Nuit Noire plays “Fäerical blasting punk” states Tenebras, the main creator behind this odd musical entity. According to his music, lyrics, artworks and lyrics you could bet Tenebras is at least a bizarre individual, but I had the surprise to talk with a very down-to-earth man. Nuit Noire started in the previous millennium, in 1997 and since then he released a good brace of albums, EPs, splits. Don’t Fear to Go through the Window!
Hails. You made a way of life from your fairies. How are the fairies in France right now? Are they gone hipster, vintage? Or they are the same when the band has started? Did fairies ever change?
Hail to you. Fairies haven't really changed in 16 years, they are doing very good and have been very agitated lately. It took me a while to figure out what a hipster is since this word is circulating, and it seems, somehow, that I have always been a hipster in a way... but I’m not really sure.
I suppose fairies come and visit at night. Do you write music during night? I am wondering how one can make music with job, wife and children, and I am wandering even more how to make all this supposedly during nighttime?
I work by night one week out of two and I have written a lot of the material for the next album while being at work by night. And when I work by day I do it at home in the evening, with the kids around. It is not that difficult, and being a one-man-band helps a lot I think, since I don't have to rely on anyone else to make music. I can do it whenever I have a gap of time, just have to grab the guitar and my notebook.
What does your family (wife, parents, grandparents, children), your friends, neighbors and work-buddies think of your music?
My wife likes it, we had met through my Nuit Noire myspace page, and she is very supportive, she was fine staying by herself with the kids at home during 10 days while I was doing my European tour last year. My parents don't really care but they are happy for me. My grandparents never listened to it. My kids like to see me practicing. Among my friends, some like it and others don't really care, my neighbors and my workmates don't know it, I don't brag around that I am a musician.
You said last year in an interview that it is possibly you’ll move away from France. Did you?
No I didn't, and I don't know if I ever will. My wife wanted for us to go back to Texas, where she is from, and last year we had made the serious project to move whenever we could. But very lately she hasn't been sure anymore if she wants to move or not. So let's see, future will tell.
In 2012 the band celebrated 15 years of underground activism, or should have celebrated, but I didn’t hear of nothing special anniversary stir. Why is that so?
I actually did a very long special show, almost two hours long, in a squat of my city Toulouse called “Les Pavillons Sauvages”, it was in the middle of the week and there weren’t a lot of people even with the free entrance, but it was very epic! There are never a lot of people coming at the Nuit Noire shows, especially when I play at home.
Why did you baptized the band “Nuit Noire”? How’s it sounding in French for a Frenchman? It’s the Black Metal Name or more pop sounding?
It was simply the most direct name to represent what I wanted to talk about: the night, but the darkest one, not the one of the night-clubs and discotheques. That's why Nuit = Night and Noire = Black. “Il fait nuit noire” is also an expression that means “It is pitch dark outside”.
In 15 years you didn’t really moved far from your roots, not even a bit, it’s still that fast punk-edge black metal songs with minimalist arranges. It’s that the thing you feel safe in this genre? Why not experiment a bit more?
Actually I think I got dary on the last full-length “The Gigantic Hideout” with all those layers of guitars playing on different and extreme frequencies, what gives the impression that there are some synthesizers, but it was just for that time, I don't know if I’ll do that again or even something else one day, but I must admit that I like this punk/rock energy and organic instruments, I don't know why. I have another project pending that is almost entirely synthetic, I have been working on it whenever I find the time and I don't know when it will come out, but with Nuit Noire I have always needed to do an organic explosion of nocturnal punk/rock, I cannot associate another type of sound to my nightly strolls in the forest.
You also released the album on your own label. Are you tired of sending music to labels?
I wanted the last album to be released fast and with a particular layout that I have to cut and fold by my hand for each copy, it would have been hard to obtain that with another label I think, but the vinyl version was released on Preposterous Creations. I'm not against other labels at all, but it is very convenient to have my own label sometimes. So far I never sent anything to a label besides some of the first demo tapes, it was always the labels contacting me to release something so I never got the chance to try with a label that I could have chosen by myself.
We saw many black metal bands coming from the 90s make it to the charts. You can buy Deathspell Omega, Immortal, Peste Noire and Mayhem records in big retail stores. You never ever intended to make it “bigger”?
I'm not against this either, at all, and as I said in the previous question I never got the chance to choose a label and try to work something out with it, but for the next full-length I will probably do it finally, I will probably not have the money to release it on Creations Of The Night anyway, and I would like to try something with a big structure, if they are interested and if they let me do whatever I want with my art. The thing is Nuit Noire is about the little inner world of a weirdo totally devoted to night and fairies, it is not representative of something that can touch a big number of people, and it sounds kind of odd, so I don't know if it is destined to become big or not.
You never made any compromises, moreover you even set up more lo-fi rules for Nuit Noire, as last year you toured only by yourself. How that crazy idea came up to you? A tribute to old times busker street music performers?
I was having this idea for a long time. Many years ago I had seen The Venus Flytrap One Girl Band in my city as the opening act of Jerry Spider Gang and I found that totally awesome. Later on it was becoming more and more difficult for me to practice with the drummer Nicoblast because of my family duties, and I must say that I don't like to practice at all, I don't like to repeat over and over the same songs in a room. For those reasons I decided to go one-man-band even on stage and the audience reception was very encouraging.
Will you continue touring by yourself or can we catch you with a full-band?
The one-man-band formula is not something cast in stone, it is at least something that allows me to make a concert even if I don't have anyone to help me with the drums. Sometimes the idea to be drummer/singer helped by a guitarist crosses my mind but it is really my brother Akhron that I would like playing the drums on stage with me, and speaking of, I have something to announce in the next question...
Your brother Arkhon is a very talented drummer and singer. He said he left back then because he didn’t like your type of singing you introduced around 2003. Now he sings clean also. Do you like his goth rock band Soror Dolorosa?
At the end of 2007, Akhron told me that he would like to record some Nuit Noire's with me again. He was very young when he left in 2003 and he ended to appreciate the “new Nuit Noire” later. We were supposed to record “The Gigantic Hideout” together but it couldn't work out because of a problem of recorder and lack of time. We live far from each other so it is not easy. Recently I asked him if he would like to record the future full-length with me and he said yes right away, this time it should finally happen and I can't wait for this! All the songs are written, we now have to gather and make it, and I’m very excited. His band Soror Dolorosa is probably one of the most sincere acts related to new wave/cold wave/gothic, to me they have a flawless discography and the future is very promising. I witnessed the entire genesis of this band that took about a decade before the first release, and they deserve to be where they are now.
You had a split LP with His Electro Blue Voice. They recently released an album at legendary Subpop label known for discovering Soundgarden, Nirvana, etc. Maybe they could give a good word about NN, send a NN record to them, maybe they will sign you, you possibly will move to USA anyways…
Gosh, I had no clue that His Electro Blue Voice were on Subpop now! Of course if such a label would sign me I would celebrate it big time! Who knows, maybe I will try them? We'll see...
By the way, how do you choose the bands to make split with?
Arkham are very long time friends and we were both in the Onirik Circle so it had to happen. Call Me Loretta are my favourite band in my city, they knew that we used to play one of their songs as rehearsal's warm-ups, so it naturally happened with them. Circle Of Ouroborus just proposed me and I said yes of course. Same with His Electro Blue Voice and Trist, they proposed me and we did it. The three first split 7” constituted a trilogy featuring the re-recording of the “unreleased Inner Light album's lost songs”, and the last one with Trist comports the only one studio song recorded with Nicoblast on drums. Each of those splits have a deep meaning, they were not made just to add another 7” in the Nuit Noire's discography, and I don't think I will ever do a split again.
How did you come in touch with Black Metal back then? You started playing in mid-1990s, the golden age of Lés Legions Noires. Is that what brought you to the scene, or did you prefer the Norwegians? How was the feeling to discover this genre and how do you related to the genre in 2014?
Like many people who had their teenage hood in the 90's I started with the Guns N'Roses and got to know tougher and tougher styles thanks to some neighbors, schoolmates and especially two local radio shows that led me to extreme metal, and the first time I heard black metal, I just thought it was death metal but with a different vibe. The first bands I got to know were not at all the usual ones, there was almost nothing from Scandinavia: Moonspell, Summoning, Ancient, Master's Hammer, Evol, Abigor... And I must say that I was totally blown away, fascinated and attracted into all this. I quickly founded a black metal band with a schoolmate and a guy I didn't know without even being a musician, it was Grimoria. We quickly got in touch with the local band Arkham who were the most outstanding black metal band in the city at the time, and we would “share” the drummer with them. The Arkham's bassist lent the first Mütiilation album to our drummer and this one played it for us in the practice room introducing the music as a joke played by drunk people. At the first seconds of listening I was totally blown away, one of the biggest slap in my face I ever had and I had to tell the others that I really loved it. I quickly ordered my copy and would listen to it many times per day. This album completely changed my perception of music and that's why Nuit Noire sounds so lo-fi. Today, I don't have a lot of time to follow what's going on in this scene but I can see that, among all those Mayhem/Darkthrone/Burzum obvious copycats, there are some stunning bands emerging here and there sometimes. And even if a lot of other things than black metal have been added to the list of what I listen to, I still continue to put my old BM fetish records in the player when I have time.
France is full of disturbed black metal bands and sometimes also disturbed people. I think of Vlad Tepes, Mutiilation, Peste Noire, Darvulia, Deathspell Omega, Blut aus Nord and Alcest-> which is hardly metal these days, but they have this kind of childhood happy nostalgia. Let us know what do you think each of them, music and not-music-wise.
I absolutely don't know anything of the people behind this band, but they are in my all-time-favorite band list, War Funeral March is an ultimate masterpiece of music.
I said the effect that Mütiilation had on me when i discovered the first album a bit after its release, I also quickly got the previous releases and really loved the tapes Satanist Styrken and Black Imperial Blood. When they came back years later with Black Millenium I liked it, this collection of catchy hit songs got played a lot in my stereo, but when Majestas Leprosus came out, it was the second „Mütiilation schock” of my life. I don't know any English word to translate a real good way the word „noirceur”, and this album is such a monument of „noirceur”, to me it reached it in a point never heard before nor after. I got to know the man behind it better since Meyhnac'h and me had both played in Malicious Secrets for a few years, he really is a twisted and tortured soul and that's why his music is like that. He doesn't copy the guitar riffs of another depressive band like many others do, that's why his music is so unique. The two other masterpieces Rattenkönig and Sorrow Galaxies came to complete this „trilogy of ultimate noirceur”, will he ever come back? Maybe he expressed all what he had to express with Mütiilation? Future will tell.
Certainly one of the best black metal related active band in the world right now, to me the „Peste Noire” full-length was one of the best album of 2013 every music style included. I met Famine in person a few times, I organized the very first concert of the band ever in my city as they needed a warm-up before the important show they had in Lyon in 2007. They stayed to sleep at my place and if I would say all what happened in my apartment after the show you would probably not believe it! There can't be another guy like Famine anywhere for sure...
Kobal is my best friend and he is not really into black metal anymore, but what a blessing that he put out those three great full-lengths, there is not another band sounding like Darvulia, unique riffing style and such dirty voices claiming such insane words... Bravo Kobal for what you did during this „Darvulia decade”!
I was never attracted by this band, too clean, too smooth. Great musicianship though, but boring to me. When I want dissonant twisted evil guitars I listen to the amazing and so underrated Mayhem's Wolf's Lair Abyss.
Blut Aus Nord
I just have Memoria Vetusta I: Fathers Of The Icy Age, I like it but I never got the chance to dig into the other albums.
It's a bit too cheesy for me but it is clearly a band that brought something new with great musicianship and professionalism. And I highly salute that fact that Neige was never scared to disappoint his fans by putting drastic evolutions in the sound.
Most of your EPs and splits were released on vinyl. Still the full-lengths – except the first one and newly the last one – never made it on vinyl. How’s that?
Infantile Espieglery should have been out on vinyl for a while but it seems that the label SDM Club has always known difficulties to put it out, it is hard to be an underground label. And Fantomatic Plenitude LP is planned on Preposterous Creations, the same label who released The Gigantic Hideout LP. For the next one I will make in sort that the vinyl version is out first!
I saw a lot of your releases are available as tape. Do you prefer this format? What kind of emotions brings you the tapes? Do you buy or listen to tape releases?
Of course all the early demos were on tape, but it was totally normal and one of the only possibilities at the time they were made, and I'm not too fond of demo-cdr's. Since the first full-length, the only one tape that was released is Pleine Lune so it is not a lot, I don't include the Depths Of Night tape compilation since it is not new recordings and their original format was tape as well. But I really like the tape format, I don't know why, and it is very probable that I do more tapes in the future. My stereo that had the tape player broke recently and I will try to get another tape player as soon as I can.
You say you must feel happy and euphoric to create. It’s not too common in black metal. Do you use any kind of extern agents to write music? Drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, apple-juice?
Absolutely not, I do not drink, smoke or do drugs, a party-animal even told me one time that I was boring. Also, during the writing of the future album, I had some really bad moments in my personal life and they were very inspiring, I have to thank my wife and my job a lot for helping me at putting out some of the songs, eheh.
What kind of music are you into these days? Too old for new things and set to classic ones or there is still place for new bands?
These days I have enjoyed Abigor, Nicky Minaj, Peste Noire, Lana Del Rey, Caverne, Miley Cyrus, Summoning... but my music landscapes have been mostly filled up with the new Nuit Noire songs that I am practicing over and over in view of the next recording.
A new album is on the way: Deluge Of Starlight. What should we expect? Anything new or surprising? Now it’s that moment when you can say that the new album will be the best so far!
I don't know if it will be the best one but the recording process and the drumming style will be different since Akhron will do the drums. The songwriting will be similar to the previous things but will go really crazy per moments, I am very very excited to put that out, I truly can't wait!
We are from Transylvania, a land with lot of myths and legends. Perhaps you might enjoy our fairies one day?
“Nosferatu Phantom Der Nacht” by Werner Herzog is one of the movies that I have watched the most in my life and it wouldn't be for the fairies that I would visit Transylvania but for those fascinating vampire legends. I don't know how one could be indifferent to this mythology. I have always been attracted to this since I am a child.
My beer-bottle is almost empty, so I must stop with the questions. But last words are yours!
On my side I replied to this interview perfectly sober, I always am anyway. I wish for everyone to find their own fairies, whatever they are, it feels so good... But there is a risk to become as sober (and boring) as me... I wish you a great great night!
By Rob, May 2014