Steven Le Moan, the depressive genious behind the awesome project Netra, has a very special way of seeing the world and a different perspective of the world. His 2nd and latest release "Sørbyen” was inspired in Norway and has beautiful tracks that actually make justice to the Nordic landscapes. Pest Webzine had a nice chat with the mastermind of Netra… read on!

Netra is a Breton word that means "nothing”. Why did you chose such a name to expose your musical ideas?
Because it is ridiculously simple.

Netra is not a very well-known band. Why haven’t you tried to expose yourself more considering that you’ve been around for almost a decade now?
I am open to suggestions, though not sure that I would like to spend more time on promoting my music than I already do. And I am very satisfied with the way things are going with Hypnotic Dirge for the moment.

Has your musical style been well received by the media and fans in general? What’s the reaction of the metal fans been?
It is difficult to assess such a thing. For sure, I received a fair amount of  praising so far, so I guess at least some people give a shit, that cannot be a bad thing.
It seems your lyrical themes are based on life. Is life such a great source of inspiration?
How couldn't it be? Even death is a part of life.

Joy Division has influenced not only the music but also the creation of netra because they have had a very strong impact on your vision of music. Do you get inspired in older music more than in modern music?
Yes, definitely. Actually, it gets harder and harder for me to get to even like new stuff. Or at least, I don't get much inspiration from it.

"Sørbyen” was particularly influenced by a period during which you listened extensively to Burzum and Hooverphonic. What else inspired you to write all those lyrics?
I got so much inspiration from this place I lived in, and more generally from Norway. It was such a quiet and enriching time.

The style of the band is a sort of fusion between depressive black metal, trip-hop and various other elements. Why have you decided to fuse so many different elements and musical genres? 
No particular reason for that. I think I just write music that resembles the one I listen to, no big deal. It is all a matter of perspective I guess. I never had the intention to blend genres for the sake of being original. That being said, it is always a challenge to find the right sound, melody, lyrics to depict something as abstract as an emotions. Therefore it is necessary to remain open-minded in terms of music "styles" if you want to achieve this goal.

Last September you released your 2nd full length title "Sørbyen” which contains 12 songs. Where do you draw inspiration from to write all those lyrics?

The titles of the tracks are very hypnotic, nostalgic and depressed. Is your music a suitable soundtrack to a depressed life?
I don't know. I don't even understand why people (me included) would listen to depressive music when they are depressed. It makes no sense whatsoever. For sure my intention is not to make anybody depressed, merely to point out some of the flaws of our society.

In an interview you stated that "Sørbyen” is the name of a neighborhood in which you used to live in the town of Gjøvik, Norway and that this album is just a collection of emotions related to that place. Plus, now you’re planning on moving to Germany. Why do you feel the constant need to change places? How is the experience of living abroad? Do you consider yourself a free spirit and adapt easily to new environments and places?
I don't move that much, at least not compared to some people I know. I just chose a line of work that has the advantage to make me travel occasionally. Everybody should experience living abroad, it's just good to change air, take some perspective. And I think I adapt pretty well to new places so far, but wait until I have to move to a country like Japan, that would sure be another story.

According to your own words, moving to another country has changed the way you look/see at the world. What has changed in your perspective of the world? 
I used to think of myself as an open-minded person, but one cannot really appreciate that without travelling and meeting people.

What are the advantages of being the sole member of Netra? And the disadvantages?
I don't see any disadvantages to it. I do whatever I want, whenever I want and I even have a record company and an audience to support me. I'll drink to that, it's just perfect.

Is the title of your first full-length "Mélancolie Urbaine” (Urban melancholy) a reflection of your inner self? Are you a melancholic person?
Yeah, I'm fucking suicidal alright.

As Netra’s core is black metal… what are your favourite black metal albums of all times? 
This kind of question is always tricky. But, hell, "Filosofem" has to be my all-time favourite, it just HAS to be, this album is simply perfect.

I know you don’t like labeling albums and bands but how do you feel about metal’s evolution throughout the years, namely in the past two decades?
I am glad to see that there is some progress at least. Even though I do not like all the new trends, I think that there is always a movement forward. 

If you could wish for one major change in today’s society… what would you wish for?
Enslavement of stupid people.

Do you think all the social networks like Facebook and Myspace are helping bands spreading their word? Is the internet an advantage or otherwise?
Definitely an advantage. Many artists would not even exist without the internet. As to the question of piracy, I still believe that there are some intelligent and respectful people out there to spend some of their time and money for bands they like.

Who came up with Netra’s logo? Why is the E backwards? Any special meaning behind that?
If it wasn't backward, would you even call it a logo? Anyway, I came up with this idea.

Cinema is a source of inspiration, namely the work of Kounen, Noé, Becker, Mann, Cronenberg… would it be a dream come true to work with them and create a soundtrack to their art?
Absolutely. I'd love to, one day, contribute to the soundtrack of a good movie. Hell, maybe I'll end up making my own, who knows?

You also play in a rock band called Stangala. Do you feel the musical/artistic need to be involved in different projects? How’s the working process in Stangala compared to Netra?
Not so much different, except that we play live. Netra is somehow more naive, like a contemplating child in me, whereas Stangala pertains more to a "hard truth" picture of my life.

Please share a final message with Pest readers.
Thank you! благодаря
Interviewed by Sónia Fonseca

March 2013