Top 5 Sci-Fi Books That Need To Be Albums w/ Nucleus
This week on the Friday Guest List, Dave from Nucleus joins us to discuss recording, how air-vents can help write riffs, Finnish death metal, and his enduring love of Sci-Fi.
How are you going Dave, been busy lately?
Life’s been super busy these past few months, making hard to finish up writing new stuff, but we are getting close!
That was all written post Sentient. The songs on Sentient were written over a fairly long period of time. It mostly could have been recorded and released a long time earlier, but we went through a few lineup changes which delayed it quite a bit. A few of the songs, mainly early versions of ‘Cube’, ‘Cantos’, and one other which got split up for riffs I wrote back in the first year or so of the band, back during our demo days, which I was gonna use as a solo side project. Eventually the main song writer left the band and I took over writing and we released The Colony. At first I was intending to go for an early Asphyx sound, but even in The Colony you can hear some of the songs pushing towards what Sentient ended up being. So eventually I brought those side project songs back in the fold and turned Nucleus in that direction. Most of the album was written pretty quickly after that, but we got a new bassist and then a new drummer, so it wasn’t until late 2015 that we managed to actually record.
To get to the actual question, Fragment was finished just before we went on tour with Blood Incantation in September 2016, and then the other two songs were frantically written in a week or two shortly after the tour to get the split out with Macabra in a reasonable time. With our line up now we will have an easier time releasing new stuff in reasonable time frames.
Overall, it felt like they had a little bit more of that morbid Finnish death/doom tone creeping in. Can we expect some exploration in that direction on future Nucleus songs?
From the beginning I’ve wanted to put the band in a position where I could put in almost any style of riff and have it work in the band, which I think has worked out. We managed to throw a funeral doom song in the middle of our 3 songs in the split and I don’t think it feels out of place. The next album will definitely continue having some doom parts whenever it makes sense to do so, although it may be a while before we do a full on song like ‘Assimilation’ again. I was experimenting a bit on ‘Fragment’ and ‘Beacon’ with adding more onto the guitar work, with both guitars doing their own thing more often instead of playing the exact same thing. I think those parts worked, and I’ve definitely pushed it a lot farther on the new album.
All the Nucleus releases are pretty much a timeline of me learning how to write a song. The songs on The Colony were the first things I had ever written, and I’m really proud of what the new stuff sounds like just a few years later.
If you could pick just one Finnish death-doom album to recommend to others, which would it be and why?
Adramelech – Psychostasia
Not all doomy, but this is one of my favorite Finnish death metal albums, and one of the bigger influences on the direction I took with Nucleus. Some nice shifts from more normal death metal riffing to really weird riffing.
Guess there are no wrong answers to that one. We’ve recently seen a bit of a resurgence in the quirky approach to death metal guitar sound, with all kinds of interesting and diverse tones exhibited by bands such as Tomb Mold, Cosmic Void Ritual, Cadaveric Fumes, and Nucleus. Would you care to explain your general setup to us?
Probably not going to get the most satisfying answer to this out of us. We really aren’t tone junkies at all. Its pretty much all just amp distortion for us through our 5150/6505s. That tone sounds great regardless of if we are doing the weird/awkward riffing or the more down to earth death metal riffing.
Has there been any kind of experimenting that has helped you create more thematically fitting riffs/songs?
Funny enough, I’ve written most of the material without even plugging into an amp. A majority of it has just been written with me jamming on an unplugged electric at my computer. A decent amount of riffs/song ideas have been written with me in weird places where I make weird sketches or come up with ways to remember my riffs when I have no pens. It’s become a running joke since a few times I’ve posted pictures online of my air vents in my car shifted in a way that would remind me of the riff later on.
One friend jokingly sent me a picture of some trees, which I then proceeded to write a riff based on that will most likely end up on our next release.
That’s definitely a unique approach. So what’s next for Nucleus?
The next album is mostly written. We’ve already learned half of the songs at practice, and there’s about one and a half songs left of the 8 songs to write. Its a concept album, so the lyrics will be a story connecting through all the songs. The three songs on the Macabra split are basically a prequel setting up the story on this next album. We are going to take our time with it though, as there’s a lot of different things I want to try and experiment with on this album.
Even before that’s released we are going to try and get a few songs written and recorded for a yet unannounced split that will come out before the album.
Also, we have a few shows coming up. We are playing with Tomb Mold/Taphos Nomos/Sekkusu November 7th in Chicago, Morta Skuld/Embalmer/Scorched November 30th in Chicago, and then December 9th we are heading down to San Antonio with fellow Chicago band Cardiac Arrest to play Winter Hell 3, which has a killer lineup.
Fuck, I’d do all sorts of dumb shit to see that Tomb Mold show; Scorched’s new EP has been kicking my arse lately too. Ok, while I sit here and try to work out a cheap way to traverse the Pacific, let’s get into your topic for today. You’re going to take us through your Top 5 Sci-Fi books/Book Series That Need To Be Albums. Let’s see what you’ve got chosen…
As expected, I made this way harder on myself than it should be. For the most part I had to think of if I could use these in some way I think would be worth while, specifically for death metal, and I also avoided listing anything I’ve already referenced on previous Nucleus songs, or that I know other bands have already released albums about, which made this way harder than I thought it would be. There are tons of great Sci-fi books that popped into my head that I didn’t think their themes would necessarily translate well into death metal lyrics. Spoilers in these descriptions are inevitable.
1. Dune – Frank Herbert
The Obvious one. Probably my favorite Sci-Fi book ever. Funny enough, after Sentient came out I was planning on making the 2nd album a Dune concept album. After finishing the split and having the story behind those 3 songs be kind of a perfect segue into a bigger story I shifted the theme. This is one I definitely think I’ll do an album for one day, although I want to make sure its good enough to even be associated with the source material. A lot of that book is very dark, and all the melange/spice related things could really fit some abstract and weird lyrics as well. So much of the book is the internal thoughts of characters, which doesn’t lend itself well to film (although Villeneuve is the one guy I could see pulling it off), but that could be incorporated into some really cool lyrics I think.
2. The Culture series – Ian M. Banks
Tons of material is available here, since this is a pretty big series. Its basically centered around a huge super advanced civilization named the Culture that contains multiple species, as well as sentient machines, and its conflicts with other usually violent civilizations. The first book “Consider Phlebas” in particular is very death metal worthy, with some nice violent war sections, from the perspective of someone who hates the culture.
3. A Fire Upon the Deep/A Deepness in the Sky – Vernor Vinge
Two separate books that are mostly just related by sharing a character. Either one could give plenty of lyrical material. A Fire Upon the Deep with its almost Lovecraftian destructive intelligence, almost like Mad Max: Fury Road: IN SPACE; or A Deepness in the Sky with a civilization that can basically enslave you by turning you into a living computer that won’t stop working on the task given to them even to eat or sleep.
4. Gateway Series – Frederik Pohl
I envision this being something on the very doomy side. A big feeling of “the unknown”, at least early on in the series. There are remnants of an unknown civilization, with ships humanity doesn’t know how to control, that you can launch off to someone unknown location in in the hopes of riches, with a high chance of never returning. Or maybe the ship does return, but the trip was so long that you starved to death before returning.
5. The Foundation Trilogy – Isaac Asimov [The Mule]
The band Terminus made a pretty great album on this series, so I got a little more specific. His armies roll up on the outskirts of your solar system, then suddenly your sides ships start flipping sides and fighting for him. This is such a great series that I don’t want to spoil it anymore. A classic.