"I am the Nephilim" - this is the famous statement by Carl McCoy, made in September 1991, i.e. almost exactly ten years ago. Having said this, he finished on the one hand the legendary era of Fields of the Nephilim in their classical line-up, and on the other hand he unrightly criticised the other members of the band for no longer being open to new ideas.
So it is no wonder that Nod Wright and his brother Paul see their past as FotN members partly as a chance, parly as a burden. On the one hand the brand name "Nephilim" continues to be their best reference. For example, the press info of their new label starts with mentioning the old band in bold type.
On the other hand, however, the Wright Bros. shared the destiny of many side projects and sequel bands: positive feedback but miserable selling figures. This is also why Rubicon, founded after McCoy's solo project, departed after two album releases only. It's true "What Starts Ends" had its merits of a kult album, but kult alone doesn't make you happy for a long time, not mentioning that it doesn't fill up your account and your fridge.
"Rubicon came to a point where the band had reached a final stage," declares Nod in the Zillo interview after having me welcomed in perfect German. "To be honest, it just didn't make sense any more to continue. But it opened our eyes for things which seemed reliable to us and which we definitely wanted to pursue. The most important thing was to continue making music."
The past is no longer a topic for Nod and Paul, so let's sail to new shores!
Nevertheless they don't want to deny their past: "Your past always is a basis for your future", Nod says. "Of course you can't deny your past completely. If you did that you'd end up making the same album over and over again. With each new album you can only try to reflect the feelings and emotions of a certain moment. The album 'Guided by Light' for example reflects the emotions we had last year."
Like Lupine Howl, the backing band which was fired by Jason Pierce of Spiritualized, Nod and Paul didn't want to found a new band in which someone else would be the singer and would thus be standing in the foreground. This is why Last Rites is in the firm hand of the Wrights, despite the addition of guitarist James Quinn and bassist Bob Ahern. Could you say the jump into the first row was the masterplan behind the new project?
"No, it was more a natural development. In case the songs had been there years ago, we would have made them with the bands we played together with at the time. This time we both were just sitting together with our ideas and reached the point to realise them. Of course for us this was a completely new way of making music, but the most important for us was to make the songs and to publish them. We just wanted to try how far we could go alone."
Definitely it's just not only the "next album" for the Wrights, but Nod admits that he didn't think it was that important to go new ways musically. "You always have a limited number of ideas at a certain point in time that represent yourself and fit in this certain period. As long as it sounds good and the athmosphere is there, we try to integrate it in a song. This is what we always thought to be the most natural way. Of course there were totally new situations during the recording: The singing part, for example, is totally different compared to all other albums in which I participated. This is what makes a 'fresh wind'."
The different technical recording possibilities contributed to this as well.
"Yeah, nowadays the technical side is absolutely vital. You just have to care that it doesn't manipulate you and that the human aspect doesn't get lost so that suddenly you're confronted with no more than a binary code," says Nod.
The advantage of this more stringent way of working, according to Nod, is clear: it is easier to integrate your own ideas and you have more time for experiments and pursue certain ideas, which would not be the case in a band situation where they would probably be suppressed by other musicians. And this is what you can notice in "Guided by Light".
Despite the aforesaid, Nod underlines that it was mainly him who recorded the songs in the studio, but that he always intended that they also be played by a live band on stage. "We wanted to keep the songs as natural and "human" as possible on stage. Using the classic instruments - guitar, bass, drum machine, vocals - the most important thing is that you're playing sensibly. Of course we do use more technical stuff also on stage if it comes to songs which are more complex. But it's important that the technics never have the say."
And despite all their achievements Nod and Paul have to start all over again when Last Rites are playing in England this September: i.e. in the small clubs and bars on the British isle. Isn't it a strange feeling seen the fact that ten years ago they used to perform for thousands of fans? "Yeah, that's true. No way the feeling's there and we have to cope with it!"
So it's no wonder Nod thinks the first Last Rites album to be more important than some of the previous albums. One reason is that he's no longer 19 or 21 and that he would have the choice to decide whether the Wright brothers keep on gaining their money as musicians also in the future. This doens't mean that Nod - even in the unrealistic case of a 'flop' - would give up making music. At least in his spare time, that's for sure he says, he'd never stop making music.
My last question to Nod is also in connection with the reunification of the FotN without the Wright Bros: Does Nod from time to time listen to music from other bands and thinks by himself: 'They're stealing my best ideas I had ten years ago?' "No, I don't think so", replies Nod. "I like it to be copied from time to time. Even if a band mentions in an interview that in earlier times you had had a great influence on them, I think it's a big compliment. It's nice to know that you made a contribution. But it's another tale when a band is playing on stage using only ideas other musicians have and when this band is gaing money by doing this."
The interviewer was Carsten Wohlfeld.
Translated by Eva