1- Hello, thanks for answering to our questions. What are you guys currently up to?
Mika – On April 15 our second full-length album ‘The Child Must Die’ is getting released on Infernal Kommando Records.  The album is based entirely on the Finnish national epic “The Kalevala”, with most songs adapted directly from the English language translation of the text.  Joining the band as a full member is Joel Robert Thompson, an incredible vocal talent who as well sings for melodic death metal act Omelas of Raleigh, North Carolina.  Lawrence Wallace (Shadows in the Crypt, Serpent ov Old, Lawrence’s Creation) returned to provide guest keys and as guest drummer Jeff “Kol Slavv” Willet (ex-Black Crown Initiate) was brought in to replace the programmed percussion (and he did an amazing job).  Right now we’re mainly focused on promoting ‘The Child Must Die’; much of our blood, sweat, and tears went into every aspect of its production and we really hope the community enjoys it.
Joel – There are a few tracks we’re working on maybe for a follow-up, but right now the main focus is just getting people to listen to the new album.  We all have day jobs, Mika focuses on continuing with medical school and I’m a professional fencing instructor, but we have lots of ideas flowing.


2- First off, could you make some history of the band?
Mika – NB began back in 2012 after M.W.S. of Serpent ov Old heard a 4 track guitars only demo I had put together.  The songs were mainly ideas Manuel Rodriguez (a band co-founder) had been toying around with that I completed with my own riffs, along with some originals in the same vein.  He encouraged me to finish the album in his At Thee Illuminated studio and ‘Synkkä Tuuli’ was born.  From there Manuel and Steve left to do other work and I continued with NB, releasing ‘Väinämöinen’ on Infernal Kommando Records in 2013.  At that point I was ruminating on the idea of creating an entire album on “The Kalevala”, and with the addition of Joel everything finally clicked, particularly as Joel has a MA in Global and Comparative History and is pursuing a PhD in Nordic medieval history, whereas I just read the bloody thing…


3- How could you describe your sound?
NB-HFIMO-lineup-300DPI-JPGJoel – NB began as raw atmospheric black metal, with Mika and Manuel trying to paint aural pictures of grim frozen landscapes (particularly of Finland, Mika’s motherland).  With the ‘Väinämöinen’ EP he shifted the focus to Finnish folklore exploring “The Kalevala”, and since Manuel left the band Mika decided to go more progressive and melodic.  I personally feel the new album is a step forward on all fronts, and should appeal to more than just those into kvlt black metal.
Mika – What I love about ambient black metal is the use of the guitar as essentially a keyboard, it’s just rather than holding down keys I’m tremolloing the bloody hell out of chords, M.W.S. was the one who first pointed this out to me and I agree with it.  I find with the genre in general it takes a certain kind of person to sit down and understand what to listen for, but when they get it they are astounded by it.


4- What are the band’s main musical influences?
Mika – I wrote riffs on ST to compliment those Manuel already had come up with for the most part (the exception being the acoustic tracks and “Anhedonia” which were my own derivations), as such the album seems to reflect mainly his influences (Horna, Graveland, Hate Forest…).  I personally gravitate towards melodic/progressive bands, as such I would likely site Rotting Christ, Old Man’s Child, and Naglfar as my main black metal influences at the time.  Of course people will hear similarities to staples of the raw ambient genre like Velvet Cacoon and Paysage D’Hiver, but in all honesty they weren’t bands we obsessed over and strove to imitate.  In all honesty I listen to a ton of power metal; I started with Sonata Arctica and will die with Sonata Arctica, I went to one of their Virginia shows and took a video of Elias Viljanen which now has over 15,000 views (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLrIfeOhL1c), after the show Elias came right up to me and gave me that same wolf-emblazoned sweatband he’s wearing in it, that thing is priceless!


5- How is the feedback for your new album being?
Mika – Everyone who has been given a preview copy has loved the new album, even those who weren’t crazy about the first LP have been excited for the new material.  I think this is because the most recent release strikes a good balance between the raw aesthetic vital to the atmospheric aspect while implementing a layer of polish which enhances the sound without coming across as overproduced.  I’m hoping people who haven’t been exposed to The Kalevala will gain an interested in this important aspect of Finnish culture, while those who have some familiarity with it will be pleasantly surprised by the compositions and how they represent the important events within the narrative.


6- And are your personally satisfied with the final outcome?
Mika – I couldn’t be happier, everything came together from the drummer Kol Slavv to the amazing get of Joel, it all finally seemed to meld and I hope the product speaks for itself.
Joel – We had some studio moments where we almost came to blows but in the end I think all the right decisions were made and I’m really happy with it.


7- How could you describe this opus in just 3 words?
Joel – Finnish Folk ElegyNB-art-02-300dpi-jpg


8- How has the production process for your new release been?
Mika – The album went through several iterations, early versions of the album were far more lofi than the final product but we just kept pushing to finally get to the sound we all envisioned.  Kol Slavv contributed drums via his own setup and we’re hoping the additional warm body will strengthen the mix even further.


9- And how do you use to work on the songwriting?
Mika – Songwriting for the first album ‘Synkkä Tuuli’ occurred mainly by me completing songs already started by Manuel.  For the second album ‘Väinämöinen’ Manuel left the band to focus on his primary career in video game design so I took over the creative reigns, and this carried into ‘The Child Must Die’ as well.  Generally when I write songs it revolves around the guitar work, I’ll lay a guitar track down add bass and then fit drums which will be replaced later by a drummer.  It’s counterintuitive and not suggested unless you have an amazing drummer lined up who can really nail it.


10 – Finally, what are you near-future plans?
Joel – For now we’re going to support the new album as best we can and continuing to write for the future.  Manuel has returned to play guitars again, and we look forward to melding the best of what people like of the old releases with what we hope they like on the new.


11- That’s all from our side, thanks again for taking your time to answer our questions. If you now want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Mika – I just want to mention that Sergiy Fjordson of Moloch and Depressive Illusions Records, Tuomas at Primitive Reaction, and Mike Juliano at Horror Pain Gore Death Productions have been huge friends and buddies and the support has been immensely appreciated.  Also be sure to check out our music video for ‘The Child Must Die’, which should be out sometime real soon.
Joel – Check out http://www.nbmetal.net for our website (hint: it’s the same as our facebook), listen to ‘The Child Must Die’, and read The Kalevala!

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