I still remember the moment I discovered Nirnaeth music. I’ve been including ‘Haudh ‘en’ Nirnaeth’ as an essential element of my records’ collection since then. I could agree that what Piotr Wójcik does may seem weird, unusual, but it touched my heart and took a deep toll on me. Now he returns, 24 years later, with ‘Nirnaeth Arnoediad’ to give continuity to his project. I had been waiting to face Piotr for many years, so this interview you have below means a lot to the subscriber of these lines, specially the answers more than the questions.
By Marc Gutiérrez
EMPIRE MAGAZINE (EM): Why did you change the band’s name from Araunthar to Nirnaeth?
PIOTR WÓJCIK (PW): Nirnaeth much better reflected the spirit of my music. Also I changed the name with changing style – Araunthar was 100% piano project, while changing the name, I also started to use synthesizers and music started to be more symphonic.
EM: You recorded ‘Nirnaeth arnoediad’ between 1996 and 1998. What had happen during all those 24 years? Why did you decide to reactivate your Nirnaeth career now?
PW: Hm… Just a life. Finished university, started a work, established my own company. Prosaic reality. But still thought about making music and playing so finally, while having more time now and being able commit of music at least half of my working time, I’m back. I still have many notes to play – and many words to scream.
EM: I think ‘Nirnaeth arnoediad’ was released in cassette format a few years ago but, why not in cd or lp too?
PW: Yes, „Nirnaeth Arnoediad” was released on cassette format by Dagdy Music in early 1999. That was the deal – Dagdy releases MC for Poland and neighbouring countries, Abstract Emotions releases CD. In those times We didn’t ever thought about LP. Now Jordi will release CD/LP almost together (CD is already released, vinyls come out about March/April or May – depends on manufacturer).
EM: Why did you choose “Jesien” part I and III for the first song and the II part to close the album? If listeners don’t know the songs could you do it in order, I and II part for the first song and III to close the album? I want to mean, it’s only changing title. What can you tell me about it?
PW: Actually it’s not about the titles, because all these songs are based on three „Jesień” poems from my debut book of poetry called… (yes, you guess it right) „Jesień” („Autumn”). First and third poem are together as an opening song, second, large poem comes as a lyric for longest, last track of „Nirnaeth Arnoediad”. I know it would look strange a bit, but it’s exactly what I planned composing music for Jesień I / III.
EM: Were Haudh ‘en’ Nirnaeth’ and ‘Nirnaeth Arnoediad’ composed at the same time?
PW: No, of course no. „Haudh ‘ en ‘ Nirnaeth” is in fact a better version of demo tape „Opus Nirnaeth” and was composed early 1995, while „Nirnaeth Arnoediad” comes from years 96-98. I also use completely different synthesizers and sequencers for it. By the way, none of the was composed or even recorded using any PC. I always used hardware sequencers and synthesizers.
EM: How can you describe your sound? I think it’s very atmospheric but at the same time your lamenting growl make unique your sound.
PW: Some people say it is „Black Metal without guitars” (or even „Black Ambient”). I’d rather call it like a cinematic music with BM vocals and climate. For sure it is far away from so called „Dungeon synth” like Mortiis or even Wongraven. Nirnaeth’s music is neoclassical in it’s core and has much more commonalities with cinematic scores than, for example, with kinda new romantic or synth ambient music.
EM: Lirically, your albums are conceptual? Since lyrics are in polish, what can you tell me about the concept of the lyrics?
PW: So far they were always conceptual. First album (also demo-tape, because it’s almost the same stuff) was lyrically based on poems of Tadeusz Miciński – one of most famous polish modernism poets, hard connected to mysticism or even satanism. All those lyrics comes from his masterpiece called „W mroku gwiazd” („In the dark of stars”). „Nirnaeth Arnoediad” is lyrically based on my own book of poetry called „Jesień” („Autumn”). So We can say, both are kinda conceptual. At least from the lyrical view. Third album will come with lyrics from more authors – Miciński again, also Staff (another Polish poet from early XXth century) and again my own lyrics.
EM: Why did you stop your activity back in 2001?
PW: Just a prosaic reality. Also many various factors which I’d like to forget…
EM: Now you are working on your third album ‘Auta I Lome’, what can you tell me about your new compositions?
PW: Actually it’s almost done. I finish vocals now and within few weeks whole album should be finally mixed. It is definitely more symphonic, more grandiloquent, use much more instruments and samples. It will sound like a natural final of whole trilogy (nowadays many „old bands” return with stuff which is completely shocking for their old listeners…). Also there will be a bit more space for instrumental songs. But on the other hand it will be still Nirnaeth you know from „Nirnaeth Arnoediad”.
EM: It seems, “Jesien” song will have the IV part on your next album. What’s special on this song for you?
PW: Well, technically We shouldn’t talk about song, but rather about a series of lyrics. Of course music to those lyrics is typical (slow, with dense strings texture) but the main concept here is about lyrics. And you’re right there will be „Jesień IV” on „Auta I Lome”. Why Jesień (Autumn?) This is definitely the most beautiful season, at least for me. Especially here in Poland or Czech Republic, and if you live in mountains Autumn is even more colourful, awesome and majestic.
EM: I think you played two performances at Castle Party. Would you like to play again live? Have you any plans to do it?
PW: Yes, I played at the Castle Party two time, in 1999 and 2000 but at the moment hard to say what will future bring to us. So far all gigs are banned or postponed due to the virus, no one knows when it’ll finally end. Nirnaeth isn’t typical „gig-band” so I can’t imagine one or two months concert tour. But on the other hand why not take part of some festivals and play single concerts again. Time will show…
EM: You are a polish gay but I think you are living in Czech Republic. In a musical meaning which differences you can see between both countries?
PW: As for me both countries are similar. Of course Poland has much bigger scene and especially underground, but also Poland is much bigger country. If you look deep enough you will find similar bands in both countries, starting from DSBM and ending with post BM or even post-rock. Hm… maybe one difference I haven’t noticed any Dungeon Synth or Black Neoclassical project from Czech Republic so far.
EM: I think your first editions in cd and cassette are listed on the second hand market. Is that true?
PW: It is quite possible. But AFAIK it is very hard to find „Haudh ‘ en ‘ Nirnaeth” on CD. On the other hand I find it very positive, that in those quasi-digital times people are still interested in having physical medias, mainly CD’s in recent times also vinyls – listen music in good quality, with real booklet etc.
EM: Nirnaeth does not appear on Encyclopaedia Metallum. Do you plan to introduce info of your project there?
PW: As far as I know Encyclopaedia Metallum does not allow and ban all „not-metal-enough” projects – so Nirnaeth and many other bands (like for example This Empty Flow) are banned and are on prohibited list. It’s their policy and in fact not my business.
EM: Can you recommend me some polish underground bands?
PW: Recently I listen mainly old bands from old good times, but from time to time also look for something new. So I can recommend you kinda mix of old/new bands and projects: Odraza (very depressive post Black Metal), Allone, brand new album from Darzamat (after many years of silence), also Fadheit, if you like DSBM.