Thursday, April 22, 2021

an interview with Nixil

Based in Baltimore, Nixil are an exciting new prospect emerging from the US underground. They recently unveiled their oppresive blend of black metal, discordant death metal, and doom via a self-released debut, All Knots Untied. I reached out to the band to find out more about their formation and the creation of their first album. Bassist AR was kind enough to facilitate the interview.

Dreams of Consciousness: What is Nixil?

Nixil is a collaborative expression of that which can not be understood. It has been a solace in the storm of this past year’s bedlam, a point of focus in an otherwise overwhelming world.

photo by Shane Gardner

DoC: Please give a brief history of your band - what led to you forming? How much of an idea did you have of the type of music you wanted to make when you formed the band?

The way we came together has been notably synchronous; a couple of us had played together in previous projects, otherwise it was a matter of just being in the right place at the right time. We have between us a common thread of experience and worldview but we are also each very different; we knew we wanted to create genre-defying black metal, but there was no way we could have anticipated what that would have become. We all have a restless and roiling drive to create, particularly within a darker, mind-bending aesthetic, and it was that need maybe more than anything else that helped us to find each other the way we did.

DoC: What is your writing process like? Do you write as a group, or are they the product of a few main songwriters?

Everything we do is as a collective; we write in the name of our sound and our energy, which in turn inspires and guides the output.

DoC: Most bands issue demos/EPs before their first album; why did you jump straight into releasing a full-length?

Every decision we’ve made is influenced by the uncertainty of life itself continuing as we know it. It has never been a question of whether to do an EP vs. a full length LP; we just reached a point where it was time to document what we’d done, and that manifested as All Knots Untied.

DoC: Tell me about your debut All Knots Untied - how long had you been working on it? What were your intentions for the album? What do you want people to experience while listening to it?

All Knots Untied is the collection of sweat and blood (literally, at times) and all of the emotional effort that we’d put into it - an alchemical cocktail of intentions, one might say. The first recording of us writing anything together is from 11/24/19; we’d originally planned to record 4 songs in late May of 2020 but given the pandemic, recording was pushed back to September so we had a little bit of extra time to finalize more music for the album. Overall, we aim to create moods; our music is not strictly about riffs but about sensation and exploration, in this case revolving around ritualizing ego death. We hope to imbue that craving for introspective deconstruction onto anyone who is open to it.

DoC: All Knots Untied was recorded with J. Robbins (of the bands Jawbox and Government Issue, and not Jawbreaker or Government Mule). Why did you decide to work with Robbins? What would you say he brought to your sound?

The decision to work with J was made during a time of global crisis; he was enthusiastic about working with us, having become acquainted via other projects, and given his incredible pedigree as well as the energy he brings into the recording process, we were also super enthusiastic to work with him. J is exceptional, both as a musician and engineer and as a person in the world. He recorded us live directly to tape, capturing us raw in the moment of creation; we had an amazing time working with him and look forward to doing it again.

DoC: What can you tell me about the lyrics of All Knots Untied? What sorts of themes/subject matter do you write about? To what extent are you influenced by current events?

We aren’t influenced by current events except to say, out of a sense of responsibility, that we as individuals and as a group are fervently and unquestionably anti-fascist. A lot of bands call themselves apolitical and we’d say the same thing about ourselves: standing against ignorance, bigotry, and oppression isn’t political, it is (or should be) the fucking baseline. Our lyrics focus on a personal, in-depth exploration of the concept of ego death and a less overt or secularist understanding of anticosmic high magick. In all that we do, we strive for liberation at all costs.

DoC: Your guitarist Shane K Gardner created videos for the songs "Deaths Of Our Own Design" and "May This Flame Flicker Out". What is the concept behind the video? How does it tie in to the themes of the album?

Shane is our spiritual guru and we do whatever he says. Hail the Illusionist.

DoC: Where do you see yourselves in 10 years (either as a band or individually)?

We’ll get back to you in 10 years.

DoC: What's next for Nixil?

We’re writing a new album, working on secret nefarious plans for the physical release of this current album in various formats, and desperately anticipating the first opportunity to tour.

Nixil on Facebook

Nixil on Bandcamp

Nixil on IG

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