It’s been quite some years since I did my last interview for Vampire Magazine. A lack of time but also a bit of a disappointment in nowadays’ scene was the cause for this. I felt, and still feel today that the underground scene is just a mere shadow of itself. Only a handful of new and interesting bands pop up among a vast majority of copycats, trendfollowers and talentless pseudo-evil kids trying to be the next big hit. One of those newer, really interesting and innovative bands without losing touch to underground extreme black/death metal is Nox Vorago from Sweden. I first saw them when they performed live as support for Norwegian band Vredehammer some years ago and their live performance left a very big impression, something that rarely happens to me when I am not familiar with a bands album. After the show I met the guys and I was given the band’s debut album “Obsidion stonemirrors” which confirmed my opinion on the bands music after their gig. “Obsidion stonemirrors” is a highly interesting extreme death/black metal album which captures your attention untill the very last note. Since that gig I’ve stayed in touch with Johannes, vocalist in Nox Vorago, and after seeing so many talentless bands being interviewed in so many magazines I’ve decided to give the word to a band that truly deserves some attention: Nox Vorago! (Marcel)
Hails Johannes. Finally managed to get the interview done haha. How are you doing mate? And how are things in the NoxVorago camp?
Greetings Marcel! All good here, enjoying the summer with a lot of physical workout and music. Things could seem very silent from us nowadays. Yet much is going on in the background. We got a hold of a new better rehearsal place and our second album is finished, mastered and all. Betwixt all this we are writing much new material and planning the proper release of the second album.
The idea is to support bands which are not too known yet and which I feel deserve more attention. So since you’re still a rather obscure band tell the band’s history for our readers…and we’re interested in the full history and not just a little sum-up hehe. Please also introduce all members to our readers.
Certainly. It started out as a music experiment with Magnus Andersson (Keyboards), me on vocals and two other people which are not in the band today. It was a very rough start with a lot of different wishes and band members. Tommy Mattsson (Guitars) and Robin Kullberg (Bass) joined in 2008 and our music started to take shape. We released two demos during that time; Facing the Void (2007) and Blood Essence (2010). Anders Lundvall (Guitar) joined shortly thereafter. We got a support slot for Wolves in the Throne room at this time which was a very good experience. At this time the material for Obsidian Stonemirrors was making progress but it wasn’t until Robert Isojärvi (Drums) joined in 2011 that it felt complete in all possible ways. So yes, for some of us the journey started around 2006. However most of us feel that NoxVorago was born when the first album came out. I think all bands and projects go through hard decisions and obstacles, even over long periods of time. For me it is in that time the real deal is being shaped. Art takes time and we measure our music as valuable art.
I got to know you through the tour you did as support for Vredehammer. How was that tour for you because if I am correct that was your very first tour through Europe, right? Can also tell if you prefer to be a touring band or a studio band? What are the pro’s and cons for both studio and tour?
The first tour for us was as support act for Six Feet Under in 2013, along with our brothers in Vredehammer and Hate Storm Annihilation. The year after that we went on tour with Vredehammer again. It was fun to see more of Europe and hit the stage with them again. We really enjoy playing live; I would like to say tha tNoxVorago is a live band, with the intention to deliver the real thing. So therefore we strive after giving the audience an experience to remember. Much is being planned on that front. I can’t go into more details here but let me say this; our upcoming second full length will be the next phase ofNoxVorago, both visually and audibly. We certainly like to record also.
A bit back to the start of the band. You guys come from Gothenburg, a city well known for the many quality acts within extreme metal. Do you consider the fact that you come from Gothenburg a burden or a blessing? With that I mean that lots of people could have certain expectations music-wise. Can you also tell a bit more about nowadays scene in Gothenburg from your point of view?
Neither actually. We just do our thing and don’t mind about that much. On the other hand we have always strived for high quality music wise. The expectations are surely there though. I think many know this when hitting the stage here also. You really have to deliver today. There are many bands performing all the time.
As of now you guys released two singles and one full-length album entitled “Obsidian Stonemirrors”. Can you first of all tell a bit more about the album title? Knowing you guys a bit I do have this gutfeeling that there’s a lot more behind the title than meets the eye, am I right?
At first glance the name could mislead or seem strange. In short is it a metaphor. When the song was being made I was journaling some dreaming as I like to do. As strange as it may sound, the name comes from the dream realm. So are much of my lyrics overall I think. The lyrics and album title touch the topic of black mirrors. Those mirrors in short feels like its absorbing light. Therefore the album also touch the negative perspective of Omega. In the same time I could hint that large, black and reflecting eyes may not be far-fetched from a point of view.
Can you also tell a bit more about the album. Where is it recorded and how do you guys write your music? Is it a band process or is it individual ideas put together and who contributes what within the band?
Obsidian Stonemirrors was recorded in Grand Recordings Studio in Gothenburg year 2012. We usually jam and put our songs together in the rehearsal room. Many chunks of ideas and riffs have been worked through.
How is the album received by international press and music fans out there? And do you feel you got enough attention from both press and fans for this album? With that I mean it is obvious you put a lot of hard work in this album, which to my humble opinion sounds so refreshing in this overpopulated scene yet still the majority of extreme metal fans have never heard of you before.
Thank you very much. We received a lot of good reviews on Obsidian Stonemirrors from both international press and music fans out there. Especially on the two tours we did through Europe (with Six Feet Under 2013 and Vredehammer 2014.). Yes we did put a lot work into the record, though very well spent time and effort. It will be very interesting to see the effect of our upcoming full length, since we still float under the radar so to say. We strive for giving our listeners an interesting experience through the music.
That said, how do you look upon the music underground scene in general nowadays? Do you also feel that the majority has become a mass-consuming brainless mass without identity which just follows the stream and never takes time anymore to really dive into an album and allow it grow on you? I say this because I feel that your album is such an album. You can’t just say you like it or not after a first quick spin. It takes time to absorb all the details and see the grander picture within the music.
I think the majority of people today are in a rush. Also when it comes consume music. Most people take the easy way. Maybe the way people listen to music has changed also. That said, I think the quality of the music has taken a major wrong turn. As you say, it takes time and I listen to music the same way, giving an interesting record more than just one spin.
Can you go a bit more in depth in the lyrical side of NoxVorago and how important are lyrics for you guys?
The lyrical topic has always been ancient phenomenons, alien abductions, hauntings, occultism and dark philosophy. To name a few. I weave this into other personal experiences. For me it is very important to speak in metaphors and sometimes mystery. The viewer should not be held back by facts though. Just as paintings, everyone sees something different.
Since last time we met you’ve released a single entitled “Nuremberg 1561” and perhaps some of the readers out there know that in april 1561 above Nuremberg a large amount of unidentified flying objects and celestial anomalies like spheres were sighted. What more can you tell about this and what is it that influenced you to use this theme as the main theme for a single?
I am very interested in ancient civilizations and phenomenons. The UFO encounters are much older than most may think. Therefore I think the Nuremberg anomalies are a good highlight on that point. It was published in their newspaper also. Witnessed by many. It is a printed UFO/Phenomenon made year 1561. The world’s first successful airplane was year 1903. So, say if the encounter was not airplanes or saucers. Maybe we are dealing with something else?
I guess you’re probably referring to possible extraterrestrial life. Lifeforms that perhaps have visited earth during the early civilisations? Lots of signs can be found within archeology that some human-like beings have landed on earth and were seen as god-like forms. It’s a highly interesting matter which keeps me busy quite a bit. What’s your view on this?
I am quite open minded to this topic and possibilities overall. Ancient civilizations and many religions have been inspired by something clearly. Our planet is very old, questions rise and maybe we will see much more findings of old. It is very interesting I agree.
Apart from the music you’re also a talented artist Johannes. It’s very dark and sinister and many paintings do make one think a bit deeper than just staring at the surface. What inspires you and in what ways does your painting and photography fit within the concept of NoxVorago?
Thank you Marcel! The main inspiration comes from dreaming, and some other things mentioned above. As one may expect, the recalling and recording of dreams, lucid dreaming and out of body experiences. Aside from ancient phenomenons the occult literature has been a major keystone in my life through the years. On the torrents of inspiration the result is paintings, sketches and writings. It seems as if it comes in waves so to say. Some of my lyrics have its painting. Therefore they fit quite well.
Now the debut album and a single have been out for a while and tours has been completed, what next can we expect from NoxVorago?
Our second album is the next phase of NoxVorago and our priority today, along with completing more songs. We are looking forward to presenting it properly, especially live. So expect more shows and releases. And maybe some surprises.
Thanks for the interview. Hopefully some of readers got more interested in you guys after reading your words here. Looking forward ‘till our next meeting, either in Sweden again or here in the Netherlands. Last words are yours. Cheers!
Thank you! We are looking forward to that also. Cheers!