Rock Impressions

INTERVIEWS WITH NUCLEUS TORN with Fredy Schnyder (versione italiana)
by Giancarlo Bolther

With the new album it seems that you have take a new direction with a sound that is more into prog and apocalyptic folk, than in doom metal, also if the vibe of your music is still very mysterious and dark, can you tell me more, please?
FS: Nucleus Torn has always been about evolution, about reinventing its music, about exploring various sonic realms. NT will never release the same album twice in different packaging. I – as the group's composer – change with time, I want my music to change as well. However, we have a basic sound that is recognisable, so even if we focus on another area of our expertise than some might have expected, it is quite clear that no other group could have recorded Andromeda Awaiting.

Why did you decide to put on the market two albums at the same time?
FS: 'Travellers' is a compilation of our reworked early releases and two unreleased songs. We preferred to release this album along Andromeda Awaiting to make sure that it would receive the attention it deserves. Apart from that, only real rockstars release two albums simultaneously.

Why did you choose to name the songs only with numbers?
FS: Andromeda Awaiting consists of one song only, we didn't print any numbers on the artwork. We decided, however, to add a few track marks on the CD to enable our audience to skip to their favourite sections.

How do you go about the process of composing songs?
FS: This time, I chose to compose the music pretty much in a traditional style. I wrote the music in the true sense of the word. About 80% of the album is scored, which means that I spent hours at the piano (or the guitar/bouzouki) plus pen and paper. We started to record it only after finishing the arrangements.

How much tradition and how much modernity there are into this new record?
FS: To be brutally frank, I think that's up to the critics and our audience to decide. I certainly delved deeper into the musical past of our culture (middle ages, renaissance), but I didn't copy, I just got inspiration. I still don't regard myself as a classical composer, neither do I think I'm a songwriter, my works come from somewhere in between and are fuelled by my interest in almost any kind of music. Probably that's what makes us avant-garde in a way.

Your music is very strong and dark, which is the message that you want to say?
FS: Thank you for your kind words. However, we are no messengers, NT has no “message”. We are artists. Everything we want to express is to be found in our music and lyrics, which, in our humble opinion, speak for themselves.

In your opinion, which are the main differences between your studio records?
FS: NT plays music that encompasses a quite broad stylistic range. On every record, we focus on one or more aspects of that range – but never the same focus. That's why there's so much darkness and despair on Knell and so much melancholy and resignation but also dreamlike hope on Andromeda Awaiting.

The new album ends a trilogy, which is the concept behind?
FS: I regard the concept as being both lyrical and musical, this goes hand in hand. Its basic outlines: I used to describe 'Knell' as a soul voyage, 'Nihil' as a fragmented description of its basis. 'Andromeda Awaiting' sees the end of this trip through the subconscious. But of whom, of the artist, the listener, no one in particular? That's up to the audience and critics to decide.
There are various possible interpretations for 'Andromeda Awaiting' as the conclusion of the journey. First of all, there's a purely musical interpretation. I did not end up where I meant to arrive, the end of the journey is different than I expected. It made me realise that even as an artist with a vision, the vision is but a guiding light, not an end.
There is also a quite personal interpretation, which I will not discuss in public. Don't get me wrong, the lyrics have nothing to do with what happened to me or my personal environment, certainly not literally. Nonetheless, they are close to me as an artist. I would like to encourage people to read the lyrics as what they are: a musician's thoughts. That might help. It's not fantasy literature, at least not exclusively.

Your project has started as one man band, now you are a real band, can you describe this evolution?

FS: NT is not a real band, we are an ensemble, a group of musicians. I am its composer, lyricist and producer and perform most instruments. I tried to turn NT into a band but there wasn't sufficient interest in that.

Your sound is very personal and original, if there are some… which are the artists that have inspired you the most?
FS: Thank you once again. I am not a huge fan of namedropping, but why not? A few basic favourites in rock n' roll and folk: Radiohead, King Crimson, Garmarna, Genesis, Talk Talk, Opeth, Led Zeppelin, Katatonia, L'Ham de Foc, Amorphis, Mastodon, Daniel Schläppi, Indukti, Colin Vallon... Not very original, is it? I own a record collection of over 3000 titles, so there are many many many more, especially in classical music.

The prog scene of today is very confused, there are some bands who try to sound vintage, others that try to mix heavy metal with prog, other (fewin my opinion) that try to find out new ways for prog, like Porcupine Tree, Anathema… What do you think about the actual progressive scene? There is something that you like?
FS: There are many albums that I like, even some that I adore. Just check my list above. However, I don't have enough time on my hands to give many records the time they deserve. I really hate to say it, but since I've become a professional musician a few months back, I mainly listen to music in my car.

What does it mean Nucleus Torn?
FS: There is no deeper meaning, I chose the name for aesthetic reasons. I like the sound of the name and the way it looks when printed.

Which is the greatest satisfaction happened to you in your musical career?
FS: Becoming a professional musician. However, I regard it more as a challenge than a satisfaction, it demands quite a lot from me.

Could you give us some anticipations about your future projects?
FS: Unfortunately, it's a bit too early for that. We are working hard, but would prefer not to announce anything for the time being. 2012, the wait will be over – we thank you for your patience.

Feel free to end this interview as you like…
FS: Enjoy our music, I don't think you will have heard anything like it before.


Reviews (only in italian):
Nihil; Knell; Travellers; Andromeda Awaiting

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