Thank the earth—Summer, my nemesis of seasons, is definitely approaching its end. Get ready to worship the season of harvesting and death. Cliche aside, this month is kicking off a fall season in SLC that’s already loaded with boatloads of every kind of metal and all its nooks and associated crannies. This week’s blog features an interview with Nader Sadek—if you haven’t heard his album yet, you best picking it up. And as always, your weekly show rundown and notice of some newly announced metal shows.
Judas Priest is supposedly ending it for good (again), and their “Epitaph” tour makes a stop at the Maverik Center on November 4.. Tickets are available now.
Raunch Record is hosting a plethora of local and touring artists throughout October, Go check out the likes of Velnias and Yaotl Mictlan or The Fucking Wrath and IX Zealot as well as Never Never and the always killer All Systems Fail.
Wolves in the Throne Room will kick off the very first day of October with Eagle Twin and IX Zealot hosted at the Utah Arts Alliance. Listen to SLUG writer Gavin Hoffman’s interview with the band on the September 19 edition of Soundwaves of the Underground, SLUG’s new weekly podcast.
Brutality comes in many forms at the end of November with Utah Metal presenting SLC’s first Extreme Metal Fest, featuring the announced bands Sacrificial Slaughter, Gutsaw, Deathed, Gravetown, Dukestorm, Thunderclap, Dark Blood and more to be announced soon.
As for this week a couple big things going down, Friday Sept. 9 hosts a couple of fancy options. The Project Independent Tour hosted by Metal Sanaz (http://metalsanaz.com) with featured artist Aghori headlining will bring buckets of noise with Synapse Defect, A Balance of Power, Alias Code, Unthinkable Thoughts, Incidious, Erimus and Dark Blood. The tour/show is not only boasting a bunch of tunes, you can go and make some history since the tour is producing an indie metal music documentary called “Living Loud – Bands, Fans, Cities, and Scenes.”
Also Friday think far outside the known metallic box and check out SLUG’s Localized at the Urban Lounge with Subrosa players Rebecca Vernon and Kim Pack’s newest incarnation Cicadas, which features insanely amplified violins and all sorts of fun or just nerve racking noise. Also featured further from the metal realm (but hey, why not open some horizons) are The 321s and the shoegazieness of The Saintanne. As always SLUG’s localized is $5 and 21+.
On Tuesday, September 13, go get comfy, angry and old school with Agnostic Front, set to blast the doors of Burt’s Tiki Lounge with support from Mongoloids and Naysayer. Tickets advance are lucky $13.
Nader Sadek interview
Nader Sadek is an Egyptian-born, New York-based visual artist—and it is also the name of his new musical project. Built from the artist’s ideas, the album In the Flesh features a trio of notable metal forces: Steve Tucker, best known for his time in Morbid Angel; Flo Mounier ,the drummer that put Cryptopsy in the sights of extreme metal fanatics; and guitarist Rune Eriksen, who is a jack of many metal trades known for time in Mayhem, but also forward thinking artists such as Aura Noir and Ava Inferi. This is a metal album to be sought out and heard by anyone looking for something beyond normal genre confines. Napalm Flesh had the chance to talk to Nader Sadek concerning just about everything.
SLUG: How long have you been an artist? Where were some of your first inspirations for creating the art you have made?
Nader Sadek: I feel like I’ve been making art all my life. Ever since I was a kid, I’d draw all the time I was always motivated to draw. Around 1999-2000 is when I really started to get into making more articulated and ambitious pieces professionally. I’d say my inspiration is legacy and beliefs in immortality. I find these things really fascinating. I think it reveals a lot about the human psyche and how insecure we are and how much we need to feel that we’re going to live forever. We all fear death and no one wants to die—I think it’s something everyone can relate too. It’s motivating and inspiring to me.
SLUG: You were born in Egypt. Why and when did the transition/move to NYC take place?
NS: I lived all my life in Egypt up until I was 20 and then I went to Minnesota to go to college and then I moved to NYC. New York is where things happen—I really like going to other shows (music) and checking things out. Having lived in Cairo and Minnesota, they’re both great and they both have their very intense cultures. New York somehow blends everything. There is more competition there than anywhere else. It’s a place where you can really immerse yourself in what’s happening with all the events and shows—it’s a very intense place to live.
SLUG: How did the transition from visual artist purely in the “art community” leas to crafting art for the likes of Mayhem and Sunn 0))?
NS: I don’t actually know. I was already making art with death metal and once I started going that way things just kind of happened that way. I met Attila and he hired me to make his masks for him and then he wore those masks at Sunn 0)) and Mayhem shows and then Mayhem thought the stuff was cool so they asked me to do a whole stage thing for them.
SLUG: What bands first got you into listening and wanting to be a part of what is essentially extreme metal?
NS: Sepultura and Deicide actually, not Slayer and Morbid Angel like most people. Before that I was listening to Pantera and whatever was a little better known because I lived in Egypt, but eventually I met up with people there who did listen to extreme music but they showed me the other artists.
SLUG: The idea for Nader Sadek and In the Flesh is something that sparked a while ago. How did it come full circle and how did you come to bring in the main artists involved, not to mention the guest musicians?
NS: Like I said, my artistic motivation is death and immortality. I was already using this petroleum theme in one of my first shows and it’s always somehow in my work. It just morphs into different pieces—it can be a drawing, it can be a sculpture, it can be an installation. This idea became an album. Of course for each thing you have your own talents and your own limitations. To make the piece worthwhile you sometimes you need to bring in people and make it happen. I’m not a musician by any means, but I wanted this theme to be converted musically. It had already turned itself into a performance that had drawings, a few sculptures and a few installations. The sound aspect was important because one of the main ways of using petroleum is as gasoline in car engines. I think death metal sounds like car engines. When you’re changing the gear as you’re driving fast it creates this sound—if you change the gears you can actually create a melody. To me death metal sounds like you’re creating that melody. That’s why death metal to me is such a suiting idea.
To create that sound I had to get the perfect people. I guess you could say any death metal album would have worked more or less but I really wanted to create that atmosphere. The songs that Steve Tucker had written already had that atmosphere in them and then when Rune Erikson came in and wrote his songs based on Steve’s and then I came in with this idea and I was able to compose the majority of what became “Nigredo In Necromance.” The sound that Tucker created in those songs have the perfect rhythm that I was talking about earlier. and adding Flo Morneier to that makes it even more machine like because the sound of the machine you’re hearing tons of clanking and all these metal parts hitting each other and I equate that with how Flo drums, because there’s so much that he adds that’s all very controlled but has a really amazing groove to it. So I needed someone that could make it busy but extremely tasteful.
Rune’s sound was extremely important because he has the vision of being able to make something really melodic out of Steve’s really thick and intense evil rhythms. I think Rune’s harmonies were perfect in actually completing my sculpture style. If you look at the sculptures I’ve made, most of them are machine parts, machine tools that are rendered as flesh. That’s exactly the sound I was looking for. I wanted something that sounded like a machine but was susceptible to pain—it’s made out of metal but it’s also made out of flesh.
So how did I get in touch with the artists? Steve, I e-mailed him, Flo, I met him years ago and Rune I e-mailed through knowing Attila. And the guests were people I had met metal in my life that were death metal musicans. I was very lucky to have Travis Smith, Mike Learner and Tony Norman. Are just amazing people that contributed solos and guest vocals.
SLUG: How did the writing/recording process take place? Did the members send in their portions or was there ever a cumulative meeting of everyone to bash some of the songs out? If there was, I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall for that!
NS: How it happened was Steve wrote a song in 2006 for another project I did called Faceless. We did this performance in a museum called Sculpture Center. After that there was one more show I wanted to do before I wanted to do an album, and through that show I asked Steve to write two more songs, so basically I had three songs by him. We decided those three songs would be the musical direction the album would go into and they’d be on the album so we played them to Rune and he loved them and Rune composed a track and he and I played around. I provided a building block to one song he later composed. They were just demos recorded with drum machines, in Rune’s case he actually played drums on the demos, it was all just sent online. But then I flew them over to New York and they jammed for three days and went into the studio and that was it. They’re pros so that’s what they did.
SLUG: How much of a part did you have in writing music for the album?
NS: Actually not much, when I did the project I didn’t think I was going to do anything with the music but as I mentioned before I wrote “Nigredo In Necromance,” minus several harmonies and adjustments that Rune did. I was pretty inspired, so I picked up a guitar that a friend of mine had left me. I just hummed this melody and I tried to find it on the guitar. The building blocks of what became later “Petrophilia,” I actually mapped out on the keyboard with melodies and I played it to Flo and Rune and they liked it and Rune took it and made this amazing demo. I think there was a few adjustments later when we met in rehearsal, but it turned out to be great.
SLUG: What is the central concept around In the Flesh? How do you think the extreme mostly fast nature of the songs displays and hammers that concept down?
NS: The concept really is about my fascination with petroleum and how it’s this deathly poisonous liquid, which we exhume to create energy and life out of. To me that is just really strange—it seems kind of morally wrong somehow. Pulling out death things and creating things with it and in that process you create pollution. Everything about it is just wrong. The only good thing is it’s technology, so obviously I appreciate how far it’s taken us. In a way I’m not even against it, I’m just saying it’s very strange and bizarre. It’s amazing that we’ve come that far, it’s mind boggling that we’ve found a way to turn dead things into energy. The central concept is based on that, and you can really take that so many ways. That’s why things are vague. When you make art, there should be some clues but it’s nice when it’s abstract and when it’s not limited by a very specific thing. That’s why you don’t see oil rigs and things like that on the cover artwork it’s a lot subtler than that. The same goes for the lyrics—every song isn’t about oil. One song is about worshiping a non-existing God or worshiping a God that’s only in people’s minds, and it could be petroleum. The next song is about the rise of a new God and how that god is controlling everything, but then again it could be about petroleum. This is how we approached it. It was never going to be singing about oil, that’s not how we did it. I think like I said the sound is just perfect and exactly how I wanted it.
SLUG: Do you have a favorite track from the album?
NS: “Petrophilia,” is really the coolest song. It’s the biggest teamwork piece: I provided the building blocks, Rune wrote the song, Flo adjusted it and Steve came in and threw down his vocals—everyone did something and it was just sick. Maybe it’s just for nostalgic reasons, but it’s just a brutal track, really intense that just has everything. It blows my mind how Rune interpreted the few melodies I gave him.
SLUG: You’ve done two music videos from tracks from the album with the final goal of having a video for every track. Are you working on any new videos? Is there a particular track you’re looking to visualize not so far down the road?
NS: “Mechanic Idolatry” and “Soulless” are the two I’m thinking about the most, and I’ve already got some ideas. In a couple of weeks I’ll be shooting with some of the musicians so it’s going to be great. I do plan to do a video for each song—I’m not sure when that will all happen, but it will be awesome.
SLUG: You’ve definitely created some memorable concert experiences with the pieces you’ve created for Mayhem and Sunn 0)). What’s one of your most memorable concert viewing experiences?
NS: Probably Nine Inch Nails or Pink Floyd. Some of those are just things you can’t really forget because so much work went into them, and then you really able to appreciate what that does to a show and it really takes it up. In this case the stage has to be emanating a vibe just as much as the music—when you have those things working together it’s a completely new experience all together. Another great inspiration is opera, although I don’t watch it much. I went and saw Wagner's Valkyrie, which completely blew my mind. It was 6 hours long so a bit too intense, but the energy from the stage was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
SLUG: Is there something if you had an unlimited amount of funds that you would absolutely love to do for Nader Sadek or any other band you would like to work with?
NS: Realistically speaking I’d love to do a show at the Pyramids at Giza, and that kind of needs an unlimited amount of funding.
SLUG: You’re not a stranger to controversy. What’s the most controversial thing do you think you’ve done as an artist? A good quote coming from the movie Seven paraphrased says theses days to get peoples attention you need to hit them in the head with a sledgehammer. Do you agree with that idea? Or does your artistic drive and inspiration come purely from your desire to create?
NS: No, I wouldn’t go that far. I just love expressing myself because its healthy. It’s something that I have a drive or a thirst for and I need to quench it. The message of In the Flesh, isn’t one that I'm trying to preach, I’m not necessarily trying to be ecological, the world is the way it is, I merely observe it-the theme is more of a reflection than something that is trying to convince you or convert you into different thoughts.