Progressive death metallers Nexilva will be bringing the fury to Mammothfest on Sunday and ZT spoke to them about all sorts, from influences to buying Japanese rope.
Hear Nexilva on record (or your iPhone or however you listen to music these days) and it’s a blinding aural assault full of rage and all the trademarks of technical death metal. Precise and punishing, they know what they’re aiming for and nail it to a tee. Nothing on their debut album Eschatologies even hints that it was created by a bunch of lads in their early 20s.
But it was, and until you see them live age doesn’t even come into the equation. And even then it doesn’t matter, heavy metal can be a pretty liberal genre (just look at Babymetal’s inexplicable success) and Nexilva should be checked out by anyone with even the slightest interest in filthy heavy music.
Before taking to the stage at Tech-Fest ZT spoke to the entire band about their debut album, starting as a pop-punk band and the end of the world (well, they are a death metal band after all).
ZT: How pleased are you with your debut album Eschatologies?
Ryan Banks (bass): Yeah it’s gone really well, quite a few people getting it and quite a good response.
Simon Atkinson (guitars): I don’t think we really expected that many people to get involved with it and promote it that much. The response we got was just great, we haven’t seen many bad reviews just a lot of good ones.
Did being signed to Ghost Music help you out?
Ryan: We had everything recorded already
Simon: It was released by Ghost Music in the UK and Subliminal Groove in the US. Obviously they both helped in their own scenes in promoting the album. Really nice to work with.
How long have you been going?
Connor Jobes (drums): Since 2009. We started so five years nearly.
Simon: We’ve been through a lot of changes since then, stylistically. We started off as a bit more like, what would you call it? Pop-punk?
Connor: Nah it wasn’t pop-punk haha.
Simon: When we started Nexilva it was just like deathcore, bit of death metal. The over the years we’ve kind of expanded our horizons musically and personally and I guess the sound of the band has changed with that.
How would you describe Nexilva’s sound now?
Simon: Progressive death metal I’d say.
Ryan: There are technical parts such as riff then different riff then different riff…
Simon: There are sounds in there for everyone, you can’t really pin it down in one genre but that’s the broadest way we can say it really.
Is that because your influences have changed?
Simon: I think that all the music we’ve listened to over the years
Ryan: And bands we’ve played with we’ve taken inspiration from too.
Simon: When we got introduced into the whole tech scene by [Simon] Garrod when he drove us to our first tour that’s when he really opened our eyes to djent and tech-metal. Kind of just got addicted to it really, fell into it and that’s affected our sound.
What got you into playing metal in the first place?
Connor: I don’t know, it kind of just naturally happened.
Ryan: It was who I hung about with in school, like being mates with. I’m mates with this guy in another band, used to be in Nexilva actually, and he just listened to Cannibal Corpse and everything like that, so I kind of veered in that way.
Simon: We started out listening to pop-punk kind of stuff and there was this label Victory Records where we’d buy CDs through, like Hawthorne Heights or something and then you’d get a DVD with the CD that had loads of metalcore and death metal bands on that introduced us to them. And then we found our way into death metal.
You’ve just released a video for ‘Necromancer’, where did you film it?
Connor: One was Thetford forest was most of the narrative shots.
Ryan: Was it Coventry, I can’t remember
Connor: No it was quite close to Cambridge
So it wasn’t in the North East?
Simon: No, the beach we filmed that, I think it was Kensington beach.
Connor: It was a tiny little village with a church. Strange place.
Simon: We could’ve driven five minutes down the road to the beach (in Sunderland) to be fair.
Was it your idea to do the video?
Connor: We kind of just brought the ideas together and decided what we wanted. I think Simon had the idea of a sunrise on the beach for the performing shots. And with the narrative we kind of discussed it and came together with a conclusion of what we wanted pretty much on the spot. We didn’t come very prepared either.
Simon: On the day of the shoot we’d ordered some nice props and they didn’t arrive on time so we had to improvise. It worked out.
Ryan: Might I add the rope still hasn’t arrived haha.
Simon: We ordered this massive black rope from Japan and it just never arrived. It was off some dodgy eBay type site. £40.
Connor: Oh well, we’ll use it for the next video.
Simon: For how last minute it was I think it turned out really well.
Connor: The Necromancer’s wearing a black bedsheet. But it looks cool.
What kind of lyrical topics do you explore on Eschatologies?
Gary King (vocals): It’s about all the different scenarios for the end of the world like the Apocalypse, religious ones such as demons and angels coming down to wipe out the earth, disease, then zombie ones land humanity tearing itself apart through war, famine, greed.
Simon: Things that are really realistic like that and things that are more fantasy like demons, zombie apocalypses. Each song is a different scenario of how the world could end. I don’t think we actually planned for it to be a concept album, it just kind of worked out that way. We just liked the idea and went with it.
Where does the name Nexilva come from? Simon: Oh, I hate this question. It’s not a real word really. We were trying to find a name and I was researching some creepy stuff. There’s this forest in Japan called Aokigahara at the base of Mount Fuji and it’s meant to be really haunted and is a hotspot for suicides, there’s loads of weird spirit stories and the nickname for the forest is death forest. And that in Latin is Nex Silva, put those two words together and we got Nexilva. I just like the way it sounds and looks written down. We thought it was a bit more interesting than the standard detah metal name, something really grim. That stood out and was interesting because people always say ‘what does it mean’.
Connor: I know what that means, it means killing someone, Very death metal haha.
What future plans do you have for the band?
Simon: Pretty shady on that one. I mean we’ll start writing soon.
Gary: That’s our next step really just write more. We’ve got a tour in September too with Carcer City so that’s to look forward to.
Simon: We’re playing a few shows, we’ve got Mammothfest in Brighton at the end of August and a few here and there. There’s not that many shows planned apart from that but we’ll see what comes our way. I think we’re just going to write.
Ryan: Actually learn it as well haha. It’s going to be fun.
Will you be playing in the North East?
Simon: Probably not, we don’t play North East shows that often.
Connor: We played Gateshead not too long ago, that was interesting. Two of these guys couldn’t make it so we played as a three-piece.
Simon: Yeah but the scene in the North East is a bit iffy. So we kind of stay away from playing that many shows. We used to play Sunderland a lot and then we found there was a UK metal scene. There’s not really much there for metal at the moment. I mean there are people trying which I appreciate but there’s nothing solid.
Anything else to add?
Simon: Shall we do a how to say Nexilva?
Simon: But yeah just check out our music, if you like it you do if you don’t you don’t. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter. All the usual bollocks.
Nexilva play the Sunday at Mammothfest. Day tickets are £13 and weekend ones £20 and are available here.