Voices from the underground:
Conversation with slovenian black metal project Noč
When I started my conversations with Jan, the body and soul of experimental black metal project Noč, it was the most ‘underground’ musical initiative that I ever talked to. In february Noč had three demos, at Bandcamp, and no FB page. It was something like a secret, a treasure lost in the web. Demo III, the album that captivated my attention with a very interesting and mysterious artwork, had a physical private pressing of 20 copies that Jan would give for free ‘face to face’, a signal that he was not hoping to break the limits of his country – and was a great surprise to know that the copies were not sold out! We talked for three months and in this meanwhile Noč released two other ‘demos’ and reactivated his FB page – which shows how dinamic could be the intimate life of an artist.
GM: What’s your age?
Jan – I am 19 years old.
GM: How do you describe your sonority?
Jan – If by “sonority” you mean my music, my sound, I’d say I always strive to create something honest and true to myself, through the music, and through the lyrics.
GM: What’s the meaning of ‘Noč’? is there any story behind the choice of this title?
Jan – It’s the Slovene word for night.
GM: I know that ‘genres’ could be a little limitated, but how would you describe your music in this field?
Jan – I guess I’d say black metal, with a lot of ambient passages and experimentation thrown in, and whatever else I feel like making.
Jan – You could categorize it as DSBM, yes, but that wouldn’t be the first word I’d use to describe my music.
GM: What is your first musical memory? And when you started to enjoys music?
Jan – When I was a young child I remember my father playing his old vinyl of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon to me. That’s probably the first time when music really had a deep impact on me, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
GM: You released three demos (though I’ll easily would call then albuns) in 2015. When you started this project and how many time do you spent in each release? They are separated and individual releases or they have some connection?
Jan – Well, making music, making an album, is a long process for me, and I’m always creating something. I don’t really know how much time I spend on an individual album, but it doesn’t really matter to me as long as the final product is something true to my “vision”. I like the chronological progression of Noč’s music as a body of work (Demo I, II, III, …), and although every album I record is meant to be able to stand on it’s own, yes, the albums are connected in many ways, most of which aren’t very obvious to the listener though, at least not on a first glance.
GM: All your works were released in 2015, but I imagine that you should have started before this.
Jan – Well Noč’s Demo was released in January, so most of that was done before 2015, but the other two albums/Demos were written and released in 2015.
GM: Noč is your first musical project?
Jan – I’ve played in various bands before, but Noč is my main project, and the one I really pour my soul into.
GM: When you decided to make music and what was your pretensions?
Jan – I’ve always been a very introspective and creative person. And music was, for a long time, really the only thing that made sense to me in life. I think it was just a matter of time before I started making my own. There was never a single moment where I decided “I’m gonna make music”, it just kind of happened, although I didn’t know what I was doing, and it started evolving. And it’s still always evolving. But I still don’t really know what I’m doing haha.
GM: Tell us about your creative process.
Do you record everything at home or do you make it on a studio? What instruments do you use?
Jan – My creative process would be very hard to describe. I have absolutely no “cast in stone” certain way of doing things, and the way I write songs, and even record them, differs from album to album, from song to song even. I also record everything at home, so this sort of chaotic no-rules approach to making music, while quite time-consuming, also kind of forces you to experiment and find new ways to create. The instruments I use are guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, voice, and sometimes field recordings of the world around me, but I have to say that what instruments I use doesn’t really matter to me. I actually prefer using old, broken instruments and things like that, as that takes the focus off of the technical aspect of creating and forces you to truly center on the sound. I really don’t care what I use and how I use it to create music, as long as the finished product is something I’m happy with. It’s all experimentation and improvisation, and from this giant mess of a creative process I slowly sculpt songs, like a sculptor slowly chips away at a piece of stone without quite knowing what the final sculpture will look like. Everything changes and evolves, right up until I think the album is finished.
GM: Great to know!
It’s normal to a band/project release one demo, maybe two, and then a full-lenght. Indeed, the Demo II is short, but the Demo III easily could be called “album”. Will you ever make it?
Jan – I think of my releases as albums in the sense that they are all mostly pretty long and complete works, but I like the simplicity of the title “Demo” I, II, III, IV, …, and that it doesn’t tell you anything about the piece of music until you actually hear it. About the “album” title thing, I don’t really know, we’ll see.
GM: Where do you get the art for your albuns?
Jan – I make it myself, photographing, designing it and all, apart from the cover of Demo III, which is just a really old photo that holds a lot of meaning to me.
GM: Have you looked for labels to release your albuns?
Jan – I’m not really into seeking out people and sucking up to them.
GM: For the Demo III you done a limited run of tapes. Would you like to release a formal cd or vinyl, in the future?
Jan – Probably only if there’s a lot of interest from listeners, or labels. But I actually enjoy releasing just 20 tapes, taping each one myself, and that kind of shit.
GM: Are satisfied with the recepction of your albuns
Jan – I don’t really care for that. I have no way or want of influencing it, other than making my music. Let people make their own opinions.
GM: Would you like to get bigger or do you think your music is so extreme that you will never leave the underground?
Jan – I can’t and don’t want to control the popularity of my music. I’ll stick to making my music, and if people listen to it and it leaves an impression on them, that’s cool too.
GM: I love covers and versions – so I always ask to my guests: there’s some classic or popular song you would like to make a very personal version????
Jan – I like song covers that aren’t just trying to be a replica of the original. Making a song that’s the band’s own interpretation of the original is more interesting to me. If I’d do a cover I’d probably go that route, and record a song by The Smiths, or Daniel Johnston, or something like that.
GM: What’s the album you listened more in all your life?
Jan – It’s very hard to pick just one, maybe Ode to Quetzalcoatl by Dave Bixby.
GM: What was the best album of 2015?
Jan – Scar Sighted by Leviathan.
GM: Finally, there’s some obscure or underground band you would like to recommend?
Jan – Extreme Smoke 57 from Slovenia [check this insane guys here].
GM: What about the future???
Jan – Soon Demo V will be released.
GM: It was a immense honour to talk with you and, for sure, I’ll follow your steps for a long time!
Jan – Well thanks for listening, I wish you all good with you website and PADLA JE NOČ.
GM: Once you released a new title, very different from your last demos, I would like to make some new questions: in the ortodox black metal scene the hip hop is not well seen; otherwise, there’s some projects trying to break this boundaries, by the way we have some interesting initiatives like this here in Brazil. Your music is far from the ortodox, of course – but I wish to know about the creation of this Demo IV (once more the lyrics are in slovenian and I can’t read).
Jan – Other than the obvious change in style there isn’t really much to say. And the lyrics, especially in this style, can’t really be translated in a way that they would make sense, but like most all other Noč lyrics, they describe internal struggles, fears… in an abstract sort of way. More than taken literally they’re meant to represent thoughts and emotions.
Listen and support Noč at Bandcamp.
Follow Noč steps at FB!