Thursday, September 15, 2022

an interview with 0N0

Slovakian trio 0N0 approach dissonant death/black metal from a unique angle: Assembling their songs with the aid of programmed drums and synths, which gives their churning riffs and atmospheric sections a machine-like coldness and precision. At the end of June, the band released their third album Unwavering Resonance through their own imprint, The House of What You See. Band members ∀ and ⊥ took turns answering my questions about the project, its history, and the scene in Slovakia.

Dreams of Consciousness: What is 0N0? Is it pronounced "Zero Enn Zero", "Oh Enn Oh", or "Oh, No"?

∀: 0N0 is a three piece band from Bratislava, Slovakia. We play a diverse mix of extreme metal genres, but for the most part, the roots are in doom and death metal. The concoction is further laced with elements of industrial and psychedelia. While I'm not too keen on mentioning any particular names, an observant listener will surely identify some of our most prominent influences. A lot of our inspiration comes from 90s doom, sludge, industrial and death metal, but there are definitely some very influential current bands in there as well. Last but not least, we've always been inspired by music coming from outside of metal.

⊥: The band’s name is pronounced in Slovak /'ɒnɒ/ meaning “it”. It represents annihilation of opposites, 0=-1+1=0, transcendence of earthly concepts rooted in duality. This is also the reason why it's spelled with two zeroes. However, feel free to pronounce it as you please.

DoC: Please give a brief history of 0N0 - what led to the creation of the band, and what were your goals at the time? Do you feel you have accomplished those goals - why or why not?

⊥: 0N0 used to be my one-man project, an outlet of various ambiguous and ambivalent musical ideas and their merging. This concept of alchemical deconstruction and synthesis has always been at the centre of our artistic endeavour. The goal is to continue on this path of endless evolution and reformation.

DoC: Your first album Path was released in 2011. How close was this sound to what you originally envisioned for 0N0? How has your sound changed since then? What is the biggest difference between 0N0 in 2011 and 2022?

⊥: Path represents pretty solid musical diversity and ambition to create punishing and unorthodox concepts, but in hindsight, I feel like it‘s a little inconsistent. In fact, it sounds more like a compilation of songs rather than an album. Also the production could’ve been way better. Our latest record is much more balanced in terms of overall consistency, however, the original idea of musical torment and nonconformism has remained almost unchanged. It’s great fun for all of us to create this type of unsettling and not really traditionalist, heavy music.

∀: We've been playing as a trio since about 2013 and at first, the band was mostly an extension of the solo effort, there were some new songs already in the making at the time and the aim was to arrange the emerging material for the purposes of playing live shows. In turn this approach also influenced how the following album Reconstruction and Synthesis and our subsequent releases have been recorded, with a live playing trio in mind.

Another less obvious difference is that in terms of lyrical and musical inputs, we've been gradually shifting more towards a band-oriented approach as opposed to following the vision of a single person.

DoC: How does an 0N0 song typically start? How important are programmed drums and other digital elements to your overall sound - are they "a means to an end", or are they intrinsic to your songwriting?

⊥: This is pretty difficult to describe, the initial spark is always very spontaneous, but over time grows into these multi-layered and multi-dimensional, almost architectural structures. I can’t say that we're always in control as far as the musical development goes. I mean, everything is pre- meditated and requires a lot of time to evolve, however, it’s a stream of consciousness kind of process.

The industrial aspect has always been an essential component of our overall sound. Who knows what happens in the future, we might experiment with almost any type of approach since we want to evolve as a band, but for now, programmed drums, synths, all kinds of effects, etc., are forms of expression which enable us to realize our current musical vision.

DoC: You have your own label, The House of What You See, that releases 0N0's music. What made you decide to self-release your music? Are you interested in working with other labels (as you did with Transcending Obscurity, who released the Cloaked Climax Concealed EP)? Do you foresee a time when you release other artists through The House of What You See?

∀: We are definitely interested in working with other labels in the future and the cooperation with Kunal of Transcending Obscurity was a pleasant and fruitful one. Things have been quite difficult for underground labels recently however as the pandemic hit globally and while we were discussing cooperation with some for the release of our third album, there were too many delays and obstacles in sight so we finally decided to put it out ourselves. The House of What You See was established out of necessity as a platform for releasing, promoting and distributing our music. It's not a label in the true sense of the word and we're not really planning on releasing music of other artists. The scale of the effort and time investment into running a proper label is immense and we're happy to leave such activities in the hands of people who are truly dedicated. We might release some of our own side projects in the future though.

DoC: On June 30th, you released your third album . When did you start working on this album? What were your intentions for this release? How would you compare this album to your previous ones?

∀: The music has been ready for quite some time now actually. We recorded most of it in early 2019 and the songs themselves are even older, we'd been playing Clay Weight and Shattering live well before recording the album versions. Mixing the whole thing took some time, but by early 2020, the record was mostly done. Unfortunately it took 2 more years to have the finished product in our hands. Music-wise the album is definitely similar to the previous one and the CCC EP. Two of the songs, Shattering and Wander the Vacant Twilight, were mostly written at the same time as the material for the previous album. The most important difference however is how the record sounds. We wanted it to be heavier, darker, with synths and samples taken slightly aback while envisioning our guitars as a wall of lacerating force to drive the album forward.

DoC: What can you tell me about the lyrics of the album? What sorts of topics and themes inspire you?

∀: There's an underlying theme connecting the lyrics on Unwavering Resonance. This was not deliberate on our side, it actually came to us quite naturally and while it's definitely not a concept album, lyrically all the songs somehow touch upon the nature of existence. Clay Weight and the title track are more overtly dealing with humanity and human experience respectively, the other two songs are slightly more abstract, but still very much connected to what we observe and experience as embodied forms in this physical realm. Our previous full length was dealing a lot more with transcendence and introspection in terms of lyrics, some listeners described it as a journey through a dream-like world, but despite this shift of focus, we tried to tap into the same metaphorical style of writing. We prefer our lyrics to be imaginative and oblique, some ideas are intentionally obfuscated, leaving room for personal interpretation and preserving some of that otherworldly quality.

DoC: Tell me about the recording process for Unwavering Resonance - where was the tracking done? Who is Angakok (Danky) Thoth, and what was his role in the recording process? What led you to send the album to Greg Chandler (from Esoteric and Lychgate) for mastering? What would you say Thoth and Chandler brought to the sound of the album?

⊥: The album was completely recorded, mixed and produced in our studio LU69, guitars were re- amped in Pulp Studio, Bratislava. It was a pretty lengthy and strenuous process and it took us a long time to layer and tweak the guitars, vocals, effects, samples, synths and drums until we were finally satisfied with the result.

∀: Danky (or Angakok Thoth / ::.: ) is our friend and my bandmate in Amen Tma, an experimental electronic duo. On top of that, he is a sound magician and an engineer with sharp ears and uncanny, almost compulsive attention to detail. We invited him in for the final stages of the mixing process to help us with cleaning up certain unruly bits and to bring back some of the brightness and definition that was lost while trying to make the record sound really dark and growly. The changes that he brought to the sound of the album were kind of subtle, but important from my perspective.

⊥: We chose Greg because he’s an experienced studio engineer, especially when it comes to heavy and complex, extreme music. Collaboration with him was really nice, he was very open-minded and willing to employ all our suggestions and ideas. We had wanted a darker overall tone of the recording since the very beginning, something along the lines of metal albums from the past which used to have their individual, characteristic sound. The tone of the album isn’t very contemporary and generic, I dare say.

∀: We don't mean to come off as condescending, it's a matter of our preference and we fully realize such an approach might not be to everyone's liking. The sound of the record is an integral component of the overall experience to us and should fit the mood and vibes that went into producing it. I'm quite sure that our next album will sound somewhat different again.

DoC: 0N0 is the first band from Slovakia to be interviewed on Dreams of Consciousness. What do you want people to know about the underground/metal scene there? What are some notable bands from the area that you think readers should know about?

∀: The scene is pretty small but lively, with people enthusiastically participating, producing zines, organizing shows in underground venues. There are definitely some interesting bands here as well, especially from the more extreme end of the spectrum.

⊥: If you're interested, you can check out some of our friends' bands like Cresset, Beton, Ceremony of Silence, 777 Babalon or Holotropic.

DoC: What's next for you?

⊥: Unwavering Resonance has been out for a month in digital and physical form of a 180g vinyl record. We are honestly pleased with how the records turned out, both visually and sound-wise. We also released a very limited batch of T-shirts in three colour variants. Anyone interested in supporting us can order the record and shirts, alongside 0N0's older releases via our Bandcamp: We’ve also been working on new compositions, actually we have already composed basic material for two more records which has yet to be refined, elaborated and materialized.

∀: As with our previous material, the plan is to finish the songs in a band context and hopefully play them live one day. We have not played a show in a long time and while we've never been especially prolific in that area, we definitely recognize the magic of being able to shove it all into an actual live audience.

Thanks again!

⊥: Thank you for the interview. Cheers!

∀: Thanks for supporting heavy music and bands around the world.

0N0 on Facebook

0N0 on Bandcamp

0N0 on IG

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