When we reviewed Negura bunget’s ‘Virstele Pamintului’ album (here) we found it to be an astonishingly powerful work that resonated on many levels thanks to the intelligent lyrics, the music which was ever-changing yet consistently fascinating and an attention to detail that showed the Romanian Metaller’s to have a strong passion for their music and their country’s proud, yet tragic history. Perhaps because much of their music is shrouded in mystery and oblique references it is a particular pleasure for us that we had the chance to pose some questions to negura Bunget about their music, their influences and their future plans. A fascinating insight into a band who deserve your undivided attention if you’re a fan of progressive or heavy music, read on and find out about the enigmatic, brutal, beautiful Negura Bunget:
1. Negura Bunget are fascinating not least because your work is deeply bound up in Romanian Culture – something that is far removed from the average English listener. Can you provide some insight into the themes that inspire your lyrics?
The local history spirituality and folklore have always been our main inspiration. At the same time we make everything a personal experience. So it’s not the outside facts that inspire us, but the personal relation we develop with them. There’s then a more universal aspect, as the focused local realities open sometimes unexpected perspective into universal ones. Spiritual experiences are similar in the end, regardless of time and space. The traditional esotericism we always found drawn ourselves toward developed this connection even further.
2. What informs your interest in history and culture and can you recommend books or resources for people who are interested in the world you present to begin their studies?
I’m afraid for the local elements that’s quite difficult. There are not many books translated in English on this matter. I could recommend you the work of Mircea Eliade of I. P. Cluianu, which through their writings on the history of religion explore sometimes briefly the Romanian realities. For the esotericism aspects there’s Rene Gueron of course,
3. There seems to be a large element of philosophy in the band’s work – what drew you to that?
I always enjoyed philosophies to certain extend. The different concepts and the ideologies fascinate me. There also a philosophical system that I find close connected with. It’s the mysteries philosophy developed with the Romanian philosopher Lucian Blaga, which beside a knowledge philosophy has an important part dedicated to the connection between the local natural hill valley evolution and how it shaped the spiritual horizon of the people living it.
4. The music that you create, particularly on the new album is, as far as I can tell, often unique – even veering away from metal altogether for large sections – does that reflect the music that you listen to? Can you detail some of your influences?
All the music we listen to affects us at a certain level. At the same time I’d say the more different music I listen to, it all helps shaping my own personal identity. So whether I enjoy Dead Can Dance, Theni, Irfan, or Neurosis, GSYBM, Mono, or Enslaved, Emperor or Porcupine Tree, Daine Lakaine… it’s more of a spiritual experience than a direct musical influence.
5. Are you concerned that the folk and ambient elements may alienate some listeners?
You cannot fully control these aspects, and if you start thinking what people might like or might not, and try to create your music based on that… there’s little chance you can do something meaningful. So we always try to present the best music we feel represent us. If people can share this experience, that’s even better, but we just can’t do it any other way.
6. Is there as piece of art or literature that is important to the band?
I’d say these elements reflect again on an individual level rather than to the band as collective. I have a major degree in literature, so I enjoy reading a lot from major writers to avangarde literature. But that does not reflect directly in what I do in Negura Bunget.
7. Signing with Code 666 was obviously a crucial part of the band spreading further afield – how did that come about?
I was pretty simple and natural. After the release of Maiastru sfetnic that got somehow a copy of it (we didn’t sent any promos), enjoyed it, and asked us about working with them. We didn’t had another contract, so all came together easily.
8. 2009 was a time of great turmoil for the band – how did it come to pass that only Negru remained in the band?
I’d say it was just meant to happen like this. Working together for such a long time had its marks, and in the end it was just too hard to work together. We all had different views, on pretty much everything, and while this helped in the past, and reaching a common ground always meant an extra effort, in the end the struggle was more intense and consuming than the results.
9. How did that affect the running of the band and the musical direction of the new album?
We started the work on the new album from zero, with the new line-up for the band. So it was a completely new experience we had the chance to do because of all the developments. I was aware such chances don’t happen all the time, so I tried to make the best out of it. The new album is at the same time just a new beginning, and there’s lot more coming after it.
10. Given the success of Om, was there any pressure to do as well this time?
The pressure is always from within for us. Each new release is a new step for us, one in which we always want to take things even further, explore new paths and experience new elements.
11. What can we expect to see from Negura Bunget in the future?
We have lots of plans to transform into reality. There’s a live DVD soon to be finished and released, then a new MCD as the end of our deal with Code666, some nice tour plans for autumn… and then the bigger ones: new album, maybe a visual trilogy…
12. What are your aims for the band?
Our aims have been more spiritual since the beginning. We see the Negura Bunget and the Black Metal as a chance for our spiritual evolution. That’s why we always took everything serious and have been grateful for the chance we got.
Negura bunget’s ‘Virstele Pamintului’ is out now through Code 666