Interview with Zdeněk Nevělík
Interview by Kira Levine
Hello and thank you for your time. Please state your name and position in Et Moriemur.
Hi Kira, my name is Zdeněk and I am the singer and occasional piano player.
Let’s start with the phrase “et moriemur”, which means “and we will die” in English. Why was a Latin band name chosen?
It’s an expression from “Western Attitudes Toward Death from the Middle Ages to the Present” by French historian Philippe Ariès. My girlfriend noticed it while reading the book and we both agreed that it would be a great name for a doom metal band. I wasn’t looking for a Latin name specifically but being a classical language with a deep history and a sacral language as well, I instantly liked it.
Describe your first experience with music. Was it your plan all along to work in this field?
I was involved with music since I can remember. As a child, I learned to play different instruments (none of them decently, I am afraid) and I remember mimicking with my friend in my room Iron Maiden playing in front of huge crowds at stadiums 🙂 But I’ve always listened to any kind of music, be it metal, rock, jazz, classical, punk and hardcore, ambient, synth pop, traditional folk etc. Anyway, I don’t earn a living with music, it’s just my hobby. I am a journalist in fact, writing about East and South East Asia for a newspaper. But I guess I knew all along that music would always be an essential part of my life.
Did you receive a lot of advice when you started out?
When I started Et Moriemur I had already played in more bands (metal, hardcore) so some experience was there already, yes. But I had no idea how to promote a band and still haven’t haha! That’s why we are happy that our label Transcending Obscurity is doing this hard job for us!
What would you say to someone at the beginning of their music career?
Don’t think about what genre is more popular – just play what you like. And do it now! Try to be in contact with people in the scene (if we that are anti-socials can do that, you can too!) be open to the possibilities and your path will show itself. But you have to be very, very patient. And it will cost you all of your savings.
How would you describe your sound to prospective listeners?
Atmospheric death/doom metal, avant-garde doom/black, existential doom metal… people use all of these definitions. I would add that “world doom music” could be a suitable label as well because we like to explore different sonorities from around the world. But labels are just labels, just give it a listen and see for yourself if you like it!
‘Tamashii No Yama’ will be your second full-length with Transcending Obscurity, and is due for release on the 8th of April 2022. What would you say are the advantages of being signed to a record label?
As I said, TO is doing a great job in promoting our music worldwide and that is the real added value for us. Plus, they make these gorgeous CD and LP packages and merch that much bigger labels can only be envious of! And rightly so!
Do you have the same creative freedoms as when Et Moriemur were unsigned?
Absolutely! No artistic restrictions from TO for us at all! I imagine that Kunal (the label’s boss) trembles every time we send them our new material (because we like to experiment on every album) but probably he already got used to it haha.
Your previous album ‘Epigrammata’ looks at Ancient Greece. What inspired you to explore Japanese themes this time around?
I’ve been fascinated with Japanese religiosity and culture for a long time now. I try to follow a Zen Buddhist path in my life and on top of that (or maybe because of that) I like Japanese traditional music and haiku poetry. The new album is the natural result of all this.
What was the recording and production process like for ‘Tamashii No Yama’? Did the pandemic situation impact any plans the band had made?
It did have an impact on the release date. The album was recorded in Spring 2019 if I am not mistaken but because of the pandemic, it will be released in April this year, three years later! On the other hand I guess every band´s plans were changed by covid-19, not only ours.
Looking at both your back catalog and the upcoming record, which tracks are your favourites?
It may sound strange but the shorter and less metal ones: Memory’s Gate, Zal, Absolve Domine… They are all inspired by Neue Deutsche Todeskunst, a German dark wave genre that I love. As for more metal songs, I would probably choose Black Mountain.
Samantha Dibattista created the beautiful artwork for ‘Tamashii No Yama’. How did this collaboration come about? Have you worked with her before?
Samantha is not only an incredibly gifted artist but I have the huge luck that she is my girlfriend as well! We’ve been together since we were teenagers. As for Et Moriemur, she has always helped with the graphical part of the releases but never directly drew anything for us. This is the first time and I think not the last.
Tamashii No Yama track-listing:
How did you manage to get so many guest musicians onboard for ‘Tamashii No Yama’? Did you know any of them previously?
We try to use many different, non-metal instruments on every release and so we’ve known some of these musicians for a long time. But there are new ones as well – for example Marek Matvija, the guy playing shakuhachi, the traditional Japanese bamboo flute, or Marketa Budkova who played the harp.
Are there any other bands or projects that you have been involved with that you would like to talk about?
This summer, I am going to record a hardcore/black album with my friends from Italy. We played together when we were teenagers but we’ve remained close since then. It will be a totally different genre from what I do with Et Moriemur: it will be fast, furious and cold and I am really looking forward to it! Then we will search for a label interested in releasing our stuff, wish us luck!
Name one doom metal band and one death metal band that you look up to.
You are so cruel, only one! In this case I cannot but mention the early Paradise Lost and Death. But if you ask me whom I really respect not only for the music but for his way of living (ongoing spiritual quest, animal rights advocacy and vegetarianism) as well, that would probably be Ray Cappo from Youth of Today and Shelter.
Are there any singers or musicians outside of metal that you enjoy listening to?
I love Ville Vallo vocals (HIM), Johnny Cash, Greg Graffin (Bad Religion), Andrew Eldritch (Sisters of Mercy) and then Mike Patton naturally is a joy to listen to. As for other musicians I really appreciate Trey Azagthoth (Morbid Angel) and Greg Ginn (Black Flag) guitar work. And Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page of course.
Can you name some of your favourite records of all time?
Gothic (Paradise Lost), For Grace Or Damnation (Graveyard Dirt), Reign In Blood (Slayer), The End Complete (Obituary), Clandestine (Entombed), Rust In Peace (Megadeth), Against The Grain (Bad Religion), Feeling Older Faster (Threadbare), Punk In Drublic (NOFX), Shape Of Punk To Come (Refused), Why (Discharge), Betty (Helmet), Dirt (Alice in Chains), Machina (Smashing Pumpkins), Torture Garden (Naked City), Slippery When Wet (Bon Jovi), Night Songs (Cinderella), Filosofem (Burzum), Ordo Ad Chao (Mayhem), The Work Which Transforms God (Blut aus Nord), Kuolema (Ajattara) and many others…
Other than music, what are your interests?
As I said I am interested in Zen Buddhism, so I meditate, study the philosophy behind it etc. But I like exploring different religions and spirituality in general, the occult included. I like books very much. I love horror movies. And occasionally I try to keep in shape with kickboxing 🙂
What is the music scene like in Czechia? Are there any Czech recording artists Et Moriemur are inspired by?
There are many great bands in our country, as in most of other countries I guess haha. Our inspiration? It would probably be Dissolving of Prodigy, one of the first doom metal bands in Czechia, and Hana Hegerova, a chanson singer.
Thinking about newer bands from your country, are there any that you think the rest of the world should check out?
Sure! They are not exactly new but I would certainly mention Panychida, Brutally Deceased, Inferno, Morkhimmel, Cuttered Flesh, Somniate, Heaving Earth, Just War…These are those who come on my mind right now.
Where in the world would your dream concert be?
In a church probably, haha.
What is next for Et Moriemur after the album release in April?
We will play some gigs to promote the album. And we are already working on the follow-up to “Tamashii…”. Again, it will be rather different from the previous ones.
Thanks so much! Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Thank you for the interesting questions, I enjoyed them very much! And thanks to your readers, don´t stop exploring different kinds of music!