Saturday 9 May 2015

Ritual Beginnings - An interview with NIBIRU

NIBIRU have been perfecting their self proclaimed – Ritual Psychedelic Sludge – for a few years now. We've featured them on the blog countless times now. I've reviewed every album they've released so far. Plus I've interviewed them twice before.

Today, NIBIRU are a different band to when they started. They have become something more progressive, experimental and one of the most out-there bands from the Italian Sludge/Doom Metal Scene. They're about to release their incredible new album – Padmalotus – via Argonauta Records (Some other good pals of ours doing a great job).

Padmalotus is a different beast to NIBIRU's past two albums. This one is more experimental, heavier, psychedelic and scarier at times. The sheer volume of noise and experimentation that the band have created on the album makes this an album of the year contender.

This is what I had to say about the album - “Padmalotus is a very dark album as Nibiru venture further into the Ritual Sludge part of their music. It can be very primal at times with the band trying to survive from their own musical landscapes.

I class Padmalotus as Nibiru's most defining work to date. It won't be for everyone as it's a complex and wonderfully strange experience that runs for 66 mins or so. Nibiru have proven once again they are one of the most daring and creative forces in Italian Sludge Metal next to Ufomammut. Padmalotus is a thrilling and bold album that will rank as one of my albums of the year. No Question.”

I've been asked to interview NIBIRU again though this interview will focus on the new album and their plans for the future. You can read the other interviews here and here.

Photo courtesy of Robert Longo

Hi guys. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you today. Been a while since we last spoke. Hope things are well.

Ardath: It is a pleasure to do a new interview with you. It seems that it is a regular date now. That means Nibiru is alive and throbbing, and it strikes. From the release of Netrayoni to the making of Padmalotus (from the second half of 2014 to the first months of 2015) we had an intense and stimulating year.

I can't believe we are here to talk about your new album – Padmalotus. Your 3rd album overall. Did you think you would ever release your 3rd album in 3 years.

Siatris: “Honestly I’d say no. In the last years we have only focused on playing. We left our music flowing and we recorded what came out from the amplifiers.

Ardath: After Netrayoni and its promotion, at the middle of last year, we got together in our temple. New riff and new ideas have begun to take shape without any calculations. They immediately struck us, we realized that something of extremely interesting was coming to light. It was exciting to see Padmalotus taking shape within just a few months.

You guys are very quick workers as you only released your last album. Sorry double album back in Jan 2014. Do you always think about the next album when you've released the new album. As I thought you guys would take a break from it all.

Ardath: Our music comes out instinctively without calculations. There is only that moment in which the energies drag us, making time impalpable. A band takes a break when you notice that the inspiration is totally missed, when you feel you have no more energy, but this is not the case of Nibiru. I’d say that you will be able to listen a new record from Nibiru in 4 years. We are very inspired. There are still 3 unreleased songs off Padmalotus sessions.

Your new album is called Padmalotus. Why did you call the album this. Any specific meaning to this name.

Siatris: Padma means lotus in the Tibetan language. The concept of Padmalotus is linked to the chakras and the Kundalini Shakti, but the lotus is also the perfect representation of the illumination, because it is a flower that is born in the mud, grows in water and opens its blossom to the sky. So the enlightened keeps the feet firmly planted on the ground, but his mind is free from the constraints. I think that is highly zen, very relaxing. I think it creates a nice contrast inside our music.

What can people expect from the new album.

Ardath: Padmalotus features the psychedelic violence of Caosgon, the Netrayoni's uncontrolled insanity, and a new energy that takes shape in a destabilizing record.

What does the album mean to you as a band and individually.

Ardath: For Nibiru it is an important and fundamental point of transition. It concludes a three-years concept and it represents a new exciting beginning. Personally Padmalotus and the signing to Argonauta Records are satisfactions very difficult to explain. Lots of sweat, so much work, so many difficulties materialized in evident recognitions. We have a new energy to detonate in Nibiru.

Siatris: Personally it is a big step forward. This album was a challenge and I think it was exceeded, now other challenges come, and I am ready to accept them. As a band this is our third work, so it's a confirmation that we are not a meteor that passes through and disappears... We are Nibiru, when we pass through we leave the sign.

Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for.

Ardath: personally I did not find differences in the composition of the pieces of the new album, maybe in some parts, which have a more song form. We were more "controlled" but overall the songwriting style of Nibiru has not undergone upheavals, there are moments of improvisation. Mixing and recording, always made strictly live, were handled with more care but again without changing our sound.

Siatris: for me it was more difficult, especially the phase of the premix, because I want that all the sounds stood out before entering the studio to complete the work.

Did you do anything differently recording this album compared to your other two albums.

Siatris: the approach is always the same, we have worked all together: bass, drums and guitars are recorded at the same time. We overdubbed synth and others instruments like didgeridoo, but the difference is that we wanted a more powerful sound so I played a second guitar on all parts. I've played guitar because I have a different style compared to Ardath, I am still very attached to black metal, so you can hear two guitars that work in unison, but in a very different.

It seems your profile has gradually been growing over the last few years. The Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community thinks very highly of you guys. Have you seen that yourselves or do you just let the music do the talking.

Ardath: our music brought something special in a genre that was becoming extremely repetitive in the music scene today, even more in Italy. It is not easy to stand out. If this has happened to Nibiru it means that something has been done. We start from Padmalotus and the forthcoming live shows.

Looking back on your last two albums. Would you change anything about them or you happy with the way things are.

Ardath: We would not change anything, we are absolutely satisfied with what has been done and the responses had proved it. Every past situation brought me more experience and knowledge, but the past must be overcome in order not repeat itself, never.

I've noticed you've changed your sound again on the new record compared to the other two albums. The album is more structured and songs have a direct approach compared to your other albums. Was that an easy or hard experience to go through. Is this how NIBIRU will sound like in the future.

Siatris: we always try to improve our sound and I believe that things have changed from Caosgon. The first album had a sort of punk spirit, the recording is very dirty, almost nothing was overdubbed, Netrayoni was the pinnacle of the improvised phase, the sound is born spontaneously, in Padmalotus we sought a more direct sound, we were not satisfied of the first results, and in the mixing, we worked meticulously.

Ardath: I was the most skeptical when I’ve listened to the songs as they had a different structure compared to the previous CD’s. But I have to admit I was wrong. Of course the most difficult step was to insert new sounds while maintaining the approach and the sound of Nibiru and vary some – as for some riffs or structures - the way I play guitars. It has been a valuable, stimulating and educational experience. Padmalotus is a new starting point, we do not care looking back. From here on, I'm curious to listen to the next Nibiru.

You've hooked up with Argonauta Records for the release of this album. How did you hook up with Gero. Who seems to be releasing some brilliant albums of late. Huge fans of his work here.

Ardath: Gero knew our previous records and we followed the work of Argonauta with great interest, and there was a mutual respect. We contacted Argonauta as soon as we had in our hands a first track of Padmalotus. We sent it to Gero to get his opinion, then we met to know each other personally. We had a mutual desire to work together. Finally we have a label that works hard in Italy. It’s good to consistently promote certain genres of music.

Did you have any other label interest other than Argonauta Records.

Ardath: Our first two albums were mainly self produced as our own choice. We respect Argonauta as said above, so we wanted to approach them and start an important collaboration. Other labels can approach Nibiru but right now the only thing very important for us is Argonauta. Gero is doing an impeccable job for us and with us.

Have you guys performed more gigs over the last couple of years or so. Are there any plans to do a more extensive European tour. Or is it too expensive to do.

Ardath: We have not played so much live shows but the few we played have showns a band that knows how to strike the crowd, and to stay in the damned souls of those who attend our gigs. Certainly we would like to do an European tour. Nothing is impossible.

We have to talk about the brilliant album cover for Padmalotus. Who designed that cover. As it perfectly matches the mood of the album. Did you have much input to the overall design of the album cover.

Siatris: The cover was designed by a good friend, a very good illustrator. We talked about the topics of the album and he has reached the target, giving us an incredible design, the androgynous Shiva / Shakti that opens the third eye, the spider weaving the universe, and the figures on the sides that cut the head waiving their own ego. All this represents the best of our ideas.

So what do the next 12 months have in store for NIBIRU. Anything you like to share with our readers.

Ardath: Now we want to enjoy Padmalotus. We are curious to get feedback from the listeners but we are also conscious of having done a job that people will talk about. We are planning live shows, and in particular we are waiting for the final confirmation in the next edition of a major rock festival. You can also read an interview with Nibiru on the next issue of Metal Hammer UK.

Well guys thanks for doing this. Always great to feature you guys. All the best with the new album.

Ardath: thanks, Nibiru will not disappoint you.

Words by Steve Howe and NIBIRU

Thanks to Barbara at NeeCee Agency for arranging this interview. Padmalotus will be available to buy on CD/DD from May 14th 2015 from Argonauta Records.

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