Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nokturnal Interview

1. Can you tell us about Nokturnel and your long history in metal?
Sure, but you will have a long beard and gray hair by the time I finish if I go into detail so let me give you the short version.
Before Nokturnel I was in a band called Savage Death. We were what was considered Black Metal for that era which was in in the mid 1980s. I still get mail from Savage Death fans and am proud of that but Nokturnel was far superior.
When Savage Death broke up the drummer found original Nokturnel bassist and introduced us at a sort of test rehersal. We wrote and began playing songs almost instantly and knew we had potential to offer the underground something different. We created our own version of high speed technical metal and were hailed as "ahead of our time". Again, I can tell you this original lineup of Nokturnel made music that still gets a great deal of respect from metal heads of ALL ages... older guys tell me they were just shocked by the insane style which followed NO trends and young kids tell me they have never heard any other band like mine. Being original however left many people turned off, they simply preferred to hear 100 bands that sound exactly the same. For us, this defeated the point of being a band. The way we saw it we may as well have been a cover band. So after the delusions of becoming a huge band left our twisted minds we said fuck everyone and continued to write this over the top technical metal.
Eventually, about 2 years after our only full length record Nothing But Hatred and less than a year after the Anti Grunge 7 inch the original lineup disbanded. Before the second coming of Nokturnel happened I had helped Ripping Corpse on bass for 7 shows, and sang on all the backing vocals on their Dreaming With the Dead record. Next I joined Morpheus Descends and played a few shows and wrote the lyrics for The Horror of the Truth MCD which I also sang on and played some killer guitar solos. After that I ended up fronting Incantation for about 2 years and probably did about 80 shows. I was fired after many arguments and had some downtime before I began playing again. I must ad that unlike the fucking MAJORITY OF PUSSIES who were in and out of the scene...I NEVER stopped going to shows and supporting metal just becuase I was not in a band at the time. So many people constantly encouraged me to do what I do best, and that is destroy guitars with technical metal. I gave those people and myself my favorite contribution to metal...which was the Fury Unleashed record. I wrote and arranged everything and used 2 studio musicians who were good friends and did a great job. I released it myself and it was well recieved but the industry turned their backs too me once again guessed it....I was not trendy enough. I still to this day can not find suitable members for a lineup to do shows but I am still working on that. Close to a year ago I finally got motivated enough to use a new studio drummer and recorded the single Demonic Supremacy. This time I did EVERYTHING except the drums and intend to release 2 more songs the same way. I will write and arrange everything, play guitar, and bass, and sing...and once again Chad Walls will handle the drums in the studio.

2. How would you describe the lyrical content of the music?
Well part of what I now realize was a mistake was the lyrics on Nothing But Hatred. Back then there were plenty of people who knew what my Black Metal band was like, and since the initial wave of Black Metal fizzeled out I was often fucked with over my uncompromising beliefs. Being Satanic was suddenly a joke...and I was the odd man out. Back then I felt that I had no reason to explain to anyone why I hate religeon, and I still don't today. Keep in mind in the 80s I had songs like Crucified in Hell, Spit on the Cross and the classic Bring Me the Guts of the Priest. Must I keep going? Is this not enough? Can people not get the point? So... regardless of what people wanted to hear I wrote fucked up lyrics with many humorous twists. Welcome to New Jersey was a ferocious song with 87348392 riffs and all these time changes and was a semi auto biagraphical lyric about growing up the way I did. The song Disturbed was similar...and many missed the point of Global Suicide. It wasn't that I cared the world is being just fucked with my head that in my lifetime I may actually be here to see the world simply die. So...lesson learned,,,,, no more humor. Fury Unleashed was mostly fiction. The songs are not so chaotic and all over the place. They're straight forward and have lyrics that suck you in and bring out emotions. More traditional topics, werewolves, bloodlust, destruction,and lots of hatred. I despise the thought that someone will be into what I am into because they were influenced by one of my songs.... think for your fucking selves! It's only music... My goal is to offer people music that will fire them up and get thier blood boiling. I don't want influence anyone... I just want people to actually know the lyrics well enough that they can actually sing along to the song. Part of enjoying music for me is screaming along to my favorite songs with fists in the air. FUCK moshing... I am sick of retarded virgins running into each other... they dont give a shit about the music... some bands look at this as some kind of honor. For me, seeing someone singing along with me was the real honor. It shows how much they love your music.

3. I know that the band is originally from New Jersey, what made you decide to relocate to Texas, and how would you compare the metal scenes in both states?
I met my wife while I was in Incantation and she was here in Austin. I loved Texas and knew I could be happy here so there was never any doubt that I would end up here for good. Back in the early 90s the scene in New Jersey was pathetic. I bet it still is... I will NEVER play there... I despise that state. Texas on the other hand is killer. Tons of metal heads and though local shows are nothing to get excited over the more well known bands that come here are usually enthusiastic about playing here, dont fuck with Texas!

4. What is your opinion of the modern metal scene, some people feel alot of it has gotten mainstream over the years,and then there is the other half that wants to keep it underground which in my opinion is the way it should be?
There's too many sub genres. The same goes for Black Metal. In my opinion...death metal should be DARK. It should be ugly, nasty, and evil. Now in death and black metal its all about extremes.... Death metal can be about swimming in shit and fucking in it... and Black Metal is too the point where the extreme is anti everything. Anti-Human, Suicidal... down right gay semen guzzling.....and best of all the fucking swastika is a fucking fashion statement....that even people of color wear? How fucking ridiculous can this get? Now... not to contradict myself... but there's always an exception. Autopsy sang about some demented shit but they were about the most perfect Death Metal band ot ever exist. Do yourself a favor and get some records like Death-Scream Bloody Gore, Autopsy -Severed Survival, Pestilence-Consuming Impulse, and Entombed-Left Hand Path. Those records make me wanna go fucking crazy. I knew it was a bad sign when death metal bands in the late nineties begand having nice hair and wearing button down shirts..... or better yet one popular band in Canada starting wearing sweaters and argyle socks....I think I need to fucking puke!

5. I know that you are a very busy person, besides the band you have a record label/distro, Spiked Leather company and a business breeding and selling snakes, which one takes up most of your time, and can you tell us a bit about the other projects that you pursue?
Busy? Who me? Haha! Hell yes I am busy.... and I never have enough time to do everything I need to do but for the record...that has nothing to do with why Nokturnel never plays shows. Once I find a drummer....I WILL play again. In the meantime it's the snakes that take the most time. I never have any less than 250-300 and caring for them all is a lot of work. I am always Spiking Leather too... The Distro is done.. I have no time to haggle with people over the price of music... but if I must I will release the next Nokturnel full length myself. Snakes are mostly dormant during winter...which is when I bust out the guitar. Winter approaches now...which is why I am currently working on new Nokturnel material.

6. What are some of the best shows that you have played so far?
Unfortunately the old days were shitty. Many of our shows had shitty turnouts BUT the bands we played with were often good friends of ours. The 3 that standout over all others for me were Ripping Corpse, Human Remains and Deceased. Many good times with those guys. Out of those 15 guys that made up those bands only a few are still "metal". It would figure that best shows as far as attendance and playing with well known bands was in my Incantation days. We toured with Morbid Angel, Vader, Nile, Angelcorpse and Krisiun and traveled a lot in the US. The biggest show of my life was with Incantation in Santiago Chile with Death and Cannibal Corpse. It ruled then, but after Chuck passed away that memory had even more meaning....

7. Are there any plans for a tour?
I wife is a very supportive and understanding person. We have a daughter and they come before anything in my life... but since she is metal and metal is a huge part of our life she would let me tour....the thing is I can not find a drummer. Either they simply suck...or they want a ton of money, or they want to be trendy. Until I get a drummer I will have to do what I can in the studio and be happy I am still making music. You'd probably be surprised to know how many well known very established bands look at Nokturnel as a talent... but things just have not fallen into place and I need to focus on things outside of music. If I dont, when opportunity knocks for Nokturnel I will not be able to capitalize on it.

8. How would you describe the musical progress over the years?
If you go back to Savage Death, well that was very simple and went into my first attempt at technical metal. Early Nokturnel was technical but by the time the original lineup disbanded I looked back and said OK i proved my point. I can play other bands music but they look completely baffled when they watch me play mine. Then instead of going into some math metal bullshit.... I took what I learned from playing straight death metal with Morpheus and Incantation and tried to make really solid songs and I wanted them to be more memorable. I think I achieved that on Fury Unleashed. With the single Demonic Supremacy I took the structuring of the song very's the most straight forward song I ever wrote... now, here I go again, back into studio to mold ALL of this into one. Two well structured memorable songs filled with chaotic technical guitars. IT'S GONNA BE FUCKING SICK!

9. What should we expect from new material in the future?
As I just mentioned, I intend to take everything I have learned about music and composing the greatest songs of my life. I am a quality over quantity type of person. I may not have a million songs, but the ones I do have I am very proud of... there's not much I have done that I do not like now, but the truth is if a label would back me I'd make a full length record that would turn the underground inside out. That is a promise! For now I am proud and fortunate to have Diabolist Services backing me for not one, but two 7 inch vinyl releases for 2010. Check out their profile Diabolist Services - Intolerant Black/Death Metal VINYL ONLY Records. An uncompromising label that caters to the true underground.

10. What are some of the bands or styles of music that inspired you to become a musicain?
Since I am an older guy I'd have to say my earliest influence was Kiss, but more seriously Priest and Maiden. From there I had a close call with glam...which we though was metal back then if you can believe that haha! Around the time Motley Crue and Ratt caught my attention I was turned onto Bathory, Slayer, Destruction, Sodom, Kreator, Venom, Voi Vod and Mercyful Fate. I knew this was the direction I needed to be in. Unfortunately some of the bands in the next wave of heavy music decided guitar solos were not cool...and commerical or whatever. One of my goals with Nokturnel was to show people that is just not right. My solos are chaos....not much melody.... it's just a high speed attack to show people I am not fucking around. I am a shredder and love to play but instead of going prog and following the master Malmsteen I decided to keep it ugly and incorporate shredding into my music. Sick, filthy, guitar abuse...I live for that!

11. What are some bands that you are listening to nowadays?
The same as always... meaning Bathory, Kreator, Pestilence, Entombed, Autopsy etc. I like lots of metal but that for me is the definitive era of when metal and the scene ruled. I am a huge Destroyer 666 fan, also very into Sinister, Macabre will always be a favorite and I think Immortal has some incredible material. I also love Aura Noir and any bands that incorporate thrash into modern other words the riffs are killer but the drums are 1000 times faster than the old days. After all that's part of the Nokturnel formula for songwriting too.

12. Does Satanism or Occultism play any role in the music?

No, not really.What's left to say? I LOVE THE DEVIL! ME FUCKING TOO! I enjoy black metal, but I see way too many kids who think they're doing something extreme and current when I was doing that shit in 1984. Skinny fucking faggots walking around with no shirts on and copse paint growling and hissing and shit... now that cracks me up! People need ot is music.... you do not have to listen to metal to be into satanism or the occult. Many people seem to think you do. They slag techno and shit like marylin manson yet some of thier music IS satanic or occult. Now dont get the wrong idea...I personally have no use for this kind of music...but to say you're not satanic unless you like black metal is fucking idiotic. When I watch the Simpsons am I suddenly not Satanic? What until the shows over and I put on some Spikes? I am trying to stick ot fiction. I have been called a great storyteller many times...I talk a lot, probably too much. Now when I write lyrics I am trying to tell a story...a damn good one that fits the mood of the music. If I could get a new record deal I intend to re-record 2 old Savage Death songs. I went balls out anti christ on that shit and am proud of it but if I am going to sing about the devil I will stand by my old music, there's no need for a batch of new songs like that.

13. I know that you are a fan of horror films, which ones do you find the most interesting, and what is your opinion on modern horror, also whaw kind of literature do you have an interest in?
The Excorcist is still the best, it's the Reign in Blood of Horror haha! I wont shit on modern horror. Some sucks, but its like metal. If you LOVE metal you should pay attention ot all of it, and support it. I feel the same way about movies. The day people stop paying for horror because too many shitty movies come out is the day you wont see ANY horror playing in theatres and we cant have that now can we?
I love shit like The Thing, The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, Dead Alive, Evil Dead, Halloween etc... and for newer shit I am getting into a lot of foreign films like Tokyo Gore Police, Martyrs, Dead Snow and one of my newer faves Black Sheep.
I used to read a lot. I loved old Stephen King and Clive Barker and worship H.P. Lovecraft. Then I discovered Brian Lumley and just lost inerest in anything else. He is THAT fucking good, the Necroscope saga and all his work is incredible. I can not say enough about his work, if you have not read any of his shit start with Necroscope and know that by book three there's no turning back. You will be devoured by his stories and become possessed. Brian Lumley IS GOD.

14. any final words or thoughts?
Anyone interested in auditioning for the drummers position please email me at On Nokturnels myspace profile you will see my Spiked Leather page and Nokturnel Eclipse which has tons of other satanic and kinky sex stuff for sale including the cross shaped pyrex sex toy! My snakes are on I always close by saying thanks for interviewing me and encouraging anyone and everyone I have met over the years to contact me. Your support then and now means everything to me and motivates me to keep on making the sickest music I can still call Nokturnel. It sucks I have not played any shows in over a decade, but if I can not do it right, i will not do it at all. THRASH TIL DEATH!!!!!!
Tom Stevens-Nokturnel

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