Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Noob Exchange: Nighon Interview

01. Marseille 1914
02. The Greatest Of Catastrophes
03. The Dirge
04. Lest We Forget
05. Medic
06. Blow Them To Hell
07. Altafjord
08. Scharnhorst
09. Reclaiming Ravenpoint
10. You Do Not Know What The Night May Bring
11. Minor Secundus
12. Tragédie
13. I Fear For Tomorrow
14. Somme

Genre: Symphonic/Industrial Metal
Rating: 9/10

First I want to thank the band for taking the time to answer some questions for me. I hope things are going well so far with the release of your new record “The Somme”. 

- Thank you very much. It’s been going really great so far, we have gotten a lot of positive responses and reviews!

Getting started, can you tell us what the name Nighon means?

-    It's like this, we wanted to create music that we ourselves wanted to hear but did not exist. So we tried to get the sound Nigh On (as close to) as possible to our preferences. That became Nighon because it looks better than two separate phrases.

Lets get some back story on the band. How did Nighon form and how did the incarnation of the band end up to what it is today?

- Nighon was formed in 2008 by Mika Paananen and Björn Johansson. Soon after Nico Haggblom joned the band. We had a sound very close to the Swedish Gothenburg sound. The sound evolved through the years to a more cinematic and industrial sound and much more brutal. Along with the sound came our message that we wanted to project through our music: unglorified war and make people think twice before supporting violence, intolerance and hate. We also started our own podcast called “Nighon Propaganda-cast” to further express ourselves. We have some really hardcore listeners every episode and very interesting guests.

When it comes to the sound of Nighon, what bands are you influenced by past or present?

- We are very influenced by Rammstein, Meshuggah, Dimmu Borgir etc. But we are also heavily influenced by movie music and composers, such as Hans Zimmer.

Listening to the new record I really like the production and mix of the music. Diving deeper I found out that it was mixed by none other Fredrik Nordstrom. Ive always been a big fan of his both on and off record, what made the band want to collaborate and work with Fredrik? 

-    We were thinking about who we wanted to mix and master the album. And we thought that why don’t we just start by asking Fredrik since he has mixed a lot of our favourite albums that we listened to growing up. And what do you know, Björn called him and a few minutes later we had a deal. So that was a really happy day for us since we knew that we would get the sound that we wanted for the album.

When writing “The Somme” what was the inspiration behind the lyrical content and writing process? My understanding is this record is a concept album of sorts correct? Who generally comes up with the lyrical ideas for the band? 

- Björn comes up with the original idea and concept and then work together with the rest of the band to make the final versions of the songs. We really work as a team when writing and everyone does their part.  The inspiration for the lyrical content for “The Somme” was war, warcrimes and real stories that we wanted to tell, especially about WW1 and WW2. The lyrics are written in a way to be provocative so that people might start thinking about the world we live in today. We wanted to portray the real horrors of war and not glorify anything.

One of the really cool things about Nighon is the mixture of influences and sounds incorporated within the music. I hear everything from symphonic metal to industrial and even a touch of black metal with the really raspy vocals throughout the record. Was this by design from the start or did the band just naturally progress to this sound?

- We have naturally progressed to that sound really. You can hear our influences in the music and that might change a bit over time, depending on what we are influenced by. However, since we are influenced by so many things, it has always been natural for us to have a singer who screams, and a singer who sings clean vocals. And we really like to enhance the feeling of the music with big orchestral sounds, some weird synths and effects, and a little explosion here and there.

Seeing that Finland has had a great metal scene for a long time including acts like Amorphis, Nightwish, and Children of Bodom what is it that Nighon is trying to achieve to kind of set themselves apart and stand out from the rest of the metal scene going forward?

- We want to make people think, and we want to write songs that evoke thought. We feel like we have something to say and we want to say it. Also, we have some great ideas how to make our live shows even more interactive with the audience than anyone has ever done before. So we are really going to work on the live performance to make it something that really stands out. The sound of the band is also evolving all the time and we are really finding our sound more and more for each record, so I know we will have something really unique in the future.

Ive read that Nighon has done gigs with some other high profiled acts, is there a tour in the works for the band or is it strictly more localized when it comes to playing live?

- We are absolutely planning to tour, and that’s something we are aiming to do a lot in the future, if all goes well. We have a tour planned with Magenta Harvest and Underjord, but I can’t really talk to much about that at this time. But the main thing here is that we want to play live, and everywhere we can. That is our goal.

Which songs do you really enjoy playing the most when performing?

- We really like the song “Blow Them To Hell”, “Hellgarde” and these faster songs, because it gives so much energy to the audience and we get it back from them as well. But some of the most epic moments we have had is absolutely when Alva sings a song and gets the audience to sing with her. There is something really special about when the audience knows your lyrics and songs.

If you could tour with any act or artist who would it be? Any major festivals you would like to be a part of?

- There are probably a thousand bands that we would like to tour with. But since we have worked closely with Mathias Lillmåns from Finntroll, we feel like it would be awesome to tour with those guys! And you know, any major festival would be an absolute honor to play. I guess Wacken is a dream for everyone.

For those that are more musically gifted with creating music what kind of gear do you use? How does Nighon achieve their sound?

- To start off we are using Mayones guitars and basses. Good quality instruments contribute a lot to the sound. We used real tube amps (ENGL Fireball and Powerball) for the guitars for “The Somme” record and that was a sound that we really liked. I can’t really say that we do anything special in particular, but we always pay close attention to detail. We want everything to glue together and fit together nicely. If it doesn’t we don’t use it. Even though we have dense songs, you always have to keep in mind to give space in the music for different elements. Mika and Michael are really into audio engineering and mixing so that helps a lot as well in the writing and recording process, since we can record most of the stuff ourselves in our home studio. 

Because the musical landscape has changed so much since the birth of file sharing I like to ask artists I interview what they think about the current state of the industry. Opinions always differ but how do you feel about the age of the internet and file sharing? Do you think that it helps bands or hinders them?

-    We can’t really stop the evolution of the internet and file sharing and all of that. So we really just have to learn how to deal with it in the best way possible, so that it’s fair for the artist and the fans. Since it’s so easy today to release music on the internet it becomes really hard for new bands to stick out and get heard. That’s something we struggle with also and it takes a lot of time. We really love thought to put a CD or LP in the record player and listen to whole albums. There’s a special kind of magic in listening to albums as a whole in that way.

Well, that is going to do it for me is there any last words you would like to say to your fans?

- We want to thank our fans so much for all the support. We got 10 000 views on our music video last week and that was a big milestone for us. As a big thank you to all the fans we have a little surprise that will be announced at the end of March, so stay tuned for that!

Thanks again for taking the time to do this and hope all goes well in the future for Nighon. Much appreciated!

- Thank you so much for the interview, it’s always much appreciated! Hope we can do this again in the fututre.

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