It has become increasingly rare for metal musicians to pour their emotions into the music they create. For Nimbatus, one of the most mysterious and captivating one man bands we have encountered, it comes so naturally. We were lucky enough to have some time with the man, the composer, the enigma. Find out what goes into writing a Nimbatus EP, where his inspiration comes from, and why you are unlikely to ever see a live show.
First and foremost, thank you so much for this opportunity. We appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions about your work.
Thank you very much for having me. Nimbatus is only a small and not well known project and I am glad you're giving me the opportunity for this interview.
Being in a solo band project, I imagine that there are a lot of ups and downs when it comes to writing and recording an album. What would you say are some key advantages and disadvantages to being a one man band?
The biggest advantage is certainly being able to work on your music whenever you find the time. Especially when you're doing your art at a non-professional basis. It is sometimes very difficult to fit your hobby into your normal life schedule that comes with a regular job. Another point is the ability to do whatever you want to do without any arguments with other band members. You simply do what you think fits the actual song or what your mind or heart tells you. There are no real limits to what you are creating and only your own creativity limit the actual outcome of your work. The debating process within a band can be very creative when you do it in an open minded brainstorming style, but mostly it only leads to endless and tiresome discussions that might only kill any creativity. But please don't get me wrong, when you work on your own you always have to debate with yourself and watch your outcome with a critical eye to ensure a certain quality. That might sometimes lead to the point where you get frustrated because you're not sure about the direction a song you work on might take.
It’s interesting to have to find you’re lyrics through the notes you play. Where did you come up with some of the track titles from your new EP “Transitions?”
At the time I was working on “Transitions” I went through a really hard and emotional time in my life. There were many ups and downs and a lot of uncertainty about the events that took place during the writing and recording process. All four songs were conceived while I was struggling with these emotions, good and bad ones at the same time. When you listen to the songs, you can certainly feel and hear the mood changes. Actually all the songs were recorded in exactly the same order as they appear on the record. And the titles depict the events and thoughts I had at the time I recorded them. For example the song “Enter the Path” emerged when I was about to enter the path that in the end lead to the new life I now live.
In that same vein, have you ever considered adding vocals to your music? Do you have any vocal experience yourself?
Actually I have considered it. That's when the collaboration with Malinconica from Sicily started. Unfortunately we were only able to record one song together so far. I didn't hear from her in a while now and I hope she's fine. Sometimes I feel like vocals might be able to enhance the listening experience at certain parts of the songs. But then again I think to record songs only as instrumentals is somehow unique in the metal genre and many people encourage me to keep on going without any vocals. This way you can really focus on the lead guitar and whoever is listening can put their own thoughts and emotions into the songs.
A lot of your melodies follow a dark set of patterns however are also brightened by calm gorgeous riffs. During the writing process, where do your inspirations come from?
I never really thought about that. Usually I just sit down, take my guitar and start to play. As my mood has certainly an influence on how and what I play, I'd say the biggest influence is my actual life at that point. Plus something I listened to before might have inspired me. Most of the times after playing for a while I come up with something that seems to be listenable and I start to record that idea as a rough demo to prevent myself from forgetting about it. From that on I start to develop the song around that certain idea, starting with the drums to set the rhythmic character of the song. With the drums recorded I can totally focus on the final guitar tracks. I use a lot of layers to get a dense sound with a lot of harmonic and sometimes disharmonic content. I never had any education in music theory, I have the sound I want in my head and I play around and add stuff until I am as close as possible to that idea.
You sell your new EP “Transitions” as a downloadable MP3 through your Bandcamp site. Have you considered making physical copies, or is the cost vs. reward just too hard to work out?
Unfortunately these days I don't think there is any reward for small bands in offering physical copies anymore. As much as I love to buy albums from my favorite bands as a CD with a real artwork and booklet and maybe even as a limited edition containing additional material, I can't afford to produce physical copies that almost nobody would buy. I know of some bands who tried to sell there small scale batches of 200 to 500 physical copies that cost them a lot of money. But they usually ended up with the costs not getting covered by the sales. It is hard enough to sell your music when you're known to some extent, but it's almost impossible when you are as small as Nimbatus. The investments needed to record my music are big enough without any further money I'd have to put into the production of physical copies. Furthermore besides MP3 Bandcamp offers the music in FLAC format with lossless compression. FLAC files are a bit by bit representation of the master files, so the listener doesn't have to deal with any sacrifices in audio quality in comparison to an actual CD.
If it isn't too forward to ask, what kind of sales/download numbers have you seen for your albums to date? Have you seen a growing support of your music, even in this the age of piracy?
Honestly, despite all the positive feedback I received, sales are disappointing. The first three albums are available as free downloads. I changed that with the new EP “Transitions” though the price is so low it would still almost count as a free download. I thought I would be able to cover some of my expenses by doing so. But it seems like many people prefer to download my music through “alternative” channels. I started Nimbatus without any intentions to make money. The whole project is based on my personal motivation on making music. The feedback I receive from fans is what keeps me going. But really, I guess I would continue making music even without one single person listening to it.
Have you considered touring at all this year? Would you be able to put together a touring band?
Nimbatus is and will ever be a studio project. I would consider myself as being a bit restraint and I don't like to be the center of attention. I like to work in the studio on my own. I don't want to see my personal self in the picture and prefer the music to speak for itself. This being said, as I do all of this in my free time while having a regular life with a regular job it would be almost impossible for me to tour at all. Plus I'd need to find the right people to be able to perform the songs on stage. I know there are some people who would like to see my music performed live and try to encourage me in doing so. I am sorry to tell them that it is highly unlikely to ever happen. On the other hand, I often hear that the whole project seems to be kind of mysterious because I don't give away many details about myself. I'd like to keep it that way.
You list that you do all of your own writing, recording, mixing, and mastering. How long have you been working with music, engineer wise? Have you ever mixed or mastered other artists work?
For me writing music was always combined with the recording process. I was always very interested in the whole technical aspects and I always wanted to achieve good sounding productions. So I started to record my own songs many years ago. It seems like I developed some skills over the years that are good enough to record my music. But I never recorded other artists though sometimes I think I should at least try it. So, if you're reading this and want to get your track mixed feel free to contact me.
How long have you been a musician? Would you say that you play a certain instrument best or do they all come pretty natural to you?
I'm now actively into music for more than 25 years. At the time I started to develop a certain interest into writing songs I only used synthesizers and computers to create the sounds I had in my head. Later on I realized that I am much more into handmade music though I still use keyboards until today to make the overall sound more interesting. So I started to learn the guitar and that is when it all began. Years ago a friend of mine and I tried to found a band. It never really worked out, but at that time I had to replace the drummer a few times and it came to me pretty naturally. But until today the guitar is my main instrument and sometimes I wish I'd be able to find the time to practice some more.
If you had to name three guitarists that have influenced you the most who would they be and why?
There are certainly many influences in the way I'm playing the guitar and I am confident that every single piece of music that you ever heard and liked in your life will leave an impression of a various degree. But I never really tried to copy the style of any guitarist out there, though I often heard that I sometimes sound a little bit like I listened a lot to Joe Satriani. Well, I certainly don't because my playing skills are much lower than his and I would never compare myself to him. If I had to pick one guitarist I'd say it's definitely Mikeal Akerfeldt. I love the way he plays especially because he is not into playing as many notes as possible in a given time frame but tries to feel the music and every single note he picks. And in my opinion that is exactly what music is all about... emotions.
With your new EP out now, what is next on the horizon for you and the Nimbatus project? What can we expect in the coming months?
For the last few weeks I was working on the sound for a new album. I never use mixing templates that I would reuse for every album. That would only lead to albums that sound too similar. Instead every album I start from scratch before I get into the writing and recording process itself. Only a few days ago I started recording a new song and so far the outcome is satisfying. So I guess I'm right in the middle of the production of a new album that will most likely be released later this year. I'm still debating if I should stick to the EP concept, so people wouldn't need to wait for new material to be released for long. But I haven't decided on that yet and I will see how the recordings develop over the next months. If everything goes well, the new album will have the biggest sound of all and will show a new side of Nimbatus and some new elements never to be heard in that extent before. There might be some surprises!
Thank you again for being a part of this, and for sharing your music and insight with us. We are looking forward to your next release!
Thank you for this interview and your support! I really appreciate your interest in my music!