On Monday, we embarked on the second instalment of “song of the week” which featured Nelecc’s “A Thousand Suns”. Nelecc, an atmospheric black metal project with epic/orchestral influences, is the brainchild of Nelson Musyoka. Nelson is based in Chicago IL, but is originally from Mwingi, Kenya. He was also the founder of Irony Destroyed. In a conversation on Facebook, we explored first what the project was all about particularly the inspiration behind the name.
I decided to go with Nelecc because the project is defined by themes of personal life experiences fused in with fantastical ideas. These fantastical ideas are made even more surreal when nature and other characters are brought to life (Mother Nature, Driekholak, etc.). Nelecc in itself is half my name (Nel – my life) and half my ethereal ideas (ecc – fantastical life). The ‘ecc‘ is taken from Ecclesiastes. A summary of certain events that could lead to the destruction of the world. Hence, the Nhaethearealm – a celestial paradise to where the worthy few are taken to avoid Mother Nature’s punishment.
Having pointed that out, it was easy to relate with this preoccupation with mortality and the nature of the soul. It is perhaps true that we have all at one point weighed up these questions ourselves. but as most people agree on how our souls are dealt with after we depart, Nelson’s ideas about the afterlife are much less anchored in popular consensus.
I do, and I don’t. I remember a time when I thought of judgement day and the eternal lake of fire, and heaven’s gate and the angels singing. That was then. The thought of what comes after death at this point in life is just bleak. Nothing but darkness, the end of it all. It’s a scary thought, to be honest; to lose all sense and disappearing into nothingness.
One then would expect that this ambivalence to the prospects of an afterlife would account for the project’s adoption of this style of black metal. the music’s unsettling yet ethereal landscape would support that claim too. But that is not the case:
My going into Atmospheric Black Metal was inspired mostly by my love for nature. The feeling of being in a vast forest, by the calm stream that flows ever so beautifully is just priceless. But then again, the project had other inspirations to it. So that’s why I decided to mix it up.
And since the prevailing trend in the local rock scene is to prefer bands as a vehicle for expressing metal music, the benefits and disadvantages of taking up a project become an intriguing question to explore.
Well, having a solo project definitely has its pros and cons.
Let’s start with the cons:
1. It takes longer to record a track than it would in a band. 2. Even though solitude is absolutely amazing, it’s not as fun recording as it is when in a band (in the studio, the jokes, the laughs, bloopers etc.) 3. You have to decide whether or not you want to go with that specific sound (no one to say, “yes, let’s try this and see how it sounds like in contrast to the other.”
And on to the pros:
1. The final product makes you extremely proud, knowing that you single-handedly created what’s before you.
2. There is no possibility of a disagreement and a potential split-up/disband.
3. I’ll steal from the point in the cons and say again that solitude is just priceless.
4. You get to make a decision and go forth with it without having to debate on it.
5. The theme is entirely your own. So you don’t have to worry if it contradicts with what someone else believes.
8. You are the project
Having already impressed enthusiasts and non-ethusiasts alike with the first single from the project, a kindling hope begins to bear ground in certain circles of what might be in store.
The project is slowly becoming into what I hoped it would. I started writing material for Nelecc since I was in form 3, in high school. It took a while for me to actually get the basic equipment for everything to start in terms of recording. So far, I’m working on an EP which already has two songs: ‘A Thousand Suns’ and the intro track, ‘The Stars’. It will, however, take a while since I’m going back to school next month. So I’m planning to do some composing during the breaks in between semesters and during holidays. In the long term, if possible, I might end up making Nelecc into a band. But that’s just an idea at this point.
And in parting ways…
Thank you truly. I can’t wait to share more material. For my last words, I’d like to say that nature is epic. There’s a lot to borrow from it, a lot of inspiration to get from it. Just a piece of advice for anyone who might have material but still struggling to come up with an appropriate theme. Stay metal, and stay true to the local scene \m/
Listen to ‘A Thousand Suns’ by Nelecc: