An Interview with Nhor…
First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to you for taking your time to answer this interview. I do appreciate it. Please, let us begin with the music created by Nhor, ethereal and meditative. This might sound a bit related to a fanboyism demonstration, but I really would like to know how do you transcend beauty into music or music into beauty?
I wish I possessed such talents but I believe that music is subjective, and my music somewhat niche. I think that luckily, there happens to be others who resonate within nature at the same frequency as myself. That there are others whose experience of time runs at the same pace as mine, and others whose minds kneel to the same thoughts.
Let’s talk about the new album to be released in November, titled “Momenta Quintae Essentiae”. As of this moment in which I type these questions, I have only been able to listen to one song and might I add that I was stunned. I would like to know what you could tell us ahead about, in terms of the musical aspects and in relation to the previous releases. Compared to your preceding works, how different is “Momenta Quintae Essentiae”?
Momenta Quintae Essentiae feels like somewhat of a return to my beginnings. My last album “Within the darkness between the starlight” was a culmination of all of my previous works and in some ways was an end to a chapter in the Nhor story. There is no “heaviness” to this album. I wanted to start again from where I once did, but this time carrying with me the knowledge that I had already gained. This album is much more focused, and almost introverted, featuring only piano, acoustic guitar, vocals and strings rarely.
You have stated that “Momenta Quintae Essentiae” is actually a “collection of spaces and thoughts” and not “gathering of songs”. The explanation is very interesting, so, for those that are not familiar with Nhor as of yet and is becoming interesting with the band’s aspects and “concepts”, could you explain to us the meaning of this statement? Do you believe that you have to be in a certain mood or at specific situations in order of being able to fully enjoy the magic in the music created by Nhor?
My music isn’t restricted to modern song writing styles and ideas, especially In terms of verse/choruses. This isn’t to say that what I am doing is better, only that I don’t think it would be correct to call my pieces of music songs. Each track was inspired by a suspended moment in time, hence, Moments of the fifth essence (Momentae Quintae Essentiae). The fifth essence being that which was thought to have comprised nature and the heavenly spheres above. That other worldly feeling, connection, that isn’t explainable. That connection to nature that we all have, our oneness with the Earth, and universal existence. My approach in contemplating and experiencing nature seems to be increasingly meditative. I don’t claim to be meditating as I don’t know enough of the subject but it seems the best way to describe my approach. This is how I have been finding those suspended moments, but to acknowledge them is to watch them fall away at the same time. I suppose one way to consider the approach to this album (which isn’t musical), was that for me to be able to “find” “nature”, I have had to lose myself within it. When staring at the moon rising I have lost myself. When watching the reflection of stars shivering in a cold stream I have been removed from time and focused wholly on that moment.
I believe that it is best listened to in the right situations and settings. Yet, I don’t think I have ever tried listening to my music in the “wrong” setting either. It may be a great contrast. I think the most important rules for listening to my music is to be patient, and alone. I wish for it to always be a sort of meditative process. That’s why I feel it’s best to listen to my music before sleep or while walking. Both of those moments allow me to shut off much of the world and focus my thoughts, they allow me to fall back into myself. I think many people feel this late at night. How many in depth and far more meaningful conversations or thoughts have you had at night? Our days are filled with actions and purpose. Where in the night we are allowed to consider ourselves, and this is where these feelings arise. Therefore my music is best listened at those times, where instead of the music being a soundtrack to your daily actions, it becomes an aid in self discovery.
You live in a very beautiful region, surrounded by dazzling nature and even when it comes to the urban setting, it is quite charming. How much of this environment influences the music and lyrics of Nhor? In fact, tell us what generally inspires you to create music. As asked before concerning the listening experience, now in relation to the creating process, do you have to be in a certain mood to create your art?
I am very lucky to live in a very beautiful part of the world. It’s affected me greatly. I don’t truly understand the allure of cities, or city life. Yet I do understand why people don’t feel connected to nature when they have never been amongst it. For me to describe nature would take an age, I would say this instead. I once thought that I simply didn’t know enough words to describe it, now I see that words are not enough.
I do have to be in a certain mood. I never force the creative process. Whenever I feel the urge to sit at the piano, I will do so. But this isn’t a business, or a regime, it’s a way of life. It’s like any other persons hobby. They don’t force it, or turn it into a job, they do it when they wish, because is it fulfilling to them.
Nhor is a one-man band… and this is often something I ask musicians concerning this, as, many times, I hear different replies, so, which were the main reasons for this? Do you feel that having other members would “harm” or “tarnish” your visions, in any way? Apart from that, for you, and not in a general way, what are the main positive and negative, if there are any, aspects of being the sole member of the band?
There was never a plan for Nhor to begin. Yet when it did, it was realized by my own hands and so I have never seen the need to include anyone else. For what purpose would I include someone else to try and convey the emotions and thoughts that I feel?
There are definitely positives in terms of myself having complete control, and being able to do whatever I want. I never have to compromise on ideas or clash with others. Yet as a negative, this leaves the sole responsibility on myself. At times it would be extremely helpful to have other opinions on what I have done to help guide me or to ease concerns, but I just have to trust myself. And as this music is very personal, in some ways I don’t see how another person’s opinion would truly help, it may only serve to make me less observant to my own thoughts and feelings by regarding other opinions too highly.
The correlation in Nhor of visual art, music and literature makes the band even more impressive. When it comes to the literature aspects, allow me to ask about your preferences in this field. What periods and writers are among the ones that have influenced your life? How long have you been interested in writing stories? Has this always been “a part of you” or were you encouraged by a teacher or a family member?
I don’t mean to disappoint you with this answer but the literature is something that seemed to appear from nowhere. I have always had a very vivid imagination, and as I can’t draw very well, writing is my way of expressing thoughts, experiences and ideas. There aren’t really any writers who I think have influenced my style of writing. No one has encouraged me to do so. There are authors I enjoy reading though, such as Carl Sagan and Sam Harris.
My writing at times is a kind of diary. Omon for instance is an ode to the moon, and one of the first pieces I remember writing. It is simply a collection of my thoughts while watching the moons path across the sky one night.
A heavy weight upon my eyes.
A confidant of secrecy.
Soft light spills over me.
It slows my thoughts,
and it calms my wild swelling heart.
I swear that it waits for me.
So profound in its solemn vigil.
Silently it serenades me.
And it knows,
it knows my thoughts;
of my longing to return,
and of my desires.
It waits for me.
And even when it slips beyond,
I know it will return.
And I pray that when it does,
I will be taken forever.
Related to the previous question, how do you see Nhor, as a musical project or a “multimedia” expression? And connected to this, what does Nhor represents to you and what are the goals you want to achieve with it? Still on the entity of Nhor, you have stated that you are Nhor and that you do not need to make any public information about you. Could I ask you what are the main reasons for that? Do you feel that since we “tend to associate the literature, music, or paintings with the person who created it”, as Don Anderson from Agalloch once put, this is a way to focus on Nhor only?
I think Nhor is undoubtedly a project of many different mediums. There are other things I create that I cannot release or show people simply because of their nature. For instance, a few years ago I made what would be considered an art installation in the forest. I gathered many of my favourite findings in a beautiful part of the forest, many of the items arranged in terms of how the sunlight fell, lighting them almost like a clock as the sun moved through the sky. This is something I unfortunately cannot share. But this idea is actually captured in one of my stories (that is as yet unreleased)
In terms of goals for Nhor, I always thought it would be a beautiful thing for people to talk about my project without my knowing. And I suppose I have achieved this. There are musicians and bands that I have spoken highly of to others. If there is another who has done such a thing about my project, then my wish has been fulfilled.
There are many reasons for not choosing to share information about myself publicly. I do think to do so would detract from the project. I don’t see the need for people to know who I am, and I’m sure the majority don’t care. It only serves to distract. I’m not actively trying to hide who I am, I just don’t ever see the need to show or tell people. I cannot think of any benefits in sharing the information.
I like the thought of people using their imagination to create me. This imagined me would be, to their minds the perfect embodiment of Nhor. He would fit every criteria that they themselves have set for Nhor. I have heard some laughable rumours about who I am, but in the end it doesn’t matter. As children when we were introduced to art in any form our questions were not to ask who created it, we were only concerned with our reaction and experience to it.
Just like in every interview I conduct, I like to ask a few personal questions simply to know the man behind the music better. Nothing intrusive, of course. I just would like you to share favourite activities, hobbies, movies… as mentioned before, we can see that you like photography, are you familiar with the works of social and nature photographer Sebastião Salgado? I highly recommend you the book Genesis.
I have never heard of that photographer, but I will be sure to take a look at their work. I wouldn’t consider myself a photographer by any means. I am just lucky to live so close to beautiful surroundings. It’s hard to take a bad photograph when the subject is flawless.
I enjoy walking, especially through unkempt nature. I find that it is a great way to think. Nhor is my life hobby. I enjoy creating music, literature, art. I enjoy thinking upon concepts and discovering more about the universe and myself.
In terms of some interesting favourites, I would say musically John Williams is one of my favourite composers, people seem to always be surprised by this, but his ability to express energy, emotion, settings, themes is incredible. I have a soft sport for the 2nd movement of the Barber violin concerto also. Neurosis – A sun that never sets has definitely been a very influential album to myself. In terms of the way I think, Carl Sagan, Sam Harris, Richard Feynman, Alan Watts are all people to look into.
You have just released/ are just releasing, depending on when this interview is published, a new album. How do you see the future of Nhor? What are your main goals and wishes for the upcoming days of the band?
Momenta Quintae Essentiae was finished musically quite some time ago. I have been working on a few different ideas since then, and also revisiting some older ones from my previous album, “Within The Darkness Between The Starlight”. Also, I will hopefully be releasing some more written works very soon.
My main goals are to stay true to this project and to never feel like I am constricted or bound by any set of rules that Nhor must adhere to.
We have reached the end of this interview. I hope you have enjoyed it and wish you the best for your present and future endeavours, both personal and professionally. I leave you with the last words of the conversation.
Thank you very much for taking the time to explore my project, and for writing to me. I will leave you with a passage of mine:
He walked to the edge of the mist,
and looked on as its veil swept silently through the trees.
His feet sank into the soft green moss,
A wave crashed then, over the pines.
He glimpsed its dull edge numb the forest’s form.
In the blurred outlines of forgotten trees, he now swam.
All pictures belong to their rightful owners.November 7, 2015