Hell Metal trio RÁN, possesses an “uncompromising, sonic violence”, blending Nekron’s Icelandic/Norse heritage alongside the darkest aspects of Dutch culture.
Embodying a “relentless Black Metal Hellpossession”, RÁN, draws its lifeblood from vibrant and heterogeneous musical extremes, ranging from extreme metal to Hard Rock/Shock Rock influences and classical 80 ́s Thrash riffs.
The lords of this “hellish, Rock’n Roll inferno” are Nekron masterover bass and vocals, Andrath commanding guitars and Rhym ruler of drums. RÁN is an established act on stage, with numerous releases behind them, having played at various locations throughout Europe and Iceland, with more shows and tours being planned for 2020.
As always, a huge *Thank You* to the band for their time, openness and availability!
MAtW – Hail, Nekron! Thank you for your time in doing this interview. What are you presently up to?
Nekron – Hails and greets Cristina; thank you and well met indeed. In the present: Tearing down and building walls, physically (as a mason) and metaphorically (as an artist). Setting up and closing down exhibitions; creating and selling art; more importantly: Standing by as my relocation effort comes to a close; the Viking spirit compels me to quest for new lands to conquer…
MAtW – You have been active from the 90’s onward, how did this musical journey start for you?
Nekron – As it goes; by digging through my stepfather’s record collection as a kid, discovering – amongst other things – some Deep Purple albums and – of course – Motörhead’s Overkill. That somewhat turned the mind at an early stage. Later on I got hooked on to the works of the pioneers of various forms of extreme Metal and the road was paved. Logically, hearing those riffs and blasts, one does want to contribute and Iceland’s first Grindcore band was formed back in ’91, I believe, after trying out a few outfits with like minded friends. Leaving Iceland for Cyprus, and eventually the Netherlands, put musical ventures on hold (despite some attempts) until the right time and place granted the opportunity to form Rán. The rest is history in the making…
MAtW – What is (still) your favorite part in this “job”?
Nekron – The whole lot of it really: Making music, writing poetry, the performances and rituals, meeting people and staying true to the existential path…
MAtW – How was RÁN formed?
Nekron – Well, back in 2008 and having already spent some time on writing material and laying down plans; I got somewhat spurred on by a certain Motörhead track that came out in that eventful year and called a good friend who had more friends and we got the band together. Just like that…
MAtW – What is the story behind the band name? It could be translated as “abduction” or “robbery”.
Nekron – In Icelandic and/or old Norse, Rán (pronounced like ‘Crown’) has a multifarious meaning. Indeed, you are correct as you mentioned “abduction” and “robbery” (incidentally, I would prefer “raid”), but the name itself is also that of the Norse goddess of the sea; a somewhat perilous, yet wholly benevolent force of chaos in nature. As the logo cleverly indicates; the name can be uttered backwards to form “NÁR”; the real name of the band behind the screens: “Nár” means “dead” in old Norse/Icelandic and is in little use in contemporary speech. Furthermore, the name has a meaning in many languages worldwide; meaning “chaos” in Japanese for example.
MAtW – For new listeners how would you best describe your music?
Nekron – The music of Hell, or – in the very least – our way to entertain the Hellish legions to the best of our abilities as we strive to reach the core; say, the root element of darkness in Rock and Roll. The outcome is unquestionably Extreme Metal – to us –the way it should be: Wicked, catchy, LOUD !!! …and heavy as Hell infernal…!m!
MAtW – Who writes music and how is it done?
Nekron – Commonly, I sketch up songs and poetic incantations (written in the proper ways of rhymes as some may have noticed). I then proceed to feed these ideas to the ever hungry Andráth (guitarist), who has his way with it and edits what he feels must change, and once we have agreed on the whole plot of a song; we then rehearse it (when time and distances allow) and/or hand it over to Rhym (the drummer) who usually turns it completely upside down and fires it back at us for revision. We then pick up what’s left and mould it into a something agreeable that resembles the original idea, produce it and prepare it for the stage.
MAtW – There have been some lineup changes throughout time. What is the current lineup?
Nekron – Yeah, we’ve had a change of a few members for these and those reasons. Currently, the banner is held up by myself (Nekron – vocals and bass), Andráth (guitars), Rhym (drums) and those closest and dearest to us.
MAtW – Do you have an affection for the Dark side, occult / ritual or is it just for décor?
Nekron – As the years add on, I have come to realize that my own preferences for this or that have very little to do with anything. Apparently, the Dark Side has an affection for me, and it sinks its lovely teeth into everything that happens. A flavour of the uncanny that seeps into any form of creation that I must endure as do those around me. As a fulltime visual artist; that does broaden the scope of things considerably…
MAtW – Black Metal is misunderstood as genre and lifestyle. What is your opinion on this?
Nekron – I believe that once you place a firm hold on a creative force such as Black Metal and claim to understand it; it eludes you and escapes your futile grip. Conversely, how can (should?) anyone demand comprehension who does not fully understand him- or herself?
MAtW – What does Black Metal mean to you?
Nekron – The appraisal of the original sin in music and art; a celebration of liberation through what the blind see as evil.
MAtW – What is cliché in Black Metal?
Nekron – As an Artist (painter and musician), I do appreciate anything that could be considered cliché or trendy as one can always see strength in numbers. It is up to the individual, or entity (such as a band of musicians) to seek to emerge from the masses – if that is what they truly desire – and face the consequences. Existentialism is not for the meek, but if one stays the path; rewards are sure to be granted in the end, or so one hopes. Incidentally, many seem to flock behind a certain image or sound and that appeases the labels who – after all – need to make ends meet. Come to think of it; I am more concerned with the apparent lack of certain clichés in Black Metal, or Metal in general, as I do miss the extreme visual confrontation by angry people covered in leather, chains, patches and spikes.
MAtW – What is the Icelandic metal scene like from the inside? As a fan and outsider there are quite a few bands boast about in most genres.
Nekron – Well, firstly I wouldn’t consider myself on the ‘inside’ of any scene – be it the Icelandic one or any other – as I simply won’t conform to any prevailing ideology, clanship or attitude; not by choice – mind you – but by fate as I would have it. That said, the Icelandic scene is upheld by some truly amazing talent and I do enjoy seeing the local bands take to the stage when opportunity and work grants it, which is not often as there is little rest for the wicked.
MAtW – What are some non metal music inspiration sources for your music?
Nekron – As much as it belongs with visual Art; I am deeply influenced by that which is truly unlike anything I aspire to achieve with music and performance. Anything odd and out of the ordinary remains quite appealing as my taste for Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart has led me down some interesting paths where I have built a wholesome sense of appreciation for Eastern-European Polka music, the Blues and occasional oddities such as “The Shaggs.” In retrospect, anything dark and foreboding finds a sure welcome with me and the warm darkness of ambient melancholy contrasts the awe-inspiring volume of Opera and Classical compositions (a current favourite would be Dmitri Shostakovich, which should tie well in with the aforementioned).
MAtW – Any non musical elements too?
Nekron – Aside philosophy and trails of thoughts by peers and pioneers alike; the prevailing source of inspiration – in any matter – is that of silence; a sheer force of nature that can be truly appreciated during cold, dark winter months here in Iceland. It is during those treasurable moments of solitude that the subconscious awakens and the mind hurls back on itself with a thunderous torrent of ideas that demand to be entertained.
MAtW – Let’s talk about your discography a little. It is rather extensive and for newer listeners we could go through a short presentation. – Were most of the albums / EP’s self produced?
Nekron – Indeed they were as we have yet – despite some offers – to find a worthwhile label to work with. That said, we are quite comfortable in the now and able to produce our music in what way we desire without having to sell ourselves short for a piece of what ‘glory pie’ that is up for the taking. The music has evolved – as it does – from point zero and will continue to do so, in one form or another as we aim to catch up with ourselves and the vast amount of material that has been sketched up for production. Much has been done, and we remain steadfast and compelled to tie the circle to a close: From ‘Rock to Hell’ to the upcoming ‘Hell Metal’ and beyond in what manner that befits creation…
MAtW – Any other technical aspects you would like to mention
Nekron – There is little to be added but to state that we are quite comfortable with the raw, but tight and massive sound we have accomplished since the days of the more polished Demonstorm album. I suppose we’ll be aiming towards even more hammering aggression and a steadier pace, but – then again – there are odd turns ahead and multifarious paths to follow…
MAtW – From what I saw on your Facebook page, “Rock To Hell” is in pre production. Is it self produced or is RÁN working with someone in particular?
Nekron – The “Rock to Hell CD” was self-produced and hurried into existence before our participation in the ‘Icelandic Metal Assault’ tour in late 2017. Supposedly, some information on its production status exists still out there, but the album is up and available – alongside most of our material – in places like Spotify and Bandcamp. All mandatory links can be found on our website: www.ranmetalwar.com
MAtW – Your vocal lines are very mantric and ritualistic ritualistic like. They would probably sound even more powerful in Icelandic. Ever considered alternate lyrics or full Icelandic?
Nekron – I suppose “Sólin Deyr” (The Sun Dies) could be considered the first in line of lyrically themed, Icelandic songs. Of course, there are more to follow as we were – and remain – quite content with the outcome, especially the impact of the harsher sounding, rhythmic charge of my native tongue. Whether there is need for the listener to understand and/or participate in the chanting (the main reason to construct poetry in English to begin with) remains to be seen as any lyrical enthusiast, who wishes to gain insight into the message and lore of Rán, can simply roll the lyrics through Google translate and – most likely – end up with garbled nonsense as my way of wording can be somewhat archaic and cryptic; especially as I do possess a rather keen eye for odd, old and paradoxical words commonly out of use in general, nowadays speech.
MAtW – What is the prevalent lyrical theme in RÁN?
Nekron – To quote and point to our spot on the fabled pages of the Encyclopaedia Metallum: “Chaos, War, Hell” would be the general theme of things. However, and to answer your question; the ideal outcome, or message as it were would be wholly Satanic (by generalisation), or perhaps “Satanarchic” as to point to the ‘A’ in our logo and the upheaval of the individual through a “weredemonic” state of self-actualization. No lords, no masters and no religious parasites!!! This is the music of Hell and we aim to
saturate and release the soul through Hellish invigoration.
MAtW – What is next for RÁN?
Nekron – Given my own relocation effort to distant shores; things have been a little too quiet in the camp lately, but there are more releases on the conveyor belt, tours and gigs aplenty once the time is right. I’d advice any reader to keep an evil eye on our Facebook page as plots bear fruit for the taking…
MAtW – Do you think that genre categorization help or hurt a musician?
Nekron – An interesting question that would make for an intriguing conversation in most company; I’d have to claim a rather two-faced stand point on the issue: Harmful in the way that it may easily limit the perception of individual creativity that many long to achieve as we all – seemingly – wish to remain special and original in what we do. Helpful as it allows both artist and spectator to draw a line of comparison, by which creation can be leveled against either contemporary works of peers, or that of predecessors in what is fast becoming a long line of musical inheritance. Then, there are those of us who wish to break free from such confinements and carve our own path knowing there is nothing really new under the moon. Whether we are successful remains to be asked at the end of the line, whenever it appears.
MAtW – How would you describe yourself on stage and off stage. The musician and the man?
Nekron – Differences and similarities? I reckon I would claim to be a rather nice person, on or off the stage: Easy going, trustworthy, understanding and devout to the task at hand. What others perceive and think of me could be something entirely different of course, but – generally – I aim to please; be it with my art or our music. Naturally, one has faults and loyal demons to
wrestle for supremacy of the self, but I remain up for the challenge and look forward to serving the Arts by any means possible for years and decades to come.
MAtW – How did Andráth’s youtube jam with Ola Englund come about?
Nekron – I suppose you would have to ask him, but from what little I know; Andráth caught up with Mr. Englund’s Youtube, jam project and heartily participated for the sake of music, experience and enjoyment. Whether these two have been in touch – at all – is anybody’s guess but theirs, but I did appreciate the outcome.
MAtW – What is still challenging in being an artist?
Nekron – Experience on both fronts of the aural and the visual would compel me to proclaim that being an artist is certainly a challenge in itself. One has to live under the constant barrage of ideas and self-perpetuated pressure to perform to the highest possible standard. There is no peace; no respite, no remission and – more importantly – no regrets as I do enjoy the trip and remain blessed with a great family (Rán included) who seem to either celebrate and participate in this madness, or in the very least tolerate it.
MAtW – Are there any other musical or non-musical side projects that you are involved in?
Nekron – Absolutely and I would point to my website (www.nekron-art.com) where you can witness the birth of a new artform in the guise of the Blackened series, or what I have chosen to label as the Cryptogenic style: a constructivist journey into the esoteric realm of aesthetics; wholly accompanied by complex plans, plots and theories that shall emerge in the fullness of time.
MAtW – Is there a leader in RÁN or is it a full democracy band?
Nekron – Supposedly, if Rán were a vessel boasting the finest crew and steering through treacherous, dark waters; then I’d be its captain at large. Yet, I wouldn’t dare make a move without the full support of the team and – somewhat democratically – we all sport an equal say in every conceivable matter relating to the band. We tend to listen to each other, or at least I’d prefer to pretend it is so…
MAtW – Time for the last question, the RANDOM question: What is your take on huldufólk?
Nekron – Ahhh… The “hidden people”: rock and hill dwellers of old fables that nurtured the imaginative as I fed on such stories during my childhood in Iceland. Accompanied by tales of ghosts, trolls, demons and strange beasts that roamed the harsh and bleak landscape, pestered the peasants and tested the resolve of the faithful. Indeed, Iceland is rich in its traditions and folklore; a vast cultural heritage for the taking if anyone is deeply concerned, which appears to be waning in the very least as nowadays people seem more concerned with the superficial rather than the supernatural.
MAtW – Thank you once again for this interview and if you have any closing thoughts, please, share them!
Nekron – Thank you Cristina, for your time and patience as one is simply bedecked with chores and any moment is precious. To any avid reader who shuffled through these paragraphs of virtuous self-elevation and made it to the end: Look out for releases and performances in your area. Check out the tunes and play them Loud !!! …And find us on Facebook if you please; be in touch as we cater to the wicked and care what you think and feel… Rock hard…!m!