Interview with Nemhain singer Amber Erlandsson:
Festivalphoto: How would you describe your music for anyone who hasn't heard anything by you yet?
Amber: How about an infernal racket or Blues stained punk rock doom...
Festivalphoto: Your excellent debut album, From the ashes came out last year. When can fans expect to see the next album - have you started work on it yet?
Amber: We certainly have started work on it, and we're about halfway there. We're not quite sure when we'll record it, but we're hoping to have it released before next year's summer festivals so we can get out and party!
Festivalphoto: You've recently released a 4 track EP, "The murder mile EP" and made it available as a free download. What made you decide to give it away for free?
Amber: We wanted to get some new songs circulating before Bloodstock, and we were pleased with how those ones were sounding. We thought a free download would be a good way to get maximum exposure for the new stuff while we're still working on the album. It seems to have worked, as there were people in the crowd singing along to the new tracks, and plenty of heads banging!
Festivalphoto: Why choose "bad moon rising" as a cover to include on the EP?
Amber: We love the song, plus most of us know it from the soundtrack to An American Werewolf in London. A great song from one of our favourite films.
Festivalphoto: Your version of bad moon rising has quite a dark disturbing feel. Was it a deliberate plan to make it different to the Creedence Clearwater revival version or was it something that just came naturally?
Amber: It's the signature Nemhain mouldy riffs! If we're going to record a cover, we'd much rather give give it a Nemhainous stain than play it straight. We started jamming it a while ago, and integral part of the Nemhain songwriting process is when someone asks "can we make it darker / louder / heavier / faster / mouldier". The end result here is definitely pretty dark and mouldy!
Festivalphoto: Who writes the songs - is it a group effort or are there one or two main songwriters?
Amber: It's always ultimately a group effort. Typically, a song will start either with a riff or with some lyrics, and once we get into the rehearsal room, we'll just start jamming until it clicks together (or until someone says "what did you play there?" at which point we have to work out what the hell we were playing!)
Festivalphoto: What is your favourite type of live show and why - festival, large venue or small venue?
Amber: Festivals are always fun, as you get to play to people who might not otherwise have come across the band. Also, it's always great catching up with friends in other bands, and drinking warm beer in a wet field! On the other hand intimate gigs where people have come specifically to see us can have an amazing energy. As long as the vibe is good we'd be happy to play in a bin if people are into it!
Festivalphoto: Nemhain have only been around for around 5 years, but have already played Bloodstock twice (2007 and 2011). How was it to play Bloodstock, particularly this year with you being quite high up on the Sophie Lancaster stage?
Amber: It was excellent; definitely one of our favourite gigs to date!
Festivalphoto: You are due to play the Metal Female Voices festival in Belgium in October. What can the fans expect from your show? Are you excited about performing at MFVF to fans who travel from all around the world?
Amber: We're very excited to be playing at MFV festival! It's a great opportunity for us to audio weaken on a grand scale! Show wise there will be plenty of blood, sweat and beers involved and we might actually play the odd song too ; )
Festivalphoto: Are there any tour plans for later in the year or early next year?
Amber: We're concentrating on finishing the album and recording it first. We'll then get on the case with booking more shows early next year to spread the plague!
Festivalphoto: What bands do you think have influenced your music?
Amber: Nemhain is the sum of some quite eclectic parts! We collectively love things like Alice in Chains, the Gits, Monster Magnet, Danzig and so on, but a night at Murder Mile could result in anything from Wanda Jackson to Tom Waits, Dolly Parton or Cypress Hill on the stereo!
Festivalphoto: Nemhain's drummer is Adrian Erlandsson - your husband. Is it ever hard to balance his work commitments with At the Gates with the needs of Nemhain?
Amber: Most of the time it's fine as Nemhain are not doing extensive touring so it hasn't really been an issue so far
Festivalphoto: You used to use the name Morrigan Hel and Lisa Dickinson was Lisa Witch, but now seem to use your real names with Nemhain. Why the change?
Amber: Well they're our real names, so it just makes more sense and i decided i just didn't want to use a pseudonym for band related stuff anymore.
Festivalphoto: You've performed on stage with bands including Motorhead, Murder Dolls, H.I.M. and Cradle of filth. How do you enjoy working with bands of that size/calibre?
Amber: I fire perform with Motorhead regularly and it's always a massive adrenalin rush! You do sometimes have the nightmare/comedy scenario at the back of your mind - What if the wind changed and we accidentally BBQ''d Lemmy....
Festivalphoto: What do you do when not performing on stage or working with Nemhain?
Amber: I spend a lot of time appreciating the wonders of the grape ; ) Other than that all consuming pass time I run a fetish photography studio and film location called Murder Mile Studio. I've also recently taken up Scuba diving which has totally blown my mind... kind of like flying/floating through a weird alien landscape populated with some amazing creatures straight out of an LSD trip. Great stuff : D