We spoke to Dimitri Boudon from France’s brutal death metal band Nephren-Ka!
MPM: Hello Dimitri, how are you doing during these tough times and those unaware who you are, could you introduce us and what contributions you bring to the band?
NK: Hi, all is ok for me during this strange period, we know that this period was very hard for so many people, at many points. For us this period give us the opportunity to take our time to work on the process of recording the album. So let introduce myself, I’m the bass player, in the band since 2019, but i know Sebastien (guitar) and Thibaud (drums) since the beginning of Nephren-ka, for this album the line-up changed a little bit with a new singer and a new bass player compared to the previous album « la grande guerre de l’épice ». On this album, when i entered in the band, all was already composed, Sébastien told me to play like i felt il, like i wanted it ! I also composed the symphonical part outro of l’agonie de l’épice with the help of Thibaud. For this album, i wanted a good presence of the bass in the final mastering … i think we can hear easily the bass on the album !
MPM: Nephren-Ka recently released the latest album “From Agony to Transcendence” released on Dolorem Records and I really find it to be your best album to date both musically and stylistically speaking. How’s the album reception been overall and what is your relationship status with Dolorem Records been since the release?
NK: Thank you, the big difference between the other albums is the global sound. The mastering done by Stefano from 16th cellar studio has a big responsability on it. He understood exactly what we was expected at the 1st attempt. I was not with Nephren-Ka for the previous albums, so I don’t want to compare them, but i can say that this album is very coherent. For the moment, we are very happy how the album is received, from the reviews and especially by the public. Now, we just want to play it on stage to share it with every one. Concerning our relationship with Dolorem, all of members of Nephren-Ka agree this point : it’s a pleasure to work with Alex (from Dolorem records). He accompanied us during each step of the album, with the help we can expect from a professional guy.
MPM: France has a long history of extreme metal bands that came from the country whether it be Gojira, Alcest, Blut Aus Nord, Deathspell Omega and Benighted, what makes Nephren-Ka so incredibly special that other bands don’t sound like you guys?
NK: It’s an honour to be cited with so important bands from French metal scene, but we are far of them yet. All those bands have a biggest notoriety than us, a different career. But i think that what make French metal bands special is their own universe, all those bands you said have their own style, created their own identity with it . And for Nephren-Ka, it’s the same, we have our world, we wander on the sand of Arrakis, and such as fremens habits, violence is our daily lives. Now time for us to play out of frontiers to make discover it to every one !
What fascinated me about Nephren-Ka is that the first time I’ve heard the band name and took some research its actually named after a Cthulhu Mythos character named Nyaralthotep and I’m very appreciative to hear bands discussing HP Lovecraftian themes.
MPM: What was the inspiration in naming a band such as Nephren-Ka?
NK: In fact, it’s an misunderstood, the origin of our name are undirectly from Lovercraft of course, but it has been choosen for an other reason. In the next question, you speak about one of our influence, Nile, Sébastien and Florian (the 2nd player, with Thibaud the 3 creators of our band) was huge fans of Nile, and especially the album « amongst the catacombs of Nephren-Ka », so they chose this name for their band ! Now people can understand why we speak about Dune in our songs with an Lovercraftian name. The thema « Dune » has been imported by Laurent (ex-singer) later.
MPM: On the latest album, I’ve noticed most songs I listened to brings alot of influences from Nile, Hideous Divinity, Origin and Omnihility. What would you say had been the best part about writing this album in comparison to earlier Nephren-Ka albums?
NK: A lot people noticed that, about the influences, of course we like all those bands but the purpose was never to be a look alike band. Maybe with the new album the band knew how to detach from all the influences to sound 100 % ourself. But the main reason is the line-up, when the half band changes, he can’t sound like before. Sebastien and Thibaud insisted a lot when he started to record : « do it like you feel it, with your own personality » , so with Sylvain we used the Nephren-Ka legacy and did it like this. In any way, it would be ridiculous to try to do exactly like Alex (ex bass player) or Laurent (ex singer) would do…
MPM: What are some of your favorite tracks off on From Agony To Transcendence and do you feel spiritually connected with the songs or do you feel like it naturally depends on the listener and give their own analysis?
NK: I like l’agonie de l’épice, Visions, Levenbrech Sardaukar, Sédition, Sea of sand … in fact I like them all, like I told, the album has to be listened from the beginning to the end to be appreciated. All those songs are important, we see them grow up all together, from the 1st time we played them until the final version, I don’t know if it’s a spiritual connection, pride or habits, but we love them. Personally I take more pleasure to play the songs of the album than the others.
MPM: Since the band’s been around since 2006, what has been the driving force and motivation to create such brutal and technical pieces of death metal?
NK: The force and the motivation are coming with the pleasure we take to play those songs, the pleasure i take every time i play with the 3 other guys, a link has been built between us during those last 2 years, with the birth of the album. Since 2006, only Seb and Thibaud are left from the original line-up, they could stop many times at each problem met, but they always believed in Nephren-Ka, time gave them reason, never give up. The brutality comes from the music, we are a death metal band, but it’s not the purpose, it comes with the songs, their meanings, the story we are telling … we don’t think about the technical way, every one work very hard their instruments alone to be ready to play we are together. Now we have an other source of motivation for the next album, make a better one !
MPM: Since most bands in the United States are starting to tour again for Fall 2021 and as early as 2022, what bands would you like to bring with you on tour when the world is finally normal for bands outside North America?
NK: There’s so much band we would like to play with, i can give some names, but i will forget a lot : Hate Eternal, Aborted, Crytopsy, Misery Index, Archspire , Beyond Creation … and we would love to play with the historical death metal bands like Nile, morbid angel, cannibal corpse, Obituary, Immolation etc … the list too long ! And we hope one day we will have the opportunity to come in the USA to play.
MPM: What’s been your favorite releases so far in 2021 and what other albums you’re highly anticipated for?
NK: I just discovered an Iranian artist … akvan, i loved it ! Such a great black metal album « city of blood », all i like in black metal. It’s a mix between black metal and Arabian mod and tune, very original and useful, it’s my last discover with Ossuary (from Colombia) addicted to human flesh, very good … after all the albums i listen are not from 2021, maybe later after the promotion i will have time to discover new albums or new bands.
MPM: Would you say making music in the studio is comfortable and fitting or is it a challenge sometimes to find the time to masterfully craft the music?
NK: For this album, only the tracks went on a professional studio (16th cellar studio) for reamping, mix and mastering, we recorded all in our own home studio. The process was special for this album, all instruments has been recorded between april and may 2020, without to see each other, but we had played all the songs during 8 months before. To record in a studio all togetheir is not for us, the album looks like the gestation of a whale …very very long, we need time, and time is money. We know exactly what we have to do when we have to record, we find this way to record, and the result is pretty good !
MPM: Do you prefer playing live in festivals or smaller clubs?
NK: Both have their own charm, but to exchange with people, in smaller clubs it’s easier and the meetings are some time surprising ! We like to exchange with people after the shows. For the moment we did only 1 live with the new line-up … but it will change soon.
MPM: If anyone is wanting to start a band, what advice would you give them to get started?
NK: I will give the same advice some one gave to me, « Do it », every one passd this period. The 1st time i went to the play with my band, i did not know to play bass, after 2 months, we went to studio, after 3 months we played live.. yes, it was not good to hear , but the experience helped me a lot. And after the joy given and received is incomparable. To do your own music is so great, and you have aways something to learn in music, so great moment you can have, so nice meetings.
MPM: What are some hobbies you like to do on your downtime when not making new music or playing live shows?
NK: I have a full time job, a family … so if you put away the time spent in music, not so much time for other things. But i love to go to stadium to follow football,I’m a huge fan of Saint Etienne, every time i can , i go to the stadium with my father and some time with my big daughter. This atmosphere reminds me the live feelings in music, the crowd, the songs, the brotherhood.
MPM: Lastly, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Are there any last words or information you like to discuss to promote the new album or news that fans can expect?
NK: Thank you to give us the opportunity to speak about our band and our album ! For all who want to discover our universe, and have a complete immersion, I recommend them to read the book « the children of Dune » and listen the album after … all the connections will appear like if you have taken some ‘spice’. We hope one day the opportunity will arrive to come to meet the American fans of death metal, to make you feel the Nephren-Ka experience in live.
Interview by Jake Butler