Although we understand why nighttime occurs from a scientific standpoint, there’s still something very mystifying about the night itself. It is a time of darkness. As our surrounding reality becomes lightless and more tranquil, many living forms typically take this time to rest, while others embrace it as a period for creative inspiration.
Which is exactly what Nikita Kamprad, guitarist, vocalist, and primary songwriter of German black metal band Der Weg Einer Freiheit, did for the band’s latest musical creation, Noktvrn, out via Season of Mist. Switching around his writing patterns to absorb more influence from a nocturnal state of mind, Kamprad was drawn to the dreamlike sounds he was able to generate.
“I somehow always wanted to create an album about the night, about dreams, and the world between being awake and asleep,” reflects Kamprad. “For me, songwriting and being creative has always been a daytime activity, so switching to a nighttime rhythm for creativity, writing lyrics, recording demos, and stuff like that was a nice twist.”
Kamprad’s relationship with the wee hours persisted throughout the making of Noktvrn, contributing to the album’s overall cleaner, more somber, soul-stirring, and spacious atmosphere. The idea of writing a full-length album about the night came about based on previous experiences with writing while “half-awake.”
“It was kinda surreal but interesting to experience that my half-awake mind was apparently able to write a song,” Kamprad says. “I could even play it back in my head somehow, like in a computer software or a music player. I found this experience so weird, but also inspiring at the same time.”
Since forming in 2009, Der Weg Einer Freiheit have developed their sound around the more frigid and aggressive sonic aspects of black metal, but they are certainly no strangers to creating layered melodies as well. As the band’s career has grown, so has their sound. Through infusing more escalating clean sections, subtle synthesizer arrangements, and poignant, somber overtones, Der Weg Freiheit has expanded far beyond their abrasively blackened core.
“I think this evolution in our sound, specific to Noktvrn, has something to do with the overall production and recording approach of the album,” Kamprad says. “Ever since I started writing Noktvrn, I had the idea to record it later with the full band in a live environment. When recording live in one room, there’s kind of an invisible energy flowing between the members of the band, and each individual performance affects the other in a beneficial way.”
“So I think with this in mind, the new album has got a way more natural flow, leaving the aggressive and frigid parts behind a bit, making more room for those captivating, stirring melodies to breathe,” he adds.
As well as recording together as a full band in a live setting, another intriguing characteristic on Noktvrn comes in the form of vocal experimentation. Perhaps the band’s most unique song written to date, “Immortal,” features clean vocals from Hungarian dark singer/songwriter Dávid György Makó, while “Haven” includes Kamprad’s first time singing in English, as opposed to his German mother tongue.
“I did the clean vocals on ‘Haven’ and it’s a very special song for me, being the first (at least own written) song I sang in English. So this is where it started for me trying to get comfortable singing in another language. I also tried out a very different vocal style on this song being this falsetto, kind of high-pitched clean vocals.”
The experience of writing, rehearsing, and recording Noktvrn left Kamprad with a sense of appreciation for his bandmates and pride in the end-result of the new record.
“What came out are still the songs I’ve written, but with a new touch and character worked out by all of us,” Kamprad says. “I am personally very thankful for my band mates to take part in this challenge.”
“I think we have never prepared ourselves more for a recording or a tour than before this album production, because simply no one wanted to fuck up the recording,” he adds. “Everyone took his responsibility very seriously. All in all, this album definitely brought us together more as a unit than ever before.”
Watch the video for “Morgen” here:
Photo courtesy of Der Weg Einer Freiheit and Mario Schmitt