‘Living Flesh’ is based on the show we did in New York, I put the show together so people can see a number of things, a stage set that is different from the traditional view, some of the elements are laid out in the audience space, forcing them to interact with those elements. Another thing that was important to me, was to exhibit the “chemistry” between the musicians, and how a solid album such as “in the flesh” can be portrayed live. We did a few things differently too like extend the songs, and replace Attila’s throat chants with Carmens operatic vocals. I also decided to get several cameras in there to try to capture the as many angles as possible to give the editor as many choices for cutting as possible.
The material was filmed in late 2011 in NYC, I believe, why New York? Was there a tour showcasing the material? Why or why not?
New York was chosen for several reasons.First and foremost- its following the concept of petroleum dependency, power and control, New York is one of the biggest economic capitals in the world. Manhattan is a small island, yet somehow a lot of money flows through it. This show was not part of a tour it was a one off and it was a show that i set up with Free Admittance for the audience, as a big thank you to the fans who supported ” in the flesh” the reaction to the record was quite overwhelming. and so it was a big ‘thank you’ to them. One of the other reasons was that I reside in NYC and it made so much easer for me to be able to set everything up, from finding the proper venue, to being able to build the appropriate elements for this venue. Since everyone lives in a different country, i had to chose something that was going to be convenient as well. Flo lives in Canada, Rune and Carmen are in Portugal, and Novy lived in Poland at the time.
I found it interesting that legendary Cryptopsy drummer Flo Mounier wasn’t ‘on stage’ as he and his kit was in the audience…why the decision for the drum placement?
I wanted to find a way to represent the petroleum theme, having used samples of automobiles, gasoline being one of the biggest uses of petroleum. The setting wasn’t just different form the traditional as the singer was placed in the back. And in this way each musician/element was placed according to the structure of a car. The engine is in Front ( Flo on drums) The wheels are on the side ( Rune and Sean on Guitars), The shift-stick between ( Novy on Bass) The driver behind ( Steve singer) and the exhaust at the side-back (myself, backing vocals)
How did the line-up for this show take form? I just interviewed Flo recently about Cryptopsy’s new album and was glad to see Steve Tucker’s name in the mix! The operatic vocals from Carmen Simoes really set things on a higher level…
The line-up was very natural for me. I looked for musicians who i thought cold do the following. Be as aggressive as a machine, have the precision and power to be completely tight, but also do the impossible task of combing in that with emotion and melody. Runes picking already has a very percussive approach, his palm muted is so solid, it almost sounds automated, however it is 100% human played, combine this with Flo solid technical and tasteful drumming, and you get a very high degree of musicality, while still mining the aggression. For me it was a matter of trying to create a soundtrack to a machine of flesh and blood, something that is made of meal yet can still bleed. And I think those musicians really did a perfect job bringing my ideas to life and to a whole new level. When it was time to make the live show Rune ad Flo where the most important elements. Since Steve was available, it was bonus to get him on there as well-especially that he did the vocals on the album. Novy was a very important addition as he was originally supposed to play on the album as well, but it was impossible timing wise to get him, so when the opportunity presented itself to get him i took it without second thought. As far as Carmen, also a missing element, which i had wished was on the studio, as it would have created a haunting atmosphere. But now she is on the live album, so I’m very satisfied with her stellar performance.
How did you get started working with bands like Mayhem and Sunn O))) doing stage design and visual supervision? What got you into extreme music and art, in general?
I actually started working with Attila in 2007 or sometime around then, i can t remember how we met as we were both quite intoxicated. but i do remember waking up one day and going to make a mask for him. I sent him a picture, he loved it, he asked me to send it to him, so i did. He then immediately asks dmd to make 8 more masks. We hit it off, and he invited me to to work on Mayhem’s US tour. I never worked directly with Sunn O), but Attia reserves masks for Sunn that he doesn’t use in Mayhem.
I understand that your material is lyrically based on petroleum and mankind’s dependence on it. Will that be a recurring theme on future
It has always been in my sculptural work, and this is what i think of ‘in the flesh’ and ‘Living Flesh’ , so it will continue within my own universe, however, i am working on a brand new project with Rune, Flo , Novy and other musicians, and this will be more of a traditional death metal theme, however hope fully it wail still be a fresh take on the genre. projects? Why or why not?
I read in an interview that certain members heard on ‘Living Flesh’ will continue working together but under a different name. What can you tell us of future endevours at this point?
At this point i can’t say much, other than 12 new songs have been written, and they put ‘...flesh’ to absolute shame. ‘…Flesh’ was written remotely, as in each of us in our own home doing our own thing and sending each other mp3s, until finally i flew them out to NYC and the album was rehearsed in 3-4 days. quite an amazing feat. It took Steve a few weeks to write his lyrics and add his vocals, but everything else was completed within one week. This time around, I flew Rune and Flo out to Montreal, so the 3 of us can sit down and have serious conversations about the direction ( something that was lacking in ‘..flesh’ ) then Rune and Flo jam it, i might have an idea here and there. But for the most part i am now witnessing pure chemistry between those two. and it is lethal. We are doing it in Canada. Novy is also involved however not in the songwriting process. We can’t reveal who the singer will be as it will be a very big surprise. A True legend.
What other projects have you been involved in that we should be or may be already aware of?
Right now I’m putting 100% effort int to his new monster. I’m again writing the theme and possibly a large amount of the lyrics. and For those in philadelphia Attilas masks and Mayhem’s logo which I had created, are on display in an exhibition called “White Pedal surround your yellow heart” at Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia.
What are some of the key emotions or ideas you hope that fans take away from your work? Do you consider your art to be readerly or writerly, that is, do you write so that fans can appreciate it better or do you write to please your own creative passions primarily?
I believe that one should always make things from the heart. Wheather its accepted by the audience or not, that depends on many things. But Since we plan to go unsigned to a label, it is far more easier to do things from the heart. At least for me i see how bands that are signed are always pressured to please their label so the label can push them. I want to be recognized for my work, and i want my colleagues to be appreciated and recognized for their endless hours of hard work as well, but since we are doing this for ourselves there is no pressure at all. its 100% heart and mind. No outside pressures.
When being creative and you have an idea, message or emotion you want to convey, how do you know the best way to express it, visually or musically? If you do both, how do you know which is a better representation or your idea or emotion? How do you look at your work objectively, when all is done?
Most of the times, the concept itself dictates to me what medium/media i should use. The petroleum theme is very universal, and so it has many outlets, and this is one of the reasons i am so attached to it, i can really do anything i want and it will feel right, but it always start with the concept, the idea, i never start doing something for the sake of it , or for catharsis…
What is the songwriting process for Nader Sadek? Does the band write and then craft lyrics around music or vice versa? Does the band write as a whole or individually? I think I remember Rune getting a lot of the credits for his work with Mayhem…
Yeah Rune wrote all mayhem stuff since he joined. Three songs where pre-written before the idea of an album was even planned by Steve, they were for a different project where i had steve contribute music to. Once Rune and flo entered the picture, the songs we reworked and became much much more powerful. As far as what influences what, in this case it didn’t matter that the music would ‘follow’ the concept, because i was more interested in collecting the right musicians for the projects, at this point it wouldn’t matter , because their combination is the sound I’m trying to achieve, so i wasn’t concerned with that. The lyrics however where written around the theme. And as described earlier, the concept is the seed, the rest is the growth of the tree so to speak.
How was the recording process for your debut full length, ‘In the Flesh’? Was the material meticulously crafted in the studio or bashed out in an afternoon? Why?
It didn’t take me very long to assemble the team, i knew that Rune and Flo where match made in heaven ( or hell if your so inclined) however, we only had the three songs that steve had made , so it was up to Rune to write another 2 songs, and i wrote one song. I also had idea for another song which ended up becoming collaboration between Rune and I. Rune wrote his song in about a week or 2, our collaboration was a bit more challenging, and i wrote my song ” nigredo” in about 3 nights, its very simple, rune heard it patched it up a bit ( as my musical expeience is minimal to say the least) . however t too k about , the demoes were emailed flo and it was up to flo to think of the beats. just a few months later. We all met in NYC and rune and flo slaughtered the songs in the rehearsals in 3-4 days. Then went and recorded it 4 days. It took the bassist and steve much longer to do their part but it worked out fine. The reason we had to rush things, was becuz of the budget that was given by the label, the label wasn’t really a label at the time, just a guy who gave us some money, we tried to convince him that more time would have allowed things to go smoother, but you now for those types everything is about money. I had to put some of my own money in it as well as things had started to drag so i ended up losing a lot of money on this record. however, I’m not complaining because to me its about the art, and money is meant to be spent, so it was spent on something worthwhile.
I am a little confused about your exact role. A lot things I read say you are the ‘director’… I know little of film terminology but would conductor be a better term? How do you describe your role?
Its hard to define, and instead of putting my name everywhere, i just use the description of director. Some people define it as a producer, but i don’t think thats a correct term. Here is what i did, I created the project, hand picked the musicians, wrote a song, sang on a song, wrote lyrics to that same song, created the artwork, made the music videos, in the music, i built the sets, shot a lot of it ( not all) , so for me it was just taking care of everything, don’t know what the term for that is but i feel the producer is far too limited a description. and simply putting artist is far too vague. I believe that using the description ‘ Director’ suits it perfectly
What are some of the most rewarding aspects of creating your work? What are some of the most challenging? Why?
its a tie between, being able to go back and be happy and having no regrets with the final piece, and knowing that something came out exactly the way u wanted it to. The second aspect is, when it comes out and you have ppl form all walks of life from all nations sending you letters applauding you for what you have done. Even though i mentioned that its not made for anyone, its still a very great feeling when you wake up and find people getting into it.
What does the immediate future hold for Nader Sadek, the band and the individual?
this project as a band is officially over. Nader Sadek should never again be referred to as a band. But the new project ( as of yet untitled) will truly be something, ” in the flesh” will be seen as a test, with the weak weeded out the strongest elements march on. and will create something far mor monstrous and amazing…
The last words are yours!
Thank you for the interview, i like closing interviews by saying the following: IF you love art, than deep down your an artist. Everyone who appreciates art is an artist at heart, and this is important for the readers of your great mag to know. That YOU can make great art, wheater others like it or not DOES NOT matter, what matters , is that you make you use a some medium to express yourself. whether its poetry or bashing drums, do it with conviction and passion.