What is your full name?
Hello there! My name is Herr Nox.
Do you have any aliases?
As you might have guessed already, Herr Nox is also my alias.
What bands are you actively involved with?
I’ve been involved with various projects throughout the years. I started by uploading some solo stuff on MySpace like millions of kids at that time. Then I joined a goth-metal band in 2007. I left in 2012 and went into hiding to recharge my batteries. In 2016, John, a longtime friend/collaborator, and I released a sci-fi themed melo-death album under the moniker The Astroplex. The process behind the making of this album rekindled my love for writing music, so I finally said to myself “to hell with this, let’s jump!” and went full-steam with my own solo project.
What was the first instrument that you played?
An old used and beat up acoustic guitar my mom bought me. It looked like it fell down the stairs a couple of times but it sounded fantastic! I sold it to get an electric guitar a few years later and I still regret it to this day because I have never found another one that sounded quite like this.
Tell me about one of your first musical memories?
I don’t quite remember the first one, but amongst those musical memories I cherish was watching MusiquePlus (Quebec’s own MTV at the time). The TV output was sent directly to the stereo so I could record the songs I liked directly onto cassettes. I’d listen to my mixtapes in the school bus and it made the ride so much more enjoyable.
What was the name of the first band you were in?
My first band was Daedalean Complex. As much as I enjoy the songs – the music was great actually - I cringe at my vocals now. I was still a kid and I had not found my own voice yet.
Tell me about the genesis of Herr Nox.
My solo project came to be out of necessity for me as an artist. Oftentimes, when you join or form a band your vision gets filtered through multiple persons. So, ultimately, what you get is some kind of Frankenstein creature. Sometimes it works for the better, but it’s also filled with sacrifices. It can never be 100% what you wanted.
So, I wanted to be as artistically free as can be and see where it would lead me. I’m a huge music fan and I listen to so many genres. I figured my music should reflect this. And to be honest, this experience made me grow so much as a composer.
What inspired the name Herr Nox?
“Herr” is basically an homage to Germany’s artistic contribution. I love the expressionist art style of the movie “Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari”. Germany also has an incredibly diverse alternative scene in which many bands, from metal to gothic to industrial, have been able to blossom. They also host many of the biggest music festivals in the world.
And “Nox” means “Night” in Latin. I get inspired in dreams and dreams come at night, it’s as simple as that. It’s also linked to the intangible and abstract world of David Lynch. He lets moviegoers make their own interpretation. My goal is more to make people “feel” something with music. I try not to be too literal.
How long did it take you to write and record Where Shadows Fade?
The writing process took between 3 to 6 months, I think. It’s the mixing and producing that took a long time because I do it all myself. I took breaks here and there to make sure things still sounded good. There’s something called “ear fatigue” when you’re mixing and it’s inevitable. That’s why breaks are mandatory. Some songs changed dramatically over time, like “The Art of Noise and Silence”. Originally, it opened with Lindsay Schoolcraft’s operatic vocals. But I ended up putting them over the last part of the song and it made for a really climatic ending. I think it’s one of the highlights of the album.
If you could insert yourself into any one band what band would it be and why?
I have no idea. Even though I may not look like it, I’m a very quiet person and I try not impose. I never really think about these kinds of what-ifs. So I could just restring Robert Smith’s guitars and be content.
Have you ever heard a song and immediately wished you had written it? If so… What was the song and artist?
Not songs per se, but guitar riffs. Every riff Tommy Iommi wrote on the first 4 Black Sabbath albums are perfect. It’s like he stole all the good ones and there’s nothing left for us.
Who are some of your musical inspirations?
Herr Nox: David Bowie is the main one. For not holding back and experimenting. Then there’s The Cure, My Dying Bride, Gary Numan, Nine Inch Nails and a dozen more. You might not hear them in my music, but they certainly had an impact on the way I think about music.
Name a metal song that you'd like to do a cover of.
That’s a tough question. Although my music isn’t entirely metal, I’m a huge metal fan. There are so many songs I love. But the main criteria should be which one I feel I could transform and make my own. Maybe Funeral Procession by Gorgoroth? I just love this song and Under the Sign of Hell is probably one of the best metal albums ever made.
What band have you played with that has really impressed you
with their live show?
Ogenix really were energetic and amazing live. I really recommend you check out their album “01”. (https://ogenix.bandcamp.com/album/01)
Do you have a favorite venue to play at?
The Imperial in Quebec City is amazing.
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
I usually just stay in my own little bubble, waiting and sweating. Minutes seem like hours. Once I’m on stage, everything is fine! But the waiting part is killing me. I also drink a lot of coffee because the stress and anticipation make me sleepy for some reason.
What is your favorite thing about touring?
Taking a walk around the venue and finding a nice place to eat or chill. Also, when it gels with the other bands on the bill, it’s amazing.
What is your least favorite thing about touring?
Venues without a backstage area. Not because I’m being a diva, it’s just that when you have to put on your makeup and stage gear, it’s always a bit awkward to do it in the middle of a crowd.
Is there a city that you love to hit while on tour?
I hate to toot my own horn, but usually the local crowds in Quebec City have always been amazing.
What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had on the road?
Seeing a car on fire - literally the whole car. It was a giant ball of fire on the side of the road. It felt somewhat post-apocalyptic.
The year is 1998. Where are you at and what are you listening to?
Probably on the bus for school, listening to some Rage Against the Machine on my yellow off-brand walkman.
What advice would you give young musicians that are just starting out in the music business?
Be kind, respectful and supportive of other artists. Be happy when a fellow musician succeeds, jealousy will take you nowhere.
What is an absolute band killer?
The opposite of the previous answer.
If you were to start your own music festival what would be the name of that festival and who would be the three headlining bands?
Now that’s a tough one. Maybe “Nightfall Festival”. I’d bring back David Bowie from the dead. Also, I’d have Ihsahn/Emperor for the metal part. And Ulver playing “The Assassination of Julius Caesar” and “Blood Inside” in full.
What’s the longest time you’ve gone without bathing?
Between 24 and 48h. I’ve never gone over 2 days.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I’d like to know what they think they know about me instead. I consider myself quite secretive, so I’d be curious to see if I’m doing a good job about it.
Is the Fistful of DOOM show in the top 10 of your favorite music podcasts?
Of course. As it should.
Do unicorns sleep standing up?
Nobody knows. They evaporate when they fall asleep and reappear at the end of a rainbow the next day.
You’re driving cross-country and you can only listen to one album the whole time. What album will it be?
Your Killer by O Zorn!. Awesome post-grunge.
You are writing a book about your life thus far. What is the title of that book?
“Do androids dream of electric cats?”
What is your favorite song by Gary Numan?
Probably “The Machman”.
Arcade Fire or Nickleback (if you had to choose)?
Arcade Fire without hesitation. I did enjoy Reflektor quite a lot. But I have never heard a Nickleback song I liked.
Doobies or Boobies (if you had to pick one)?
Boobies win by default because I don’t smoke.
Waffles or Pancakes (if you had to pick one)?
I’ll raise you with crepes like the French man that I am.
Star Wars or Star Trek (if you had to choose)?
I love both for different reasons. But IF I had to choose, any Star Trek pre-JJ Abrams makes me feel like I’ve learned something. Some episodes should be taught in school.
Favorite band t-shirt you own?
I’ve been repping my Shining t-shirt hard. The print is all cracked up now.
Pizza. Anyone who answers differently is lying.
It’s a tie between Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway.
That’s impossible for me to tell. It depends on my mood really.
Many, many thanks to Herr Nox for taking the time to answer my questions. I appreciate it. Be sure to check out his new album Where Shadows Fade for an emotionally compelling listening experience.
~El Pedo Caliente (aka Uncle Jameson from the Fistful of DOOM show)