October 7, 2023. Stromwerk Dresden.
Interview with Eklatanz and Nathanael by Fani Nadki.
Last Saturday I had the opportunity to interview a leading figure in the current post-black metal scene: Heretoir.
The German band has just released their third studio album Nightsphere.
An overwhelming live experience that no one should miss.
Below you can get to know them a little better.
Don't miss the opportunity to enjoy this amazing band live.
Last week you celebrated the 15th anniversary of the release of your first demo. Can you summarize these 15 years?
I think a lot has changed since the very beginning. Apparently we became a band. Being a solo project in the beginning started in 2006 and then year through year, more people joined the band and we became a full band. And apparently with the new releases Wastelands and Nightsphere also when it comes to songwriting, we became a proper band where everyone contributes to the music.
Yesterday your third album “Nightsphere” came out. Can you tell us about the writing and recording process?
For us it was super interesting because for the first time, all the band members contributed to the album. We approached it that the overall structures came from me and David came in, put a lot of lead guitars in, thought about vocal lines and adding more layers on top. And Niels came in, changed the drums, put his own stuff in there and yeah, actually when we recorded it in the studio, a lot of magic happened because we were together there. It was super creative to work at the production with David and Justin and we had a lot of great ideas in the studio and worked there and I think was a super nice experience for us and we are super happy with the record.
Between NIghtsphere and Wastelands there was a gap of 5 years. Is it going to be like that for your next album?
I can definitely say it's always hard to do this, to say such things, but now we are in a state, I think, of songwriting when it comes to new material, where we can safely say that it won't take six years for the next record to come out.
I mean, we already recorded the drums for the next record. And the basic song structures are already done, so it's basically all about vocals and recording.
But the plan is to record it like maybe not next year, but 2025 or so. It won't take six years again, that's for sure.
And about tonight, it’s a really special lineup, are you going to play the full new album?
Yeah, I mean, of course, apparently we want to showcase some of the material from the new album, but still, we have so many shows, we have so many preparations for things. So playing the album in full, it's like also a lot of working out, the live arrangements, who plays what, and it takes a lot of time. So apparently we definitely will play something from the new album, but not the full album. That's what I can say.
This month you have a mini headlining tour. Are you planning more shows for the next few months?
Yeah, in this tour we also will play in Austria and Belgium and I think in the Netherlands. So we try to cover several countries. Of course, we would love to play all over Europe. And actually we would love to play everywhere. We have a little Latin American tour coming up next year, but yeah, we also have some plans for other countries in Europe, but at this point, we cannot speak about it.
But is the plan to headline these tours or play with someone else?
Like on this tour, we are headlining.
What is your favorite song to play live?
Eklatanz: Like, of our songs in general, of all the records? That's a tough one. For me, it might be the song called Heretoir because it's like the beginning, the whole song is super moody. The atmosphere is always there. And I really like the clean guitars in the beginning and then all the heaviness setting in. I really loved it, and I think it's just an emotionally super intense song and I really like to play it.
Nathanael: For me, it's the circle, Just because it's like a super long song, but there's so much emotion in it.
And I always lived through what was happening in my mind when the song was written. And yeah, it's very intense.
If you could choose a band you would like to tour with, which one would it be?
Eklatanz: I would say for me, I think Katatonia would be a very nice pick. One of many. There are several.
Nathanael: I mean, Katatonia, Alcest, Harakiri for the Sky, Der Weg Einer Freiheit... There are so many good bands out there.
What about going to the USA?
On the agenda, definitely. But I think it takes time to prepare everything. And I know that there are many people that want to see us there, but I think we want to take our time, prepare everything so we don't have a failed tour like many bands have, where visas didn't work out and not in time. And then you can go over and you announce everything and then it doesn't work out. So we want everything properly planned and.
We are really looking forward to playing in the USA. But we want to take our time.
There are so many bands at the moment it's hard to get any attention, how did they achieve success?
This year is definitely our year because we put out three records. We put out the re-release of the self-titled album, Wasteland and Nightsphere and we definitely want to tell the people, hey, we're back. We've been under the radar kind of for the last six years, but we've been writing so much material and been active behind the scenes. Andt now we want to really show the people that we are back and we want to be on stages around the world.
I mean, it would have happened earlier, but COVID came and so everything got delayed. But we want to hit the stages.
We're just trying to play good shows. Play many shows for many people. I mean, it's been kind of focused around a certain area this year, but of course, we try to spread our wings and play for many, many different people in many different countries.
What do you think of the VIP packages that bands offer, so that people pay to meet them and some special gifts?
Everyone can just come to the merch or come to us if they see us before. Yeah, we just talk to everyone. We're not superstars and we want to be cool with everyone who wants to meet us.
How do you balance your private work and your musical career, because I assume you don't make a living from music?
Nathanael: No, we would love to, but of course it’s very hard.
I mean, we're actually, like some of us are managing to do it in a way that works. For example, I work at the university and for me it's kind of easy to combine it with the band. I can focus on both things, but others in the band really struggle sometimes because of course, the passion is music and they want to put all they have into the music. But then there comes the need to pay your bills and then of course, you have to go to fucking work. A lot of people think, even for bands like us, that we can live from doing music and that's far from reality. But of course we try to use patreon and stuff like that to get some support.
Eklatanz: Same. I mean, I'm in this situation exactly. I have a full day job that I work many, many hours a week and I have a family. I have a daughter, a wife and I try to get all of that under one and it's hard, but there are phases like this. There were phases where the band wasn't active. It was still always active but not playing live a lot or something. And now it's just like, we're back and as a band in the middle segment, not a huge band or a super small band, I think it's the hardest to kind of manage that because you're trying to get bigger and on the same thing you have to, like you said, pay your bills. But we're working our way through that and we're trying to get to the next step.
Well, is that your dream?
I would still say so. Definitely.
We are full of dedication and we want to make it happen.
It's good, awesome. And for example, for you, what is the best and worst part of being in a band?
I think I can give an example from last week. We had a show in Hamburg and our guitar player got ill on the way. We were in the car and 2 hours later he was just feeling super bad. So bad that we had to leave him in the city where we were at that moment to get checked at the hospital.
And then we were like okay, now do we do this? We have no rhythm guitar today. And I recorded some guitars and stuff. It was a really wild day. But then in the end it was a super good show. So it's like the lows and the highs of being in the band can be so close.
Of course, it's always amazing to stand on the stage and see people react emotionally to your music. I see people either screaming or sometimes people crying. That's of course super intense. Just amazing to see. And actually there are not so many bad things about being in a band. But of course, all in all, it can be stressful and when things happen, like with someone getting ill on the way, that of course is not great.
And of course moments like whatever, I think the wildest memory was like Summer Breeze almost ten years ago where you have an audience of whatever, five or 6000 people in front of the stage and you end a song and then you hear so many people clapping and it was just super intense. Those moments are super special.
Great so that's it. Do you want to add anything else?
I mean, like you said, we're on tour in two weeks, so go there.
How are ticket sales going?
Well, I mean, apparently no venue has said we're canceling the show. No, it's going well. But of course we're happy about anyone who comes to see us and witness the new album.
Sounds great! Thanks a lot for the interview.
Thank you very much for the opportunity.