Nekonomicon is not what you would call an ordinary metal band. The creator of Nekonomicon has managed to create songs with hit potential from his intention. We invited him for an interview so that he could tell us more about his project.
Hey Andri! First of all, thank you for being part of this interview. There is a video on your Youtube channel where you explain for about eleven minutes what Nekonomicon is all about. Can you tell us more about the project in a few sentences? What can the reader imagine under Nekonomicon?
Thanks for having me! The best way I can describe Nekonomicon is “a luscious blend of metal, synths, and whatever I can fit in-between to create a unique experience. It’s loud, it’s heavy, and you never know what to expect with every new song”. it’s a place where I can create Heavy Metal music that I’ve always wanted to hear when I was younger. Along with lyrical themes inspired by video games, with the extra challenge of not naming the game or the inspiration.
The project exists to experiment with my own songwriting, as well as trying to blend together Heavy Metal and synths. I’m a massive fan of Power Metal, Melodic Death Metal and Industrial, but I’ve never found a sound that I could call my own. But when I finally decided to start Nekonomicon, it was during a crucial time in my life when I knew enough music theory and production techniques to say “I’m ready to do my own thing”
How are Nekonomicon songs created? While listening to your songs, one quickly realizes that there are different singers here. There are a lot of songs with Kylee Brielle, but also names like Cypress and Craig Cairns can be read. What is the relationship between these artists and your project?
Long story short, when I started this project, I didn’t want it to be instrumental riff salad. I wanted to add lyrics and vocals to help my song shine through. Every vocalist (except for Cypress) was hired on Fiverr. I found Kylee when I needed some quick vocals for a song called ‘Symptoms of an Early Narcissist’, that song is technically Nekonomicon in its alpha stage. I hired both Kylee and another vocalist called Carlos. Both did an amazing job on the song. I mixed this song myself and I’m not too proud of it.
Then a few years later I started a series on YouTube called Andri’s Guide to music genres, where I make comedy tutorials on metal and punk genres. In 2020 I did an episode on Nintedocore. That’s where the first song Those Creatures from Ganon are Pretty Bad came from. The song became more of a perfect clash of everything I was interested in, and it kinda awakened something in me. Fun fact; that song was originally released on my main Spotify
page Andri from Pagefire. This is also why the music video doesn’t say Nekonomicon in the beginning. I moved the song to Nekonomicon after I released Ghost Maze Project.
Then when I started writing more songs for this project, I wanted to have at least one new vocalist per song, but Kylee’s singing voice and growling was so good that I just kept hiring her over and over again. Craig Cairns is another vocalist that I hired from Fiverr to do the song Heart of Steel. I mainly did this cause the song had a different vibe than all the Kylee songs. It was more Synthpop and Power Metal inspired, plus the character in that song is male, so I gave Craig a try.
Cypress is not someone I hired, she is actually my first collab for this project. She’s a VTuber (Virtual YouTuber) that I found while browsing Reddit, I checked her channel and saw that she did vocal covers. Her voice was amazing and I found out she could sing really well in Japanese. I was looking for someone who would be more interested in doing cover songs of Vocaloid and Japanese Rock songs.
In the meantime, there is a considerable number of Nekonomicon songs, which also already have over half a million streams. Did you expect that and what are your plans for the project in the future? Do you plan to release an album or maybe even go on tour with it?
Yeah, the streaming numbers still blows my mind and it’s only been a little bit over a year. The first album isn’t even done and it has exceeded my expectations. My only form of promotion was making simple lyric videos for Pagefire, so I could cross my audience from there to Nekonomicon. But the Spotify Algorithm really loved my songs. So the A.I. started sending the songs to people’s discovery playlists. Then my songs Heroes Out of Time and Heart of Steel got added into an editorial playlist, then it just started snowballing from there.
As of right now, the plan is to finish the first album, which will just be called Nekonomicon (self-titled) cause the songs don’t have a unified theme. After that, I’m gonna work on an EP where Craig Cairns will be the main vocalist. The EP will feature the song Heart of Steel and other songs with upbeat synthwave meets Power Metal vibes. When both are done, I’m gonna write my 2nd album. It’s gonna be horror-themed, that’s all I’ve planned so far.
I’m also gonna stop calling my music Nintendocore, cause my music has started evolving way beyond just heavy breakdowns with chiptune. I’ve actually gotten a new perspective on what it means to label myself around a genre. It just feels limiting. So Nintendocore will be dropped. So if anyone asks me what Nekonomicon is, I’ll just say Metal with synths.
As for going on tour, funny should mention that. After I’m done with university and finished the first album and EP, I’m gonna put together a live band for Nekonomicon. I’m gonna find some local musicians in Oslo and start practising live versions of the songs. The live band will feature a different vocalist, cause I’m not a fan of playing vocal samples on live shows. If the live shows go well (or we get a record deal at some point), then the live band will become the official Nekonomicon band.
How do you come up with new ideas for your songs and do you compose them completely on your own?
Yeah, all the songs are 100% written by me with little input from others. The only thing I don’t do is mixing and mastering. That’s done by Theodor Borovski, who does an amazing job finding the right midi drum sound and guitar tone. The only time I asked for a bit of help was for a song that’s not been released yet. Cause I felt like the intro was too long and needed some fresh ears on that. I also got some help from friends doing a bit of shouting for the song Speedrunning from My Problems.
When I come up with new song ideas, the first thing I do is think of a melody. A lot of bands start with the riff, but I want my riffs to work with a top line. For example; Ghost Maze Project. The melody just came to me while I showering. After writing the melody down with a piano or a basic synth sound, I’ll come up with a guitar riff, then a drum pattern. Most of the songs are written with this process. The only songs that were riff-based were Dismantled and Cursed Kurbee. Sometimes ideas come to me while I’m practising guitar, other times they come to me at night right before going to bed.
For lyrics, I just sing gibberish until interesting words or lyrics comes out. For Ghost Maze Project, it just felt natural to end the melody with ‘like a ghost’ which inspired the topic of the song. The same thing happened with Heroes out of Time, the phrase ‘running out of time’ just kept popping up while writing it. What I love to do most is to deconstruct an idea to find a new perspective on a topic or a theme.
Like in Speedrunning from my Problems, the song was originally just gonna be a random b-side folk metal song with speedrun references. But then I started thinking about how dangerous speedrunning can be for mental health. Some players do impossible challenges while streaming them for days, or weeks, with little sleep. I re-wrote the song to include these themes. So it went from “random speedrun tropes” to “here’s how the tropes can be hurtful”. Not every song is written with this mindset, but I love to find new perspectives to give my song a deeper view of things.
Where do you see your musical talents? Your songs all have this certain earworm character, where do you get the inspiration for these melodies? And what do you do when you are not making music?
I think the earworm quality from these songs comes from my interest in pop music and Power Metal. Cause I LOVE a big chorus and a lead melody that just stays in your head. One of my biggest inspirations for Nekonomicon is the band, Ember Falls. When I first heard We are Become Fire, I was blown away. The chorus was just massive and stuck out to me. You can blame them for making me kickstart Nekonomicon, cause I wanted to make my own massive songs that could make others feel the same.
When I’m not making music, that’s when I hang out with friends, play games, or work on music for Pagefire. Editing videos used to be my way of relaxing from making music. Occasionally it’s the other way around. I’m also working on getting my bachelor’s degree this year. Once that’s done, I can dedicate my time to music and video editing.
In terms of streaming numbers, is your plan to get more involved with the Nekonomicon project in the future and how do you actually come up with the idea of doing Nintendocore?
As the streaming numbers show, Nekonomicon is now doubled compared to my main page Andri from Pagefire. So this side project might just become my main project. I will still make music and edit YouTube videos for Pagefire. But that depends on how well the first album and live band does, there’s a chance that I may have to dedicate more time to Nekonomicon.
As for Nintedocore. As I’ve said, it started with making the YouTube video How to make Nintedocore. I’m very fascinated with subgenres on the internet. Especially with how people like to categorize bands based on the most minor details. Nintedocore was unique cause it started a scene on the internet that has just faded from popularity. Not that I wanted my comedy tutorial video to revive the genre, but it did give me the boost I needed to start writing my own songs outside of these video limitations.
Here you have the opportunity to get rid of whatever you always wanted to get rid of.
If there’s one thing I’d want to get rid of, it’s my own self-doubt. Cause I tend to overthink small details and make last-minute changes before uploading songs to all streaming platforms. I won’t say which song, but there’s a lyric that I changed before I send them to Kylee. Self-doubt is my biggest obstacle, but I try my best to work around it when I know I’m 100% happy with any song.
For the second part of the interview, I spoke with Kylee about her experience with Nekonomicon.
When I asked Andri about his plans for Nekonomicon and the part of external singers he said the following about you – “.. I wanted to have at least one new vocalist per song, but Kylee’s singing voice and growling was so good that I just kept hiring her over and over again.” What was / is your experience with this project and do you already have some new Nekonomicon songs on your waiting list?
He never told me his original intent for the project, so that’s news to me! He’s always been really supportive and encouraging as a collaborator. On my end, I just had this talented songwriter sending me cool projects. I was thrilled he kept coming back because of how fun and well composed all of Andri’s songs are. When he first sent me “Those Creatures”, I didn’t know it was for Pagefire or their “How to Make” music series. I just thought “I like Zelda, I like metal, this is great!“. Then it snowballed from there. There are a few more Nekonomicon specific songs we’ve done together that haven’t been released yet and they’re pretty epic jams. I can’t wait for people to hear those.
What is your part in the songwriting of Andri? Do you decide when to use clear vocals and growls based on the melody, or is that predetermined for you?
Andri typically has a clear idea of what each song needs, but also gives me space for adding my own creative flair. He’ll send me the melody for the clean vocals and the rhythm for the growls, so he decides all that in the songwriting process on his end. Once I get the tracks, I play around with different ideas for how I want to interpret what he’s composed through my performance. When I settle on the takes I think fit best, I construct all the backing vocals and harmonies to support that performance. I try to give him some options to choose from in case anything changes in the music after I’ve heard it, or if another vocalist has parts I haven’t heard yet.
Is there a favorite Nekonomicon song that you are involved in and why is this your favorite?
That’s always a tough question! Obviously Nekonomicon has a wide variety of styles just in the songs I’ve been a part of. Song of Warmth stood out to me since it starts off so gentle in comparison to the usual metal vibe. I loved getting to chill out a bit with the softer vocal and building to that incredible final chorus. And there’s another track that hasn’t been released yet called One Winged Angel, that opens with this powerful choir. It’s pretty much just a ridiculous amount of vocal layers from me, which I absolutely love doing.
Andri has indicated that he would like to release a full album. How do you see your future part in the project and will you also be heard on the album?
Andri is an idea machine of a person. I always love working with him on any project he’s dreamed up, so it’s really up to him on where he wants my performances to go. As far as I understand it, the unreleased songs I mentioned before are going onto the Nekonomicon album. We’ve talked about doing other projects together in the future whether that’s more Nekonomicon or not.