Industrial/electro-pop/art-rock duo NOT MY GOD released the single/music video for “Ashes” not long ago, a track from their forthcoming album SIMULACRA, slated to drop in October.
NOT MY GOD consists of Tim Sköld and Nero Bellum. Sköld worked extensively with Marilyn Manson, KMFDM, and the Newlydeads and released his self-titled industrial metal album, SKOLD. Nero Bellum played synth with SKOLD live, while Tim Sköld played the guitar with Bellum’s band Psyclon Nine, whose blend of Terror EBM, black metal, and industrial metal pushed the limits of music.
Opening on dread-laced industrial colours, “Ashes” shivers with flaring colouration, thrumming percussion, and oozing threnodies. Sköld’s eerie vocals, ranging from darkly melodic to bleak, rasping tones, akin to a demonic whisper, imbue the lyrics with shadowy malevolence.
The video, directed by Vicente Cordero, depicts garish hues of blood red and frosty blues. Blurry, phantasmagoric shifts infuse the images with ghastly frissons. A cross of St. Peter, drifting feathers, and a prayer bench add to the menacing visual similes, yet don’t compare with the sheer portent of Bellum and Sköld, whose aspects exude shadows blacker than black.
XS Noize spoke with Nero Bellum to delve into his psyche, creativity, and the meaning of the name NOT MY GOD.
If you could date any musician or celebrity, who would it be and why?
(Bellum) The mechanism that’s responsible for inducing that sort of fantasy has been absent for quite some time. I don’t feel any longing when looking at a cover of a magazine, TV or the like.
What inspired your new single/music video, “Ashes?”
(Bellum) I’m at a point where I couldn’t care any less about what others think of our art. If anything inspired “Ashes” (or ‘Simulacra’ as a whole), it was knowing that we can take this project in any direction that we want with absolutely no care as to how it’s received.
“Ashes” is from your forthcoming album, SIMULACRA. What can you share about the album?
(Bellum) It’s all open to interpretation, and I don’t feel that I’m in a position to tell anyone how these songs should make them feel. Stepping away from the abstract and technical, the album was created from the ground up using hardware synthesisers. With “Ashes”, I crafted all of the percussion and bass using oscillators, white noise, envelope generators and low pass gates in the modular domain. I paired that with an early 80’s keyboard sampler for the piano and choir. Each song on ‘Simulacra’ typically began as a patch on my modular system before being fleshed out and arranged (and sometimes rearranged) by Skold and me.
Your sound envelopes dark techno, industrial, and black metal elements. How do you describe your sound?
(Bellum) We don’t consider genre when creating our art. If anything, NOT MY GOD is a deliberate departure of what would be expected in any of the genres you mentioned and anything that we’ve created before our collaboration. Whatever it is, it isn’t what you want it to be.
Did your sound develop naturally over time, or did you push it deliberately in a specific direction?
(Bellum) The first album was more of a stream of consciousness—an exploratory state. ‘Simulacra’ was crafted with a clear vision. When developing a project, it’s important to identify what separates it from whatever else is out there. What makes it special? Those are the elements that need to be dragged to the front for everyone to see. ‘Simulacra’ takes direction from our debut album only in that we knew what to expand on.
What’s the story behind the name Not My God?
(Bellum) it invokes emotion and discussion. That’s another element of the project that I prefer to be left to interpretation.
What got you into music?
(Bellum) Megadeth and Dio.
Which artists are you listening to now?
(Bellum) I’m always listening to my friend Surachai. His compositions are beautiful and brilliant.
What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, TV, or other media?
(Bellum) I think that we all take inspiration from anything and everything that we experience in life. I find that my mood is the largest determining factor regarding how the music will sound.
What can your fans expect over the next six months? New material? Live gigs?
(Bellum) The world is in a very strange place right now. It’s best to tame any expectations.