It’s possible you’re not yet an initiate of the Lustre phenomenon. Despite several recent releases, I think the last time the project drew Decibel’s attention was when Scott Seward reviewed 2010’s A Glimpse of Glory. So, yeah, it’s been a while. Since then, head nature-screamer Nachtzeit has given the world another EP, a split, a compilation of unreleased material, and a full-length album called They Awoke to the Scent of Spring. All of which rule. Lustre music rules in that windswept-moor-during-a-druid-ritual-lit-by-aurorae sort of way. Take a few spirited keyboard melodies, load them up with twelve tons of atmosphere courtesy of buzzing guitar chords and buried screams, and top it all off with bird calls and wolf howls. If you’re imagining a cross between Burzum’s non-violent material and Celestiial, you might be close.
We asked Nachtzeit for some insight into his musical process, and he responded with his thoughts and a stream of a new song, “Green Worlds”, to be included on an upcoming full-length album. We think you should settle in and breathe deeply the dark beauty that comes from Lustre.
When did you start playing music?
I think I was about 10 years old when I got my first guitar from my father. I am self [taught], more or less. I remember listening to my cousin’s Maiden and Metallica CDs and trying to figure out the melodies and riffs I liked the most.
How did your music taste evolve, from the first music that you remember enjoying through your own career?
The very first things I remember enjoying was Cornelis Vreeswijk and Simon and Garfunkel.
Later on I started listening to Iron Maiden quite a lot, and after that I found bands like In Flames and Dimmu Borgir, and when I was around 15-16 (probably) I got into the whole black metal thing with Burzum etc. I have never been the kind of person who only likes this or that genre for this or that reason though. What makes me like something is the feeling that it gives me. It's as simple as that.
Lustre’s music seems to have two distinct sides: the gorgeous melodic keyboard lines and the darker, heavier guitars and vocals. When writing songs, does one come before the other or do they happen side by side?
Well, I don't really think of it that way at all. The "heavier guitars and vocals" are just ways to create atmosphere. To be honest, I don't really look at Lustre as a black metal or even a metal band. To me it's just music. Those are just different elements that I use to write atmospheric melodic music. Lustre is Lustre.
When did you start trying out the horrific vocals? Do you use them solely for texture or to bring lyrics to the songs? On a related note, can you describe how “Into the Ancient Darkness” [on the recent compilation Lost in Lustrous Night Skies] came about?
Are they horrific, really? When recording Night Spirit I wanted to try something new, and the vocals in Lustre since then is the result. I thought they would fit Lustre perfectly because they blend into the rest of the music almost like an instrument of its own and because I think they contribute to the atmosphere in a nice way. They are also the kind of vocals that you can record anytime, anyplace, which fits me and Lustre perfectly. Regarding "Into the Ancient Darkness", me and a friend of mine went to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, that my family owns. We went into the forest near a river in the middle of the night where we sat down and made a fire. This is the kind of thing that me and my friends have done from time to time for as long as I can remember. However, one thing led to the next and I ended up recording these screams that you can hear in this song.
Are there non-musical forms of art (paintings, movies, literature, etc) you enjoy that have affected the work you do with Lustre?
Yes, I think that there's a constant flow of inspiration from all these sources which affects the music that I write for Lustre. I think it's hard to point out some works that has inspired Lustre specifically though.
Can you talk about the other music projects you’ve been involved with and how they’ve been different from Lustre?
Sometimes I feel like I want to do something different, apart from Lustre, and all the side projects I've had throughout the years has been a result of that.
What was the thought process behind the recent move to work with Nordvis for your next albums?
Well, he's a great guy which I really enjoy working with simply because it goes very smoothly and because his releases are of a very high quality. He has also shown a genuine interest in and support for Lustre.
Do you feel that Lustre has a well-defined sound already, or do you see it taking any different paths in the future?
I think that Lustre has its own sound for sure, but there are still obvious differences between the things I have done this far, and I plan on keeping it this way.