Tuesday, 2 September 2014

INTERVIEW: Nonamen



Permission, an EP by Polish metallers Nonamen, was recently featured on Femetalism.  The band are currently working on their debut full-length album but guitarist Maciek Dunin-Borkowski took time out to answer a few questions from yours truly.

So, how did Nonamen get together?

The beginning of Nonamen... after the break-up of my previous project (The Fallen Icon) I decided to create something on my own, that was in 2010. I was looking for right musicians  for almost 2 years. There were many changes in our line-up, some were accompanied by a sense of relief, some with tears, but I believe that the current line-up is strong, finally.

Can you tell us a bit about each member of the band?

Each member… so Hi, I’m Maciek, I play guitar (laugh). But seriously, beginning with ladies: Edyta Szkołut is our vocalist and she works as a computer graphic artist. Agnieszka Reiner plays violin and actually in the band she is the only one with music education behind. She also works as a professional musician. Grzesiek Kozikowski and Grzesiek Janiga form Nonamen's rhythm section - they are both music maniacs and exemplary fathers and husbands. As to me - as I said: I play guitar, and I try to keep the whole gang together.

Where did the name Nonamen come from?

Well, I've always been afraid of this question. There were many heated debates about it, even when the band was born. Nonamen was a compromise, a word devoid of meaning and does not have a tragic sound to it. By the way, it's often mispronounced: it's not actually two separate words "non" and "amen", but one word and the accent falls on the second syllable.

How would you describe your sound?

It's a tricky question. I think our music may be said to be non-standard. When bands have female vocals and violin they stereotypically  fit into the gothic or symphonic metal aesthetics. We're away from that also because Edyta's voice is rather aggressive. As to the sound, we rely on contrastive blend of violin and metal.

Your EP Permission was released in 2012. Can you tell us about the EP?

The EP material includes just three songs that go back to the very first line-up of Nonamen. After the band was reorganised in January 2012 we started working on our music afresh. The result was exactly Permission EP that we released without any label.

You are currently working on a full-length album. What can you tell us about the new release?

The material for "Obsession" is being mixed as we speak. It will be 10 new songs, about 50 min of music. The release will be much darker and more mature than our EP. As to the composing process: I bring in the raw material that we work on during our rehearsals - everyone chips in. Then the time comes for Edyta who works on the vocal tracks and the lyrics. She also designed the cover of the CD. As to the release date, unfortunately, we cannot give you the exact day. We hoped to join it with the release of our friends from a Polish doom metal band, Lacrima, but in the end numerous circumstances caused that we had to postpone it. We can only guarantee that it will be released in autumn - this year, of course.

We have seen your studio reports and it looks like you have had a lot of fun making the album. Where have you been recording and how has the process been?

Recording time in the studio is very tense, but we tried to enjoy it and keep the atmosphere cool and friendly. Because I myself work as a sound engineer in a small studio in Kraków - our material was recorded in my workplace. This gave us a lot of freedom and relative flexibility to do what we wanted.

What motivates you to make music?

I don't know actually. It comes out of its own. When I see people sharing my passion, I am much more motivated. Not to mention a situation when I see the audience who enjoys the music during our shows and reacts to it.

Which artists have influenced you?

I've heard that in the music I compose there is considerable influence of Opeth. I won't deny it - I love this band. I'm sure that Dream Theater, Symphony X or Porcupine Tree should be mentioned in this context… and movie soundtracks.

What do you enjoy most about playing live and which Nonamen song do you most enjoy playing?

Definitely the thing I enjoy most during our gigs is a chance to connect with the audience. This cannot be compared to anything, anything else! I particularly like playing the song that is at the end of the setlist, and actually is also at the end of our CD - that is: Emily.

Inspired by a recent guest article on Femetalism, I am interested in finding out more about the metal scene in other countries. Can you tell us about the metal scene in Poland?

Polish metal scene kicks ass right now. As to bands we have at least three very well-established groups: Behemoth, Vader and Decapitated. If you look at the line-ups of Europe's largest festivals, like Wacken Open Air or Brutal Assault you'll find them there. I think especially Behemoth's on top right now - and they deserve it, because they worked for it many years.

Then there are a few bands that are gaining more and more popularity as well… just to mention Obscure Sphinx and Lacrima. You have to see Obscure Sphinx live - the shrieks of the female vocalist, Zofia, send shivers down your spine. Lacrima has just been reactivated  - it’s the oldest Polish doom metal band and this year they played in Italy, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Latvia in the line-up of some really big festivals.

Then, there is black metal scene, which is very, very strong in Poland. Mgła that played at Brutal Assault this year is a fantastic band. They make depressive and genuine black metal.

The only problem is that we don't have large metal festivals. There were two editions of Metalfest, but the second one had so few people that I'm not surprised the organizers didn't make the third edition. There are some small underground fests, but they are small and their promotors cannot afford to get good, international headliners. It would be fantastic to have something like Brutal Assault or Masters of Rock in Poland

So what’s next for Nonamen?

I hope that after the release we'll play some shows in Poland and abroad, maybe we'll be lucky to play some festivals? We hope you'll keep your fingers crossed for that!

Massive thanks to Maciek for taking the time to talk to Femetalism about Nonamen - indeed our fingers are crossed for some festival appearances. Check out Permission and keep your eyes on the site for an update on the the release of the new album which is due for release later this year - we will let you know as soon as we can about the release date.

Follow the band on:

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Originally posted by Emma Sheridan on Femetalism.