CARL MCCOY INTERVIEW|
by Maor Appelbaum
Interview with: Carl McCoy, vocalist of the legendary "Fields of the
Nephilim". McCoy left the band in 1991 but continued releasing albums. The
band reunited in 2000 and a new album is due to be released this November
Hi Carl, Regarding this album, what does is sound like? What style is it
going to be, the new "Mourning Sun" album?
I take it that you haven't heard it yet...
No, not yet.
think it's very different from anything I've achieved in the past. So, you
can imagine what it's not going to be a lot more than what it's going to be
like. There are a few reflections of the past, involved in this new project-
I see it as a Nephilim project that's kind of updated to 2005. It's a bit
more upfront, there are quite a lot of layers involved in it so I find it
quite atmospheric. I think it's very fresh as well, I mean...it's not relying
on anything I've done before. The common denominator is that I was involved
in it, so it's obviously going to have a thread that runs through it - which
is there in the past as well, but I see it as quite a fresh and new album. It
is different, like every album I've made- from the last one to the one
before it, they were all quite different from each other.
Where was it recorded?
In many places, really, I'm able to sort of transport my own studio
equipment anywhere I need to go...even in an outdoor environment using
generators to record; even if it's just for the sake of recording
reflections or ambience. So we recorded in many different places, without the
restrictions of just one studio this time- It has become fun, we did it
because we could *laughs*.
So it's studio and live environments?
based. But sometimes we wanted to go outside to record. Especially some of
the ambience sounds - I prefer recording everything myself rather than
relying on any other source material.
What is the current lineup?
There is no
current lineup, I kind of felt that it's a bit unnecessary, for the project
speaks for itself. I've got people that I need to involve when I need to
involve them. I think it's more important to get the true spirit of the
vision of what I'm willing to achieve- so I think a set lineup is very
restrictive and therefore unnecessary for me.
So it's bringing musicians to record what you need?
Well, I record as well, I'm a musician as well; I can
pretty much play anything. Obviously, when it comes to the final recordings
like drums and bass, I've got people there which assist me to put them down
fluently and as they need to be; so it's necessary sometimes.
sound, did you use an outside producer or where you the producer of
actually produced it, though it wasn't intentional, it's not the way I was
going to do it. But it just kind of happened that way- I started working,
writing and recording and one thing leads to the other and before you know
it- you've ended up nearly completing the whole thing anyway. If this is my
vision so I'm ought to expect what I want to hear and how I want it to
sound, then I suppose this puts me in a place where the obvious thing to do
is produce it.
Are you also doing the recording?
Yeah, I was involved in that
as well I'm afraid. I don't like doing that, it's just how it turned out, I
didn't make any plans to do it that way. It's just that something it does, it
happened on my last album so the final result was the "Zoon" project was
pretty much all my recording and producing as well. It's not the way I always
like to work, sometimes it gets hard to find someone with the right mind
that can see it the same way. The more I do it- it seems easy that if you
want to do it and you've got an idea, you justdo it yourself.
Did you record on analog equipment in the past?
Yes, yes, we recorded
on analog and digital as well... whatever it takes.
And today, digital?
Digital is convenient, but I still like a bit of analog touch so I
still use it for certain things. Generally digital allows you to compile your
music easier. Keep in mind that I come from the old school as far as
recording goes. So I'm able to use technology and old fashioned tape, except
technology allows you to compile quicker, get instant feedback and use a
larger amount of tracks so there is a sort of beauty in technology- as long
as it doesn't overtake and use you.
For me, the band has a lot of progressive
influences. I hear a lot of musical differences in the layers.
In the past albums, there was a lot of interesting bass
playing- will it be like that in the next album too?
It depends on
what you're listening to, if you're listening to things from the past or to
what I'm doing now. There were many personalities involved in the early days,
different influences which probably show. But with me, I'm not really
influenced by them- I try to keep my blinkers on and shutmyself out from
"Mourning Sun" has got
some interesting bass, I've got a talented bass player so I think the bass
will shine on certain tracks. Definitely. This album is a bit more bass
driven. I've kind of locked down the guitars and made them more atmospheric
than in the last album. So you have to listen to see what you think.
record your vocals with effects or were they added in the mix?
No, I always
record them generally. But sometime I do my vocals live in front of the
speakers as apposed to doing them in a booth with headphones on, I prefer to
just do it in the control room. I don't spend too much time on my vocal
because it makes me think about it too much and then I analyze it and tend
to get critical- so I prefer to be able to just go strait at it and blast my
vocals in at one time.
You use a lot of reverbs and delays on your vocals to
enhance the richness of the dark voice- do you imagine them during the
writing process or is it part of the production?
It's a funny comment,
because people say I've put my vocal much more up front in the new album. I
purposely done that, I've taken a lot of the effects off to make it purer
and quieter.No, I think it was just kinda blended with the production at the
time. I'm quite happy to hear my voice completely bone dry, I don't need the
effect. But sometimes they help.
But did you imagine them while writing the
lyrics or was it something that just came with the recording?
Some of the
extreme effects I definitely had in mind. You can use effects when you're
actually performing. So sometimes I though about it when I was writing and
sometimes some things are just like standard issues.
Fields of the
NephilimWhat are the main subjects you write about?
Most of it is influenced
by the whole concept of the Nephilim entity, my own interpretation of
philosophy due to my own experience. I don't think it's about what we see and
face in the physical plain- It's more about feeling and outlets. I write in
way where me lyrics can be interpreted in different layers. It's hard to
explain, I have to put it in to music to be able to write; I don't just sit
down with a pen and sing this or that, it's all kind of hand in hand with
the music. I suppose it is intuition, it's kind of natural- not anything that
I've read about and make a conscious effort, thing just come to me.
Are you a spiritual person?
I probably am, yeah.
And are you considered religious?
I'm not religious. I'm very independent and religion involves lots of
people. I don't believe in the whole concept of it but I suppose you don't
have to be religious to be spiritual. Do you?
What astrological sign are you?
What do you think I am?
You sound like a Cancer.
No, I'll leave it like that for you to guess it.
That could take half an hour. *both laugh*
I can say
that you sound very unique and developing from album to album. If I'd have to
many an analogy- I'd say it's like Pink Floyd, only darker and gothic. Is
that a good comparison for you?
Maybe...Pink Floyd was obviously quite and inspirational band for many people and they were quite experimental as well-
so on that aspect I like it. But we don't have the hippie "touch", we're a bit
stronger and a bit more serious. So how would you describe your music?I can't
categorize it. I've never been able to categorize it. I've always seen myself
as a composer as opposed to a musician. And as a band, it's an overall
concept; each album is like a song to me, I like to use the space so there
is a lot of flow in the music- lots of ups and downs which are probably
close to the structure of classical music than just pure verse-chorus. I
don't really write in that structure, or try not to- so the music becomes
itself, unfolds in front of me when I start playing around with sounds. So
it's hard to describe, something has to be listened to rather than
What comes first- lyrics or music?
They don't come in a particular
order. I haven't got a format for how it works- I'm always writing, but it
doesn't always end up as lyrics. I'm always walking around with a pen and
paper in my pocket, writing stuff down.
Have you done any cover versions? Live or in studio.
We've done some in the past, a couple of strange ones. We
did "once upon a time in the west", we also did a Roxy music cover "In every
dream home a heartache" and on this album we actually did "In the year 2525"
by Zager & Evans.
Have you ever had other artists doing remixes of you?
very often, I had remixes done by someone a few years ago- but it didn't
really workout. It probably would happen in the future.
Why did you choose to do a Metal project- "Nefilim"?
It was a natural progression after "Elizium",
it inspired me to do something on the other side. "Elizium" is so laid back
and unenergetic, and so airy that I felt like I needed to do something which
is a bit more intense. Everyone has got a side to them that need to be
expressed, so "Zoon" was the outcome ofthat, something that's been building
up for a long time so It needed to happen.
Another thing I have to ask you is
what is your favorite song and favorite album out of your
"Dawnrazor"- the song itself and the "Dawnrazor" album.
And what is
your most successful release?
I'm not really sure... I felt that the Nefilim
album was quite successful when it came out- it was a very positive and good
era, but I don't know how successful it was in sales. Is there any special
show you remember more than any other?No, not really, *laughs* we did a lot
Do you have other projects except "Nephilim"?
I create all my
artwork and I've done some audio visual projects but Nepilim is the main way
I conduct myself, the music is more important at the moment- so all my
efforts are on it.
So you do artwork, like for covers?
I do, I made all my
albums, and I'm doing audio imagery and the artwork for this album. I've
always been responsible for that because it goes hand in hand with what I
Where did your image come from? The hat, the clothing... was it based on
character you liked when you were young?
Probably a bit of that, but a lot of
me. The dark-man image, I always found it fascinating when I was
young.There's also kind of a practical approach, it didn't seem wrong-It's
something I've adapted and adopted over the years. It just fits my character
and personality, it wasn't like "we need an image", it was already
Are you influenced by country music?
Are you influenced by the "country"
Not really, no *laughs*. You're referring to the clothes we wear and the
hats, but it's more Victorian or European. There is a hint of a kind of a
Nomad, a rebel or a loner which comes through with songs like "once upon a
time in the west" and spaghetti westerns- I think there's darkness there
within those characters and it's probably what we picked up somewhere along
the road. It fits, but no country music. *laughs*
The first time I heard you,
when I was much younger, I noticed it had a Texan vibe- I always felt like
it a Goth-cowboy.
I've never really though about it like that, but looking
back I can see that.
I heard your music before I saw the image so I didn't
know about the hats and all. So that's why I always told people it sounds
southern, like southern-goth.
That's quite an interesting point; it's never
been pointed out to me before. I remember we used to call ourselves
spaghetti-metal. *both laugh*
Tell me about the comics you appear in.
What do you wanna know?
How did you get into it? Do you see it as a
reflection of your personality? Do you like comics?
If you're talking about
the Marvel comics, I think that really came about because the artists were
quite inspired by my music and what I was doing at the time as well as the
image- so they took that and caricatured me into their comics; I think it's
a nice gesture and is quite amusing as well, it was done in a fun way- so
Did it reflect your personality?
I don't know, I haven't really read
Oh. You haven't really seen it.
I've seen it, I've been seeing glimpses of
stuff, but I haven't really sat down. It's probably ok; it's pure escapism,
which is never wrong without.
It's called Hellstorm, right? And who's the guy
who did it?
Yeah Umm... God, I can't remember his name at the moment.
What about the movie you appeared on?
Which one? "Hardware"?
Yeah, you played there...I read about it, never had the chance to see
That was a long time
ago, the director actually wrote me into the script so I couldn't really
refuse because it was me playing me. It was ok, a good bit of fun, I'm the
"angel of death" so I got to perform on the intro of and the end of the
film; it was a good experience.
What is your connection to the Hebrew
There is probably no connection really, it's something semantically
translated- if you're talking about the whole idea of "Nephilim" than that's
probably my connection and as close as it gets.
So you haven't read any
I read all sorts of things in the past, you have to...Most
of the stuff I read is translated.
So you just used the language for the
Many things are translated through different cultures and languages
and I've always had a big interest in that. It's always a common denominator
of what I'm looking for in language and has more to do with history and
visions, the writing is the poetry itself and it is good to explore. The
Hebrew language is very expressive, but I have an interest.
What do you think
about the Internet and the file sharing?
My record is available out there, as
far as I know now, though it's not even out yet. It's sad in a way of there's
no surprise when the record actually comes out because people have heard
bits of it. It's nice to have a build up for journalists and people like
yourselves which can talk about the album to get people excited. But people
download it so all of the sudden it's being talked about and reviewed before
it's time but hopefully it won't effect sales, it happens to everyone
now. I'm not too keen on that side of the Internet.
Do you see yourself
releasing albums for the Internet? I know a lot of artists are going to
release albums for Internet use in the future.
It's not a bad idea, but to be
honest I'm kind of old-fashioned. I like to have the package, to have a hard
copy, I like the artwork- I think it's something that you kind of collect. I
think that if you just download a song, it strange, it feels like something
is missing. It's ok for individual songs, such as singles, but I prefer to
see it in its package- which you can do quite a lot with packaging which you
couldn't obviously download. It's probably got its place, but I don't think
it's going to take over.
Do you like Metal music?
I like all sorts, really,
though I don't spend a lot of time listening to it and I haven't bought a
record for years. I have a pretty wide taste in music: I prefer soundtracking
kind of music and classical music nowadays rather than rock music. I prefer
listening to it but I don't have a lot of time for it... I'm too busy trying
to create my own.
What bands do you like?
I don't really know. I'm not
influenced by any; haven't got any "heroes". I like bits of music by
different bands, just not one band I can say they're a good band. I like
songs and whoever plays them, but I can't really nominate anyone- there
isn't anyone fantastic that I think everything they do is brilliant.
you think is the most interesting vocalist you've ever heard?
It's hard to
say... I can't think of a particular one really...can't nominate one
person. There are some interesting vocals out there that I've come across, but
I don't know their names.
What do you think about the whole Gothic Metal
Again, it's just a name or a label- I think music is music, so good
music is good music. I don't like to categorize music- I don't think it is
right and there are too many subtitles now. I don't think you should limit
yourself to just one particular area.
Are you considered a rock or a gothic
band by the attitude?
I think we refer to both, but I don't know where we sit
in either; I'm not sure about that, I've never really understood that. I
think it's more to do with the attitude of the people we attract, with
similar looks and lifestyle or similar thoughts.
What band was the first band
Probably bands like T-rex and Alice Cooper were part of my life
when I was growing up- that was when I was very youngAfter that- came the
new wave movement, the punk movement.
What artists gave you the urge to be a musician?
Me, I think, because I started making music to fill a hole in me
and the music I had in mind wasn't there. I kind of had to invent my own and
I think that's what we did. It's what guided me into music in the first
place, to fill a gap- if there's no music there that you want to hear, just
do it yourself. Using the lack of what's not there rather than inspiration
from what already existed.
What is the most influential thing you experienced
before you were a musician and while being a musician?
It's quite hard to
think about that, just covering what I've received as lessons on the
Nephilim has been the biggest influence on my life. Experiences I've had
when I was young, too young to understand or explain lent me to do what I'm
doing- I suppose the music has been inspired by that as wellThe whole thing
is still unfolded in front of me... I'm still inspired all the time, and I
keep moving forward until one day, maybe if I'll run out of inspiration I
won't be able to do it anymore- but I can't see that happening. It's not one
thing- it's kind of the whole thing.
Another question that interests me: I
saw your reunion in EuroRock 2000- journalists weren't allowed to interview
you or take pictures- why was that?
I don't know...maybe we just had enough
of it for that day, something it's not convenient. I don't particularly like
interviews, if I can avoid them- I will avoid them, the same with
pictures. It's just a personal thing... but why that was there? I don't
know... maybe the press had a limited time to be there.