Nokturnel are one of those bands that leave us mere mortals on the sidelines, shaking in our boots…. So, it was a great pleasure to have Nokturnel’s frontman and incredibly hard-working mastermind answer my questions…
Lou: Hello Tom, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you today?
Tom Stevens: I am doing great, keeping busy.
Lou: You recently played at the Maryland Death Fest – How did that go?
Tom Stevens: That was incredible! I had attended the event the 2 previous years and was honored to be a part of it in 2011. The crowd was very into it and suffered, baking in direct sunlight to watch us. Our old fans loved it and I think we made a ton of new fans.
Lou: What’s the best thing about festivals of that nature?
Tom Stevens: The fact you are likely to see people you may only see once a year or less. MDF always has killer bands, the music is there and everyone enjoys the show but the friendships, the partying, that is what people look forward to as much as the music.
Lou: How would you describe a Nokturnel show?
Tom Stevens: Typically under rehearsed, chaotic, high energy [no standing there like fucking statues], I am a show off… I give people something to remember and we go sick, usually leaving people in shock. I can tell its been a long time since they’ve seen an old school warrior like myself show people how its done, as opposed to a bunch of “pros” who don’t want to mess up their hair or sweat to much. You give me a stage and you will see the difference between Nokturnel and most other bands. Our shows get peoples heads banging and thrashers into whiplash mode, and people really pay attention as opposed to running into each other like a bunch of drunk retards. I see a lot of that here…
Lou: Which other gigs / festivals do you have coming up?
Tom Stevens: Next is A Day of Death on July 16th in Williamsville, New York. That one has a bunch of great old school bands like Druid Lord, Derketa, Insanity and one of my personal faves DECEASED! Its a one day event, free parking, food at the venue, a long day of killer metal. Then we play with Macabre in August at the Korova in San Antonio and then in Fall we have The Goregrowlers Ball. A 3 day event with tons of bands also at the Korova in San Antonio. That one has Suffocation, Aborted and my great friends Exhumed headlining, we chose to play the night of Exhumed on Friday. That show isnt til November and a lot of people are already making plans for that. I want to see everyone at A Day of Death!!!
Lou: Do you have any plans to play outside of the US in the near future? Perhaps in the UK (hint, hint!)…
Tom Stevens: Plans…not now, no…do I want to? Hell fucking yes! Being an independent band is something I am proud of but it makes arranging tours and shows outside the US very difficult. Matter of factly it is tough for me here. Nokturnel will make it clear WE ARE ready and legal to travel and are looking for opportunity WORLDWIDE.
Lou: You’ve been in the Metal world for many years (both with Nokturnel and with other bands, such as Incantation), while we’ve seen other bands and musicians disappear without a trace. What drives you to continue making the music that you really love?
Tom Stevens: I own nothing but metal. I have one CD by Rainbow and the rest is all 100% metal. It is all I ever cared about. Fuck Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and all the heroes of rock. They do nothing for me. I fell in love with metal since the day it was spawned and have had my life revolve around it like an obsession. These fucking people, who created amazing metal and then took it so lightly, walked away from it, talked shit about it… Or praise all these other non metal things are these impressive influences…all those fucking faggots can eat shit. Especially the ones who have done us all a big favor by coming back for reunion tours at outrageous ticket prices… Yeah man you guys rule! I saw right through so many of them and what many dont seem to understand about me is I am not grim, Sorry but most of that nekro shit is high school boys who like to jerk off in cemeteries. I enjoy life, metal makes me feel alive…even dismal death metal. In my opinion you dont need to wear the uniform 24-7 to be a soldier. I have always done whatever the fuck I want, including trips to Disneyworld with my family, and during my most non metal moment…. I AM STILL MORE METAL THAN THEM! So everyone can fuck off…Anyone who questions my dedication to metal is a fucking fool. I watched many walk away, some return, and I have personal feelings about certain bands and people but there is nothing, and I mean nothing that is more metal than reuniting with another REAL metal head who never left the scene…. It is actually funner than hell to have a massive shit talking conversation with those who think like I do, and we laugh at the clowns who we knew were jackasses from the beginning
Lou: What inspires you lyrically?
Tom Stevens: Horror is the first thing that comes to mind…more specifically H.P. Lovecraft, Clive Barker and Stephen Kings older works, everything by Brian Lumley. Great films like The Exorcist… I have a few songs about possession. Sci-fi shit is also cool…Human Termites and A Collision of Dimensions spawned from Sci-fi concepts. I also pay attention to things in the real world like disasters natural and manmade.. Reading is much more effective for me to absorb influence… i never steal lines or ideas but one word can send me off into one line that ends up being an important part of a song..
Lou: I understand that when you were a kid you were really into KISS. How did you get from KISS to extreme metal?
Tom Stevens: The transition period was a short one. If I must put myself into your vision as a kid in grammar school.. from Kiss I saw The Cars, Devo, Missing Persons and late 70s early 80s weirder heavier bands as “cool” and then I was hit with Saxon, Motorhead, and of course Priest and Maiden which put me on the path to heavier shit. The song Dark Avenger by Manowar was epic for me…in like 82? By then I was like fuck everything….I was metal. I did go through a long RUSH worshiping period and still respect the band but never got into anything but a few records… I hit metal when it was forming from rock…when the costumes and hair were silly as fuck and then… finally, Slayer arrived for me alone with Venom, Fate and Bathory…many more and I never looked back. I will always love old KISS but have no desire to see them now. I saw the KISS Alive 2 tour….fuck anything else
Lou: Which bands are you listening to at the moment?
Tom Stevens: I have a feeling this will be untypical for most but Witchfinder General – Death Penalty, Voivod -RROOAARR, Venom -Black Metal, Entombed – Left Hand Path, and a horror punk record that really floored me, The Other -New Blood
Lou: Would you say that the ‘Metal Scene’ is particularly healthy these days? What could be done to improve it?
Tom Stevens: I honestly dont know what people expect? I think it is downright retarded that metal bands care about winning awards alongside other genre artists. I thought metal is rebellion? Seeing some Black Metal guy being handed a little trophy for me….is fucking stupid and embarrassing. It should not be the size of the scene, but the quality of the metalheads that make it up and more importantly support it. Here’s a clue…if you don’t want your shows to fail DON’T PLAY EVERY OTHER FUCKING WEEKEND. I dont care how good you are, people get bored. Any scene is what it is… the fact is after all the excuses of why people don’t support enough shows are done boring me to death the fact remains most are so lazy they want go see good bands for free. I chose my shows wisely, and want to play for the world but my expectations are realistic. I am confident in Nokturnel… but the scene mentality isnt gonna work, I think of more than people I know personally, I play metal because I love to play, and I know how many people I personally know feel about my music, thats all good but the rest of the world is out there and I’d like to think I can eventually reach many more of them without worrying about little cliques and groups of elitist wannabes. It is not good enough for a show to sell out…people will pick apart those who are not dressed the way they think they should be and the poser finger pointing begins. Its a no win… I am in this for myself, anyone who wants to pay attention to Nokturnel is appreciated but worrying about scenes is worthless. People all suck and its never gonna be like it was 20 years ago,….and for the record we all bitched about things back then not realizing those were the BEST days of metal.
Lou: Where do you stand on the ‘illegal downloading’ debate? Are illegal downloads something that concerns you as a musician?
Tom Stevens: If Metallica and bands of that caliber are worrying about it what chance do I have. All I know is regardless of anything and that includes before downloading even existed Nokturnel’s music found its way into stereos around the world. Bootlegging is something metal heads have supported since day 1. We like the shirts, the live recordings, and even the bullshit versions of records we cannot find elsewhere. Everyone wants a new Nokturnel record…but who will BUY it? I put the new single online for free for my fans. I cannot do that forever…time will tell on that but I have little to say about downloads, metalheads were not exactly doing the right thing from the beginning anyway.
Lou: You recently released the song “Ancestral Calling” as a free download – what has the feedback been like for that song?
Tom Stevens: It was overwhelming. Nokturnel fans needed a song, I had a few in the works and my choice for this one was something I actually wrote a blog for on Nokturnel.com since it was very different for me. It didnt matter, my fans went nuts over it and it was a huge success. It was the kind of impact i needed before MDF and I am really proud of that song.
Lou: Will there be a new Nokturnel album soon? If so, are you able to tell us anything about it?
Tom Stevens: I cannot answer this one… I have plenty of material but I want a label. All I will say is what I have always said. With a proper budget and decent label pushing me, Nokturnel would make THE record that turns the underground inside out. I will shake up the scene and many would follow my example…Id bet my life on that
Lou: How did the endorsement with Halo guitars get set up?
Tom Stevens: My manager worked that out for me. After a long talk with the guys at Halo I gave them a shot and I used my new Inverted at MDF. It sounded killer and I can shred the fuck out of that neck. I want much more from them, some custom work, we’ll see what the future holds but I was happy to be involved with Halo and hope they listen to my ideas…I have a reputation for destroying guitars unintentionally… I need a solid instrument. I want to build something so bad ass other players will say ‘this guy had it right, this is exactly what I need in a guitar…
Lou: Where can people buy your CDs/records and merchandise from?
Tom Stevens: EVERYTHING I sell including my music can be purchased at SinfulNightwear.com. Nokturnel Eclipse is my company name…I sell a lot of different things these days.
You also have your own leather business outside of the band, would you be able to tell us a little bit about that?
Tom Stevens: I have been in mail order since 1997 but in 1999 we began to become much more serious and focused. With MP3-Ipod download this n that killing my CD Distro sales things were looking grim. After seeing the need for people to easily find quality Spiked Leather we began selling gauntlets. I soon offered several designs and we expanded into more leather items geared towards adult markets…sexual stuff which led us into the realm of adult toys. We were proud to unleash out Pyrex Glass Adult Toy in the shape of The Cross for some serious blasphemous sex! Leather Masks of may designs are doing very well for us now and all of our metal and adult items are known worldwide. It took years of hard work.but my wife and I both work at home…I breed snakes for the pet trade too and we are always busy, we prefer it that way.
Lou: Thank you again for answering my questions. The final words in this interview are yours – please feel free to plug whatever you like!
Tom Stevens: Thanks for interviewing me, and please share links to all my pages. I look forward to our next shows and hope people come out to support us. My SPIKED LEATHER is second to NONE, Nokturnel currently has 4 t shirt designs available right now and theres a handful of Fury Unleashed CDs left. Reach out to me on Facebook and ReverbNation. Nokturnel.com has all the info you need, BOOKING AGENTS and promoters worldwide, we want to get out there so please get in touch.