capable of getting between the laws of this world; the laws of flesh and blood etc. These laws are more of an obstruction; one will have to step out of them. I'm not talking about shooting yourself, although it might help, but more about taking energy from other things than life itself. For some it might sound mad but it just depends in what mind-frame you are in. If you tend to get trapped between what this world sees as worthwhile and moral it might be a good thing for you to listen to some Nox.
Here and there a solo appears on the record. How are you planning on doing this life? Are these songs being left out, played with one guitarist or will you hire a second axeman for the life-situations?
We will start with only one guitarist at gigs and the solo will all be played. We're in the middle of fiddling with a second guitar player but I really can't give any conclusions on this matter. My riffing is just so personal. There is only one way to play them and that is through the sub-consciousness of the mind. It's impossible to play them just by reason; it's something you really have to feel.
'The Jesus Sect' is the only song with a little brake for the listeners; the neurotic fly swarming at the end. What is 'The Jesus Sect' about?
It's about Christians. I see the Christianity as a sect gone wrong. In the lyrics of the song, Christians are compared with the so called coffin-flies. Coffin-flies are flies who dig themselves a way through the ground searching for rotten (human) flesh. They devour the meat and multiply themselves within the rotting corpse. I'm using these flies as a metaphor for Christians who are desperately searching for Jesus, feasting on his wounds (his suffering) and bathe in the rotting of their savior. Very funny if you ask me.
Who has been responsible for the very brutal but still clear production and has the production become exactly what you've whished for?
Our goal was to achieve a clear, edgy and aggressive sound and according to me we've done a pretty good job. We are the only ones responsible for this. If we had other people interfere with this process we would have sounded just like all the other shitty U.S.-brutaldeathmetalbands. There are a lot of details in Nox' music and those details simply have to be heard; otherwise we just could have played punk or whatever. Another thing I don't understand is why the majority of the present-day bands have their instruments tuned so fucking low, use amplifiers that sound like vacuum-cleaners and then think it's strange why people can't follow their damn music.
(former) Singer Seth van der Loo has had a dream come true when he played with Deicide four times because Glen Benton couldn't make it this European tour. Why was Seth picked out of all the awesome death metal bands Holland has to offer (i.e. Severe Torture, Thanatos, Sinister or God Dethroned just to name a few)?
I believe it went something like this (i could be wrong): Deicide was bringing a Polish crew on this tour (Massive Music, MR) and Seth happens to be friends with those blokes. He decided to go to the Eindhoven-venue early to do some socializing. His Polish friends told him what was going on and before he knew it he was singing for Deicide; right time/right place. To me it was really cool to see Seth on stage with one of his favorite bands and if I'm honest, I never really missed Glen. Besides that it was funny to look at Seth from the crowd in stead of from the stage.
Good luck with the future of Nox (which will be positive without a doubt) and as usual, the final words are all yours.
Whether or not the future will be positive I dare not predict. It should be though, because we have a very strong record in our hands. Nevertheless, Nox wouldn't be Nox if some vague incident came and fucked with us.
Nothing is certain, all is licit.
Sic luceat Nox!