Non Opus Dei
Constant Flow (2007); great album, astounding guitar work. There is beauty at work there, which many black metal musicians seem to want to run away from. As for NOD, what is your attitude in regards to what your black metal should evoke? Is there an adjective that can’t be attached to it because it is black metal?
I think black metal should evoke a variety of emotions. It should evoke extreme feelings, for example both deep sorrow and incredible joy. Both, a feeling of emptiness and the impression that you have found something. Both, hatred towards something and the admiration and love for something else. If you know or feel only one side of these opposites, only negative or only positive ones, then I think you must be crippled in some way. Wisdom comes from experiencing all the aspects of life (or death).
Please tell us a little bit about the beginning of NOD. Why the name? How has the band changed since its inception? A short band’s history will be welcomed.
Well, maybe you will find it strange but I think the band is some kind of a “living organism”. What I mean is that it grows and develops with time, it becomes more conscious. The result is that it “flows constanly”, it always changes, it is in motion. The same goes with the name of the band, it was interpreted by me and by other people in many different ways during all these years that passed.
Non Opus Dei means simply a work of art created without god, without the Christian god. Created by the people involved in it and with the help of the Slavonic and Prussian Gods of my ancestors. If you pay attention to the lyrics, for sure you will notice that there are many references to the pre-christian spirituality of the land I come from.
To you, what’s the key to great black metal?
The key is that black metal is not only music. There is more to it. There is vision, voice, mind and feelings.
Under which non black metal parameters does the music of NOD fall?
People who write about music usually say that it is hard to define, to pidgeonhole our music. If they say so, then I won’t deny it. I just create what suits my visions and I do not really have to narrow it down to some genre which was created in another time, at another place, by someone else, not by me.
Where do you see NOD’s black metal falling in the wide gamut of BM?
As I had said, I think we have our own path. I don’t really need any “-isms” or labels, descriptions, genres which are artificially created – usually for the purpose of the so-called “music bussiness”.
Historically speaking, has Poland influenced your approach to music and life in general?
The region of Poland we come from is Warmia and people often say that our music contains some kind of “the spirit of Warmia”. In our lyrics we often refer to the prechristian spirituality of Warmia and Poland in general (which is the land of Slavs and old Prussians). So – of course, our fatherland is one of the main inspirations.
How do you see NOD in the black metal plain? (Like positioning, its significance in the BM world, what it contributes?
I don’t really feel like I have to belong to some particular group, world. So, I would say that I see NOD as some kind of wandering, free spirit.
In 2005 NOD came out with 2 full length albums, both albums on Pagan Records. All of your albums came out on different labels (except these 2 mentioned albums), which are very underground labels without promotional work, worldwide distribution. What do you think about your past labels?
In 2005 Pagan Records published only one album of ours (“Satanachist’s Credo”). The rehearsal we recorded in 2005 (entitled simply “Zima 2005”) was published two years later (as vinyl), by Czerni Blask Production. Anyway, it is true that Pagan Recods released two albums of ours (the mentioned “Satanachist’s...” and “The Quintessence”).
The past labels – well, I never had any serious problems. Maybe some delays, sometimes the date of releasing the album was postponed, but that is it. We knew who we signed and we knew what to expect. We knew what they could and what they couldn’t do for us..
How got in contact with Witching Hour Prod? For how many albums did you signed with them?
The most usual way. We sent lots of demos to labels all over the world and Witching Hour’s offer was the best for us. We signed for two albums.
The packaging of the new album (“ETERNAL CIRCLE”) is amazing. What should we know about Bartek Rogalewicz, he did a fantastic artwork for your album.
Thank you for these words. Well, first of all I should mention that it was our new label (Witching Hour) that gave us a free hand to prepare a complex and unusual graphics design. I think most labels would never agree to make such layout, becuse of the costs, time, etc. Then we started to work on the whole concept with Bartek Rogalewicz (he was responsible for the design). He read the lyrics of the album, we spent a few hours on discussing our ideas.
The result of his work is totally different from what we can see on the covers of most metal albums. We didn’t want to have a picture from a cheap horror or fantasy story. We didn’t want to have anything in common with pseudo-artists and their pushy, colourful works which aim to attract the attention of the mindless crowd.
Bartek’s work has specific roots. He was inspired by nineteenth century astral photography, by the photographs of Witkacy, by Nature and Her both beautiful and cruel countenance.
Another remarkable thing is the way he worked. He didn’t use any digital collage nor photoshop (well, only one page of the booklet was actually treated digitally). For example, to prepare the front cover, Bartek worked for long hours with a model and a projector. Of course, you can always take three photos within 10 minutes and quickly prepare the cover in photoshop and that is what most “artists” do nowadays. Instead, he had to make about 250 shots and from these photos we chose the picture which was the most proper for the cover.
Obviously, there is much more to see inside, there were a few sessions at a few different places. The sessions and photos are all connected to the ideas behind our lyrics, not always literally.
What is the real plant in the back cover and what represent to NOD?
Artemisia absinthium (absinthe wormwood). According to the traditions of my ancestors, it can be used in many different ways. One of them is connected with dreams, visions, crossing the boundaries between the worlds (the worlds of the living and the dead, the worlds of the present and the future). It is also burnt in the bonfires during the Kupala Day. Anyway, a perfect herb for such an album, isnt it?
Tell me the necessary info and concept behind the Eternal Circle lyrics.
Eternal circle – this concept is very common in European philosophy, mysticism, esoteric knowledge, etc. So many systems, thinkers, traditions bear reference to it. I could mention such different sources like Heraclitus, Nietzsche or alchemy and Ouroboros... This concept is also present in the native faith of the lands I come from and in its ancient rituals and holidays. (I am talking about the lands of the Slavs and the old Prussians).
As you can see, it is a diverse concept, some people say it contains too many aspects. However, my answer usually is that it may be something that always returns through the centuries. Like an eternal, hmmm, circle, ha ha...
What is the info about the Zima Ep, I have not in my collection this vinyl only release.
It is a special recording. Soon after we recorded “The Quintessence”, we decided we wanted to have another recording which would show the band from some other side. We entered the studio again, but this time only for a few hours and we just recorded a rehearsal. Dirty sound and the atmosphere is for sure somehow different than what you may hear on some regular studio recording.
How long was the songwriting process of Constant Flow?
Well, we recorded this album three years ago, so I don’t remember well. It seems to me that it took us a few months to prepare some ideas for the guitars, then we rehearsed regularly with the whole band to work on the songs. It took us about half a year. In the meantime I was working on the lyrics, as far as I remember most of them were written during winter and I think there is some wintry quality in them...
How does this new record (Eternal Circle) fare compared to your previous releases? The new album is the most technical stuff from your discography, the drum style is fantastic on this record, please tell me the necessary info about the songwriting and the recording process.
Actually we paid less money for this recording than for our previous “Constant Flow”. It is probably due to the fact that we recorded everything incredibly fast – it took us only about a week. The drums were recorded within three days, which is a really short period of time if you consider such extreme tempo. It took only one day to record the guitars. And as for the vocals, they were recorded within two hours.
Most of the bands which play such extreme music spend long weeks at the studio, working on every sound. Thanks to the short period of time we spent on recording the whole album, we managed to achieve one important thing. There is a lot of “life”, it doesn’t sound like a “machine”. The album is totally different from other extreme metal songs you may hear nowadays.
As for the songwriting... On our previous album (“Constant Flow”) we played in mid tempo. Since we always evolve, change, this time we decided to go into extremes. Our drummer spent a lot of time on mastering the incredibly fast patterns. There were lots of changes in his drums set, in the techniques he uses. Thanks to it, you will hear diverse blast beasts. It was also a big challenge to prepare interesting guitar parts for such massed drum parts. We decided that the best thing will be to play solid, not complicated riffs, sometimes embellished with interesting harmonies. I hope the final result brings some fresh air into our music, and yet I hope we managed to preserve the unique atmosphere of Non Opus.
Your sound is quite grounded. And I mean that as a compliment. It’s pretty direct and psychedelic yet it retains much of a black metal vibe without all the cheesy pomposity of a lot of the bands of this ilk. Ideologically and musically, how would you say your style differs from the rest?
You mean that our sound is recognizable? As for the “style” that you mention... I wouldn’t say we have a certain style, actually I do not really care about crushing some borders when I create music. I have some concept in mind, certain mood, and also certain ideas which must match the music. That is all. And I think that every album by Non Opus Dei is a different one. We never enter the same river twice. But it is great that although we do not try to repeat certain patterns, you can still hear that it is Non Opus.
Sorry, I don’t like this question, there are hundreds of albums I like and return to them from time to time. A long and boring list, don’t make me spend the whole night trying to figure out which albums are my “favourite”...
What’s next for the band? Do you have plans for a tour or special live appearance on festivals next year?
Yes, I hope finally we will play a few gigs. In the meantime listen to “Eternal Circle”. Thanks for the support!