Sunday 12 August 2012

20 Questions w/ Natur

Natur 2012

So dudes and dudettes, it is that time again! 20 Questions time.  This week, we have one of the finest emerging bands in the trad doom genre, Natur.  They are an amazing band and to there credit they were picked up by renowned underground label, Earache, who released Natur debut record, Head of Death.

Hailing from New York, Natur are a fine representation of the ever expanding trad doom genre and Head of Death is a great record, which I had the fortune to review a few weeks back.  You can read the review here.  Given they are a relatively new band, I thought it would be interesting to get their views.  So here is an interview with their guitarist, the brilliantly named.  Dino Destroyer.  Enjoy!

Hey Dino, How are you?  I'm stoked you agreed to talk to me.

We are good!!

Where are you guys at the moment and what are you doing, in terms of the band at the present?  You preparing to tour? 

We are trying to work out and write some new material. We might even do a west coast tour soon. We are also talking about going to Europe for a small tour there early next year.

Despite all of the heavy bands we have covered on the blog, I felt that despite the fact that Head of Death has a distinct retro vibe; it still sounds fresh and was a pleasure to listen too.  The musicianship was also amazing.  For those people who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell me little bit about history of the band and some of the bands you've played with? Where you’re from, when Natur first formed? Current band members?

We formed in 2008. The band was originally a 3 piece before I joined as the lead guitar player. I met all the other members in NYC. Tooth and Ryan are from Rhode Island, I'm from Scottsdale, AZ, and Damian is from Austin, TX. Damian is no longer a member of the band. Henry Yuan is now who is from Brooklyn. We've played a lot of cool show with a lot of great bands. Some including High on Fire, Ghost, and Aura Noir.

Is Natur a full time project, or do have other bands?

Natur is a full-time project. Tooth is currently playing drums for Occultation on the side.

Are you full time musicians?

We are not full-time musicians. I wish we could be, but I have 2 jobs and I work 6-7 days/nights a week. Tooth and Ryan are in the same boat too working multiple jobs. That's kind of what you have to do to survive in New York City.

Are you big fans of metal, if so what are you listening too at the moment?

We are all really big fans of metal!! I listen to a lot of different stuff. Lately I have been really into Rainbow, the Devil's Blood, Hour of 13, and Celtic Frost. That's just naming stuff from the top of my head because I like a lot of different bands new and old.

When you started Natur, What were your hopes for the band?

When we started, we just really wanted to play great shows, write good music, record music, tour etc...etc. We have done all those things, but we want to do more of those things. It's great being able to put out our music through Earache!!

If someone was unfamiliar with your band, how would you describe your sound? Has it evolved?

When people ask me that, I just say traditional style metal. I don't like describing things to people when it's easy for them to just listen to it for themselves. I do thing our sound in evolving. They were very simple in very beginning, but now they've gotten a little more expansive, but in a positive way in my opinion.

Where did the name Natur come from? 

Natur is the strongest force in the universe. If you take the ''e'' out, it makes for a symmetrical looking logo.

What is the scene like in your hometown?

It's not huge by any means, but it's pretty cool. Definitively some cool bands such as Mutant Surpremacy, Knight Terror, Trenchgrinder, Occultation, Negative Plane, and Villains.

What made you start the band?  Did you all know each other before you formed?

Ryan wanted to start another project after his Rhode Island band, Demassek broke up. Tooth was in a later incarnation of that band as well. When Ryan and Tooth moved to New York, they got together with Damian Rodriguez. Damian played guitar, Ryan sang and played guitar, Tooth was on drums. I knew Tooth before the other guys, so he had me come in to try out for the band and I was in right away as a lead guitar played, so Damian switched to bass.

What's it like being in an underground metal band in hometown or even in the USA? Is a struggle?

It's great!! It is a bit of a struggle at the same time though. We all have time constraints when it comes to all of us meeting up for practice. To rent a practice space in NYC is expensive. If we play out, we have to pay for our own transportation because we don't have any wheels. It's stuff like that, but that's typical for any band in NYC, not just us.

What are your influences musically and artistically?

We are mostly inspired by the great old bands of metal. We all love Motorhead, Diamond Head, Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate, Iron Maiden, Angel Witch, Witchfinder General, Pentagram, Manilla Road, and Black Sabbath among a trillion others. 

What are your views of blogs such as the sludgelord reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines?  Is there a difference?

I don't know. Its interesting reading reviews of us. I guess it's too difficult to answer that question because I don't read a lot of music publications. Hails to you guys reviewing our album and liking it. We appreciate that a lot!!

What has the response been like to your debut record?

Pretty damn good for the most part. I got a little nervous about how people were going to perceive it, but so far I've been pretty impressed!

Does it surprise you that people buy your music and merch?

People seem to dig us when we play out for the most part, so I guess it's natural for people to purchase our merch and buy our music. That's what I do too.

It may be too early to say but what's your career highlight so far? What are your aspirations for the future?

The Live Evil festival in London was by far the highlight of our career. It opened a lot of doors for us. There were people singing along to the songs from our demo. It was amazing! The people that run it are fantastic and the other bands and people we met there are amazing. We made a lot of friends. Going back to London and touring in Europe is something we've all wanted to do for a long time now.

Were you looking for a label for a long time and how did that come about?  What was it like to hear that you’d been signed to Earache?  Were you fans of the label before you got signed?

We had a goal to eventually release a full-length album. We knew we would probably need some help with that. I thought I was great that Earache approached us, so we signed a deal with them. I knew about Earache since I was in middle school. I listened to Carcass a lot when I was that age, so I was familiar with the label for a long time. I still have my Sleep "Holy Mountain" on cassette. We all love Entombed and Cathedral as well as many bands on Earache. Hour of 13 is favorite current band on the label.

You got any interesting stories from your tours, favourites places you’ve toured and bands you’ve toured with?

We love touring and we all have an epic time on the road. I have to say our last outing was one of the best times we had. A band who played the Live Evil fest in London with us, Occvlta, came out here all the way from Germany to do a short east coast tour with us. They are wonderful and we all got along so well and really had a good time. The shows were super fun too and the energy and vibe were great. Playing shows in Rhode Island for me is awesome. That is where Tooth and Ryan are from so when we play there, everyone comes out of the woodwork and we end up having a blast. Those shows are true ragers. 
Two years ago, we went on a west coast tour with our friends Space Vacation and Hightower from San Francisco. Those guys are all amazing and it's always a good time when we have them on board with us. Playing in San Francisco with them was a blast!

Despite the retro vibe to the album, I felt it was a nice change from the super heavy stuff; we often cover on the blog.  Did you have an agenda or a game plan in terms of what you wanted to write? 

We just sort of stuck to the format of what we wanted to sound like. We wanted a pretty consistent sound throughout our record. To us, that is Natur and we don't want to steer away from that too much at this point. When we work on stuff, we just pick up from where we left off and go from there. That formula is pretty much how the album was written.

How do you feel about the digital era of music and people downloading music for free?  Would you or did consider releasing your music for free or ‘pay what you like’ to raise the profile of the band?

It is the digital age. I like and dislike it for many reasons that I won't go into at this time, but I'm guilty of downloading free music just as much as the next guy. That is just the way it is these days. Nobody is going to really going to change that. I can't feel upset or offended if someone is downloading our music for free because we all so the same thing. I'm glad if someone is actually taking time to sit on a computer and download our music. It's not like we make money doing this anyway. It cost us a lot of money to keep this band afloat. We would consider a "pay what you like" kind of thing, but I don't know if that would really help us with anything. I could also be totally wrong about that too.

What are your plans for the rest of the year and any chance you're coming over to the UK?

Our goals for the next year are to keep writing new material. Like I mentioned earlier, we want to possibly get out to the west coast again. We do want to get out to the U.K. That is on our list of goals as well as going to other parts of Europe, so that is on the agenda.

Thanks for answering my questions, but one final question, you got anything you like to say to your fans?

You guys totally ROCK!!!

A massive thanks to Dino for answering the questions and also thanks to Becky from Earache for setting it the interview.  Check out the link below for more information about the band.  Cheers Aaron.