Hello Fernando and welcome to Brutal Resonance! Let's start off with the basics since we never interviewed you on the site before. Who is in Nahtaivel, what do they do, and what are three of your favorite albums of all time?
Fernando: Hello. First of all, thank you very much for having me on Brutal Resonance. Nahtaivel is the electronic solo project of Fernando Nahtaivel. I make very harsh and aggressive electronic music with a very strong black metal influence. Live, and when I need guitars in the studio, I also have the help of Luis Ferraz (RazorB). I have released several albums since 2002 and I like to explore dark themes and sounds in my music.
It's difficult to choose just three albums, and they change from time to time. But I can say that I love Mercyful Fate's "Don't Break the Oath", Depeche Mode's "Music for the Masses", and King Crimson's "In the Court of the Crimson King". They're always in heavy rotation in my house.
Nahtaivel has a history dating back to 2002. When did the idea of Nahtaivel first come to you? And when did the project officially begin?
Fernando: In the late 90s I started making some instrumental ambient and dungeon music tracks for pleasure and for metal bands to use as their album intros. I also recorded some of those songs on cassette and made a few copies. At the same time it started to become really easy to record everything at home with the help of standard computers. So after a while I decided to record some songs and released them free on the internet, something that was not very common back then. My first album, from 2002, was one of the first albums released in that way in my home country. Nahtaivel was also a project where I could record songs that didn't fit in my various extreme metal bands.
Order your copy of "A World Below" above!
The name Nahtaivel surely is unique. Where did you get the name from and what does it mean?
Fernando: Back in 1996, when I started my black metal band Insane Devotion, I realized that I needed a pseudonym. It was a standard operating procedure for black metal bands, hahaha. So I wrote several options on paper, lots of demons names, some of them written backwards. Nahtaivel sounded cool to me. So I started using this pseudonym in everything that I was doing. When I started my solo project it was natural to use that name. It has no special meaning, it's just Leviathan written backwards, and that makes it sounds like an angel's name. I thought it would be appropriate to use a name that could be mistaken for the name of an angel, but it is actually the name of a demon.
Your debut album, 2002's "Paradoxical Libertine Symbiosis", is completely different from any of your other releases. It is a neo-classical, almost fantasy driven piece. What prompted you to switch from that to dark electro?
Fernando: On my first album I wanted to do something influenced by the instrumental tracks of Dead Can Dance. But I've also always loved the sound of analogue synthesizers and bands like Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk and Jean Michel-Jarre too. I wanted to make a more Satanic version of the kind of music they make, something dirtier and heavier, electronic music with an extreme metal feel. However, I had no money to buy anything analogue or virtual analogue like Nords and Viruses. I only had access to romplers synths, like those cheap Yamaha and Roland budget keyboards. So I had to do what I could with those crap keyboards. Hardware has always been expensive in Brazil. But after I released my first album, in 2002, I had access to virtual analogue synthesizers, like Propellerhead Reason and other VST's. So I was able to make electronic music very inexpensively, using computer simulation. My "Opus 93" album was done entirely in the box, without any external hardware. But from "The Killer Speaks" onwards I started using hardware, such as Nord Leads, modular synths, Dave Smith and Arturia instruments, etc...
Throughout the years, you had a couple of albums and EPs released such as "Opus 93" and "Epicus Doomicus Electronicus". What album or EP do you think defined Nahtaivel's sound and why?
Fernando: I think "Epicus Doomicus Electronicus" is my best work, it better defines what I wanted to achieve and what my project is about. It has a strong sci-fi atmosphere, it is dark, it has distorted and processed vocals, and it has an overall epic feel with its use of powerful sampled drums together with analogue and modular synthesizers. If someone asks me where to start to get to know my music, I always answer to start with "Epicus Doomicus Electronicus". It's the album I'm most proud of.
In 2021, we see yet another new direction for the project. "A World Below" is your latest EP out on Insane Records. Start off by telling us what the cover art is supposed to represent and what it means.
Fernando: The cover art was painted by a Brazilian artist called M‡rcio Blasphemator. For me it represents the empty face of death. Death is something that everyone has been forced to deal with since last year. Due to this pandemic we talk about death every day. We see in the news the number of deaths increasing exponentially. We can smell it everywhere. Normally we don't need to face it so often. But since 2020 we have to see its face, to think about it, and fear it almost every time we watch the news, when we do mundane things like going to the supermarket and when we touch our most beloved ones. This EP and cover are about it. About the death watching us from inside our thoughts.
And what does the title "A World Below" reflect upon? Is it a statement against the world in the past year or so?
Fernando: Exactly. We are dealing with a major crisis, and what are many of us doing about it? We are just thinking about ourselves. If we are not in the risk groups, we are not concerned that we can infect other, more vulnerable people. If I'm a politician, I'm not concerned with helping and saving the people of my nation, I only think about how to use this crisis politically to my advantage. If we live in a rich country, we don't mind our government buys all available vaccines and leaves nothing for poor countries. At the beginning of the crisis, some people thought we would do better than we did. But they were wrong. The pandemic is showing the worst side of humanity, we could do better, but we won't. We are going to come out of it worse than we entered. We live in a world below.
The songs on "A World Below" have a much more dark, noisey vibe to them with stretched out synths. This is contrasted to your former work with dark electro dance music. Why did you decide to change your approach?
Fernando: I think this change in approach started with the "Epicus Doomicus Electronicus". The three albums that came before it, "Pon Farr", "Midnight Sessions" and "Killer Speaks", have songs designed for the dance floor. They were made in a time when I was really into the rave culture, attending parties where mostly Israeli, psy-trance projects performed. Projects like Infected Mushroom, Skazi, Astrix, GMS, Eskimo, Rinkadink. They were always playing in my city. So I absorbed this influence and put it in my music. However, after some time I started to get bored with the four on the floor formula, I wanted to explore new genres and elements, so I begun to distance my music from the dance floor formula. And in this new EP, "A World Below", I wanted to take this new direction to a new level, with heavy use of distortion in order to create an oppressive feeling.
You decided to have a song of yours 'Endless Galaxies Part I' remixed by AlienNation for this album. That song stems back to "Epicus Doomicus Electronicus". Why did you want to return to that song?
Fernando: A couple of years ago Alien:Nation contacted me asking to remix two of my songs. They remixed them, but I haven't had the chance to release them until now. I also did a remix for an Alien:Nation song. I wanted to include it in my EP too, but I couldn't because the remix that I made for them will be released on their new album, and by contract nobody can release that song before their label. So we'll have to wait for their new album in order to listen to my remix and their full album. From what I've been told that will be soon.
Tell us about the collaborations with Alien:Nation and Euphorbia on the EP. How did you meet them and why did you want them on the EP?
Fernando: I met Alien:Nation when they contacted me about the remixes they wanted to do. Very nice guys that make very good music. As for Euphorbia, they are great friends of mine. I've known them for over a decade. They're a very good EBM duo and we've shared the stage a couple times too. They live in the extreme south of Brazil and they were involved in the production of three Nahtaivel concerts in their home state. Ulisses Righi, from Euphorbia, is also a member of the American band Seraphim Shock. I remixed one of the Euphorbia songs for their latest album, and when I was compiling the songs for my new EP I asked them to use this song for my new work as well.
And what other plans do you have for 2021? Any singles, EPs, or albums in the works?
Fernando: I am currently producing the new album by the Brazilian industrial band Pecadores. Mindscrape Music will release the new album of my black-death metal band Insane Devotion. And I'm also working with the guitarist Luis Ferraz on the recordings of Nahtaivel's next album, called "Subterfuge pt. 2". This album will heavily rely on guitars, and will have an even stronger influence from black metal. Besides that, I'm always working recording keyboards for extreme metal bands and remixing electronic music.
Lastly, I would like to thank you for your time. You may leave any comments below for our audience. Cheers!
Fernando: Thank you very much for the opportunity and support. I've been a reader of Brutal Resonance for a long time. It's an honor for me to answer an interview on the website. Thank you very much, take care! Keep the flame burning!
This interview was commissioned through our Ko-fi page.
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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