Congratulations on the completion of Semele. What emotions come along with releasing your music out to the world?
Thanks! There is always a sense of excitement tempered with some nervousness – what will the world think? Will it even be heard? We are also deeply proud of what we have achieved and want to push it out into the world and reach as many people as possible.
These tracks also allowed us to collaborate with an artist that we’ve been dreaming of working with for a while now. He’s a Swedish guitarist/solo artist by the name of Henrik Palm and he has been behind some of our favourite truly dark music in the last few years, so to have his mark on the release in the form of a guest solo is mindblowing.
Thematically, what are the ideologies behind your craft – would you say that you have a story to tell?
I would say so, I think all creative output has a story to tell, whether it’s explicit or implicit in nature, there is always a story weaving through creations. All the tracks on our first EP have a common thread to them and in some ways, the new material takes that further, I think a major reason for that is how we view the creative process. I feel any creative endeavour ends up being an exploration of the subconscious of the person who created it, so through the act of making we explore the ideas, feelings and experiences that are within us. Sometimes these notions can otherwise be out of reach but come to the fore quite easily when the creative process is underway.
As a result, making music is an incredible, almost ritualistic experience for us, where something new comes out of the creator and hopefully, they have a better understanding of themselves and their world at the end of it. The lyrics can be seen as a document of the hopes, fears and dreams of the writer at the time they were written and by making the subconscious tangible one can better understand where their path is taking them and what they want their journey to be. To explore the self and the world we inhabit to the fullest is a recurring call, otherworldly exploration, removing self-imposed limits and realising your Will are all themes that are important to us, so these feature heavily. If the EP was us musically finding ‘our way’ as a band, then the lyrics are a document of ‘finding our way’ as people at that point in time. The songs are a call to action, for the maker and the audience, as change is brought about by action and we are all only here for a short time, so it is up to us to have the experiences we want in life and make them happen. In that sense, the songs are a part of the process of getting us to where we want to be, in more senses than one.
The new material really hones in on this. The tracks all discuss the feeling of being trapped by the repetition of a life you don’t want to be living and the yearning to break free from that current state. The desire and drive to move on into the next phase of life and onto the path we wish to be treading instead of the one the world seems to want to force you down is a key theme in the songs. This is true of the previous EP as well, but here it is more acute, maybe a sense that the clock is ticking? More than ever these tracks are a cry against the banality of ‘the safe road’ one could walk and a celebration of the rewards of forging your own way.
To the audience, music is not only a window into the creator, it is also a mirror, much like when you look through a window you see yourself reflected back at you as well as gazing into the world beyond. We want our songs to be a tool for others to find their own way and the music, occult and alchemical imagery, double meanings and lines open to interpretation all give the listener the ability to find their own meaning in the songs based on their own experiences and personality, guided by us as the creators. Hopefully, each listener can discover something about their hopes and fears and find something new in themselves as well, in that way something very personal to the creator can become something very personal to the listener, and in a way that’s the point of it all.
So far, our output has been the documentation of our experiences in life and that will no doubt continue as we journey on through life.
What fuels, influences and inspires your creative process?
Our inspiration and fuel are very much the same as our story. There is a compulsion to create that resides in most people, it manifests in different ways and for us, it comes through in music. The music we make is then influenced by the experiences we accumulate whilst journeying through life. There is no fixed destination for life, except the very final stop of course, and it is the nature of the journey that is the crucial part, that leads to a myriad choices and feelings that can inspire and trigger that need to create.
The uncertain nature of our journey makes every step exciting, in some ways it would be a great comfort to know which way that path would take us. Knowing that the branch we are on leads to where we hope it does, with all these uncertain rules to the game we play. But at the same time, the thrill and danger would be gone and the very thrill of travelling would no longer exist. So it is not where we travel, but how we do it that is crucial, and by extension, the fact that we travel at all! Our own journey is an inspiration and the music we make adds to our journey, allowing us to move further with each creation. Far too many out there live static lives, with no change or challenge and few resulting experiences.
What makes NAUT stand out from the crowd?
Our influences are pretty broad, our core influences range from the classic Post-Punk bands of the late 70s and 80s, to the ‘goth’ rock bands that followed, to classic rock and heavy metal of the 70s & 80s as well as the rock pioneers of the 60s, but even things like synthpop, black metal and Italo disco have their role in shaping elements of songs. Letting all of those influences have their place has given us a sound that is informed by the past, but is not a pastiche of it and is uniquely ‘us’. Following who we are sonically and making songs that are informed by all our shared interests and playing them with a raw passion, that is missing from so much modern music, gives us an inherently unique element.
We also feel that rock music has been assimilated and castrated, as all dangerous artforms inevitably are, by fashion and so on, in order to make them less of a threat. So people “travel” through this form of music not knowing the real power it holds. Terrible buzzwords like “rebellion” are banded around until they lose meaning, so in light of this you have to make your fire larger and your walk grander. We choose to move through life powered by our own steam as much as possible. To make real art you have to transgress and rebel spiritually – so we see each song as a mutiny and we view making music that is true to who we are as an extension of severing the ties with the mundane and the safe.
Too many bands do things ‘by the numbers’, it feels like a tick box exercise to make music and an image that slots neatly into the premade idea of what a band in that genre ‘should’ be, with little thought given to who they actually are as a group of individuals and what their sound is, rather than what they think they should be. In that way, I would say we stand out by simply being us, as nobody else can do that and we simply put forwards our taste, personality and views into our music in an uncompromising fashion, NAUT is the output.
When introducing people to your music, what song should I show them first? What is your quintessential track?
The title track of our latest EP ‘Semele’ is perhaps the track that sounds truest to the sound that I have in my head when I think of what is NAUT. It has all the elements and as we progress as a band, we learn more about what our sound is, since it’s still a relatively young project.
What has been the best highlight in your career so far?
For me, it’s been the live shows and the energy that has been present. We have been fortunate with who we have played alongside. I think a personal favourite was our show with Pink Turns Blue, they are an amazing live band and a real contributor to Post-Punk as a genre, so to play with them was an honour. The venue was also ace as was the sound, which always makes things more enjoyable when performing.
Another highlight was playing Dublin with Grave Pleasures. The audience was amazing and we had a great time in the city itself, and the club night after with the other bands was also a good laugh. Perhaps being freezing cold for most of the day before the show, as well as the arduous journey back on New Year’s Eve, made the gig feel even more special by contrast.
What has been the biggest struggle in your career so far?
Aside from the setback of having had 3 different drummers in 2 years, I think we are having the same uphill battle that pretty much any new band faces. We are in a time when there is an unprecedented ease of creating and releasing music, this is a positive in some ways. Learning how to create has never been easier and the ease and cost of getting that music out into the world has never been more attainable. This also has lead to an unimaginable volume of content, both musical and other, competing for our attention. Sometimes getting even the slightest moment of someone’s attention feels like a victory, but this constant shouting into the void feels like an uphill battle. We are immensely proud of our creations and the feedback we have had has been positive, but getting the message out is by far the biggest challenge.
How bright is the future of NAUT – what are the plans?
I’d like to think that there is potential for NAUT to keep going further and reach bigger audiences, become more successful, by whatever metric you choose. Of course, with the challenges one inevitably faces now, there is a chance that the roar of the endless content out there on now will be too loud, but I do feel like we can cut through. Playing live is certainly one way to do so and is something we want to focus on.
Since becoming a gigging band, we feel that our live performances are an incredibly important part of our appeal. There is a certain magic that happens when a connection between performer and audience is forged and when it is done with conviction and energy, it makes it unforgettable. Playing impactful shows brings the music to life, wins fans and it is also a proving ground for new material and ideas. So playing more often to bigger audiences is a great way to develop an audience, and as a band. Regular gigging makes you really tight as musicians, it also weeds out any weakness in the songwriting as things that can be passable in a studio or practice space can fall flat in front of a live audience as that energy has to be there, and that can only be a good thing.
We’ve been fortunate to have played some great shows already and we’ve made a positive impression on the scene as a result, but to keep moving forward can be difficult. Certain doors are more readily unlocked when someone has the right contacts and a solid reputation and whilst these are earned over time as a band, having someone representing you and lending their contacts and reputation to your own efforts helps lift things to another level. There are also certain doors that I feel won’t open to you unless you have some kind of in. It’s a bit like getting that first job, you need experience to get a job, but you need to have had a job to have the experience. It can feel a bit like a catch 22 situation. We are hoping our recent signing to United Talent will open some of these doors and allow us to push ahead with playing bigger and better shows.
In addition to the focus on gigging, we are always working on new material. There is a kind of relentless drive with us that keeps the music flowing. We are on the cusp of releasing our second EP ‘Semele’ but have already recorded another two tracks to be released next year as a double A single and work on an album is well underway. With all this new music, the aim is to reach more people and build on the audience we already have, cultivating what makes us ‘us’ and generally refining NAUT to its true end form. Once we have the album ready, we’ll be seeking a label to give us an extra push, but hopefully, by that point we will already be well down the road.
When all is said and done, how would you like to be remembered?
As being true to ourselves. If we have anything to teach or any message, it is that a deeper understanding of oneself is an important pursuit and hopefully in some way our music helps realise that, for ourselves and maybe for others. Isn’t that why we create at all?
You can pre-order your copy of upcoming EP ‘Semele’ HERE.
Catch NAUT live at the following dates:
20/11/19 – Bristol, The Exchange Basement
21/11/19 – London, The Unicorn