NOCTURNAL RITES // official interview 2017 // AFM Records

After releasing their new album Phoenix in September, we recently met Nils Eriksson from NOCTURNAL RITES and talked to him about signing with AFM, their new album 'Phoenix' and the future plans for the band!

Congratulations with the new album release! A lot of time has passed since your previous CD saw the light of day. So, the first question is obvious: why did it take such a long time to come up with “Phoenix”?

Nils Eriksson: We never intended for the break to be this extended, to be honest. I think a lot of people had given up on us since we sort of just vanished in thin air. But we never quit, we always knew we’d finish the album. But we had some members come and go and in between that I guess “life” sort of happened. Some of us started families and got caught up in everything that comes with new responsibilities. Back in the day, Fredrik and I would meet up pretty much on a daily basis to work on new songs, but priorities change with new responsibilities. So, to sum up the past ten years, a lot happened but writing and recording the album got way too stretched out over time. 

You have recently signed with AFM Records for the current release. Though, almost all your back catalogue was at Century Media. What about this labels change?

Nils Eriksson: Since we’d been away for so long, we really didn’t have any obligations to any record label. I think it was important for us to start fresh this time around. Century Media has always been great to us, but coming back now, I think it was essential to turn the page. We wanted to work with a label that liked our music, this was the one and only thing we wanted to make sure when looking for a new “home”. for the band. We sent a couple of rough mixes to a bunch of labels and while many of them got back and were interested in working with us, AFM underlined that they’d been fans of the band for a long time and that really liked our entire catalogue. The response from fans and magazines has been overwhelming so far, so let’s see how far we and AFM can take this together. 

How could you describe your new studio effort? Is it a kind of “back to the roots” thing or you’d better call it as a “step forward”?

Nils Eriksson: Both, I think. We really never analyze anything when writing songs, we just go with it. I don’t think we’ve ever sat down and decided a song should be in this or that direction. When we write, what comes out sounds like Nocturnal Rites no matter how we twist and turn it around. I think it comes down to the fact that we’ve been the same core songwriting unit for such a long time, we just have our way of writing melodies that sound like us. I do think that “Phoenix” sounds fresh although you could pick it out like Nocturnal Rites out of a line-up any day of the week, though. Production-wise, it’s got a lot of layers and it’s by far the biggest and most thorough production we’ve ever done. I think it has all the classic traits of the band and then some – strong melodies, heavy guitar work and a really solid structure songs-wise. 

In spite of quite a long hiatus between the previous two studio albums you have almost kept your line-up stable (only guitar player has been changed). Moreover, there were not too many changes in your line-up since the very beginning (except vocalist Johnny Lindqvist, who joined the band almost 18 years ago). How can you manage to keep the basic line-up over the years?

Nils Eriksson: I think because we’re doing this because we like it. It’s not something we do for paychecks, we’re just a bunch of guys that like to record music together. It’s really that simple. We’ve always had a great time together, both in the studio and on the road.

Will you go on tour with “Phoenix”? What about setlist – do you plan to play mostly new stuff, or perhaps you’d like to dig deep in your old releases?

Nils Eriksson: Yes, we can’t wait to take this record to the stage and also of course do all the classics from our older albums. At this stage, we’re planning tours and shows, so there will be more info in a bit. But we have stuff in the pipeline for the spring and then a bunch of festivals lined up for the summer and also things planned for next fall. We’ll try to include material from all our records, like we always do. Its hard when you have nine records, but we have a pretty good idea of what the fans would like to hear. It will be awesome.

Nowadays the music industry has changed a lot. What are the major markets for Nocturnal Rites? Do you think that you still can reach some new audience or it is better keep your old fans united? 

Nils Eriksson: Yes, it certainly has changed and pretty quickly also. Just in the ten years that passed between our latest two albums, streaming and online platforms like YouTube have grown to gigantic players in music consumption. I think for metal and more fan-driven genres, there is still a market for physical albums, though. However, to me the important thing is to make sure the music reaches as many people as possible, regardless of how it’s distributed. And yes, I think we by all means have a chance to reach out to new audiences, especially now that music really is available to anyone at any time. I’m most happy about the fact that our own fan base seems more excited then ever, though. That’s the first and most important step.

What are your plans for the nearest future?

Nils Eriksson: Tour and simply have a great time. We can’t wait to get back on the road!


AFM Records Shop AFM Records itunes AFM Records music