Negura Bunget (2002)

 •  Posted in: Kogaionon Interviews

Hello Negru! What is it like in Timisoara now, when autumn is about to begin?

"Hello ! Indeed, the weather is getting cold...but it's quite nice."

You have just finished recording your new album in the same studio where you recorded you first demo. Are you satisfied with the final result? If I got it right you need to mix your material once more. And sound has been a constant problem with Negura Bunget...please give me more details.

"Indeed, we used once again the Magic Sound Studio. Because of time problems and also because of the fact that this time the quality of the sound is much better, we finally decided that the material shouldn't be mixed once more. It's true that we couldn't obtain the sound we wanted in the past but, that's it, what can you do? However, this time things are a lot better and I can only hope everyone will notice that. Anyway, there's one more mastering to be done by code666 in Italy and that will probably improve even more the quality of our sound."

We expect a release by code666 in it still valid?

"I hope so. We still have things to do but we hope everything will go according to the initial schedule. Besides, I don't think it will be a big problem if we release it a few days later."

The Italians say the album will have a very special presentation. I think it's time you give us more details regarding this aspect.

"It's true, we prepare something special once again. Unfortunately, it's pretty difficult to describe. We designed the whole structure of the digipack, though it will be larger, stranger and, we hope, more interesting than a common digipack."

Please give me a detailed presentation of the new material: cover, lyrics, song presentation, music, collaborators, line-up...

"Everything related to album presentation (cover, multimedia, the new site, pictures) has been done with Dan f. Spataru (EncoilMARK) and we are satisfied with the final result. As for the music and the lyrics, they more tightly knit together than in the past. The whole album can be interpreted as a journey through Romanian spirituality, symbolically presented along a calendar year with the 4 seasons concretely identified both at the musical level and at that of the lyrics. Of course, it's not a strict approach but a metaphorical one, even initiatic...the line-up remains the same and the same thing goes for guest musicians (Ursu, who played bass for the recording of the album)."

What is it that makes the new sound different? In other words, which are the signs of your musical maturity?

"I think this time we transposed more directly, through our music, an ideological content that is more consistent than ever before. At the same time, it remains a typical Negura Bunget album where we have tried to create a balance between atmosphere and aggressiveness, between speed and expressiveness...on the other hand, Negura Bunget is not a pretext to prove our virtuosity, but our maturity in writing songs, and even our self-censure. But it's up to others to judge to what extent we succeed in achieving it..."

In Romania, all metal fans are philosophers, they know everything and judge everything. Nothing bad, so far. I have recently noticed an anti-Negura tendency with people stating that you started your musical journey very well but you haven't evolved at all. Moreover, you combined Norse black metal with elements of traditional spirituality and this is how the Negura myth came into being. What is your opinion? To what extent are these rumors true?

"Everyone has the right to a personal opinion which can or cannot be true. I can imagine there are a lot of people who don't like us for numberless reasons, and I find it normal...I don't think we should convince everybody of our intentions. We perfectly understand that not everybody wants to or can understand what we're trying to do and, as a matter of fact, we always start from this premise."

The band's first name was Wiccan Rede, a name alluding more to Crowley than to Dacian mythology. Once you changed your name, all elements began to have a logic of their own, your message and your music gained a clear fluency. Where from this will of identifying with our ancestors?

"Wiccan Rede was only a step. From the very beginning we considered the Black Metal an extremely serious phenomenon. Wiccan Rede was the first step towards a deeper involvement in the movement. That's how we see things. Negura Bunget is something radically different. It's much more than a simple change of name...As for our relationship with the past, this is a symbolical one; we try to lead to a re-birth of some spiritual essences which, at a certain point, were active in the human mind but they lost their influence with the passing of time. In this context, the relationship with the past is just a segment, a first step towards reestablishing a direct connection with the present."

Face-painting is another element you use. What would be its connection with our lands?

"Actually, we haven't used face-painting for quite some years. This doesn't necessarily mean that we gave it up completely, but we haven't felt a proper time to do it again. We see it as something that comes naturally at the right time and circumstances. It is not directly related to our native lands, but it is connected to the very idea of Black Metal, with transcending one's identity, with accessing of the archetypes..."

If I remember it correctly, Bestial were first contacted by Code666 some 2 years ago because the latter were very impressed by the graphic presentation of your booklet. Is it true? Why did you sign a contract with them? Weren't there other offers?

"Indeed, the guys at code666 liked the presentation of "Maiastru sfetnic". Then, they asked us whether we had a serious contract with Bestial and whether we would be interested in signing one with them. And this is what happened after long negotiations. We had some other offers but they weren't really convincing..."

Give me some details about your video.

"The guys from code666 first asked us to write a new song to be featured exclusively on one of their Better Undead Than Alive compilation (2 digipak - deluxe edition). After writing and recording the new song (Bilutza Studio) we considered making a video as well, especially that the studio had all necessary equipment. Code666 agreed to that (especially that they weren't really involved) and we decided to do it. We worked with Marius Danci (Bilutza/Flying Wood) who shot all the images and also edited the entire material. The basic ideas were ours, of course, and I'd say the final result is pretty good. It was almost entirely shot in the Apuseni and Retezat Mountains and we passed through many adventures. We were also helped by our friend Andrei Nica (special effects, post-processing...)."

You haven't played live in Romania lately. What happened? Your position as the best-known Black Metal band in Romania should be an advantage, right? All the audience has already had enough...

"'It's true, we haven't played much lately, mainly because we have been extremely busy with the writing and recording of our new album... so we had to ignore live performances. But I wouldn't say our fans have had enough because we generally haven't played live very often. Anyway, we are currently preparing a few concerts."

I notice some new Black Metal acts who use Negura Bunget as a reference point. What do you think about that? Are you satisfied with it?

"We aren't really interested by such aspects. We are only trying to do our own work as good as we can. Should someone appreciate our work and see it as a reference point... that can only make me happy. But it will never be more than that..."

Your Black Metal has always been raw without Gothic influences or other modern interludes. Why? Don't you like Dimmu's direction?

"In our music we have tried to transpose our own vision upon Black Metal. Of course, this approach doesn't include other elements than those related to the inner structure of Black Metal. Eventually, everything is related to this personal vision and, if others have a different one or none...that's it! Unfortunately, there isn't a clear and concrete definition of what Black Metal is and what it is not (though it would be really interesting to formulate one!) and this aspect generates all controversies about who's 'true' and who's not. This is finally related to the fascination of the Black Metal even if sometimes such disputes may seem puerile. And even if I don't like Dimmu Borgir I have noticed that they proved to be good musicians on their last album, capable of writing intelligent songs, though their reasons for doing it don't have too many things in common with the ideology of the Black Metal."

How do you see Negura Bunget's future? What would it take for the band to be successful?

"We would be 'successful' if we created an interest for the issues we are trying to promote through our music: preoccupation with Romanian cultural and spiritual traditions and their relationship with the universality. On the other hand, we see Negura Bunget as an opportunity, a chance for our spiritual evolution. If our music would manage to attract other people on the same journey, our goal is achieved..."

You are really involved in the Metal Scene and the 3 issues of Negura Magazine are a proof to that. You also have a webzine though you update it quite rarely. What is the news on this side?

"We are currently working for our 4th issue which is due before the end of the year. It will have interviews with Tormentor, The Kovenant, Limbonic Art, Primordial, Nokturnal Mortum, Thunderbolt...a special code666 feature, a few interesting articles and a lot of reviews. I hope this time we'll have 70 pages because we have some more surprises...I'll also update the site one of these days."

Other rumors say that your success is not a result of your music's quality but of the fact that you were the only Black Metal band who enjoyed constant financial support (Bestail). What is your opinion? Also, is it true that Bestial still makes money from selling Negura Bunget accessories (like T-shirts)? Have you gained much money from your music?

"It depends from what perspective you approach things. We were indeed one of the few Romanian Black Metal bands but that's not our fault. The same thing goes for Bestial. We went to them and convinced them to promote our music (Bestial came into being with our first album). Others could have done exactly the same thing... even with Bestial. But let's be serious... we cannot speak here about I don't know what special support... it's something natural and it characterizes any underground label! As for gaining money, things are even more puerile! Who would imagine that you can make money out of music and Black Romania? I doubt someone could believe such a thing. Not only that we didn't gain much money but, on the whole, we spent much more than we received... As for the gains of the people at Bestial... isn't it normal for a label to gain money out of the music it promotes? Otherwise, it would be impossible to promote it even better. Unfortunately, in their turn, the people at Bestial haven't gained too much... and they still don't gain too much..."

We have talked about concerts. The Italian label will probably offer you some tours. What will Negura Bunget's scene look like? Some pyrotechnic effects, naked women dancing around a fire, a Dacian flag hanging above your drums?

"I also hope to tour after the release of our new album. We don't have in mind any spectacular elements for our stage, we'll rather focus on creating a traditional image through the use of special instruments (percussion, xylophone, alpenhorn, dulcimer) and some vestimentary elements. However, all of these will be discrete elements...because, in the end, it's the force of the music that really counts when you're on stage."

Fenriz/DARK THRONE is one of the drummers you admired. What other drummers do you like?

"Actually Fenriz was interesting only on Dark Throne's first album. It's even strange that he suffered such a transformation on the other albums. I also like Frost from Satyricon, Trym - Emperor, Sean Reinert - Death/Cynic...and many others."

What kind of music do you listen to? What about the other members of the band? By the way, who are they and why do you still hide your true names under pseudonyms (do they have a special signification for you)?

"I have listened to a lot of music recently, mainly because of the magazine. Unfortunately, the quality is not always impressive. For the rest, I'm still into Emperor, Immortal, Enslaved, Satyricon, Taake...My colleagues also listen to different types of music. As for pseudonyms, I wouldn't say their role is that of hiding someone. We find them important because they provide us with a symbol, they shift the focus from our own persons, which are not important, towards some broader essences."

What about your spare time? Do you work? What do you do in an ordinary day?

"We're all still studying. None of us works at the moment. We're quite fortunate because our days don't resemble too much and we still enjoy the freedom of making our own program depending on our needs in different moments of our lives."

What about a visit to the hairdresser's? Could you imagine a Black Metal band whose members would have their hair cut and wear suits?

"We have no intention to pay a visit to the hairdresser...all of them having their hair cut and wearing suits...they could hardly make up a Black Metal band. Black Metal is not defined only by the music but also by its spiritual content and even by the image."

The Negura Bunget myth still lives in the heart of many fans. Where would you say idolatry should stop, leaving room for realism?

"I'd say everyone should think alone before doing or saying something."

Well, I think that would be enough. I preferred to have a natural and light discussion because most of your interviews are characterized by a serious, even grave tone, creating the impression that Negura Bunget is an introversive band, carrying a nihilistic and misanthropic message. Maybe it is so but I had a different goal. What do you think about this?

"It's true that sometimes appearances can deceive. I wouldn't say Negura Bunget promotes a message that is directly nihilistic or misanthropic...but that doesn't mean that we don't pay attention to what we say and how we say it. So we are open to friendly discussions, like this one..."

Is there anything more to be said or known? Thanks for the interview and may Zamolxe eternally watch!

"Thanks for your support! Stay Black!"