Words by Alan Daly
© Olga Kuzmenko
Photos by Olga Kuzmenko
Alan: Hello from MyGlobalMind. Maybe you could start by introducing yourselves?
Naut: Sure. My name is Naut, the vocalist in Ethereal.
M-Inanz: My name is M-Inanz, lead guitar player and symphonic composer, and long-time member of Ethereal.
Alan: Tell us something that the other band members don’t know about you.
M-Inanz: That’s very unlikely, isn’t it? We all know each other pretty well.
Naut: Yeah. No comment. If they don’t know by now, then I don’t want them to know.
M-Inanz: I pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve. I think everybody knows a lot about me. I think we all talk a lot.
Naut: Sorry to disappoint you!
Alan: Ok, well, tell us a brief history of Ethereal.
Naut: Ethereal made a start in the early 2000’s, but it has roots going back even before that, started by our founding member Iyaan. But the band that you see before you today feels like it was a fresh start about two years ago when myself and Mordrath the drummer and Volf on bass joined. It was kind of like a new line-up.
M-Inanz: Back in 2010, we were due to go on a tour with Enthroned in the UK. And we had some line-up problems literally the day before which resulted in us pulling out of the tour. That pretty much put a halt on things for a period of time. Probably about three months. But myself and Iyann sought out new members from nationwide and we came across three of the most talented musicians in black metal at the moment who really contributed to our sound. Although the album [Opus Aethereum] that we just recorded and released in January on Candlelight records was written before they joined the band.
Naut: So Ethereal is both an old and a new band because in the two years we’ve spent with this line-up the progression has been pretty quick. We signed with Candlelight, released our debut album and I guess we just played the biggest show of our career so far.
M-Inanz: We played with some fantastic acts on backline tours. We had Marduk, Belphegor, 1349, and some fantastic other bands.
Naut: We’ve been touring a lot.
Alan: So tell us how your show went today?
Naut: It was hot up there. As far as the gig goes, it was great. Just like any other. The crowd was very receptive to what we were doing.
M-Inanz: We were originally a little bit nervous, playing so close to the 1349 set. Because we are good friends and we also like to watch 1349, and we weren’t sure how many people would see.
Naut: We were concerned about there being two black metal bands on at the same time, and perhaps we’d lose a share of the audience, but actually with all the touring we’ve been doing here in the UK these past few years, we seem to have developed a pretty strong fanbase and I think hopefully we expanded that fanbase today as well.
M-Inanz: We sold a good number of CDs today. From the very start when we played the intro, the tent was already three quarters full, and then by the end it was as full as it could get.
Naut: I think for most extreme metal bands and underground bands in the UK, Bloodstock is definitely up there on the bucket list, and it’s nice to have that under our belts.
M-Inanz: And the whole crew here have been absolutely fantastic. Very supportive, very knowledgeable and helpful.
Alan: How did the opportunity arise to play at the festival?
M-Inanz: Well, since we released the album we gained a lot of publicity nationwide and we contacted Simon Hall, who knows Ethereal from our past, and we put it to him that we’d really like to play this year, and he gave us the opportunity to do so.
Naut: I guess he kind of felt that the time was right.
Alan: Something you said the first album was written before the current line-up came to be. Are you writing new material with the new line-up?
M-Inanz: We are indeed. Originally it was myself and Iyann who wrote the main bulk of the first album. The second album, we’ve made a very good start on writing, and we’ve got about eight or nine tracks that we’re playing with at the moment. And Naut comes from a background where he has got a lot of experience in arrangement which is really helping to tie everything together with his lyrical content.
Naut: We’re all extremely pleased with Opus Aethereum. I think it was just the timescale of things that the three of us came into the band with a fully composed album, and then I took care of the vocal arrangements and Mordrath had his input on the drum parts, but for this next album, we’ve come a lot closer together.
M-Inanz: Luckily we’re all multi-talented and everybody can play everybody else’s instrument so everybody can have a bit of input.
Alan: Are there many disagreements or do you all have the same vision?
Naut: The thing with Ethereal is… I think we all have an idea of how Ethereal should sound. We know what that is. There’s something kind of natural to it when we’re together and playing, but at the same time it doesn’t seem right to cite any influences for this band because we’re five people from very different walks of life with some extremely differing tastes coming together with the same objective of creating really black metal with absolute full force.
M-Inanz: It’s a personification of all of us. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get everything in there.
Naut: Darkness, extremity, brutality, with every dynamic you can imagine in between. We just want it to be ultimate.
M-Inanz: You’re taking the piss now! There’s all sorts of things in what we do. We have death metal influences, we have a bit of doom. A bit of thrash.
Alan: If somebody had to put your category into a section in a record store, where would it be?
M-Inanz: Black metal. If you want to label us, Symphonic extreme black metal.
Alan: Let’s say some day in the future a movie is to be made about your band and your lives. Who would you want to play yourself in the movie?
Naut: I suppose Johnny Depp is almost good looking enough. If he works at it.
M-Inanz: There’s no-one else like me.
Naut: Nicholas Cage.
M-Inanz: Fuck off! Only Naut would know that!
Alan: How do you think the movie would end?
M-Inanz: Riding out on the death cycle into the sunset with a five-seater sidecar.
Naut: Hopefully with some kind of gigantic victory.
Alan: Some bands have released beers, wines and even pasta. If you were to put your band’s name onto a food or drink, what would you choose?
Naut: Poison! Arsenic or something. If 1349 want to make wine, then I want to make something a thousand times stronger.
M-Inanz: Wine would actually be cool and quite fitting because you always walk onstage with a bottle of red, don’t you?
Naut: I do enjoy wine, yeah.
Alan: And what would you call it?
Naut: Ethereal Death Tonic! I think we should not get distracted from the music!
Alan: And if you could go drinking with any historical figure, living or dead, who would it be?
M-Inanz: Leslie Nielsen. For me, he’s one of the funniest men that ever existed. I find his humour brilliant.
Alan: So what’s in the future for Ethereal?
M-Inanz: Continuation of the next album.
Naut: Carry on with some writing. And we’re going to do some more international shows and try to grow the band in Europe. We’re working on various things gig-wise, but when it’s not confirmed, there’s nothing I can say at this moment in time.
M-Inanz: There’s some big things coming up and we’re really looking forward to them.
Naut: We’re always looking to the next thing, and with everything we do, it’s like “ok, we’ve done that. Now how can we do something bigger and better.” That’s the same for the music and the performances and everything with the band.
M-Inanz: Trying to come up with our own ideas is so difficult these days. Everything’s been done so many times before, one way or another, by another band. Trying to be a bit more unique.
Naut: Trying to pull ourselves further in our own direction, I suppose.
Alan: Ok, we need to wrap it up there. Thanks for chatting, and good luck with the second album!
Naut: Thank you very much. You can find us on Facebook and all the usual places.