Nevalra’s first full-length album, “Conjure the Storm”, which was released on June 7th, this year, has taken this 3 piece from Missouri on an extensive 6 week tour across Europe. The band has been receiving nothing but positive feedback all around the world and quite frankly, they deserve it. In short, you should expect death metal and black metal mixed together, with some well thought through melodic guitar in that mix. I got the opportunity to speak to guitarist Scott Eames and bassist Cody Sprock about the new album, how their lengthy tour is going and… ghosts.
Nevalra band pic
Hi guys. You are on an intense 6-week tour supporting your first full length album release, “Conjure the Storm”. The reaction you have been receiving so far has been extremely positive, how are you taking it all in and is it going as well as you had hoped?
Scott: Yeah absolutely! When we put a record out, there are mostly positive but there are also usually some negative reviews that come out, but there hasn’t been anything negative so far, so I’m pretty pleased with that! I think that we have like a bit of a European sound to us through the way that I like to mix the black into death metal and have the melodies with the rhythmic sections put together. I think because of the European sound we’ve been really well received by European fans.
Any funny moments from this tour so far?
Sprock: Uhhh yes, a lot of them have just been between the other bass player from Thy Antichrist and me, just having stupid inside jokes between each other. There’s another stupid inside joke between Robert (Thy Antichrist guitarist) and myself. I don’t know if there have been funny moments, but more I find myself laughing at inside jokes that we have come up with. I like to do voices and we mimic “Macho Man” Randy Savage and just talk like “What’s going on brother, I’m coming at you” just talk like we’re wrestling. Every time I see him we walk by and say something. There’s this other guy, it’s a stupid moment but Robert and I, we were in Barcelona and I know just a little bit of Spanish. I went up to a guy working at the bus station and I wanted to ask where we can get some beer, so in the most simple Spanish I could say, I was like “uhhh Tu donde….queremos beberos cerveza donde…pueremos comprar cerveza”, like where can we buy beer, and literally he points across the street and goes “hheerrreee?” and there was a supermarket right across the street. He responded in English and I asked him in Spanish. But yeah, it’s mostly been funny inside jokes and things like that.
Considering you’ve only been going for 6 years, you have already toured with some really big bands, supported massive names like Trivium and have even played Hellfest in France. How did you manage to achieve this in such a short time?
Scott: I was in some prior bands that had reached a decent level of success and we were starting to get some notoriety. When those bands kind of dissolved themselves, I started working on Nevalra and I already went through those years of not knowing what to do. We were off and running immediately instead of just starting from the ground so all I needed was a new band and new name, new songs. It happened pretty quickly that way because I’ve been there and done that already and I think that’s why it picked up pretty dramatically.
Do you have any advice for smaller bands that are just starting out?
Scott: The biggest bit of advice, other than honing your craft in as good as you can, always practice your instrument. Other than the music itself, don’t skimp on the little things, hire real photographers, people that do the videos, your social media, just everything, don’t do cheap. Spend the money, use the professionals, because they know what they’re doing, and you can focus on the music and 10 other things instead of putting out really bad band photos. You wanna use the best of the best, so I’d say if you’re gonna do anything don’t go cheap, use the best!
Sprock: Yeah, the main thing would be 100% dedication. That means putting everything into it financially and mentally. Nothing ever goes smoothly even a tour like this, there’s always things that happen and you have to have the drive and the dedication to keep pursuing what you’re after and keep believing in yourself as a band. There are so many hard times, nothing is ever easy, there are road bumps and road blocks along the way and you just have to keep believing in what you’re going for. Spending the time and money and just having the dedication, just don’t stop. I feel like sometimes all you have to do to be successful as a band is just not break up. If you can be a band for 20 years it will, most times, slowly grow. So, you just have to keep pursuing it and stay alive. 100% dedication, not only to your instrument but there’s a lot of stuff that you have to be dedicated to, like the business side of things. I’m thankful for Scott as he handles most of the business side of things, making connections, meeting people and doing things on the side of just practicing your instrument, which is a huge part of it. You have to be able to perform well and the music has to be good, but you also have to be able to market that music and that is probably 75% of it, promoting your music is a huge part of it.
How did your cooperation with M-Theory occur?
Scott: We had the album “Conjure the Storm” complete already, and we had 5 record labels that were interested in it. Actually, randomly, I was on vacation in Las Vegas and my manager called me while I was there, and he said that one of the record labels that is interested in the album is actually based in Las Vegas. The owner of the record label saw that I was in Vegas through social media pictures I posted, completely not on business, and he called my manager and wanted to go sit down and discuss the album and what I was looking for. It was a weird circumstance, I was away on vacation but then the manager calls and says “hey can you make 2 hours to go sit down with this label executive, he wants to discuss your album!” and I was like yeah absolutely, so we went and had a beer and discussed what I wanted to do with the album, what they wanted to do with it and about a month later they sent over a contract and we started negotiating.
Simon Dorfman (Drawn and Quartered and Inquinok) recorded the drums for the album. Do you currently have a permanent drummer and who is playing with you on tour right now?
Scott: Simon is the guy right now, he’s just not available to go on tours pretty much. He’s on tour with Drawn and Quartered sometimes and he has a busy personal life as well. We hit him up to do this album release tour but since its almost 7 weeks long including travel time, he couldn’t make it work, so we grabbed Adrian. He’s from Houston and he’s a great drummer, he’s filling in at least for now and probably some more tours. Our schedule is filling up quick, so we have multiple drummers at this point!
Where does your inspiration come from when you are writing material and all the lyrics?
Scott: It depends! When you sit down and try to write things, sometimes it doesn’t happen at all. So, when there’s a spark of creativity I kind of shut down my life and its like “everybody wait”. I have a home studio, so I just go record something really quick, even if it’s just an idea so, that way I won’t lose it, and then I can build upon it later. It’s really not just one thing, sometimes inspiration just strikes, and sometimes it’s difficult to write. That’s just kinda how I do it, I pull it from everything really, you know I’ll be watching a movie or something and then the background music could give me an idea. It’s really a lot of things, and I listen to a lot of classical music when I’m not listening to metal, which is very involved in music and I really like that. I think I pull some of that into the guitar work as well.
The cover artwork was created by Septicflesh vocalist Seth Siro. There are two different versions of it, the vinyl and CD. You were feeding ideas to Seth to bring the visuals to life. What does the image mean, what is it, does it have any kind of hidden meaning behind it?
Scott: We created it kind of abstractly on purpose, so that anyone can see what they want to see from it. That way it doesn’t mean just one thing to me or anyone. We threw some ideas between myself and Seth for a little while, but I have to give him a lot of credit, he has created an abstract view of the idea that I had, and he flipped it completely backwards from where it was going to go. He started to send me a few ideas and he actually sent me like 10 covers that he was working on that were in the process, and we brought it down to the two of them that we really liked, and we couldn’t decide which one we wanted to use as the cover. We actually discussed about using both of them and using one as the alternate cover for the LP vinyl and one as the main cover. So, we actually got two covers out of it because we couldn’t decide, we liked both of them!
“Descend and Die” was filmed in a 19th century mansion which has claims of unexplained activity. According to a “behind the scenes” video you have on YouTube, there may have been some potential activity going on during filming, where the cameras did things they were not supposed to. Did you personally experience anything during the filming? Why did you choose this mansion specifically? What is your general view on this topic?
Scott: I didn’t experience anything, I was too busy trying to direct what I wanted the video to look like, you know certain shots and things. One of the other producers that was also filming caught some things and it freaked him out, so we discussed it afterwards and I made fun of him, we all joked about it. They actually have lots of paranormal groups that show up, it’s called Ravenswood Mansion and about half of them say that they have experienced things. The mansion is nearby where we live and one of my prior bands had a promotional photoshoot there because it has this big elegant monumental wood though it, so when we were talking about doing a concept video around that timeframe, we thought we could go there. So yeah, its nearby where I live and I’ve been there prior. I’m pretty sceptical about the general idea though, when it comes to all that stuff, ghosts and religion. I don’t know about the supernatural haha! So yeah that’s why I kind of made fun of the producer, he’s a good friend and we all joked about it.
Sprock: Nothing personally happened to me, but there was this one shot in particular where we were shooting the baby’s crib and the camera went in and out and it just looks creepy and we totally didn’t do that in the editing or anything at all. I didn’t witness anything like that, like we filmed there but we also filmed at Rock Bridge State Park in Missouri and we also filmed at a piece of land my father owns and on that land, its like 100 acres, there is an old 19th century, mid 1800’s graveyard, I’ve been out there numerous times, nothing supernatural. However, I 100% believe in beings that exist beyond our normal day to day existence. I believe that our eyes can only perceive a slither of what actually exists in the light realm. Even our ears can only detect a slither of what actually exists in the sound realm.
Even dogs can hear more than we can…
Sprock: Exactly, even a simple example like that. Then you just take that, times it by 100 and there are so many things that exist that we don’t see. Just because you don’t witness it on a day to day doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. So yeah, I 100% believe that there are unexplained things. Just because we don’t witness it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Things exist beyond what we can see with our physical eyes on a regular day in our regular state of consciousness. I believe that altered states of consciousness can open your mind to realms that exist that we aren’t actually seeing in our regular state of consciousness.
If you were to give one album to extra-terrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be?
Sprock: That’s easy, I’d choose “Lateralus” by Tool because Tool is my favourite band. They’re so creative, unique and dynamic. I feel like that album has every up and down you can imagine, its heavy when it builds to heavy spots, it just has everything, good lyrical content, good instrumental content and even the drummer isn’t just using a normal kit, he does everything and has a kit all around him. So, I feel like you get everything in that album.
Anything you’d like to add to this interview?
Sprock: We’re just getting started, we’ve been at it for 5 years now and this is our first year of doing a big tour but yeah, we’re just getting started. There is so much more to look forward to, more ups, more struggles, definitely more struggles but just keep pushing through and I 100% believe we can be successful.