On their tour with Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, we got to meet Nico and Nikita of Der Weg Einer Freiheit. We got to talk about the reception of their new record Finisterre (you can read our review here), touring and the black metal scene in general.
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It Djents: How was the tour so far?
Nikita: Absolutely amazing! It all worked out very well from start to now. The French people are pretty awesome. We didn’t know them before, but we knew that we are the same age and come from the same scene musically, so that was pretty safe to work. Awesome guys, very good musicians, which is one of the reasons they are with us. The first days are always stressful to get the routine, but it goes quickly and works easily. Doing the tour management myself I had some work before, but this was all so easy going.
ID: Unfortunately Inter Arma had to cancel the tour and you decided to go on with local supports. How was the resonance? How many applications did you get?
Nico: We had unbelievably many. We filtered the applications and had to see where it’s even possible as some promoters said that they only want to do two bands then.
Nikita: Before the first day we made a full pre production and before that we listened to all bands and checked what fits best for us. But the amount, which was like 80 applications for 23 days, truly was high. Basically we decided to go with some friended bands to push them a little, and it overall was commited very well.
Nico: Of course we also looked for a support for the whole tour, but it was to heavy to find someone in this short time…
ID: And how resonates your new record Finisterre, are you happy with it?
Nikita: We are very, very happy. The visitors on tour, even in holland, have been overwhelming. There was on sunday and monday each 150 people. This shows us that the people are into it. But also the fans the media, etc. is overwhelming and throughout positive.
ID: That sounds awesome! I’ve seen you perform at Brutal Assault at night at 2 am in a tent and at Summer Breeze at 3pm and the experience was very different for me. How different does this feel for you?
Nikita: At Brutal Assault we had a very long drive and the whole venue was big and a bit confusing. We could eat, do an interview, watch some bands. And then it was already 00:00 AM and God Is An Astronaut played while we prepared our set. We haven’t expected, the whole tent was full and the atmosphere was overwhelming, as it was.
Both shows have been very big and getting us a lot of response. Basically the only difference was that the one show was by night which felt way more intense with the lights tho. It was 24 hours in the car, while only driving, but its all worth it at every show. There has never been a single show where we regretted those hours.
ID: Tell me, would you consider yourself a part of the black metal scene, or not?
Nikita: *Laughs* I think we are on the ridge. On the image, we are post or modern black metal, but speaking of songwriting I’m always inspired by the classics. This is why we have this aggressive and raw direction, while other post black metal bands as Deafheaven or Ghost Bath don’t have it. We have more of this old school black metal in our music. But on tour and in media we are more into the independent/new school scene. We met different persons who subconsciously guided us the way we went. If we might have met someone from a big true black metal label we might be more into this now. But to answer your question; we don’t see ourselves in a scene anyway. More as an individual band. We and our music are ourselves. There has always been this black metal scene codex, which we never wanted to stick to.
ID: So did you get not taken serious by some of those true black metal people?
Nikita: We still get, but its totally unimportant to us. I know of different sources that people don’t like us because of this. This is a paradox in the whole scene and it’s stupid.
Nico: Black metal has a special scene and you risk a lot, when performing in only white cloths or something. But you know about this when you start doing music like this. Some people within the true black metal scene are angry about the fact that we play in normal street clothes. They really don’t like us because of this, whilst there are a lot of different problems to solve before.
ID: Do you usually have a lot of black metal scene-y people in your crowd?
Nikita: It’s pretty mixed. Earlier there have been more proper black metal people, as you expect them. Which maybe is based because we had no image, they only knew our music, which was more raw and we had no photos or videos. But over time they kinda realized that we are simply normal people. There might be some who distanced from us, but still liked the music, which is the stupidity behind it. – Now it’s mixed. I realized on this tour that the haircuts are getting shorter, haha. I use to sometimes scan the people when I am on stage sometime. And I realized how many people looked normal. Short hair, probably came after work and not those cowl and rivets corpsepaint people. I think the style kinda gets lost, which might be an anxiety from the scene. Maybe the true black metallers think that their scene is dying, because bands like us are coming more into a spotlight and going places. We also have a nostalgic feeling sometimes, but black metal from the 90s isn’t the same as today. The sound, the thoughts, it’s almost 30 years of difference now.
ID: Did you ever thought about catching the train and going more into a post black metal direction?
Nikita: I don’t let myself influenced from genre similar bands or records. It’s all music inspiring me. I never take a specific record and listen to it to get inspired, because I really don’t want to sound like another band. Indeed I love listening to classical music, like Chopin or Bach. Which has nothing to do with our music on first look, but on second. The chord progressions and composition in classical music are perfection. And I want to do the same with our music. I want it always to sound good. There should never be a moment where someone thinks it would be boring.
ID: So tell me, what are your most black metal influences?
Nikita: I have to say that Emperor are totally classical when it comes to riffs, harmony and progressions. Anthems To The Wekin At Dusk is still one of the best black metal records I think. It’s so good and logically composed. But also Storm Of The Light’s Bane by Dissection. On the German side it might be Nagelfar and Orlog, which are quite unknown, that inspired me. Orlog’s record Elysion really is a true milestone for me!
Nico: Classics like Dark Throne or Dark Funeral. Even if it’s not true black metal I would also say Behemoth. The first record Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic), the one you can’t properly hear anything, haha. In Germany it was Endstille who brought me into the genre. I always loved this cold and dark atmosphere. Woe from the States and also our new friends in Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, if you wanna categorize them as black metal!
ID: Do you also think that the whole black metal genre is in a kind of hype at the moment?
Nikita: Yes, for sure! There are always more bands that combine more things with it. There is atmospheric, post and more black metal. But within Death Metal it’s not that much of variety, there’s melodic death metal sure and atmospheric as Fallujah for example. But I think black metal is good to experiment with, and combine with more and more genre. Maybe this is why it’s coming up at the moment and catching the people. It’s somehow new, but still has the anti-character on it’s meta-level.
ID: Could you imagine doing a record without any screams and go with full-on clean singing?
Nikita: I think that could actually work. Or maybe I’d try some new technique, like overtone singing. I can’t do it, haha, but I try in car while driving. I really like it, you can’t do lyrics, but working with it as an addition instrument would be insane. And speaking of only clean vocals: if it’s good, it’s good. As Lantlôs, the current record is clean throughout and it’s fucking insane. There have been big claims, but if they like it and it’s good, then it’s perfect.
ID: It definitely always polarizes and a lot of bands got the same issue with their fans, as Lantlôs did as well!
Nikita: I probably won’t make friends, but screaming is not singing. Screaming is a different instrument; it’s more rhythmically orientated, while singing is a melodic instrument. I always wanted to try it, and did on the song “Repulsion“ (off Stellar), as a trial – even if it’s more breathy. On the new one, I wanted to do something epic, almost screamed, and I am super surprised that it sounds that good and that it works live as well!
ID: So how do you see the crowd reacting to it?
Nikita: I have to admit, I mostly close my eyes while singing. But our technicians say that most people are totally caught by it, as no one really expects clean vocals. Still there are people who go on concerts who don’t know the music, so it might come suprising then. The feedback has been good, which I am very happy about it, because it’s still challenging at every concert.
ID: Is there something you would like to add?
Nikita: To everyone who purchased a copy, comes to our shows and buys something; it really means a lot to us! Also all the messages we get. We read everything and write back most of the time, even if we are on the road and busy. It pushes us to follow on what we do!
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Der Weg Einer Freiheit are, as stated above, currently on tour with Regarde Les Hommes Tomber; follow them on Facebook for the remaining tour dates and other updates. Their new album Finisterre is available for streaming on all major platforms (and physically here), so if you haven’t already, do go and check it out – it’s worth your attention!