Interview by Miriam C.
Since 1997, Switzerland’s Nucleus Torn is one of the best kept secret in the metal panorama and it seldom happens to have chance to chat with one of the members. Alas, all the beautiful things come to an end and after 18 years of activity, Fredy Schnyder, the mainman behind this fantastic avant-garde metal band decided to pull the plug on Nucleus Torn and believe me when I say to you that I was very lucky, and I’ll be forever grateful, to Anna Murphy for being so kind and straight-forward in this interview. Let’s read what has to say to about the new album “Street Lights Fail” and this shocking decision.
Hi Anna, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine! How are you?
Hello. Quite fine, thank you!
Well, since we haven’t had the chance to chat during the promo of the previous album “Street Lights Fail”, I was wondering to know more about how this collaboration with Nucleus Torn was born. When did you first meet Fredy?
That was quite a long time ago when we were recording “Evocation Part I: The Arcane Dominion” with Eluveitie. He’s been a guest musician on a couple of our albums and even helped us record violin tracks once. A couple years later he asked me to contribute to Nucleus Torn.
What you can say about “Neon Light Eternal”‘s genesis? When have you started to collect the first ideas for the album?
Oh I have no idea to be honest! The working process with Nucleus Torn isn’t stressed at all and has lots of space and time. During our first sessions which started probably a year (or two?!) ago we were just experimenting and improvising. It always works like that when we work on music, I sing whatever comes to my mind and then he puts it into context and shapes it, fitting it into his music. We then meet again to record “proper takes” although it can also happen that we’re already happy with the demo vocal takes.
I remember that “Straight Lights Fail” was released back in 2013. If you could draw a parallel between “Straight Lights Fail” and “Neon Light Eternal”, how do you think your approach changed since your debut with the band?
I don’t like to compare albums, because I’m really not interested in the apparent developments and changes musicians make. They’re all natural processes, at least with me. I never think about what new elements I could add or what I could do better… I just do it. And I think it’s similar with Fredy as well. Comparing and analyzing changes is up to the journalists and music analysts 🙂
According to the press release, “Neon Light Eternal” will be the last album from Nucleus Torn –
it reminds me a lot of Ihsahn with Emperor back in 2001, when he decided to split up the band because he felt that he had reached his artistic peak and said everything. Do you want to further comment this decision? Did you expect this move from Fredy?
I can completely understand why he’s doing it. And did I expect it? Well, no, but it also didn’t completely take me by surprise or shock me if you know what I mean. Musicians like Fredy should be impulsive and extreme, that’s what makes their music what it is. Let’s see what the future holds!
To celebrate in great style the story of this fantastic band, your label (Prophecy Production) is releasing a retrospective called “Blowing Up The Entire World (Explosions 1997 – 2015)”. Do you have more details to share with us?
I’ve seen it and I can tell you it’s something to look forward to!
Beside you and Fredy, there are scarce infos on the net about Nucleus Torn‘s members. Would like to shed some light and tell us more about their musical background?
You might think this is funny, but I’ve only met the other members once, so there’s not much I can tell you. I probably know Alain (the drummer) the best. He’s an insanely young and talented professional, who lives off and for drumming. The other two singers I’ve met and talked to, that was it.
During the years you proved to be an eclectic artist by being both singer and hurdy-gurdy player in Eluveitie and Nucleus Torn, but also by being a solo artist and releasing by yourself your debut “Cellar Darling”. First, I’m curious to know more about your musical background and then can you spend some words about your debut?
My musical background starts very early since my parents are both opera singers. You could say I grew up in the theater and surrounded by musicians. And believe it or not, when I went to college the last thing I wanted was to become a musician… My main subjects in school were philosophy and latin and I wanted to go to university. At some point everything happened really fast, I discovered drinking (making way for my true emotions and character), the hurdy-gurdy, singing and before I knew it I was touring with a metal band at the age of sixteen. Since then I can’t think of any other job I would rather do. I’ve never visited a music school or had a proper education though, everything is self-taught. My debut album was created by ideas that didn’t fit into any of my other projects. I started collecting song ideas until I had almost too many to pack onto one album. What you hear on “Cellar Darling” is maybe a bit too eclectic (a lot of people think the mixture of styles is very extreme), but it’s 100% me. Let’s see if I have more to say as Anna Murphy, maybe I’ll pull a Fredy Schnyder and not release another solo album 😉
So, Anna, it’s time for your parting words – I really thank you for your time – please greet freely our readers and your fans. Thanks again!
Thanks for your interest and the interesting questions! I hope my answers were equally entertaining! Best wishes go out to all readers and fans, thanks a million for all your support. Don’t forget to eat your broccoli, it’s good for you!