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With German band Nauthik's debut full-length due for imminent release, Comrade Aleks talks to them about their five-year history and everything that has gone into the making of this album.

Interview with Nauthik.
"I try to avoid quoting labels' press-releases, but this time I want to bring the entire description of Nauthik's first big work 'Araganu' by Auric Records: 'A slow-moving musical maelstrom of heavy fuzz-guitars, groove and the beautiful melody of negativity. German funeral doom with lyrics inspired by traditional Sardinian Chant Procurade Moderare originally written by Francesco Ignazio Mannu in 1794. A furious anti-feudal statement against oppression, against despotism and egoism.'
I couldn't just pass it up, and I bet that you are intrigued now, too. And as Nauthik is a fresh and obscure act, I felt it my duty to introduce them to our readers. Born in Cologne, 2015, they took part in a split with Babylon Asleep in 2017, and since then have been working on their full-length album. How far are they from Ahab's "nautik funeral doom"? Let's find out in the company of Damager (guitars, bass) and Plorator (vocals) - their colleague αἰών (drums) didn't take part in this conversation."

Nauthik: AIWV (Drums), Damager (Guitars, Bass), Plorator (Vox).

Hi gents! Thanks for your time, and accept my congratulations for the release of your debut album 'Araganu'! Are you busy with final preparations before release?

Damager: Auric Records is planning release a limited edition of the Araganu CD with some extra stuff, so at the moment, there are decisions to be made about Artwork etc, it a different kind of "busy" as usually with writing and recording, but it is nevertheless exciting.

You know I should ask you about this extra stuff, what is it? 'Rime Of The Ancient Mariner' doom version?

Damager: No, it will not be music, but extra goodies, artwork, a patch and such. But 'Rime of the ancient Mariner' would be a good idea, thank you for the inspiration. A doom version of that song would probably take 30 minutes.

Damager, all of you have some background besides Nauthik: you and Plorator play in Thrash band Damage Source, αἰών plays in Thrash band Kingdom of Salvation and Death Metal act Transgression. What made you slow down to Doom's unhurried pace?

Damager: Speaking for myself, there was no need to slow down, because doom always was a part of my musical identity. My inspiration to start playing guitar was Tony Iommi. As a child of the '80s, I was too late to experience '70s Sabbath, but the Ozzy-Era records were fascinating me as much as the exciting new music of that time, like Slayer, Destruction or Kreator. Then I discovered Candlemass, with their epic, melodic approach and beautiful harmonies and especially Trouble, with their dark guitar tone and their awesome twin guitars and heavy riffs. The music was so good, I could even ignore their Christian background. The Skull is still on of my favorite albums of all times.

Plorator: My musical socialization began with Punk. The first encounter with slow music was Type O Negative. And then I started to discover doom as well as black metal.

What was your initial vision of the band? How did you come to the nautical concept?

Damager: First, we didn't want to start a band at all. We wanted to write some tracks in a doom context, and record them for ourselves. On the first recording, I even played drums, so it was more for personal fun. But then it grew, we were writing song after song and more and more, we noticed, that Nauthik is evolving into an real band. Then we decided to have professional recordings and asked αἰών to join and the Split-Tape was born. We even played a release show with Beltez in 2017, although the project was never meant to see a stage. But sometimes, things are coming into being and develop their own soul and make their own decision and you just have to let it happen.

Nauthik - 'Araguna I' (Official, 2020):

I remember your countrymen Ahab tagging their doom as "nautik funeral doom", so I believe that comparison is unavoidable. Was this band really one of those lighthouses showing you the way?

Damager: Well, that was just a project-name in the beginning, because of course Ahab was an inspiration as one of the best doom bands of today. We thought of having another name, but during the recordings of the split-tape, Plorator came up with those Sardegnian influences, the pictures he took of ancient Nuraghic sites an the coastline became the base of the artwork of the Split and the new album and yet, the name started to make sense again! In a different way, then intended, but as I said, sometimes things start their own life....

And it was a really good idea! You know even though you have a song or two with nautical concept, there's only one band doing things the same way. The "mourn/funeral/lament" concept is far more widespread in this genre. Did you feel back then that Nauthik really has the potential to get proper recognition?

Damager: We did not think too much about it, because it just felt right to do it. The slow and yet deadly movements of the sea at night seemed to fit our music in a very good way. We did not think about recognition and to be honest I do not expect anything. I only hope that all the effort Auric Records put into the release will pay off for them. They really did everything to release a worthy package, which deserves to be recognized. For myself, I do not aim for recognition. If there are people out there, who can connect to our music in an emotional or other way, it is great, a great gift, but it is not the main driver to create music.

It's said that Nauthik's song lyrics are inspired by the traditional Sardinian chant Procurade Moderare written by Francesco Ignazio Mannu in 1794, "a furious anti-feudal statement against oppression, despotism and egoism". First of all, this anthem is originally written in Sardinian language, do you use it on the album?

Damager: Yes, the album is completely sung in Sardic language. We had other plans, with Latin lyrics and stuff, but it came as a natural progression to sing it in this way, so Plorator did it.

Plorator: I travelled to Sardegna lot of times in the recent years and discovered the wide and overwhelming landscape with the sea and the mountains. I researched about the culture and history of Sardegna and I came across Procurade Moderare.

The song is considered as "the Sardinian Marseillaise", do you see it the same way? Did you choose it because of its rebellious essence?

Damager: Yes, Plorator is the one to answer this, but in my view, the Song or the poem is a powerful statement for freedom and against oppression. Today it seems, as if you could only choose between horrible, oppressive nationalist movements or a so called "modern" neo-liberal, ego-society. But both ways are leading into the same catastrophe. We need to find our way back to common sense instead of ideology and to solidarity and altruism in our society, so it is more than ever necessary to speak the words of freedom. Even in doom metal.

Plorator: Because of the low population, Sardegna is one of the few places in Europe, where you can still feel freedom and solitude within nature. The song is a metaphor for this kind of freedom, which is also deeply rooted in the Sardegnan culture and personality.

'Araganu' standard digi and limited box.

So the album's message is important for you: does the CD booklet contain the lyrics' translation?

Damager: No, not this time. We wanted to keep the artwork pure and simple. Black and white photos, taken by Plorator and our new logo. Probably for a vinyl edition, if this is ever going to happen, we will add lyrics or something lyrical.

Also, were you sure that your music is a good fit for this kind of lyric? Actually most of the lyrics are performed with extreme vocals, so well maybe this question is pointless.

Damager: Well, when I started writing the music, I was not thinking about a lyrical concept at all. It was just music channeling emotions. And it was Plorator who came up with the idea of using the chant from Mannu as a lyrical concept for the whole record. Even the older tracks, in the second part of the CD, after the Interludium, which had lyrics before, partly in Latin, were included into the concept and re-recorded with new lyrics.

'Araganu' has a strict lyrical concept, will you try to keep that for the next album? Did you already think about it?

Damager: I would like to, I like the idea of conceptual work. But you need a good concept and a good subject, a fresh story. We will not do another album about witchhunt, Chtullu or Middle Earth, although I like those stories. It is not easy to find a historical event, completely undiscovered and unsung by Metal bands before. And again, the music will be created first and maybe then a story will find us.

Nauthik/Babylon Asleep split tape package.

Nauthik's first release was a split album with Babylon Asleep. Did you see it as a way to manifest Nauthik's arrival with this release?

Damager: It was a natural decision. We did not really plan it, but the opportunity came along the way, so we took it. The tape was released via The Crawling Chaos Records. We wrapped the tape in a special package with a lot of handwork for Plorator. A few copies are still left in our bandcamp-shop.

Nauthik - 'Ignis' (Official, 2017):

How did you work on 'Aragunu'? What kind of compositions were your priorities?

Damager: It was not special compositions or any other kind of musical plan. The only plan was to be led by emotions. Even if that includes elements, that are not doom, like blast beats or psychedelic guitars or whatever. Nauthik started to develop its own identity and all I did was not to limit the musical progression.

Did you have short and intensive sessions or did you have plenty of time and could allow yourself to record in a more relaxed way?

Damager: It took al lot of time and a lot of effort to finish the album. The recordings of guitars and bass were finished early this year, I had some intense, nightly sessions on my own during last winter, and it was more exhausting than every other record, I have made before with other bands. And at the same time, It was more satisfying. I followed only my own inspiration, I was led by the spirit, that Nauthik had developed and it took me to unexpected places. That was a really inspiring time for me, I somehow discovered myself as a musician for a second time.

Drums were recorded very quickly in Spring, because Javed is such a skilled and professional drummer and he understood, what I wanted for the songs immediately.

Then we took a lot of time to record the vocals and it took almost all summer. We wanted the most intense vocal performance possible. That was a painful process for Plorator, but I think it was worth it. I am happy, that the music will now see the light of the world in such a good way with the superb production of Mario from Liquid Aether Audio and with all the effort Auric Records put into this project..

What's your plan now that you have a complete album on your hands?

Damager: On the one hand, we would like to play some shows, we even had a release show for the album in planning. But on the other hand, I want the music to be played without compromise. As we are not a complete band, we would need support. We would need two additional guitarists, as there are too many parts on the album that require three guitars and of course a bass player. It is not easy to find people who are into the music, available and reliable at the same time. And of course we cannot pay session musicians. So we decided not to play live at this point. We will see what the future holds, as we have seen in the history of Nauthik, things tend to go their own ways, so we stopped making too many plans. I can tell, that there will be new songs and most likely a new album, because we are not finished with Nauthik, but I do not know when or in what form.

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Visit the Nauthik bandpage.

Interviewed on 2020-01-22 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
Thermal Mass
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