Norilsk Interview with Metal Voice Magazine [April 5, 2015]

Posted by Nick Skog on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 Under: Interviews
Norilsk (Nic Miquelon) Interview with Metal Voice Magazine
Published: April 5, 2015

I love Canadian Metal. Why you may ask. Because I am Canadian, that's why! For those unfamiliar with Norilsk, they hail from Gatineau, Quebec. Playing a Sludgy, Doomy Death Metal style that everyone is really digging. I have not seen a negative review as of yet and there is a reason for this, they sound amazing! I had a moment to talk with front mand Nicolas Miquelon who is very busy promoting their new album "The Idea Of North" just released through their label Hypnotic Dirge Records, also from "The Great White North". Discover this great band, and read what is to come from!

Hello Norilsk - Please introduce your mighty band to the readers of The Metal Voice Magazine.

Hi Metal Voice Magazine. Norilsk is a French-speaking doom-death band hailing from Gatineau (province of Quebec), Canada. At its core, the band is Nick Richer on drums and backing vocals, and myself (Nicolas Miquelon) on bass, guitars and vocals. Live, we add two members on guitars.

And your history? There is not a lot of information we can read about it, so can you tell us the most important facts about it? 

I started writing music for what would become Norilsk in late 2011, and presented the songs to Nick Richer soon after. Back then, I was playing in a few other bands including Damnus (with Nick) and Kintra, but I wanted to revisit some darker, more old school influences. As we both listen to a lot of doom and doom-death, Norilsk was created very naturally. We entered the studio some time after and recorded both an EP, Japetus, and a full length album, The Idea of North.

As a follow up, could you please introduce your latest "The Idea Of North" effort. Maybe you can tell us a little something about the album?

The Idea of North was released on March 10, 2015 on Hypnotic Dirge Records (CD) and Dwyer Records (tape). It is named after a radio documentary by pianist Glenn Gould, where he put together various interviews of people talking about what it means to be living in the North. As Canadians, we saw these grim, melancholic, and cold stories as the perfect backdrop for our slow-moving music, and something that could bring a fresh perspective over the "winter themes" in metal in general. The album is a mix of doom, death, and sludge music. It is meant to have a huge sound and atmospheric qualities, but also minimalistic and very rough around the edges. There are equal parts melodies and sheer heaviness, and a certain variety of influences in there.

How does The Idea Of North compare to your previous EP from 2014 Japetus?

Both were recorded at the same time, therefore they have the same sound. The EP was released as an introduction to the band, as well as a teaser to the Idea of North. It had the track "Japetus", also featured on The Idea of North, and a different mix for the track "Potdam Glo". We also threw our own sludgy version of a Voivod song on the EP. The Idea of North literally takes the influences on display on the EP and expands on it--with occasional incursions into funeral doom, atmospheric, and post-metal territories. The Idea of North also builds on the visual we used for the EP, a 19th Century photograph of an ice shove in the port of Montreal. We asked artist Sam Ford to unleash his twisted imagination and transform it into a beautiful two-panel artwork, adding a lot of references to the northern regions into it.

Norilsk is quite an interesting name. Can you explain to us why you chose it and what does it mean exactly?

Because of our themes and our music in general, we wanted to use the name of a place located high up North, in Canada or abroad. After we started looking at names, it seemed a logical choice to adopt Norilsk, one of the northernmost cities, located in Siberia and famous for its heavy metal smelting complex.

Which songs off the album do you feel represent Norilsk?

I would say Japetus, Planète Heurt, or The Idea of North, because they are lengthy songs with a certain variety of riffs and structure, and because their lyrics have something in common with the theme of this album.

So how would you characterize your music in terms of the genre are you playing?

As far as composition goes, it definitely is doom-death in spirit, but there are some obvious sludge elements such as some of the riffs and the guitars sound.

What were your musical influences when growing up and where do you find inspiration now, both musically and lyrically?

My first heavy metal cassette was Iron Maiden - Piece of Mind, and I got it in the late 1980's. NWOBHM and thrash metal were big in these years, and soon after we jumped on board the death metal and extreme metal bandwagon. There were musical detours here and there, but I always listened to a wide variety of metal, either old school or recent bands--it would really be impossible to say which band influenced me the most. When it comes to Norilsk, Thergothon was one of the major influences, both for the music and the lyrics, along with Morgion, Morne, Shadow of the Torturer, and so many more.

How does the band work as a unit, in regards to discussing a musical direction, is there one person who writes most of the music or do all members add something and how serious do you take your musical art?

As mentioned earlier, Norilsk started as a personal project, and since we all have commitments with other bands, I kept the leadership of it for reasons of simplicity and cohesiveness. I wrote all music and lyrics, and Nick added his drum parts. Now that Norilsk has become a main band, I think it makes sense that I continue taking care of the business end of things, but it doesn't mean that the dynamic is meant to always stay the same.

To answer the second part of your question, I'm not sure what we think of ourselves, but we try putting as much efforts and professionalism as possible into it. This is why we recorded the album in two excellent studios, got a professional artist for the cover artwork, got a publicist and also why we approached labels to help us with the album.

It seems that you were all very comfortable in the studio. Do you feel that making this record on your own terms ended up in a better overall result?

We selected Mike Bond / Pebble Studios in Ottawa and Jean-Philippe Latour / Studio En-Phase in Montreal because we either had previous experiences with them or heard good things about them. These are guys like you and me, playing in other heavy bands, trying to pull the best out of you. We are pretty satisfied about how it turned out.

You have released your album through Hypnotic Dirge Records, how did this come about? How was the signing process?

The Japetus EP we released last year and the PR campaign that came along was really helpful, as it provided us with a fair bit of media coverage. We used it in our business case when we approached HDR, along with a few more arguments. We feel lucky because HDR was just putting together a new release plan, and they had an opening for a doom band. I don't want to speak for them, but I know there's only a certain number of albums they can release per year, no matter how many good submissions they receive. On our end, we are very happy because they are professional and dedicated, they believe in their bands and are always unearthing the latest unorthodox gems.

If you could select 3 Metal albums, that would be your top of all time what albums would they be?

This is a hard one, and my response would likely be different depending on which mood I'm in. As of today, if I had to pick only 3 metal albums, I would likely choose Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath, as this is a pillar for metal in general and still is a highly influential album today. I would also select Amorphis - Tales from the Thousand Lakes, for its complementary blend of influences, and because it is one of the albums that I spinned the most since the 1990's. Finally, I would probably pick Woods of Ypres - Grey Skies & Electric Light, for its evocative power and personal character.

It seems that you are all very ambitious and dedicated to your music, which is always a good thing. But what is it about Doom and Death Metal that makes you wanna play it?

This band is mostly a matter of opportunity. While we love all things doom for a number of reasons, including its thickness, heaviness, and general atmosphere, I think we didn't get to create Norilsk earlier simply because we were deeply committed to other bands before. Having said that, I find that playing doom after playing other genres is surprisingly liberating.

How do you find the scene in your country Canada? What bands would you recommend?

Like all types of extreme metal, doom is a relatively underground scene in Canada. Social medias help folding the distances, but except for maybe Montreal, the reality is that doom bands are mostly spread across the map, from one ocean to the other. You probably heard of the excellent funeral doom bands Longing for Dawn or Towards Darkness, and heavy-doom bands Cauchemar and Blood Ceremony. Among the other bands to keep an eye on are Funeral Circle, Altars of Grief, Zaum, and Show of Bedlam.

What's in the cards for Norilsk in the future?

Our intention is to play a few strategic shows with the live lineup, and book a small tour to support The Idea of North. There will be a vinyl release later this year, and we would also like to do a second music video, which should keep us busy in 2015.

Any last words? They are all yours...

We recently unveiled our first music video, for the song "Japetus". It is a collaboration with film producer Petr Maur, from Ottawa, and our drummer Nick Richer plays the main character. Check it out here: Thanks to you and to Metal Voice Magazine for this interview.

In : Interviews 

Tags: norilsk  death-doom metal  the idea of north  japetus  sludge doom" "canadian doom metal  gatineau quebec  my dying bride  morne  morgion