An Interview With Nachtmystium Frontman Blake Judd



Nachtmystium has been one of the most extreme and creative bands around for sometime. A few years ago Blake announced that Nachtmystium would be going on an indefinite hiatus and many fans of his music were heart broken. That time away from music gave Blake Judd some time to get his personal life in order. The time away from music certainly gave him the things he needed, and also made his hunger to create more ravenous. Luckily he recently announced he is back to making music and is soon to record a new EP. We got the chance to catch up with Blake and talk about both the past and the future.

Metal Nexus: How does it feel to be active and creating new music with Nachtmsytium again?

Blake Judd: It feels absolutely amazing. I haven’t actively played music at all since recording “The World We Left Behind” in July / August, 2013. I went through a pretty horrific two years following that session. I then spent almost all of 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky in rehab and sober living homes for 10 1/2 months to get clean from the heroin addiction I was struggling with that had ruined my life.

Metal Nexus: You are about to enter the studio soon, have you demoed material already? How many tracks do you expect to record?

Blake Judd: That is correct. We go into Belle City Sound in Racine, Wisconsin with engineer Chris Wisco once again. This is the same studio and engineer we used to record The World We Left Behind’ in 2013. We also mixed the ‘Worldfall’ EP with him back in 2006 as well. We are only going n for three days and will be recording an EP we expect to clock in around 20 minutes (give or take) and it will consist of 3 brand new tracks.

Metal Nexus: Your sound over the years has progressed and evolved. Is there a specific direction you plan to go with this new album?

Blake Judd: I never really give too much thought to these kind of things when I write. I just kind of go with whats feeling / sounding right when I sit down and tool around on my guitar. The songs we are recording, in this case, I’d say sound more akin stylistically to material on ‘Demise’ and ‘Silencing Machine’, if I had to make a comparison. I feel the new stuff is really ‘fresh’ sounding.

Metal Nexus: Do you feel that you have more to prove with this album?

Blake Judd: I feel I have a lot to prove with everything related to Nachtmystium.

Metal Nexus: After getting clean from drugs, do you feel that whole process has inspired you lyrically?

Blake Judd: Absolutely. Not just lyrically but with the music too. My life got really, really dark and really scary during most of 2014 and 2015. I finally checked myself into rehab on October 17th, 2015 and almost a year to the day later, we had our first rehearsal. Anyways…during ’14 and ’15, though, I saw and experienced some horrific shit…and I carry a lot of what I saw and put myself through with me to this day. I’m finding after all that hell, I have more inspiration to write both music and lyrics than I have possibly ever before. I also (at one point) thought I’d never play guitar again, as I nearly lost both of my hands (on seperate occasions) due to insane staf and MRSA infections as a result of needle use. So, every time I pick up my instrument today, I feel very grateful to be able to play at all and I try to make the most out of every second I spend with it.

Metal Nexus: In the past you have created album art. Is there any specific plans or concepts yet with artwork for the new record?

Blake Judd: Not yet. I am thinking of using some kind of photography for the art for this EP. It’s going to be called ‘Resilient’. So, I am going to talk to some of the photographers I am friends with and see what we can come up with creatively that goes with the title / themes of the tracks. As for the full length thats coming later in 2017, I haven’t gotten that far yet

Metal Nexus: What was your thought process and deciding factors to get Nachtmystium back up and running after somewhat of a hiatus?

Blake Judd: I am an artist at heart, and I need to create. I finally managed to get my shit together in my personal life, and after spending the last year trying to clear the wreckage of my past as much as possible, I found myself in a position where I am able to play again with some really talented people. I finally am off of the drugs that were preventing me from doing anything productive in my life or being capable of being a decent, trustworthy human being, so naturally I wanted to get back to what I love most in life after taking most of the last year to clean my life up.

Metal Nexus: “Borrowed Hope and Broken Dreams” has long been one of my favorite all time songs, I consider both the music and lyrics a masterpiece, what was the inspiration behind the song?

This song was actually one of Andrew Markuszewski’s (our ex guitarist for many years) original tracks, so you’d have to ask him. We wrote the lyrics together though. Lyrically, they’re about trying to make sense of the wild, untraditional lifestyle he and I have chosen to live. The life of a professional touring musician and all the ups and downs and uncertainties that come with it. ‘Be careful what you wish for.’

Metal Nexus: Now that your focus is currently on Nachtmystium what will become of Hate Meditation?

I am actually writing for H.M. simultaneously.

Metal Nexus: What is Nachtmystium current lineup?

Right now aside from me holding my normal position as vocalist, lead guitarist and primary song writer (also will handle bass duties in the studio for the foreseeable future), I am working with Chicago-based guitarist Joel Witte, and Chicago-based drummer Nolan Jenkins. Synths will be handled by my Dutch band mate from Hate Meditation, Job ‘Phenex’ Bos. (Job lives in Holland and also plays synths for The Ruins Of Beverast, Dark Fortress and In The Woods. He also tours regularly with Satyricon as a session synth player. Very talented guy.) Thanks to modern technology, having a member who lives in Europe is possible, as we just send him the mixes, he lays his synth down in Pro Tools, shoots the files back to us and we mix everything in, its great. Also, my longtime friend from childhood, Dustin Drenk (who is a super talented EDM artist), may also be contributing to the new EP and album with electronics / synths. He performed on a number of songs on ‘The World We Left Behind”.

Metal Nexus: Can we expect a tour after the recording of the album?

No. We will never tour again….I spent most of my 20’s on the road and it was a lot of fun most of the time. My life is very different today and much healthier in all ways. Touring is not conducive to my life these days as a result of my decision to clean up my act. Anyways – we WILL be playing a couple festival dates. Working out details for one or two EU appearances next summer, and then we’re headlining a festival here in the States on September 29th, 2017 that we have already confirmed. The festival organizers haven’t announced any details about this years fest yet, though, so thats all I can say about this.

Metal Nexus: You said you will be recording the new album at Belle City Sound with Chris Wisco, same place you recorded ‘The World We Left Behind’. What made you choose to record here again?

I really like Chris and I worked well with him in both of my previous experiences. Plus its close geographically. I spoke with him at length about this recording I want to do a month or so ago when we booked the dates, and he told me he had done a bunch of upgrades to the studio and his overall recording rig.

Metal Nexus: What kind of time frame are we looking at to see the release of this forth coming EP?

That is to be determined. There is a misconception that we signed with Earache Records, which is in fact not the case whatsoever. We did a deal for the Nachtmystium back catalog titles that the band had the rights to. Earache has expressed a great deal of interest in signing the band for new records, but theres been discussion with two other labels as well. I decided the best thing to do was to self-finance this EP and use it as a demo, essentially. Shop it to the labels I’d like to work with and the few we are already having a dialogue with and kind of take things from there. I also am going to find a way to get hard copies of this EP pressed on CD and vinyl and get free copies to the people who were cheated out of merchandise they ordered from me while I was in active addiction. (They will also receive comped copies of the brand new ‘Retox: Renixes and Rarities’ compilation Earache is releasing along with the back catalog, which features 11 previously unreleased tracks ranging from a few industrial remixes, cover songs, and unreleased tracks from album sessions from throughout the bands career.) I am really trying to be strategic and get it right here dealing with cleaning up the mess I made with fans so I can hopefully get this all behind me and the band for good and just move forward.

Metal Nexus: You have made a statement apologizing for some of your mistakes and actions in the past. How has fans reacted to your statement?

So, so. Talk is cheap. I need to get this ‘Retox’ compilation released on Earache ASAP (along with the back catalog titles), get the hard copies of the CDs and LPs I negotiated for in our deal with them and simultaneously get this new EP pressed up on our own or as part of a new record deal with a yet-to-be-determined label…once I have copies of all these releases in my possession, I then will reach out to fans via a press release that will include an email address specifically for people to contact me directly with the details / PayPal receipts for their unfilled orders from 2013-2014 when the majority of these unfortunate incidences occurred, get those folks the records they’re owed (and then some….I intend to hook people up, big time.) and only when that’s been fully taken care of to the best of my abilities will I feel comfortable moving forward with a new record and all that. One thing at a time

 In addition to speaking with Blake he also showed us exclusively the upcoming artwork for ‘Retox: Remixes and Rarities.’ the will be released via Earache.


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About Fist

Greetings and salutations. Call me Fist, I'm a proud Kentuckian and I've used metal to help me get through the suffering of living in the bible belt. I am an encyclopedia of metal. I'm a fan of all types of metal. My main goal here is to help people find more music they will fall in love with. Hope you enjoy our words! \m/

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