EMQ’s with AND NOW THE OWLS ARE SMILING
Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Norfolk, UK based Atmospheric Black Metal project And Now The Owls Are Smiling! Huge thanks to Nre for taking part!
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My name is Nre. I play all instruments in And Now The Owls Are Smiling, other than drums which are programmed. The project came from trying to find a way to channel feelings of misery and isolation into something useful.
How did you come up with your band name?
The name of the band comes from the rural area where I live. I see many Owls and thought that if they ever smiled at humans and were no longer afraid of us as a species, then the human race is doomed. There is a reference to this in the song ‘An Indictment’ on the new album, which incidentally are the first lyrics I ever wrote for the band.
What country are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
I live in rural England. North Norfolk to be precise! The scene around here is pretty non-existent. But in England as a whole, it’s great. The amount of really good black metal in the UK at the minute is exciting. There’s so much diversity. It’s thriving.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)
The latest release is an album, which was released on 1 November 2019 called “The Comforting Grip Of Misery”. It’s a study of depression, but also one of hope. How nature and tranquillity can play a huge part in lifting desolate spirits.
Who have been your greatest influences?
Too numerous to really nail down! But if you listen to And Now The Owls Are Smiling, you can hear a lot of Hermodr, Lustre, and Drudkh to name a few. Autumn Aurora by Drudkh held a massive part of shaping the sound at the beginning. I love traditional folk music too, so you can find a lot of that influence in And Now The Owls Are Smiling.
What first got you into music?
Hard to say! I started to learn guitar aged around 8 / 9. Ever since, I’ve always found great peace in playing and trying to learn as many instruments as possible. I wanted to have something useful to do in my spare time as a child. Art and music were huge passions of mine.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
That’s a really hard question as I like to work alone. It would depend on what the project was, but I don’t think it would be another metal musician. If I were to work with someone else, I would like to draw influence from a totally different musical sphere to what I currently do. Possibly someone like Steve Knightley! His songs are basically acoustic folk versions of And Now The Owls Are Smiling. Haunting, melancholy etc! That would be an interesting project to work on for sure.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Bloodstock! I don’t really like travelling too much, so Bloodstock would work for me. It’s a great festival and it’s 3 hours from where I live.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
I have never received any gifts from fans. I could make something up that sounds really wild and interesting, but I’m not about bullshitting anyone. So nothing!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Thank you so much for all your support. I hope you like what I’m trying to do and will continue to support all my future work. And also, send me some weird gifts so I have an interesting answer next time to the previous question.
If you could bring one Metal/Rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Quorthon or Peter Steele! Too hard to decide!
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Just picking up a guitar and playing it with no idea of what you’re trying to write. Just strumming and eventually finding a melody or riff that works. That’s pretty much how I write. I’ll sit and have no ideas but eventually something comes out and once you have that initial idea, everything flows from it. That’s absolutely the best thing about playing an instrument. What do I hate? Praise, and I don’t mean that to come across as ungrateful or dickhead-like, but I’m quite a shy person. When people tell me they really like what I do or ask for a picture or signature, I get really quite bashful and uncomfortable, as nice as it is.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I know virtually nothing about the industry. I just play and make music. Everything else is left up to other people and I like it that way. The least amount of people I have to deal with, the better.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Hermodr – “The Howling Mountains”
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Vinyl and CD’s!
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Probably London Deathfest around 2004 /5 can’t remember exactly when. It was with an old band at The Underworld in Camden. That was great fun. Either that or at the Dynamo in Eindhoven! Same band and again, was great fun.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
An artist possibly! Who can say? Musician is not a full time job for me at the minute so who’s to say what I would be doing. Definitely not a nurse or surgeon though as I’m terrified of needles!
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
People that would argue a lot so I could just sit in the background drinking and laughing. Dinner parties are not my thing so I’d like to disappear in the shadows and watch drama unfold. Anyone who would dislike each other’s company enough that they would fight and ignore me! That would be perfect.
What’s next for the band?
I’ve already started writing album 3 and have a very close friend coming up with all the artwork and design. It’s going to feel like much more of a ‘bigger project’ than anything I’ve done before. I’m also in contact with a drummer to session on the album for me as the ideas I have are just not going to work with programming drums. Plus, I detest programming drums so that works for me.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
I use Facebook and Bandcamp. I’m not really very technologically savvy, but it’s possible I may end up using Instagram if someone can show me how the hell it works and what you have to do.
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
I honestly couldn’t care less. I’m neither a cake or a biscuit person. But if I had to answer on pain of death, I’d probably say cake.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Nothing really! Just again to say thank you to everyone who has supported me so far and please keep doing so. I’m so proud of “The Comforting Grip Of Misery”. The easiest next step would be to make that album again, but the new direction my writing is taking is hopefully going to blow people away.
And stay miserable.
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