FS, what made you feel like now was the time to disband Nucleus Torn? I know you’ve said that you’ve done all you’ve set out to do but how do you know when you’ve reached that point?
That’s easy. I just knew it. The thing coming out of my speakers matched the ideas in my imagination. It didn’t require any tweaking, any fighting with the sounds or performances or arrangements ‘Street Lights Fail’ and ‘Neon Light Eternal’ sounded just the way I wanted them to.
From a songwriter’s point of view, I also managed to fill certain artistic gaps in the world of music that I thought required some attention. To a degree, I may have helped to complete certain musical developments. I have said so elsewhere: I think of myself as a grave digger for the kind of music formerly known as ‘progressive rock’. I want to finish things off. Rock music has become old and will hopefully soon die a peaceful death. Repeat repetition routine I just can’t stand it. It’s time to move on artistically instead of trying to add anything to the canon. I’d rather assess past achievements (and enjoy my Beatles’ records) than wasting my time with the umpteenth retro album.
Was there anything significant to “Neon Light Eternal” that felt like a natural conclusion?
a) ‘Street Lights Fail’ and ‘Neon Light Eternal’ (SLF/NLE from this point onwards) could also have been released as a double album. NLE concludes SLF artistically.
b) It contains my/our best music so far.
c) With regards to Nucleus Torn as a project: NLE successfully adds the final ingredients to the sonic template that I wanted to create with Nucleus Torn.
d) I feel like I’ve succeeded. It feels fine to let go.
Let’s talk about “Blowing Up The Entire World (Explosions 1997 – 2015).” First off, the package is amazing! You’ve created new stereo AND new surround sound mixes for your entire catalog. That seems like both a lot of work but maybe some what cathartic at the same time. How was it for you?
Yes, cathartic, that’s quite an apt description. Doing such an “allencompassing” piece of work was the only thing I could think of that would allow me to finally get rid of Nucleus Torn once and for a… at least the time being. Originally, I did the surround mixes purely for my personal use and pleasure. They were not meant to be released. But Prophecy Productions were very keen on listening to them, obviously impressed with what I’d come up with, so they pursued the idea of such a collection. Needless to say that I was on board at once, therefore I kept perfecting the mixes. Over the course of several months, we discussed various possibilities for packaging and so on. However, we only decided in spring 2015 that we would release the set at the same time as NLE. Things suddenly fell in place. We had a deadline, we chose to put the music on three DVDs, we chose to do an artbook with 96 pages and I made sure I had time to prepare everything for release.
What gave you the idea of the dialogue that you have within the package? It’s a humorous, self interview.
One of the key issues was that no one was really interested in writing liner notes. NT is not an act that improves anyone’s status if you write about it. Just writing “something” myself about NT’s history didn’t appeal to me at all, so I tried to come up with a slightly more original and, most importantly, entertaining idea. I started to write down some of the questions I would have liked to be asked in the interviews I did during the last few years and some that I would have hated. The obvious next step was creating an interior monologue, trying to give a lot of background information, reveal things of personal significance and entertain at the same time, but without telling too much about the exact circumstances (I like to keep my private sphere private). The result is honest, but with a twist.
By the way, this is Mr. Nice Guy doing this interview. Mr. Naughty Boy is on holiday. He’ll be back shortly. You have been warned.
Since you’ve gone thru all of your music again with fresh ears, did any of the songs or albums jump out at you during the process?
To be honest, I will always choose SLF/NLE rather than anything else from our discography. Of course, there are other magical moments to be found on the other records (otherwise I would have ditched them), but in my opinion, there’s always something slightly wrong, either with regards to the performances or the production. We could perfect that on SLF/NLE.
Do you have any new “favorite” tracks since doing this remixing?
My favourite tracks are all on SLF/NLE. The remixing process confirmed my views. However, there are a few more highlights. These are ‘Peregrina Sublime’ (from ‘Nihil’), most of ‘Knell’ III, several sections of ‘Andromeda Awaiting’, ‘Against’ and ‘Death Triumphant’ (from ‘Golden Age’) and the title track of ‘A Promise of Sunlight’.
With Nucleus Torn coming to a close, what is next for you?
I honestly have no idea. I’m completely done with anything that relates to writing, arranging, recording and releasing music. I might do a few sessions now and then or do mixes for other groups. Since I earn a living playing and teaching music, there is little danger of losing my abilities. However, I rather focus on other areas of musical interest, which at present means that I primarily play baroque music on harpsichord and recorder.
Is there a possibility for another chapter to this book known as Nucleus Torn? Is the door being left ajar?
Yes, it is, the door has not been closed. I’ve decided not to write any new music myself for ten years, of which three have already passed tempus fugit. At present, I simply lack a clear perspective for future endeavours, since I’ve fulfilled my earlier artistic aims. It’s now time to gather new ideas, to discover and learn new ways of working, to find new modes and tools of expression. Repetition is boring and useless and has absolutely no place in the world of Nucleus Torn. If we return, we will make sure to blow your mind.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and congratulations on an amazing body of work as Nucleus Torn!
I’m glad you like it; it is in good hands/ears.
To purchase “Blowing Up The Entire World (Explosions 1997 – 2015),” click here!