First of all, thank you for your time and congratulations on the release of ‘Nykta’. How are you doing?
Thanks! I am doing very well actually. Enjoying the change of seasons and looking forward to a productive winter.
The album already made it to my personal list of favourites this year, but how are the general responses so far, from fans and press?
I am really surprised as to how well ‘Nykta’ has been received thus far! Having included elements far outside of the metal genre, I thought that only an open-minded minority would really understand the album. It seems I was wrong as to this group of people being the minority. Many fans are writing to share their appreciation and the press has already bestowed ‘Nykta’ with luminous titles such as “album of the year”, “album of the month”, “album of the season” and so on. Very positive.
Over the years your music has evolved, ‘For the Glory of Ur’ was one of the first black metal records I bought and could be considered uncompromising black where ‘In Monumentum’ has some significant heavy metal influences. ‘Nykta’ even goes a few steps further, would you like to tell us about that progress?
I view my music as something that changes, evolves and signifies an explorative process of expression. Consider your life in 1995, then in 2006 and then in 2013. How has it changed? Do the events and experiences that take place within such a time period not shape our everyday life? Do we not speak and express ourselves differently as a result of those very experiences? This applies equally well to music. Having played in various music ensembles over the years, my perception of music has changed considerably. What I perceive as music, as musical interaction, as rhythmic and harmonic interplay is continuously refined and redefined. Hence, when I begin composing for any new project, my approach is different to the approach of yesterday. ‘Nykta’, though a collection of ideas from various time periods, was infused by this overall feeling of sonic experimentation, of exploration and of the greater subject of Space. The ingredients were ripe for a grand course!
What was your inspiration to come up with such a brilliant piece of work?
Everything. Old stories, old interests, space, the music I have been listening to currently, the music I used to listen to, the sound of the instruments I was experimenting with, nature, books, memories, connections with Gods, humans and animals. I always keep in mind a simple truth, long forgotten: Music is a gift of gods to man. It is a way of experiencing divinity and all it entails. True Inspiration for music comes from the Muse to an accepting vessel. I was fortunate to be inspired and so the music flowed. ‘Nykta’ is very kaleidoscopic in its nature and made up of many elements. The challenge, aside from the obvious technical aspect of performance, was to take those seemingly disparate kaleidoscopic elements and bind them in a monocular. And I was not going to hold back on anything; not technically or thematically. Hence, the drums received a special feature in this album and themes were long and fully developed. This is not my standard formula per-se; it was the modus operandi for this album only. My idea for the next album has a more definite direction (so far) and has fewer disparate elements.
The album has been put out through the Hells Headbangers label. How is the co-operation with Hells Headbangers? And what happened with your own NYX label?
The collaboration with HHR is very good. We worked together extensively for ‘Nykta’ and got to know each other a little better, which was very positive after knowing and dealing with each other sporadically since 2006. We wish to keep things that way. Despite the fact that their catalogue mainly features extreme metal bands and underground, they have welcomed and supported the individuality of my music and that is what a label should be like. NYX as a label was a means for my own work to be published and properly controlled. After having dealt with labels whose practices were highly questionable in the financial department, I decided to take control of things by doing it myself. That allowed me to live from my music and sales and gave me a good idea of what I should be expecting from a label. I might release something via NYX in the future, but there are currently no plans to do so. There is however a plan to release the Zemial back-catalogue via Hells Headbangers in very special editions.
Have you planned any tours or shows at this moment? And if so, when do we see you in the Netherlands?
No touring plans for 2013. Something in 2014 is very likely however. It depends on finding a suitable line-up to present ‘Nykta’ as it should be presented. When we are ready I certainly would like to play in the Netherlands a few times. I love playing there! Great people and a great vibe. For now, I am stirring ideas for the next Zemial album, ideas for my solo project Delta and spending a lot of time in the studio on various projects.
That about wraps it up for now, is there anything you would like to share with the rest of the world?
First I would like to thank you for your support and extend my regards to your readers. Furthermore, I would like to urge music fans to listen to music in its entirety. Not only my music but music in general. It has become fashionable to listen to two minutes of music and then change over to the next song. How could you truly understand what the music is telling you if you interrupt its flow and story? Who would understand what Pharos has in store for the listener if they were to listen to the first two or three minutes? Follow what the Music tells you, not what the DJ, radio, or TV tells you. Listen to music critically, listen with attention and let yourself re-discover its deep beauty. Listen to music alone, listen in dimly lit rooms, in the dark, when working quietly, when the weather is to your taste. Whatever it takes to engage your senses and full attention. Whatever your emotion, from wrath to forgiveness, sadness to joy, the right music will enhance it. Experience its divinity!