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Furia is a remarkable metal band from Poland. A unique band in many ways, hard to pin down and highly original. Generally categorized as part of the Polish black metal scene, but that’s something the band does not really agree with. Lords of Metal met with singer / guitar player Nihil and bass player Sars on a warm Saturday afternoon in Tilburg, only half a day after their intense set at the 2018 Roadburn festival to discuss the influence of geography and heritage on music (an often overlooked subject), Furia’s musical voyage and of course the Roadburn Experience. On top of that, we attempted to pinpoint Furia’s music, which turned out not to be an easy exercise.

By: Jan-Simon | Archive under black metal

Hi guys, nice to be able to chat with you. I was at the show yesterday evening, it was amazing. It took me some time to realize what happened. There were so many things going on at the same time, so many contradictory thing(S:) quiet and loud, introspective and really aggressive, everything at once. I really liked it.
Nihil: Thanks

So what was your experience, being here at Roadburn?
Nihil: We are 100% satisfied, the beginning of the show was not so good, because of the sound and because it was such a hot day, but it was getting better and better and the last song, for me that was perfect, so I am really satisfied.

That’s good to hear. Did you manage to see some of the other bands, to get a taste of the atmosphere?
Nihil: A little bit, just walking around, but the only band I saw was Godflesh, because I am a bit ill so I tried to get a little rest. Godflesh was my dream to see, so it was great.

It’s funny that you mention Godflesh, it is not the first band I would think of when listening to your music, at least it wasn’t for me, but on the other hand, I was thinking when I heard you yesterday evening of Laibach. Perhaps a strange connection and it could of course be because of the fact both bands are Slavic…
Nihil: Perhaps, but there is this industrial thing in their music and there is a little bit of it in our music, because for us the industrial part is important.

Is that because of your heritage? Your roots are of course in Katowice, in the southern, industrialized part of Poland?
Nihil: Yes, maybe that is why I love Godflesh so much. It has this cold, raw feel in their music.

So what is it like to be a Polish band, singing in Polish, trying to get around in Europe? Does it pose any difficulties, or don’t you notice anything because hardly anyone will understand what your singing or thinking about.
Nihil: Yeah, but one of our goals in making music is to create a way that while we sing in Polish, we want to do it in a way that everyone could feel what we are talking about. You don’t have to know Polish to get that feeling. So this is one of our goals. We just finished a European tour and I am really satisfied because I saw the audience had the same feeling as you had. So yes, I know there is still a lot of work to do to make it more understandable to you but I think we are on our way.

I think so. Well, we are Dutch and we are used – as a small language – that everyone is talking a different language so we focus more on the music anyway but I suppose for instance England or Germany, it can perhaps be more difficult for you to become something of a household name as Poles.
Sars: In the nineties nobody could understand the Norwegian language, but still everyone was listening to these black metal bands.

You’re right about that.
Nihil: They were trying to do it in parallel ways. By the words in the native language and by the music which was expressing the same things, but only in sounds.

Perhaps even though the music speaks for itself, can you tell us a bit what you’re singing about, what the themes of your songs are? I tried to translate the Polish lyrics using Google Translate but that does not really work. What I did get from the results was that the typical Furia song is not your standard black metal lyrics. Not at all.
Nihil: (smiles) No no no no.

So I wondered, what is it about?
Nihil: It is hard to say because we are a kind of poetic band. There is no point in explaining our lyrics but you are right, they are not the kind of black metal anti Christian. No hell and Satan. There is a lot of other dark stuff. Maybe I could say it is about the dark site of who we are and where we live. But it is not so specific as black metal lyrics. It’s about us, simply.

Does Katowice, your hometown, inspire you in that way? Is it a depressing place or…?
Nihil: Yeah, in some kind of way it is really depressing.

Yes, it is not really happy music that you make, is it?
Nihil: Poland is a sad country…

I have only been to Poland once, that was to Wroclaw. I am not sure if that’s anything like Katowice?
Nihil: Not really. Katowice is a specific place because of the fact it is the capital of the industrial area in Poland. It is kind of weird because there are a lot of coal mines, “coal culture” and at the same time we have many forests and a lot of nature around.

That’s another interesting contradiction, industry and nature at the same place.
Nihil: You started the interview talking about contradictions in our music, so I think that the dynamics which are very important for us in every way in music, like I mean silent and louder parts, lyrics that are poetic and yet can be raw and dark, unsettling in some kind of way. Yeah I think it is collaborating with the place we live in.

Did that also inspire you to record an EP down in a mine, I heard of that and thought ‘wow, that’s very “trve” black metallish’. Why did you do that?
Nihil: For us it was simple because it was kind of a natural environment for us.

Can you go into the mines so easily?
Nihil: Actually it was not that hard to get in there because the Guido mine is closed now, so they let us in for one day. Everything was fine, there were no technical problems. I talked with people in charge of mines that are still open and it was not possible because of safety issues and stuff, so we did it in there and everything went fine.

And how is the acoustic down there?
Nihil: The acoustic was not really special because we did not record in a mine shaft or tunnel, but in some kind of concert space, I don’t know how to call it. But there is a large underground room which has more or less club acoustics, so it sounded like in a club or in a studio. That’s why I spoke with the working mine, because it would be great to play in those corridors but it is not possible.

The idea behind doing this, was it because of the history or simply because you could do it?
Nihil: No, it is complicated. First thing, as I said, it is kind of natural for us to play, you know, under the ground, because of the coal mine area we live in. Secondly the coal mine culture is inspirational for us. It is our heritage. Third thing is that the second part of this album is made out of improvisations about the paintings that are made by the miners so that’s the reason we did it.

To change the subject, I noticed there are a number of interesting bands coming out of Poland right now. Is that a coincidence, or are you all in connection, as part of a scene?
Nihil: Yeah, we are in connection. You know, we play gigs together.

Are you all from the same region, because Poland is a big country.
Nihil: Yes, a few bands come from our neighborhood. But I do not really know why all these bands have come up now. Maybe it is a good time for Poland right now. Finally we got our freedom back after centuries, so our potential is huge.

So this connection is more like coincidence, you don’t feel the other bands are making the same kind of music or have the same ideas about music as you. Bands like Mgła for instance, and there are others of course. Do you feel part of the same scene, or do you think you are very different from them?
Nihil: I don’t think so, because the other bands are more like typical black metal bands, so we don’t feel like part of the scene but in some way we are as well, because we all know each other.

Sars: Sometimes we play together, do gigs. In some ways we are growing up together.

Nihil: So yes, we are part of the scene and no we are not. They play black metal, we play music. I like to think of it that way.

That’s the essence of course: you play music, but that’s also very abstract. If you had to put a label on it, and I know that is always a bit difficult, how would you call your music yourself? Because ‘black metal’ obviously does not cover it.
Nihil: For me, I like to hear about our music that it is just music. So I can’t find any label but we did it naturally like I say, because some time ago there was this description of our music called ‘Nekrofolk’. For me it is not so perfect, but yeah, we can describe it that way because it is ours, no one else plays Nekrofolk.

Then you have your label…
Nihil: Actually, it would be great to have no label at all.

I understand, because I can feel it can be frustrating to be compared to other bands instead of just being who you are. But on the other hand, for listeners it can be easy to have some direction, so if no one knows Furia and you would have to explain what kind of music you make, then you have a challenge.
Nihil: Yeah, you’re right. So we don’t have any problem with putting us in black metal or any other kind of music but it would be great to say we just play music.

That’s good enough for me. You already mentioned Godflesh as one of your favorites, but what other music do you listen to yourself, are you a fan of?
Nihil: I like every kind of music. Every music that is good. It’s simple.

That’s a bit easy, isn’t it? There should be other bands that you really like, like Godflesh.
Nihil: Of course, there are a lot of bands, but it’s hard to say.

And for you, is it different for you? Do you have any favorites?
Sars: When I was younger, of course there were a few main bands but as Nihil said, today there is a lot of music we are listening to. There is so much available today, that it is almost impossible to choose one band. A lot of bands from the past are still playing good music, whereas other bands that used to be at the top, now make shitty music. It is not possible to say that there are one or two main inspirations for us.

You have been around for quite a few years already…
Sars: Fifteen. As Furia.

And before that under different names?
Sars: Yes, we played together, we have a lot of side projects and we played together for eighteen years, but the last fifteen as Furia.

Do you feel you have reached the top after so many years, or are you still climbing towards that?
Nihil: Oh, just climbing. I hope we will end at the top and then fall off.

Any ambitions for that matter, you already played in a mine, you have now played at Roadburn so what’s next?
Nihil: There are some projects growing in our heads. It’s too early to say anything about it, because it would be a bit difficult.

Sars: Because it still is not possible to fly to the moon.

Interesting idea, to be the first one to go there.
Nihil: Yeah, well, Metallica already played on Antarctica so who knows. I think that we are grown up now, we have no real ambitions. We just want to play and express ourselves.

Is Furia still a hobby, or is it more than that. Is it your job?
Nihil: Partly, if I can say that. But it is not a job and it is not a hobby.

Sars: It always was something more than just a hobby. In the beginning it was our life, an important part of us. Now it is still a part of us and there is of course a lot of job in here because when we are preparing for touring, there is a lot of logistic stuff. We have to put a lot of effort to organize that. But it still is a part of us. A hobby is something for a smile, you do it after your job for a few hours, two days in a week for example and we are all the time in contact even if we are not practicing, we are not giving concerts, we are preparing stuff for other gigs, for our cd’s, there is always a lot to do around Furia.

You already mentioned that you have been on a tour through Europe. Is that finished now, or is there more to come?
Nihil: Yes, there is more to come. Pierre, our booker for Europe is working on a West-European tour in December. So I hope it will happen.

That’s interesting, so perhaps we will see you again then.
Nihil: I hope so.

So concluding our talk, how are your plans for today, are you travelling back or do you stay for another day?
Nihil: We will stay here to see some bands and tomorrow we are heading back.

Anything you are looking forward to seeing? I have been looking at the schedule and it’s like hell: everything is planned to be at the same time, so what to choose...
Nihil: For me there are three most important bands I would like to see. It’s Hugsjá, Zola Jesus and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

I hope you’ll enjoy it. Gents, thank you very much for the interview and good luck!

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