Veiled is one of the most interesting bands that I heard during the course of this year. A revelation, responsible for the creation of one of the most finely manufactured black metal albums (since making music is also a manual, artisan task, in conjunction with certain alchemy skills). The power of absorption and the power it has to submerge the listener in a cluster of sensations as dreamlike as totally dark is unique. I have to say that I had the hhonourof speaking with Nathan, also known as Niðafjöll, the mastermind of the project conceived together with Dimman, drummer of Grá and Cursed 13, among many other bands. Nathan, thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview. I welcome you, from all the staff of Blessed Altar Zine.
And It seems fair to start from the beginning. Veiled starts almost four years ago, if I’m not wrong, but with another name. “Gnosis of The Witch”. What was the reason for this change?
Veiled officially began in 2015, but prior to that, it was under the name Gnosis of the Witch. Reason for the change is that I no longer had anything left to say lyrically or offer musically with this band. It was more or less a restriction instead of a liberation. So I ended GOTW and formed Veiled.
Being “Gnosis of The Witch” you could get to record some very interesting EP’s and a split with Grá, which should be a very precious collection object among underground black metal fans. Do you remember any interesting anecdotes of this era?
The music for GOTW was written during a very dark period in my life, so there really isn’t anything found to look back on personally. I am very glad that time in my life is over with and a new path has been made with Veiled. But, if I had to pick a shining light during my time creating music with GOTW it would absolutely be sharing a release with my brothers in Grá.
With Veiled already confirmed, you record your first Full Length with a legend of Black Metal: Heljarmadr, as a producer. How was it working with him?
Very demanding and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Heljarmaðr as well as Dimman both pushed me to perform to the absolute best of my ability and I truly feel that shows in the music. Nothing but perfection was tolerated and the very long days and nights staring at the same four walls was absolutely worthwhile considering the end result.
In fact, I think that the sound achieved in “Black Celestial Orbs” is monumental. The production plays a very important role. My first reaction, to hear it, was to think that you had achieved a perfect mix between American and European styles, specifically of Swedish Black Metal. What result did this work have for you?
Thank you! I greatly appreciate that. I am a musician who proudly wears my influences on my sleeve. It doesn’t take much for others to hear that the black metal bands from Scandinavia have greatly inspired the music I make, particularly the early wave of bands from the 90s, and of course, my main influence is Bathory.
The atmospheres achieved in the album are, in some way, what makes these compositions stand out. Can you consider the album within the Atmospheric Black Metal genre, or do you not believe in these categorizations?
Absolutely! If there is a tag I would gladly put on Veiled, atmospheric black metal would be the one. Creating an atmosphere is the main focus when I write music. I try my best to write hypnotic and trance-inducing music to draw people into my world.
Have there been other artists, outside of extreme music, that have influenced your work when recording the album?
My influences are pretty simple. Bathory, Burzum, and Katatonia. That’s all I need.
I asked you that because I was pleasantly surprised to hear that you used other unorthodox ideas, such as jazz patterns in the song that gives title to the album. This arose spontaneously or was it something premeditated?
That was an idea that happened spontaneously in the studio! Dimman is a phenomenal drummer and he really put in the effort to be creative and let his style become as much a part of the music as the riffs do.
Can I ask you something more personal? How do you project Veiled, in the near future? What do you intend to achieve with the band?
Veiled is my life. Music is all I want from this existence. I will push Veiled as far and as high as I possibly can, and then ride it until I can’t hold my guitar any longer.
Are there other activities that you do, that prevent you from focusing on the band, or do you dedicate yourself 100% to the music?
Well, nothing prevents me from focusing on Veiled. When it is time to work on music or devote time to work on Veiled, nothing gets in the way and that is how it should be. That being said, I, of course, have other interests aside from music.
How do you see the state of extreme underground music today? Specifically of Black Metal.
I think the black metal scene has really grown and become something to behold these days. There are so many good bands out there creating excellent music (I’m looking at you Grá, Vemod, Domgård, and Uada in particular). The underground always has something to offer if you are willing to look.
Could you tell us what Black Metal means to you, and why did you decide to use it as a means of expression?
Black metal to me is much more than just a style of music. It is a way of life, a way of communicating via sonic invocations. Black metal resonates within me because it perfectly mirrors the way I see the world. There is a certain beauty within the dark that can be harnessed and crafted into music. Black metal chooses it’s messengers, not the other way around.
The lyrics of Veiled tend to focus on concepts and themes with a great mystical content, perhaps invoking certain abstract forces that have little to do with the everyday life of the vast majority of people. What is your opinion of this era of the humanity we are living in, so tending to focus on false values and exacerbated materialism?
To each their own. I do not worry about the lives of others in any way shape or form. I have my own path forged and that is where my focus lies.
Is there a message you want to tell a large number of people who are reading this and who have enjoyed “Black Celestial Orbs” so much?
To everyone who has given our music a listen and has supported what we do, thank you. It is greatly appreciated.
Nathan, thank you so much for giving us your time to do this interview!. I hope you continue to be successful in your projects and that your band continues to grow. I hope that “Black Celestial Orbs” continues to have the acceptance it deserves and that more people can agree to listen to it. A big greeting to Simman and the guys from Grá!. My regards.
Interview by Sergio