Please tell us a few words about the new release, about the music on it as a whole or a few words on each track in part. How are you happy with the final release?
We just released our first record, a 20-minutes EP called Japetus. This album captures the main characteristics of Norilsk’s music: slow minimalistic grooves with a certain dose of melody and a rugged texture. The album has three tracks: two original songs from Norilsk and one Voivod cover, but we made sure they blend together in terms of aesthetic and that the EP has a strong cohesiveness.
I am personally very pleased with the response we have been receiving so far. While the writing process happened very naturally, we put a lot of efforts trying to convey the simplicity and sheer heaviness through the recording and the physical rendering of the EP. The clean layout, the dramatic photo we used for the artwork and the sturdy vinyl look of the packaging all contribute to making this a great first chapter in Norilsk’s discography.
How would you describe/label the music on it? Does it sound like anything we might have heard before?
Norilsk’s music is like the regular waves of a tide – sometimes deafening and sometimes quiet, but always slow, heavy and constant.
Norilsk doesn’t pretend to re-invent the wheel. To write this music, we have been influenced by many other bands, past and present. I would describe Norilsk as a death-doom band primarily because our music has a lot of chords and arrangements typical of that genre, but I admit that our sound and some of the rhythm patterns draw their inspiration from sludge and post metal. While at a crossroads of genres, Norilsk also brings a few original elements and odd structures (for example in “Potsdam Glo”) to the whole, thus bringing something fresh and different.
Where was it recorded and how much time did it take you to record it? Any interesting stories from the recording/producing the material?
We recorded the drums at Pebbles Studio in Ottawa, and the bass, guitars and vocals at Studio En-Phase in Montreal (both in Canada). On the Japetus EP, two songs were mixed and mastered by Mike Bond (Dissentient, Loviatar, Signs of Chaos) at the Bond Cave, and the third one was mixed and mastered by Jean-Philippe Latour (Paroxysm, Talamyus, Kintra) at Studio En-Phase. To my opinion these are two of the best studios out there in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and both Mike and JP are able to capture the unique personality in each band they work with – in other words it’s not like entering a studio and ending up sounding like all of the other artists that went there before.
We originally wanted to release it as a two-song EP: “Japetus” as a single for the forthcoming full length on one side, and the Voivod cover as a B-Side. That was many months ago, but then the publisher found out that he was not representing 100% of the copyrights for that specific Voivod song, and we found ourselves in a dead end. While we were searching for the unlocatable copyrights and asking for a variety of authorisations, we decided to work on an alternative mix for another song, just in case. Fortunately, everything turned out well and we received all authorisations; this is why there are three songs on the EP with two different producers.
What can you tell us about the cover artwork? Is there a link between the artwork and the lyrics? What are the topics of your lyrics?
The historic picture we used for the artwork shows an ice shove in the port of Montreal, about 1884. This dramatic view is something that could have been normal in any Nordic port at the end of the 19th Century, but that is almost completely erased from our collective memory in 2014.
Norilsk’s themes are ones of demise, isolation, identity and memory. The lyrics convey these stories through the use of graphic analogy with subjects such as death, geography, mythology or history. By superimposing a death-doom album to this historical photograph, we added our own iconological layer: the black and white picture becomes a canvas for contrasts, and the little character on the ice shove start telling us their uncanny story from beyond the grave.
What do you expect to gain through this release? What are the band's aims at the moment?
Through the Japetus EP, our aim is to present the band to the metal community and to give it a taste of things to come, so to speak. We have recorded a full length album at the same time as Japetus and our objective is to release it in the near future. As they both share similar qualities, we felt this EP was a key step in preparing the grounds for the forthcoming album, and could prove helpful to find a label or a distribution deal. This is why we insisted on using representative examples of the album for the EP, as well as common themes.
Is there a special format the material is released in? Or is it released in multiple formats? How many copies were pressed?
The EP was released digitally on a pay-what-you-want basis, but also on CD. Given the fact that it is an EP, we wanted the physical format to be more like a collector item, especially since we are planning on doing more releases. This is why we pressed it on a limited edition of 100 copies, with simple but high quality materials; and this is also one of the reasons why the Voivod cover is exclusive to the CD.
Where and how will you promote this new release?
We chose to promote the Japetus EP ourselves, with the help of a great publicist, Asher Media. As explained earlier, the primary objective of this release is to spread the word about the band and for that reason a lot of the promotion is done via any type of media coverage and via our extended networks. Nick Richer (drums, back up vocals) and I have been close to the metal scene for many years in different cities, either as fans, musicians, promoters, album reviewers, interviewers and more, so we’ll make extensive use of it!
Where can we order it from?
We made the EP available on July 22nd 2014 via Norilsk’s Bandcamp page: norilskdoom.bandcamp.com. There, you can stream it, download it and/or purchase the CD. We find this platform easy to use, both for our fans and for an independent band like us.