Metal Bulletin Zine (est. 2006) is a metal music zine (Seattle region), online and on paper. 160 issues so far.
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Saturday, December 23, 2017
interview: the atmospheric DIY black metal of Nelecc
Nelecc is a one-person atmospheric do-it-yourself black metal project that in 2018 hopes to release the debut full-length album. So far there is a bit of music, for instance, the single “Amidst the Midst” on Bandcamp, that you can hear to get an idea of where Nelecc is headed. It is for fans into the atmospheric and the do-it-yourself work ethic of those individuals that take matters into their own hands and cultivate their own personal version of homemade black metal. Nelecc is called “Kenyan atmospheric black metal” because the Chicago-area-based musician responsible for Nelecc grew up in Kenya, where he used to be in the band Irony Destroyed, which, by the way, is a band that this publication has covered in the past. Now, however, as is revealed in this interview, Nelecc is getting closer and closer to showing the fans of atmospheric DIY metal the range of sounds that the project encompasses. Get to know the objectives of Nelecc through this interview.
Hi. This is Metal Bulletin zine in the Seattle area. How is life for Nelecc?
Hello. Thanks for having me. Life for Nelecc in 2017 has been challenging, but also great in some aspects. But that's just how life is. That's why I'm looking forward to 2018. Exciting things are about to take place. New releases, new events, new atmosphere.
The Stars is the name of the album, right? Do you record all your music at home? You are based in Chicago, correct?
Correct. The Stars is the title of the upcoming album. And yes, I record my music in what most would refer to as a bedroom studio. I was initially in Chicago for about two years when I got to the States in 2014. I moved to Carbondale (6 hours away) when I transferred to University, where I'm a junior in Architectural Studies.
How long have you been playing music and how many instruments do you play?
I have been playing music since 2012, and I play the keyboard, guitar, and bass.
Given that you work on your music by yourself, how has the process of learning to record your own music been for you? Have you watched YouTube videos to learn?
The process of learning how to produce my own music has been rather gradual. I learn something new every day and that is what makes it more exciting. Indeed I've had to watch YouTube videos for the steps of composing good music. But more importantly, I received tons of advice from Mike Lamb, who has helped me refine the sound of my music and the result when I took his advice was incredibly astonishing. I owe him a great deal for sharing his advice.
What is the relation between Kenya and Chicago for you? Did you come to the U.S. for university studies?
I was born in the States, and left when I was about 2 years old (my opinion in the matter was voiced and we came to an agreement, haha. JK JK). Kenya is my home, it's where I grew up, and it's the reason that I am the person I am today. There really wouldn't be a Nelecc if I hadn't grown up there as it is where I draw most of my inspiration from. And yes, I came here for University studies.
I have not yet seen the track list for The Stars. Have you published it yet? Is there a specific date set for the release of the album?
I posted the track list for The Stars about two weeks ago. It is as such:
1. The Stars
2. A Thousand Suns
3. Here - Pillars of Life
4. Forest of Gloom
5. There - Epitome of Gaiety
6. Amidst the Mist
I am hoping to release it sometime in March but to be completely honest, it depends on how crazy the spring semester drives me. The fall was rather bearable, and that is why I was able to work on “Amidst the Midst” for a while. Any opening I can find during the school year, I use it to work, and write more music. It can be quite taxing, but the results make it worth it.
Have you met other people at school who are interested in the same music as you?
Three people that I've met in University so far are into the same kind of music that I make. Composing music in Nelecc on my own is a thrill in itself. It's like a drug. Every time an idea rings in my head and I'm close to my recording gear, I quickly make a rough recording and save it so I can work on it later when I get the time. It is fun. However, my friends and I in the School of Architecture are forming a band where we'll be playing softer music. Something in the likes of Chon, Toe, Animals as Leaders, Intervals, and so forth. So writing music with them so far has been fun as well.
Your music is atmospheric black metal with an emphasis on themes of nature. How does living in a big city like Chicago affect the themes of your music?
Living in Chicago is great. I have a wonderful family here, and I've met some really awesome people. However, it would have been nice to venture into nature while I was there without having to drive a good ways to get to it. Living there has however not affected the themes of my music at all. That's why it's also great living in Carbondale, which is south of Chicago. There's nature all around (and it's not as cold).
This publication, Metal Bulletin zine, has reported on Irony Destroyed from Nairobi before. You began Irony Destroyed, but you are no longer a member of the band. Are you still in contact with Irony Destroyed?
Yes, I talk to them from time to time and I can't really say how proud I am to see how far they've come in such a short amount of time. I listen to their music, and also bought their 'Strife to Legacy' EP when I visited Kenya back in June.
Do you plan to stay in the U.S. or do you plan to return to Kenya once you finish school? How difficult has it been for you as a Kenyan to adjust to life in the U.S.? How strange does the U.S. seem to you? Maybe it is not so strange: both Nairobi and Chicago are big cities! Have you met other Kenyans at the university?
I plan on working here, and once I'm well established I'll take my work back to Kenya. That is just an overview of the plan so far. As a good friend I met today said, I'll have to plan what I'm going to do tomorrow before I can start planning what I'm going to do in a couple of years. It hasn’t been that hard adapting to the life here for me. The culture here was rather strange when I got here. A lot of things that I can’t even mention puzzled me. The question I found asking myself very often is “they can do that?”; I didn’t grow up in the city. I’m from a small town called Mwingi, and some things even in Nairobi were new to me when I first got there (city life). So getting to the States, I was twice as shocked. I haven’t met any other Kenyans here. Just Ghanians and Nigerians. I’m hoping to run into some next semester though, by joining the African Student Council.
Have you a chance to enjoy the metal scene in Chicago? Lots of major concert tours go through Chicago because of its central location.
My first metal show to attend here was at Reggies Rock Club in Chicago last year when Ne Obliviscaris were touring the U.S. with Black Crown Initiate. It was absolutely incredible. The best show I’ve been to up to date. Other than that, I haven’t been to a lot of other shows due to lack of time. I missed an Eluveitie concert right across the bridge (Chicago river) from my college last year. I was torn. Slowly recovering though, haha.
Nelecc already has music posted at Bandcamp. For someone like yourself who works alone, what keeps you motivated to continue making music, given that you are the person who creates the music?
Nature, and growth of the Kenyan Metal scene has been a huge motivation to keep writing music. Posting the music online has definitely helped as it lets people hear the message I’m trying to send, and by them sharing it, even more people hear it and so forth. The positive feedback that I’ve received so far has pushed me further as well, so it has overall been a good experience.
Do you have any other news about Nelecc? How can people keep up with your musical activities?
Nelecc will be redoing the old epic/orchestral tracks and reposting them on YouTube from time to time. Otherwise, keep an eye out for The Stars. Best way to stay updated would be through these links:
Facebook (like): facebook.com/Nelecc
YouTube (subscribe): youtube.com/channel/UCpiMTb5mvFaFsWzB-ZMXhoA
Bandcamp (follow): nelecc.bandcamp.com/Thanks for your time!