Interviews : Noekk
With Funghus Baldachin
A band that obliterates musical limits and genre restraints, Noekk are a fearless duo of musicians who weave a damn interesting style of music while avoiding the horseshit that so often plagues prog musicians.
Funghus Baldachin, main writer of the band, took the time to answer a few questions that I composed after reviewing their latest album, the Grimalkin, which, in case you were wondering, is a term for a female cat or a cranky old lady. Not that this record sounds anything like either of those, but it's a good segue into the interview.
What was the intent in making this album? Was it originally intended to be as diverse as it is, or was that something that evolved over the writing process?
The basic element in Noekk is creating rock-music leaving boundaries behind and the consequence of it is “The Grimalkin”. We are mainly influenced from some glorious bands from the 70´s, but we don´t want to sound like them, just to be free as them.
I planned from the beginning using different colours in the music and having a vintage-like sound, to bring some of my knottiest ideas to life. On our debut “The Watersprite” we had more short tracks with also changing moods and atmosphere. Now the music had been clad in three long songs and it happened straight out of the moment. I don´t know happens next.
The album draws influences from nearly every subgenre of metal. Who are the main influences for that?
Yes, we grew up with many kinds of metal from legendary Iron Maiden stuff to haunting Norwegian Black-Metal and that´s for sure a general inspiration, but on the other hand we try to find our own way of bringing influences and ourselves together in the music.
Are there any kinds of metal that you won't draw from?
I think you´ll never find any Grindcore-moments in Noekk…
When asked about the title track off of "The Grimalkin," you say that "Evil has always been a part of this world- even if we welcome the morning sun after a long night, we know for sure that the next night will come." What events of today would you define as evil, and what do you think needs to happen for the sun to come out?
It is no question of today or a hundred years ago. The centuries come and go, but the fear stays. For me it is more about why there are things making man frightened and because of what do they?
Would you define yourself as an "evil" person? If so, in what sense?
I try to enjoy life!
You say that the element of "Always living close to the netherworld" is omnipresent in your music. Is that a hint at human impermanence?
No, it´s the confession to the ineffable moments in life beyond logic and control!
Of all of your different projects and bands, which would you consider your "main" project? Which represents Ulf Theodor Schwadorf/Markus Stock (your partner) the fullest? If there isn't one, what aspects of yourself do they represent?
All the music we create represents different shades of our personalities and nowadays I´m very focused on Noekk and Yuggoth works very hard on The Vision Bleak. But we have finished also new songs for an upcoming Empyrium release called “A retrospective…” and planning some new tunes for Nachtmahr.
What is it like going from writing/performing for Noekk or Empyrium to writing and performing for Nachtmar? Is there a change of mindset?
The idea decides to which vehicle it fits the most and it all comes from the same mind.
How is the writing process split between you two on your projects?
Yuggoth writes most of the music for The Vision Bleak and Sots, while I´m composing for Noekk and Nachtmahr, but the exciting thing is working them out together.
You seem to have a deep connection to nature in your music, could you explain that?
Let me say it with the deep respected Dead Can Dance :
Father teach your children To tread our mother well If we give her back her diamonds She will offer up her pearl.
The knock on prog musicians is that sometimes they take themselves too seriously- do you feel that you've ever fallen into that trap?
I hope that we don´t! We are still doing music together, because there´s is no better tool to express ourselves, and we're having a great time. All this is based on a deep friendship and the luck of being professional musicians. Our music deals with things which are important to us, and if someone doesn´t like that and feels the need to do it a different/his way – that´s absolutely ok.
How would you describe your growth from "The Water Sprite" to "The Grimalkin?"
Our debut was a collection of music which I created, when we were deeply involved in the last two Empyrium albums. So they represent a time about 3 years. I wrote the 3 songs for “The Grimalkin” within 2 months and we recorded them a few weeks later, it´s more harmonic and the sound is much better than on “Watersprite”. I think it´s a good second step for us.
What is next for the band, where are you going from here musically?
It´s too early to speak about our next recording.
Are there any plans for a tour?
Thank you and all the best!
An interesting personality to say the least. For all of you that haven't heard of the band, pick up the album as soon as you're in the mood for something that will continue to be pleasantly surprising for at least the first 15 to 20 spins.