METAL INVADER MAGAZINE #60
BY GREG KARAJIANNIS
Greg: I must ask: is Alexander and Nod the same person?
Greg: I'm asking because the two names are written as well.
Nod: Yeah. Yeah. Well, it's sort of like it basically works - the given name Alexander - Nod's been a pseudonym for years, and I think having done something with vocals this time...
Greg: I thought there was a third brother.
Nod: Right. Well, it's four brothers. But it's one and the same person.
Greg: Four brothers?
Nod: There's five of us all together.
Greg: Oh dear.
Nod: Yeah, five boys. But only four play music.
Greg: Can you describe how all this started, you know, the band's history, stuff like that?
Nod: You know our previous history, stuff we've released before, with the band Fields of the Nephilim?
Greg: Yeah, I know. Fields of the Nephilim and Rubicon.
Nod: Yeah. But it's the next step, basically. Still playing, still writing and recording. So we're around the people we're around. If it wasn't any particular band at that time, it was time to do it ourselves and see how far we could get with it. Pushed myself into vocals, give me sort of a chance to see what was possible, and just do it with each other.
Greg: How did the idea start?
Nod: Initially, it stemmed from ideas of music. Where do ideas of music start?
Greg: The material was composed before the departure from Fields.
Nod: That's right, yeah. It wouldn't have done, it probably would have been part of the next Fields album, perhaps.
Greg: You mean that there [are compositions] here that on this album that was to be for any Fields album?
Nod: Well, there was talk a couple of years ago, Fields of the Nephilim were gonna get back together and do an album. We'd already worked on stuff for that; that was quite separate, really. We'd already worked on stuff for that, but it didn't happen, so next thing you know, you've got something inside, you've got to get it out. We did just that, really. Got some new stuff together, and got on with it.
Greg: So am I clear then? This album was proposed to be a new Fields album?
Nod: Not at all. We'd already written stuff for that.
Greg: You had written stuff for that?
Nod: We had done, yeah.
Greg: Don't you have the rights on that? Wasn't that your songs?
Nod: Well, they are, but they haven't released anything, so -- that band doesn't exist anymore, Greg. That band split up a long time ago. We was going to reform and get an album together, but it didn't happen. It was a no-go. It didn't happen. As a result of that, me and Paul formed Last Rites.
Greg: Have you been pushed out of Fields, or you left by your own, because there was nothing happening?
Nod: Well, there was something happening, but it didn't involve me and Paul, so we got out of it, really.
Greg: You have the material here, the sound is quite heavy, more heavy than Rubicon or the old Fields stuff, and that's quite a surprise.
Nod: Yeah, I suppose. That's how it comes out really. I haven't deliberately tried to make it sound fiercer or heavier than anything else, I've a bit more control and ideally I'd like to hear it.
Greg: You have a variation of songs not similar to each other. Such as the atmospheric doom of "Resolution" and "The Powers that Be." You have a powerful instrumental, "Galleon," a lot of heavy, groovy stuff. These are songs that don't pass by, they stick in your head. You have experience as a composer, I think.
Nod: Ah, cheers. They're just there, I think it's nice to try and get a bit of variation and stuff in. There's a lot of different feelings that create music, and an awful lot of feelings that do just that, Greg. So I think it's gonna be quite a wide across-the-board split sound, really. And that's how it comes out.
Greg: How would you describe your music with your own words to someone who hasn't heard it? A friend of yours, for example.
Nod: Atmospheric. Initially, I'd say something like that. It's quite dark, but heavy. I don't want it pigeonholed, as for the moment anyway, that's something used around the corner. It's said loosely.
Greg: You said you were giving an interview to a metal magazine this morning.
Greg: So I must ask you, listening to the metal elements in your album, I must as you if you like metal music.
Nod: Yeah, very much so.
Greg: Such as?
Nod: Clawfinger, Slayer's okay. All sorts of things. Machinehead, I really like the album they did before the last one. Really, really good.
Greg: You like the powerful stuff.
Nod: "Burn My Eyes," Machinehead, yeah. Good stuff.
Greg: Your drumming is once again brilliant.
Nod: Oh wow, cheers, thanks.
Greg: But have you, have you done any weird editing on the drums?
Nod: For this album? Basically, the majority of the stuff was constructed with programming. Yeah, all the stuff I played in via midi, it wasn't like a complete drum set-up, I just played the part in. I didn't play the songs from start to finish. It wasn't a recording like that. Most parts are played in via midi. In order to get the album out, I was not in a position to be able to record everything and do it basically like that, studio and all that sort of thing. I did it totally within a very small environment to make sure what I was capable of getting it out, what with problems with studios, things disappearing, things drying up, et cetera. The only way I could physically do it was to make sure I recorded the drums as I would have done, and I would have liked them to have sounded. But it was done synthetically. Obviously it sounds to you like it's been a kit, so it's quite a successful job, I think, yeah?
Greg: From the breaks, I can't find out your identity.
Greg: Do consider yourself as a studio drummer or a live drummer? I'm asking because when you played for example, I have seen the [fair festival?]. And you know the videos and stuff like have seen the [fair festival?]. And you know the videos and stuff like that, you get very loose when you're playing live. You get a frenzy.
Nod: It's good to be playing in front of people. In the studio, it's very hard to get that excitement and atmosphere. You've got people around you, probably an engineer or so, and that's about it, really. It's hard to sort of get into the swing of it, no matter what sort of situation you're in. So yeah, I'm very much a live drummer I think. The way I programmed the album, I recorded and played the parts in with a visualization of being able to perform it on a kit.
Greg: You're the main singer here, right?
Nod: That's right, yeah.
Greg: At the gigs, are you going to sing and play drums?
Nod: I am, on the album. I've done all the vocals on the album.
Greg: Yeah, but in the gigs?
Nod: No, I've got a guy called Rory, who initially came down to start with us on the movie concept a long time ago. He auditioned, and was sort of earmarked for that.
Greg: That was the singer?
Nod: Yeah, he's always been a favorite that we would have liked to have used to some extent.
Greg: Yeah, but his look aren't a little more like hard rock stuff like Paul Rodgers and stuff like that?
Nod: No, no, it's not that one, it's not Andy Delaney.
Greg: Ah, who are we talking about, then?
Nod: He comes to the audition, we auditioned a couple of guys.
Greg: Ah, you're talking about a new singer.
Greg: Uh-huh. Ah, good. So he will be for the gigs, and the next album maybe?
Nod: Maybe, yeah.
Greg: How come Paul isn't more active as a composer here?
Nod: Um, well, actually, I think it's the way that he likes to come in, put his guitar stuff together, and keeps out of all the technical sort of stuff. I think he's sort of forgetting to be able to play like he does, and I don't think he likes to tie it up too much with the technology. It tends to inhibit his playing a bit.
Greg: And where do the other two lads come from, any other band?
Nod: They're friends and colleagues in a way. I've known them for a long time. Good players I know, 'cause I had a studio we originally sort of felt like doing the stuff with [unintelligible], and we sort of had a lot of bands coming in and out and we asked them to play, and I got involved with one or two of them. So I thought I'd keep 'em handy, et cetera, and we did some good stuff together, pretty heavy. I haven't seen Pete for a long time.
Greg: About the name of the band, Last Rites. Is this a kind of a play on words with your surnames?
Nod: Yeah, to some extent, yeah.
Greg: Because your name is Wright, you know.
Nod: Yeah, sure. Well, I think it kind of sums up and says that we're not keen to do too many more of these sorts of starting and reforming another band, and then another one and another one. I think it's a statement as well to say that we're pretty adamant that this is what we're gonna do now.
Greg: Oh right, yeah. What about the title, "Guided by Light?" Isn't that a little bit gloomy?
Greg: A title like that.
Nod: (laughs) It's two ways, really, Greg. You can look at it both ways, to be honest with you. So it depends on how you look at it, which side of the journey you want to take, to be honest.
Greg: It is a dark album.
Nod: Yeah, sure it is, yeah. "Guided by Black." You wouldn't say that.
Greg: It would be a little bit cliche.
Nod: Yeah, sure, yeah.
Greg: The lyrics, they are deeply melancholic. What lies behind them? Are there personal experiences and stuff?
Nod: Yeah, sure, yeah. At the moment, been up and down. It's been a roller coaster for quite a long time. In a band, not in a band, things happening, not happening, et cetera, it inspires sort of deep personal stuff into it, and come out of it in this. That's pretty much the result I've come out with.
Greg: You're hitting the road soon, I think.
Nod: Yeah, next month.
Nod: That's right.
Greg: Your place is only this album. Are you going to play any old Rubicon songs?
Nod: Yeah, it'll probably be more likely just the Last Rites stuff.
Greg: How do you cover all the time?
Nod: For the moment, for these gigs, we might play a couple of old songs, but we have yet to make a final decision on that. But sure, it'd be nice to play - we've written a lot of stuff in the past. It'd be a shame not to play stuff.
Greg: From Nephilim?
Nod: From both bands.
Greg: From Rubicon as well?
Nod: Yeah, from both bands.
Greg: You have the rights to do that?
Greg: There's no problem? Because you know if you're headlining this tour, so you must play something more.
Nod: Well, some bloke from [unintelligible] can play it, I don't see why we can't. We wrote it as well.
Greg: I suppose you have the knowledge that the biggest part of the press and the audience will be focusing this band because of you and your brother being ex-Fields of the Nephilim members.
Nod: To some extent, I think it really didn't seem to work out for Rubicon in that sort of a way. Okay, initially there was an interest in that, but I think this has taken on something else in its own way. The album's making a lot of noises for people, and it's not just because we was in a band, but it's because this is what it sounds like. And they like it. It seems to be coming across quite well like that. Sure, there's elements of people that will be curious purely because of our history, but I think it's also sort of like getting people involved in it and asking more questions et cetera, when they hear it they're interested purely on the strength of the album itself at the moment.
Greg: Isn't it like a double-cutting knife? In the one hand, it pulls all the necessary attention in a saturated scene, but on the other hand there is the ghost of Fields and the comparisons many will start making.
Nod: Well, we can't have that. We're sort of written a lot of stuff that was in Fields of the Nephilim, and if we sound a bit like that it's because we were as much a part of that as anybody else.
Greg: You're the legendary lineup. That's something you must know.
Greg: Have you given many interviews until now?
Nod: I've done a few in the past couple of weeks.
Greg: Are they asking very much about the past and stuff like that?
Nod: Uh, not really as much as yourself, to be quite honest. But that's all right. It's okay, it's fine, you know? I think a lot of people are genuinely interested in the album itself. They're all a little bit about the confusion, trying to solve the mystery of what happened to Fields and stuff like that. It's inevitable there's going to be a bit of that, and you're left to answer their questions and go through it. There's generally a lot more interest in what our album is about and stuff, but sure, lots of people are going to be interested in what happened and, in a way, want to know what is still happening with another formation of the band, maybe.
Greg: Yeah, I know many are disappointed because this is not the original lineup anymore in the Fields. Are there any relations existing between you two and the other two?
Nod: Any relations?
Nod: That we see them any more?
Greg: If you see them in the road, would you speak to them or would it be totally cold?
Nod: Oh, I dunno, yeah, I'd have to wait to see them.
Greg: Oh, you haven't seen them?
Greg: Uh huh. Now. What's next now, except the gigs and tours?
Nod: I'd love to do a bit more writing, get some stuff ready hopefully for another album, and get ahead a bit, and hopefully see where the gigs from here can lead us. I think it's important that the music and stuff's up and running for the live shows, it's important to keep it on the ball and hopefully take it somewhere and let people see it, so it'll be good to get on the road. There's a certain promise about that within the band. We're not doing just English gigs. We'd like to sort of get out and do some shows elsewhere, really.
Greg: Would it bother you to open up for any other bands, for example, on a big European tour, not being the headliner?
Nod: No, it wouldn't bother us. We're a fresh band as well. You wait your place in a certain sort of date. It's only the first album, yeah sure, people don't really know much about us at the moment.
Greg: Uh huh. Are there any ideas in your head about new songs and stuff like that?
Greg: Anything ready? Pre-recorded or something?
Nod: Yeah, there are three or four tracks that probably didn't make it onto the album. They weren't all very finalized and completed. But there's two or three there that are probably sort of like crutch songs, to some extent.
Greg: So you must be more protective than in the past, I hope.
Nod: Yes, I like to think so, yes.
Greg: Are there going to be any progressive elements like that in the past - you had more stuff like more long songs and stuff like that.
Nod: Now the first album's out of the way, it's sort of like, we can rely and sit back on for live and that. So yeah, I think the next album might lend itself being of a particular nature in some sorts of ways, but I think with the album that we've just done, it was important to get certain sorts of elements of feelings and music across, basically. So yeah, sure, it might be room for a bit more experimentation and stuff, a bit more color in there, perhaps.
Greg: Probably, Nod, tell me what are your expectations for Last Rites from now on?
Nod: Just to make sure we have a chance to do it again, you know what I mean?
Greg: And your craziest dreams?
Nod: Craziest dreams?
Nod: Oh. Yeah. I don't fancy going round in the space shuttle, nothing like that.
Nod: Certainly not. No chance of that.
"As an old FOTN fan, I must say it was a great honour speaking with a part of the legend - Nod Wright. From the small discussion we had, he proved out a great guy, very polite and friendly, totaly unaffected by the heaviness of his historical background. Beside all that, the album he released is at least superb, vindicating his name and it's an album recommended, not only to FOTN fans, but to all of those who prefer heavy, groovy, dark atmospheric music. My only objection is some of Nod's statements considering the FOTN current status. I just feel the urge to express my opposition on this, declaring: Carl McCoy was, is and shall always be the NEPHILIM, what once we all were and again shall be..."