Summon: How did the band get started?
AnimaL: I started the band in 1991 with a guitarist(Demon) from our previous band, and we went through various drummers until Taz came in mid-1992, and with some friends playing bass to help us out, we played some parties and small gigs, but our first official show on the big stages in the Toronto circuit came in January 1993 at the Marquee Club in the city’s east end, and it was packed! An awesome intro for us into the world of playing Live \NM/
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
AnimaL: Metal. \NM/ … Angry Aggressive Metal? We incorporate almost all the elements of Metal, including Death Metal, Black Metal, Speed Metal, Heavy Metal, and of course Thrash Metal, which is I suppose the category most would put us in, though we’re not your typical “Thrash” band.
Summon: How has the fan response been?
Rollo: We’ve had a lot of positive response from radio stations across the globe. In particular in North Carolina and stations in San Francisco and Florida also playing us. However, let us not forget to thank the “Masters of Thrash” radio station that plays us across Canada. Wicked!
AnimaL: The fan response has been awesome! We’re hearing quite a bit of feedback about the new music and also about the cover “art” of our latest EP release… all of which has been more than positive \NM/
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
AnimaL: Back in 1990, I was playing in a band called Nocturnal Demise. When it dissolved, I formed what would be soon called NitemarE with the rhythm guitarist from that band, and a friend of ours who was helping on Bass and suggested the name NIGHTMARE, to which I responded with the spelling change to use NITEMARE instead. This was in 1991.
Summon: Introduce the band members and what they do in the band.
Ron Dane(AnimaL): Guitars.
Matt Mitchell(Splatter): Bass, backing vocals.
Juri Rollo(Rollo): Vocals
Rob Gabriel(Scump): Drums
Summon: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
AnimaL: I write nearly all the music and we all contribute to the lyrics. There’s no “rhyme or reason” or formulas to any of it. It just starts with a cool riff and expands into what it is. I’m always writing new material on the guitar which I suppose is how I ended up being the main music writer of the band. Music written by Splatter or other past members, also blended in well with the overall NitemarE sound so well that you wouldn’t notice a difference in structure, which is a very awesome thing.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
Rollo: Everybody in the band writes lyrics. Lately, it’s been me primarily for the new album, but Animal and Splatter are pretty proficient at it as well. Splatter used to be the vocalist before I joined so I value everyone’s input with lyrics a lot. We work as a team.
AnimaL: For me, lyrical content comes from such a wide range, like from World War 2, to Nightmare On Elm Street, to singing from certain points of view, such as the lyrics for I Fuckin’ Hate You! Which if you read them, they escalate from verse to verse. The first verse narrates the hatred towards one individual… then in the second verse, the hatred expands to multiple people, namely the victims’ family… then the third verse after the solo, has the hatred spreading to include everyone on the planet. It’s a cool build up and Rollo’s vocals bring the feel of the words to life with an awesome accompanying psychotic sound, that is very convincing.
Summon: What is your view in Satanism and Occultism?
Rollo: The band left this one to me, mostly because I was born in a Hare Krishna commune on Salt Spring Island, British Colombia. I don’t believe in the supernatural or religion but some weird happenings occurred there. There was this one guy named Gregor, my mom’s old boyfriend. He was into black magic and Satanism. He used to babysit me and take me to a restaurant to have lunch while my mom took a nap. One day Gregor told my mom that he was going to be found dead with a knife in his back. My mom laughed at him for being so crazy. They broke up, and a few years later a friend called my mom and said Gregor was found dead with a knife in his back. The weird part about it was that the knife had his own fingerprints on it. Furthermore, there was also some Satanic worshiping items like a giant Pentagram on the floor around him when the Police showed up. It was really fucked up. Especially since I was really young when he died and my mom didn’t know how to explain the death to me. So basically, I don’t mess with Satan or Occultism as a result, but I have an immense respect for it because of my mom’s old boyfriend.
Summon: How many albums/CD’s have you released?
AnimaL: Currently we have five CD’s out which consists of two full length studio CD’s … and one full length Live CD … and two 3-song EP’s.
Summon: Tell me about some the songs on the latest CD?
AnimaL: It’s a 3-song EP, and I described the opening track, “I Fuckin’ Hate You!” above, and the second track titled, “Thou Shalt Thrash” is epic, with Rollo brilliantly taking the lyrics right out of the Bible to compose the song. On the third track, “No Mercy”, the lyrics were written by Spatter, and divulge into the world of S+M as perceived by the “Master”.
Summon: Do you have any side projects?
AnimaL: No. We’ve found that side projects detract from the band, and it really takes 150% effort from everybody in a band to make it anywhere. Especially in this day and age. We’ve done a LOT of stuff over the years, and played with many famous bands, but with so with so many bands out there, and with little to no help from the “industry”, it’s better to spend all your focus on one band and give it EVERYTHING you have. If you’re spending time on a side project, that’s time lost that you could have dedicated to promoting your main band.
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
AnimaL: Overall, our influences come from bands such as Slayer, Venom, Exodus, Dark Angel, Possessed, Testament, Pantera, At The Gates, The Haunted, The Crown, Children Of Bodom, and I would have to include Black Sabbath, Iran Maiden and Judas Priest as well.
Summon: Which current bands?
Rollo: I like a lot of stuff ranging from The Locust to Nile to Isis (band not terrorist group). We played with Mayhem …yes THAT Mayhem from Norway) and that was a dream come true for me. Afterwards, I really got turned on to Bathory, Dark Funeral, Immortal, Dissection, Emperor, Marduk, Enslaved and other fixtures in the BM community. By the way, I LOVE! Anaal Nathrakh and Vektor. A lot of people don’t and I take shit for it, but I like them anyways.
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
AnimaL: Intense. What you hear on the CD’s, is what you hear live, only a bit faster with an even nastier edge. If you’re an energetic person and really want to burn off a lot of your frustrations without actually killing someone, coming to one of our gigs is one of the best ways to do that.
Summon: Have you guys ever played in another country?
AnimaL: Not yet. We’ve played in the eastern parts of Canada, but are yet to swing out west or get over to the States or Europe. Mostly for a lack of backing. Even though we have achieved so much as an independent band, we’ve done so almost entirely on our own, as there really is no Metal “industry” so to speak, up here in Canada. Even the underground mag scene has dried up here. There’s some excellent internet support that operate as we do, independent, but there’s really no “corporate” or “commercial” support for Metal in Canada at all.
Summon: How big of crowd shows up at shows usually?
AnimaL: It really depends on the circumstance. The Metal “scene” here in Toronto is, and always has been a fickle one. Even back in the 80’s. But we’ve played in front of crowds ranging in the 1000’s … to 9 people! … But even with 9 people in the “crowd” you have to play the gig for them and give it your all. They paid to see your band, and they deserve nothing but the best from you. No matter the size of the crowd. Always play your show like it’s your last one… One day, it could be \NM/
Summon: How is the crowd response when you play?
AnimaL: Intense! as well \NM/ We’ve played almost 50 shows with Canadian Metal legends Anvil over the years. At one point, Lips(singer/guitarist for Anvil) said to us… “Fuck man, you guys should headline from now on. You guys always burn out the crowd before we go on!” hahaha!
Summon: What do you think of the US Black Metal/Death Metal scene?
Rollo: I heard some incredible black metal from Kentucky (of all places) called Panopticon. My God that is the best band in the world. You MUST check them out. They start playing Bluegrass and go into Black metal. Incredible. Pale Chalice are great from the States too. So yeah, I think the U.S. scene is immensely diverse and their potential is phenomenal.
Summon: What do you think of the Overseas scenes?
Rollo: NitemarE has played with a diverse group of European bands that have always had incredible shows. The North American scene is ripping and I love the shows and bands that contribute to the scene. When I lived in Greece for a year I saw that the European enthusiasm completely surpassed us. They have a very engaging audience that we sometimes lack due to the immense amount of media shoved down our throats in North, Central, and South America. I see that the metal heads in North America are getting WAY more involved now due to social media. With any luck, it can get almost like the 80’s again. Your fan base will make or break you, period.
AnimaL: Like Rollo said, hopefully it can get like it was in the 80’s again. Not meaning to replicate the 1980’s by any means, but I mean, hopefully Metal can get the recognition at the levels it achieved in the 1980’s again. Historically, Metal … “TRUE” Metal … has always been kept underground, which perhaps has played a part in keeping it alive in a certain grass-roots kind of way. But back then, there was MUCH more support for it with a functioning “Industry” full of A+R reps, mags, labels, etc, connecting all the way up the corporate ladder, allowing bands such as Venom, Slayer, Metallica, etc, playing shows approaching Stadium-level size, while still playing “underground” Metal(what would evolve into terms such as Thrash Metal, Death Metal, Black Metal). Bands like Metallica, and so on, would eventually lose their underground anger and sound and play a more “commercial” friendly sounding “Metal” to achieve bigger crowds etc(Even Slayer had touched of “Nu-Metal on their Diabolous In Musica release… though I forgive them for that \NM/). This is what I mean when I say that “TRUE” Metal has never really had its day in the spotlight. The bands that went on to become “big”, toned their sound down and stopped playing Metal like they did on their first few albums, which were much more dark, harsh and aggressive… Perhaps it’s best that way? Anthrax is another good example. By the time they were “Big”, it wasn’t because of the cool “Thrash” music they used to play by that point. Instead it was because they had collaborated with Rap “band” Public Enemy, and hoped on any fad that was popular at the time such as Bermuda shorts, skateboarding, comic books and so on, and as a result, their music became stale, “pop”py crap. It certainly wasn’t the same awesome Thrashing Metal they displayed on their first 3 albums.
Summon: What are some of new favorite black metal/death metal bands?
Rollo: Disfiguring The Goddess, Ulcerate, and Castrator. Those ladies are great! With black metal I’d say Woe, Ascension, IPSISSIMUS and Pale Chalice are awesome!
Summon: When do you guys plan on writing any new material?
AnimaL: As I mentioned, I’m always writing new material. We are releasing a new full length CD this Christmas, and we still have enough material for 2 more CD’s haha, so we may be looking at another summer release as well \NM/
Summon: What does the future hold for the band?
AnimaL: For the immediate future, we’re looking forward to getting the CD finished and out there, followed up by a massive promotional push for it, with a binch of shows to follow. Our goal is to get out of Canada finally and into markets like the United States, Europe and South America. Hopefully, with a bit of luck, we’ll be seeing some touring in those regions in the near future.
Cheers for the interview! And on a side note, we will be releasing another new track very shortly, with an accompanying video, and we’ll be sure to get it to you as soon as it’s out.
If there’s anything you want or need, please feel free to let me know \NM/
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