When someone asks you to describe Nyodene D, how do you reply? Are there some (influential or not) bands that your sound and approach could be compared with? While at it: what are the bands you cite as your (past or current) main influences?
ND > Nyodene D is a dark industrial project that would fall somewhere between the power electronics, death industrial and dark ambient subgenres. I'd rarely use “noise” as a descriptor for a variety of reasons – it's really lost its meaning for me in terms of what methods I use or what I'm trying to convey. I draw a great deal of influence from 1990s and 2000s European industrial acts, especially Brighter Death Now, Grunt, IRM, Anenzephalia and others. I feel like I am also heavily influenced as well by acts associated with extreme metal, hardcore, darkwave, progressive rock, post rock and shoegaze as well, although I don't really show it much in my own music. The atmosphere and imagery associated with these styles of music are perhaps most evident in my own material.
Nyodene D was founded in the year 2008. What events leaded to its birth? Did you have other projects prior to it, and is it currently your only one?
ND > Simply put, it started as a way for me to get involved in creating music without having to rely on others - something that suited my commitment as a student and desire for control well. Prior to it, I played several high school bands that played krautrock / post rock stuff, but they didn't lead anywhere particularly. Nyodene D is not currently my only project, though my various projects are mostly associated with this style, barring a few exceptions.
What does the name Nyodene D stand for, and how did you come to choose it as your band's label? As a side question, what's your logo about?
ND > Nyodene D is a reference to Don DeLillo's novel White Noise, which – among other things – addresses the idea of humanity facing a plague of overstimulation that keeps them more or less controlled and complacent. My fiancee actually suggested the name – she recommended the book to me and was pleased that I enjoyed it. I have really take it to mean a lot beyond something that was deep, original and sounded good. These are important factors as well though. It's a name that I think captures the sound and mood of my project, isn't something too brash or shocking and doesnt necessarily limit my subject matter. My logo is just a highly stylized way of writing “Nyodene D” - stare at it real hard and you might see it. It was inspired a great deal by the KTL and Khanate logos and the album art for Coalesce's album OX.
Many of your releases have revolved around the theme of becoming free from oppression, revolting against it, and issuing your views about the society and it's problems. Is it your everyday life that inspires these themes, or are you more deeply learned or otherwise active e.g. in the political field?
ND > I think, growing up in working class suburbs outside of decaying manufacturing cities like I did, you become acutely aware of two things: 1. that class, race and other social factors in someone's life matter and that 2. people are, by nature, stupid awful oppressive beings that have found that the easiest way to increase their own self-worth is to create barriers between themselves and others. Oppression and resistance isn't some grand political ideal that I think what a lot of people interpret my lyrics and themes to be. Rather, I see them as a crucial element that defines human interaction. I am a political person in my personal life and career, but prefer to keep a more objective and observational approach to my own music – at least that's the direction I see fit to head towards
If you narrow it down to it's bones, what is the core message or focal point of Nyodene D's lyrics?
ND > That this socially-constructed dichotomy of oppression and resistance is central to all forms of human interaction, and that there is no conceivable endgame in sight that would provide humanity a freedom from this process while still preserving the future of the human race.
Aside of the musical side, are there some writers that inspire you - either with Nyo-D directly, or in related activities?
ND > Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Pentii Linkola, Kevin Tucker, John Zerzan, Gil-Scott Heron, Don DeLillo, Peter Sotos, Harlan Ellison, Martin Bladh, Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, Daniel Quinn, Alan Moore, Jim Goad, Adam Parfrey, etc. These are as much authors I enjoy reading and writing about as they are those who inspire me musically.
Your release "Dedicated To Jeffrey Lundgren" and the split (entitled "Kirkebrennen") with Murderous Vision are obviously against christianity. What is your view on religions overall; do you see them all as a danger, or do you perhaps share some religious views yourself? I would like to hear something about the "God and Country"-tape and it's base points and message (or "message") as well, as I haven't come to hear any of these three records.
ND > I was raised and educated early on as a Catholic and very early on grew to distrust organized religion in most forms. I – quite plainly – see most forms of religion for what it truly is: a fantastic tool to be used for manipulation, obedience and oppression in society. Both the split tape and the CD-R are fairly early efforts, both of which explore extremes of religious fervor. I would say that God and Country best captures my thoughts on the oppressive nature of religion and patriotism and that I consider it perhaps one of best attempts at a philosophically coherent and consistent conceptualization. This is why I consider God and Country to be the first real Nyodene D “album” so to speak. I still enjoy the other releases though for what they were – Dedicated as one of my first and only true power electronics releases and Kirkebrennen as a first chance to work with a dear friend and an excellent label.
How are the songs of Nyodene D usually born? As you can see, I'm assuming they share some similarities in their birth process. Do you approach the creative process from the specific theme's point, or rather from the atmospheric and otherwise aural side?
ND > Most of the songs start with the music being composed – though in rare cases a speech sample may be the first thing that is used in constructing a track. Lyrics are often fit to whatever song I feel matches with them the best. Vocals are typically the last thing I record, but lyrics are often around from the conception of the release.
Your songs range from three-minute pieces to 20-minute ones. When planning a song around a certain theme, do you first think how you'll build up the atmosphere and structure, or do you moreso approach them in an explorative, even experimental vein? How do you know when a song is officially finished and done?
ND > I think I am strange in the sense where I don't just randomly work on tracks without having a release in mind. Typically – especially with tapes – I compose songs based on the format they will be presented on. My longer pieces are typically more exercises in dark ambient and minimalistic death industrial. Most “album” pieces are typically composed in consideration with a general idea of how many tracks and themes I am trying to fit into the set amount of time.
You have made quite a few releases since Nyodene D's birth in 2008. In your eyes, what kind of changes has the project gone through since - if any? Have you made any intentional changes, or are you still following the same "guidelines" as you did in the beginning? I've understood that at least the ideological side has gotten more focused over the time.
ND > I would totally hope its changed for the better. Like I said, although there are a handful of limited tapes and CD-rs I did for other labels that I still enjoy, anything I self-released between my first demos in 2008 and the God and Country c-40 are things that I do not typically listen to fondly. I – like many young people trying to gain and express and understanding of 30+ of music in a short span of time – fell into many cliches of the genre and sound, now making it painful to listen to. Like I mentioned before, anything pre God and Country shows some thought to overall concept, but is not necessarily something I consider canonical with my own personal philosophy. Those releases, however, did help me make encouraging friends and convinced me to participate further in the scene.
In retrospect, how do you see your older releases today? They're the path that has taken you to where you are, of course, but I'm referring to their musical and visual qualities. Are there some releases you would un-do, if it were possible?
ND > I would not necessarily “un-do” them, as I felt they were releases that helped me find my sound. If anything, I probably wouldn't have shared them with so many blogs. Googling my band name is now a constant reminder to the fact that I need to get better in the present day so I can force the old stuff off the first page or so of search results...
You've been on many labels; Obscurex, Fusty Cunt, Phage Tapes, Assembly Of Hatred, and others. How have you found the labels? During the years, have you had any negative experiences with labels that you'd want to warn people about?
ND > Although I love trading and communicating with labels and the people who run them, I am humbled and honored to say that I've always had labels contact me seeking to release something. Many of these people are friends of mine and many others are (or were) total strangers. The fact that both friends and strangers care enough about my art and music to invest their hard-earned money into me is a hugely flattering experience, one which I am very grateful for. With regards to NOT working with certain labels, I say only that I desire only to work with those labels willing to maintain artistically ethical and professional standards in their interactions with both artists and customers. Any labels not maintaining these standards are not worth mentioning. It's a small enough scene where these unfortunate cases are well-known and don't need a no-name like me heaping onto their pile of bad publicity that they've built for themselves.
Enough of the past: you released a new full-length album quite recently. The album "Every Knee Shall Bow" (reviewed here) has received a lot of praise, and at least I haven't yet run into anyone bashing the album. Were you surprised by the amount of positive feedback, or has it been a growing trend for Nyo-D?
ND > I am ecstatic at the praise Every Knee Shall Bow has received, and I hope I can surpass – or at very least maintain - this standard I have set for myself and others have set for me. I consider myself lucky to have encountered very little negative feedback of my album, which I attribute to the fact that I am not necessarily one of the more flashy, high profile or “hyped” acts in the scene. As good as some of these acts are, with a certain amount of buzz comes a certain amount of unnecessary negativity. Thankfully, either the people who have listened to my album have enjoyed it enough to spread the word or have kept their disappointment to themselves – though I always welcome constructive criticism.
The album deals with the theme of apocalypse, a complete annihilation of mankind. What made you choose this theme for the album? Weren't you intimidated of the theme being so incomprehensibly vast, and of the fact that it's such a common theme for bands to explore? You did better work on the theme than many and I congratulate you for that, but even so, these thoughts must've crossed your mind.
ND > I agree, the idea of the apocalypse is incredibly rich and vast in what it can address. I know in many cases, it has been done to death. Despite this, I couldn't shake the strong inspirations I get from apocalyptic themes and imagery in my own creative process. I think it's human nature to constantly dread the end, so it felt natural that I should explore the idea of human extinction in at least one piece of my own work.
The album is as dark, violent, oppressive and even chaotic as the theme and your musical style allows one to assume. How did you approach the creation of the musical side - or did the lyrics follow after the songs?
ND > Most were generated simultaneously, but not in a way that certain songs were written with certain lyrics in mind. There are several other mixes of this album as well as several different versions of these tracks. It took quite a long time – longer than anything else I've worked on for Nyodene D.
E.K.S.B.'s fourth and final song "There Will Come Soft Rains" quotes the poem of the same name from Sara Teasdale, all the way from the year 1920. How was it chosen (along with the poem fitting the music perfectly, obviously)? Was a part of it due to its publishing year, as a note of humanity's end approaching with such a pace that even people from 90 years ago saw it coming?
ND > I came to know this poem from Ray Bradbury's short story of the same name which appeared in The Martian Chronicles – one of my favorite books. It came back to me at a time where I was particularly interested in anarcho-primitivist philosophy and see the message of it – from Teasdale to Bradbury and beyond – as enduring in many ways. I do not know if this mass extinction will come any time in my lifetime, though it's impossible to shake the aforementioned dread that we may be living in the “last days” so to speak. This is really what I hoped to convey with Every Knee Shall Bow – the dread that one faces when they are aware of their own eventual mortality.
Your releases often carry a very minimalistic artwork, but the newest album has a drawn cover. How did you find and choose the artist Luke Rockwell Tomiczak? What kind of pointers did you give him for the cover image, and did it turn out as you had hoped?
ND > Luke is a fantastic artist whose work I became familiar with through his own personal musical output, both in black metal and the neofolk scene. I enjoyed his appreciation for very severe, yet abstract, renderings of violence and action in human life. His two original pieces for the artwork were based off of loose guidelines I had given him as well as an early version of the album to help capture the atmosphere I was trying to convey. In the end, I was incredibly pleased with how well the art complimented the music. I am proud to say I own the 3”x5” original charcoal drawing of the cover art and have it hanging over my headboard.
Based on your works I'd assume you don't respect humankind too highly. Play a prophet for a while; what lies in mankind's future?
ND > More of the same: endless struggle in a system of oppression and resistance until some kind of mass extinction comes along.
Your latest release, a 7"-vinyl entitled "Caged Dog / Common Criminal," deals with the hunger strike in Ireland in the year 1981. What made you create a record with this theme? How does it differ from your recent full-length album? I know it was released just a while ago, but how has the reception for it been so far?
ND > I was incredibly inspired by Steve McQueen's treatment of the event in his recent film Hunger, starring the talented Michael Fassbender. I wanted this release to explicitly examine the nature of conflict, terrorism and moral relativity, focusing on the way that authority figures, terrorists and prisoners are perceived by society. Naturally, this theme was particularly easy to examine within this specific historical context. I also wanted this to be a short reflection, which lent itself well to the 7” format. Anymore, I feel like my full-length material will be more oriented towards broader and abstract themes and imagery.
What lies in Nyodene D's future? Do you have any new recordings underway?
ND > I have a lot of stuff lined up. As I write this, I am just about to enter the mixing stage of my next full-length CD, entitled Edenfall which will be released on Malignant sub-label Black Plagve. After that, I will be working on a c-30 for Nil By Mouth entitled Atop Masada, as well as tapes for New Forces, ABGVRD, Anabolic Dimensions and a box set collaboration with M. Chami's drone project Crown Of Cerebus on Danvers State Recordings. There's also possibilities of vinyl collaborations and solo releases to come.
Nyodene D is a solo-project. Have you ever had thoughts about expanding the line-up? How about when performing live, is it always a "one-man show" so to speak?
ND > Because of my obsessive need to control the project, Nyodene D will always be myself. I am open to collaborating both live (done with esteemed friends such as Murderous Vision, The Vomit Arsonist and more) and on recordings (done with Skin Graft, Shift, Sky Burial and members of death metal act Prosanctus Inferi). However, the name “Nyodene D” will always be indivisible from my own will and control. This may seem rather selfish or defensive, but I've found that it keeps my relationships with fellow artists far less strained (no feelings of betrayal between friends and bandmates) that would tarnish a recording or live show.
You were heavily affiliated with the making of "City/Ruins - Art in the Face of Industrial Decay"-documentary, which is about the heavy industrial- and noise-scenes in Cleveland. How was it received? Do you have other similar projects in the making?
ND > Stephen Petrus (of Murderous Vision) and I spent nearly a year filming, editing and fundraising to produce City/Ruins Overall we feel that it's been incredibly well received. As of now, though, there are no plans for a follow-up or other documentary projects planned for either of us.
This is a bit unrelated one, but I'm curious to hear if you've run into any especially noteworthy power electronics or death industrial lately that you'd recommend us (me & the readers) to check out? Have any newer bands caught your attention?
ND > There's currently a lot of great acts throughout much of the Industrial end of the US and European scene: Shift, Miscreant, Content Nullity, Disgust, Murderous Vision, Deterge, Machismo, Defiler, Sick Seed, Will Over Matter, Plague Mother, Hypsiphrone, Skin Graft, Sektor 304, Cunting Daughters, Kinit Her, The Vomit Arsonist, Corpuscle, etc. These guys are doing great things in their respective ends of the scene and should be watched. I feel that I'm very lucky to be operating as a member of this community during such a remarkable period of activity.
Thank you for your time.