Interview With Black Sunrise Webzine (http://blacksunrisewebzine.narod2.ru/);
Not sure when they will post this interview and it will also be in Russian, so I will post in here first. Enjoy.
Hello! At first, I would like to thank you for this interview and for your readiness! Let's start: What is new about Njiqahdda and of course, how are you in these days? When can we hear your new material?
/: First off, thank you for the interview, we do not get many offers to speak in the public light, so we do appreciate the opportunity. We are currently maintaining a decent existence, we are both searching for steady jobs in a tiring economy and trying to stay positive/productive in the midst of a failing world. So, doing the best we can for now. We have new material coming out all of the time, we actually have a few new releases we are currently working on as we speak. They will be available publicly, as soon as we are happy with them.
- Because this is your first interview for an Russian zine, i hope i can ask some standard questions, ok? Introduce us please into the history of Njiqahdda. Which bands have had an effect on you? When, how, by whom was the band established?
/: Not a problem whatsoever. Njiqahdda started in early 2005, we were both playing in other projects and found that none of them fulfilled our creative flame, so we decided to start something completely free of any kind of restraint. Thus Njiqahdda was born. No boundaries, no limitations - the ability to write, record and incorporate any kind of music style we want into what we do without feeling limited or cornered in. No specific band in particular had a huge effect on the formation of Njiqahdda, but a few of our non black metal favorites are Neurosis, Deftones, Converge, Shai Hulud as well as the bevy of important black metal bands who have come before us. Most people should know who those bands are at this point, without them, black metal in general would not exist. Neither would Njiqahdda. We established Njiqahdda together, at the same time, we are brothers, so doing this was not exactly a difficult task.
- Tell me about your pseudonyms. In Njiqahdda you known as / and _, but in Oaks of Bethel and Funeral Eclipse you known as Ihr and Ain. Why?
/: The main reason is because of the differences in the ideologies of those projects. In Funeral Eclipse, we actually have not stated any names, someone at Metal Archives put our Oaks Of Bethel pseudonyms on the FE page, thus how that worked out. Each outlet of our productivity has different facets, therefore why we use different names. We will probably never use our real names in our projects, simply for the fact that we do not care to link our personal and public lives together. It has nothing to do with being true to black metal or anything like that, it has to do with maintaining a quiet identity.
- Express your philosophy.
/: To sum this up in a few simple words is no easy feat. The most condensed way I can explain it is this; Be good to each other, live your life trying to be a decent human, respect the earth and its inhabitants. This is all we have in this life, try to treat it with dignity. Respect yourself above all, for at the end of the day; no man, woman or animal will care for you the way that you would yourself. More often than not, people will come in and out of your life in a flash, nothing is concrete nor lasts forever. Live for the moment, for you may never get another one. Always pay close attention to everything, there is meaning to be found in even the smallest occurrence of life and every second of your life is a lesson, learn from it. Put your lessons into action and change the world, make it a better place for those who come after you, they will need all the help they can get.
- How do you behave to religions? What religion do you take itself to?
/: People are free to believe in anything they wish. I have no qualms with any belief structure as long as they are not forcing it down peoples throats and/or are using violent means to spread their opinions. If religion helps you make sense of your life or teaches you how to be a decent human being, then all the better, who is anyone to say otherwise? Certainly not myself. We subscribe to no specific idea or belief other than the idea of hopeful agnosticism. I do not know if there is a god/gods/etc. and neither does anyone else, but we are surely open to the possibility of it. Anything is possible in this life. We very much believe in the existence of a spiritual and/or 4th realm, whether that is controlled by a higher power is as far beyond us as can be.
- Where do you find your inspiration, or what do you think about where should people get their own inspiration from? What are the band’s influences, when it comes to music, concept, image, etc?
/: We are inspired by the most simple things in life; a deep meditation, a meaningful conversation, a stroll through the forest, meeting new/interesting people, a good book, emotions, good food, the comfort of those we love, the emptiness of failed past experiences, etc. People should get inspiration from anything that makes them think or feel. Each person is different, looks at life differently, etc, so to pinpoint one single thing that would inspire a person is virtually impossible. Our inspiration changes daily, but the one common thread amongst all of it is life. Life is inspiring in itself.
- What do you think about drugs? Do you use it? Some people said that it`s impossible to create music like yours without drugs, can you agree with them?
/: Personally I cannot condone the usage of many drugs. I have had very close friends die and destroy their lives by using drugs and that is something that still pains me to this day. There are better things in life. I do not use drugs outside the ones I am legally prescribed and need to make it through each day. Debilitating illness is not fun and without those drugs, my life would be incredibly hard to deal with. It is not impossible to create the music we create without drugs, neither one of us have ever been 'high' or wasted when writing or recording our music. It is imperative for us to have a clean, unhindered mind when doing what we do, it helps Njiijn spiritual energy flow properly, without confusion. I believe illegal drugs should be legalized, for the ability of taxation and removal of criminalization. People will destroy themselves with drugs whether they are legal or not, so why not make them legal? If you want to do drugs, then do what makes you happy, just do not destroy the people around you while doing so. Be a responsible human.
- Tell us about band-name. What does it symbolize, why did you chose this one?
/: It was the only name that fit our concept completely. The name came to me in deep meditation on a number of occasions and after witnessing its appearance multiple times, it finally made sense that Njiqahdda would be the title of what we were going to accomplish. Essentially it is the description of a person who is destined to go their own way, blaze their own path and do so no matter what the cost may be. One who is unafraid to accept the consequences of searching for the truth in life. A disciple of life, a seeker of truth, a person who strives to overcome the adversity in life and become something greater than just being a drone. Life is ours to conquer, but so many are afraid to fight for their livelihood. Unless you are willing to fight for everything in your life, the world will destroy you. Njiqahdda is that which transcends life.
- Tell us about lyrical concept of the band. Which themes are main in your lyrics and why?
/: The lyrical concept of the band is dictated by a multitude of different things; meditation, transcendence, emotions, life, nature, spirituality, death...Some works are very detailed in concept, some are more abstract and loosely arranged. It depends on our moods, depth of meditation, range of study, etc. We write about things that effect us as people, things we think about, experiences we live...Once again, life is the main theme/inspiration of our music/lyrics, but is divided up into many of the different facets of life. There are so many things to write about in this life, that we could never just remain pinned down to one single topic forever. The one thing that is the binding thread of our writings is that it is all deeply personal and specific to our lives/dreams/beliefs.
- You write songs in Njiijn language. Can you give us some information about this language? Why don`t you write a lyric in your own language?
/: Njiijn is a language originally constructed from odds and ends of many other languages, but at this point has mutated into something completely distanced from that. There are still roots in other languages, but we have been so deeply absorbed into it, that it has literally taken on a life of its own. Like all languages, it has grammar rules, different inflections, masculine/feminine properties, etc. This language originally began to show itself to us in deep meditation and vivid dreams, after a few years we finally decided to put it to use and it became the back bone of our artistic endeavors. We have written a few songs in English to this date, sometimes it seems more fitting, but its few and far between. Njiijn allows us to express ourselves to the fullest capability without losing meaning. When we do English translations, there is always at least a small amount of loss. Njiqahdda is a very spiritual vehicle for us, so it is only obvious that we would try to reconnect with that energy by using the tongue it is given to us in. We create nothing, it is all given to us from an outside spiritual place, from there we refine it and put it into motion to the best of our ability.
- You make a lot of songs in different styles like Atmospheric Black Metal, Drone, Ambient, Trance, Shoegaze, Psychedelic Rock. Why you do not choose one certain style and focus on it?
/: One of the main reasons for starting Njiqahdda was to have a vehicle in which we could incorporate any kind of music we wanted into the brew without having to worry about limitations or expectations. It is important for us to have complete creative openness when writing, this allows complete inhibition to do anything we want. There is no parameter in which we have to stick to, we can do what we please. We have both played in enough narrowly controlled musical projects to never have to do it again. Njiqahdda is the ability to please ourselves and not care what anyone thinks; if we want to do a free-jazz or techno track, we will. Our sound will always been centered around metallic music, but everything else comes and goes as it pleases. If its what we want to do, we will do it.
- Njiqahdda maybe one of the most productivity band which i know. What is the secret of such productivity?
/: I do not know if we possess any kind of secret that allows us to produce material at the rate that we do. But there are certainly a few contributing factors to it; we do not care what people think about what we do - therefore we do what we want, we have both been playing long enough to know what we have to achieve when writing, having our own recording compound, not having a bunch of people in the band to fight with, not having a label forcing deadlines down our throat...Above all is the fact that all of our material comes from a source beyond ourselves, whatever this source is, its power and creative ability is limitless. We are fortunate enough to be in tune with it and try to connect to it the best we can. Our goal is to continually try to become more connected with it, for if we ever manage to become deeply strong in its presence, who knows how much more we could produce then?
- You made a lot of songs but they all good, there aren`t any shit, bad song in your active. I love all your songs! How do you manage to create high-level songs?
/: Well first allow me to say thank you, that is quite a compliment and is definitely appreciated. We cannot take all the credit, for we are only the vehicle in which the Njiijn creative energy flows through. We work extremely hard to try and write the best possible songs we can from the source material given to us in meditation. Two of the biggest factors in our ability to write high-quality songs are that we have zero pressure from any source to produce material and we have no concern to what people think of our art. By not caring about others opinions, we can concentrate on simply satisfying our own passion to create the best possible art that we can. Neither one of us are easy to please, so if we are satisfied with an end-product, we have nothing left to accomplish with it. We are the biggest fans of what we do, we love our music and want to continue to make something we enjoy. Once we start making music we cannot/will not listen to (or endorse 1000% wholeheartedly) is the day our band ends.
- All your songs very long and epic. Why you didn`t make more short songs?
/: We have made a few shorter compositions in our existence, but yes, a vast majority of our songs are longer in duration than average songs. We both love long songs, which is a big reason why we do it. But also because we are not interested in creating simple bursts of entertainment. Good music - like art, literature, film, etc. - should be a journey and demand your complete attention, but should also have the ability to change or influence your life. Art that does this is NOT entertainment, its art in every sense of the word. We strive to create art that influences peoples lives, inspires them to think, drives them to live and seek out more of what the world has to offer. Art has changed both of our lives in great degrees, so the least we can do is try to put something out there in the hopes that someone will be affected by it, to the depths of their spirit. Njiqahdda is not entertainment, it is the most important part of our lives and is a diagram of two people in their daily walk of life; therefore it should be deeply moving, complex and thought-out, from the largest part to the smallest molecule.
- You have very un-standard art for Black Metal cover-art with trees, oceans, palm etc. Why? Who create your cover-artwork?
/: We create almost all of the artwork for our material (with the exception of a few releases). To us, our music is drastically different than a vast majority of the music out there, with that, we try to compliment it in that way. Our music is exploding with life and contains a fair amount of hope in its presentation. So we try to use things that add to that idea; bright colors, vast landscapes, the beauty of nature. In some ways our music is an audible representation of nature, so to use nature itself as the explanation only seems fitting. We also believe that art should be complete in every aspect of its presentation; music, visuals, writings, smells, tastes, etc. We pay strict attention to every detail of what we do, it all has meaning and all has purpose. No stone is left unturned, so to speak.
- You listen your cover-version for Neurosis song, it`s really excellent! Why did you made cover-version for this song? Do you want to make new cover-version in the future? What songs it can be?
/: Once again, allow me to say thank you, that is quite a compliment and is definitely appreciated a great deal. Neurosis is one of our all-time favorite bands and probably the biggest musical influence for Njiqahdda. It is a song that we both happen to deeply love and it just seemed logical to cover it. We wanted to do a cover song for a while and this one seemed to make the most sense. We actually recorded a different version of that song and made it more 'Nji like' but we were not pleased with the end result. Simply put, how can you perfect that which is flawless? The answer is you cannot. So we re-recorded the song more akin to the original version and were much happier with the outcome. We have actually been throwing around the idea of covering another song sometime in the future, I cannot disclose it at this time, but I can say that I really do not think anyone would expect us to cover this song, assuming that we do it.
- Tell us about your label EEE Recordings. Why did you create it, plans for future etc.
/: The label has been around for over a decade now, it just kind of happened more than anything. I wanted to have a secure home for any musical projects I was doing, so it seemed natural to start a label. Running the label is a double-edged sword; we have no higher-ups to answer to, no pressure from anywhere to do anything, can release as much as we want, etc...But the down side is mostly in budget limitations, if we are broke, there is no one to help us out, no outside funding to assist us. So if we fail, its over and nothing gets accomplished. Like we have wanted to do a vinyl release for years, but simply cannot afford to. Maybe one day that will change, but as for now, its not happening anytime soon.
- Which your project is main for you and why?
/: Njiqahdda is our main project and will always be. Its our life and livelihood. Not sure how to explain how or why, it just is. Our lives without it would be pointless. -Is there any chief/leader in your band? Or Njiqahdda is the union of two equal individuals? /: Njiqahdda is the union of two equals although I do have a bit more say so because I write most of the music. But we both work things out together and without either one of us, Njiqahdda would not be the same entity. We are equals in this band.
- There is little to no information available about the individual members of Njiqahdda. Why the need for such secrecy?
/: Who we are is not important. The only thing of importance is what we create and the ideas we posit. This music could come from any two people who chose to do so, we just happen to be the two that manage to do what we do. Being popular, rock stars or treated with 'respect' because of what band we are in is completely pointless and against what we believe as people. We openly choose to keep our personalities quiet because they are no one's business but are own. There are plenty of egotistical, self-worshiping rock stars out there, the world does not need two more.
- As harsh and abrasive as the music can be, there is also an ethereal, psychedelic quality to the album. Was this an intentional aspect of Njiqahdda ’s musical approach or a byproduct of what transpired during the writing/recording process?
/: One of the things we felt necessary to accomplish with all of our music since the beginning was contrast. The more soft-spoken parts make the heavier parts that much heavier. If we were blasting and grinding all the time, the impact would not be as strong. It is important for us to not only show an aggressive, ugly side but to also show a more beautiful side as well. No person is angry or aggressive all the time, people experience a vast range of emotions and we try to do that in our music. We are people first and foremost, the experience of being human shines through in our music all the time.
- It seems that Njiqahdda forgoes much if not all the typical imagery traditionally associated with black metal (ie Satanism, corpse-paint, black and white photos, etc), and could even be described as the polar opposite of such trappings. Are you looking to create a new aesthetic for the genre or is your imagery simply borne out of a lack interest in the traditional visual presentation of black metal?
/: We never set out to try and create a new aesthetic for black metal, we only do what we feel is right. Our music has nothing to do with typical black metal catchalls and so we show that which we believe our music to convey. We never claimed to be true, cult or anything similarly as trapping. We only claim to be true to ourselves and our vision. If that means residing outside the norm, then so be it. Neither one of us ever identified with the ideologies of black metal, we are not satanists, we do not hate or kill, therefore why would we perpetrate that in our music? It simply is not who we are or what we wish to accomplish.
- I’ve read several pieces comparing Njiqahdda ’s sound to that of early Ulver. Is that band really in any way an influence?
/: Usually we have strong disagreements with being compared to other bands, simply because we believe we have no full-on comparisons. There have been three bands we have been compared to that neither of us have any qualms with; Ved Buens Ende, Blut Aus Nord and Ulver. These are three bands/projects who are completely unparalleled in what they do and to be compared to any one of them is beyond flattering. Ulver in particular has been a huge influence on what we do, not only the black metal records, but the more experimental ones as well. Ulver was one of the first bands who showed us that black metal can be ugly AND beautiful at the same time. But also that black metal was capable of expressing more emotion than just hate and anger. I personally do not think we sound like them, but I will take that comparison as a most flattering compliment and say it is an honor to be placed in the same echelon as the utter greatness that is Ulver.
- I released one split about two years ago. Why you have no more splits? What is needed to do a split with you?
/: We simply have not been asked to do any. We would love to do more splits with bands, unfortunately no one has asked us for whatever reason. We are supposed to have a few coming up soon with some projects we highly respect, but until those happen they are nothing more than hopes. The only requirement we could possibly see in doing a split with us, is that whomever we split an album with, we can openly enjoy their music and that their art either contrasts or compliments what we do. That is all.
- Tell your opinion about all your releases. What your creature is the best for you and why?
/: We have no opinion to what is best as opposed to what is not. Every release we do is of the utmost importance to us. Each one captures a different concept, sound and flavor that is unique to itself. We love everything that we have done up until this point. I would say the two releases we have been listening to the most recently are Dremoanti and Sovenstraa, mainly because they are the newest. We feel with each new release we do, we are closer to coming to a full realization of that which we want to accomplish. Each is a step toward a full embodiment of that which our minds paint as being the ultimate art that we can create.
- Who are you in "normal", not-music life?
/: We are two normal guys, who work normal jobs and have typical boring lives. We are essentially the same as most people on earth, but we try to make a concerted effort to be the best possible people we can. I think something that confuses people when they meet us in real life is that we are both silly and goofy. Njiqahdda is very serious subject matter, but we as people are constantly cracking jokes and acting a fool. Once again, who we are in our daily lives is much different than our public lives, another reason why we try to keep under wraps, so to speak.
- What do you think about live-shows? Can we see Njiqahdda on stage someday?
/: There is always that possibility, but neither one of us really wants to try and be a live act. I think it would be impossible to re-create what we do on record, live. Plus, Njiqahdda is a personal experience, to try and convey that in a live/openly public setting simply could not work. It would seem insincere to us and the art we create has the utmost sincerity poured into it, we do not want to tarnish whatever name we have created by trying to do something that seems incorrect.
- What is your plans for the future?
/: Find higher paying and more stable jobs. Create more music and art. Try to live our lives the best we can while we still have the ability. Tomorrow is not a promise. Today is all we have.
- Thank you for nice chat. I hope you enjoy it like me! Good luck to the future! If you want to dedicate a few words to Russian fans, go on.
/: Absolutely. Thank you for choosing us to do this interview. It is our honor and pleasure to be able to speak to you, we certainly appreciate it. To our Russian fans, thank you for the support and being appreciative of what we do. It is an honor to be appreciated and we are humbled to be able to serve people who enjoy what we do. We appreciate every last one of you from the bottom of our hearts.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke
New CD Out Now.
Njiqahdda - Sovenstraa
The brand new EP from the masters of melancholic Nji metal. A 30-minute track that crosses into the realms of neo-folk, post-metal, black metal, psychedelia, ambient and trance. A continual evolution for the band and a movement in the path of progress. Not to be missed!