Well, it started in April 2014 when I called my younger brother to play with me some ideas I had. He plays saxophone and I play a little bit of guitar. The idea of joining forces was always on sight, so it was normal that someday I’d call him to play something. I’m a black metal enthusiast and I’m very fond of the neofolk stuff that has been done in Europe for the last 15 years. I’m very influenced by the German band Darkwood, for instance – and Henryk Vogel is a very nice guy, by the way. Our project didn’t come up earlier, because I only had electric guitars, so when I bought an acoustic one, Nienör was created instantly. Gathering the things I’ve said, I think I’m able to label Nienör as an experimental neofolk band. The acoustic guitars are there, the melancholy is also there, but I decided to give it a try and add a saxophone giving it a more exotic and, once again, experimental sound.
2.Recently you have released an ep, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
Like I said, our sound’s base is neofolk with an experimental side delivered by the saxophone – an instrument that’s not usual in the genre. The songs are mostly melancholic and the saxophone acts like vocals. Firstly, we wanted to write only instrumental songs, but then I covered Pete Seeger’s “Which Side Are You On” and people liked it. So, I decided to include another song with vocals in the EP – the track called “Cleaned At Last”. The other songs are instrumentals in which the saxophone is the leading element in order to transmit sadness, loss and defeat. I think our songs are somehow spiritual since most of them don’t have lyrics.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Like I said, we try to explore sadness, loss and defeat. It’s hard to explain our lyrical topics since most of the songs are instrumentals, but I think I can do something about it. You have to read the songs’ titles and imagine a picture in your mind when the music starts. For instance, “A Elevação de Túrin” (meaning “Túrin’s Elevation) drives us into celestial canvas especially due to the choirs our friend Gonçalo L. Matias has inputted. So, without force a concept on the zine’s readers, I guess you can imagine someone who has died and now is entering the outer-world gates. It also helps if you have already read Tolkien’s “The Children Of Húrin”.
4.I know that the band name means tear and is also a character in Tolkien's "The Children of Húrin", how does this name fit in with the musical style that you play?
That’s true, Nienör means tear and it’s also a character in that Tolkien’s book. When I’ve read it, I thought: “I will have a band with that name”. Neofolk, and folk itself, always was about the past and ancestral legends. You can either sing about palpable or historic things like your land, your folk’s superstitions, the hatred for modernity, or you can sing about legends and fiction. My brother and I are hardcore fans of Tolkien and we are very fond of “The Children Of Húrin”. It’s a catchy and tragic story. We spent days discussing the book and recalling some passages. It’s simply awesome. Less epic than “Lord Of The Rings”, but with a heavy amount of loss, love and tragedy. Maybe next time we write stuff about other characters or places that are part of the book, but I think we won’t always be stuck in this theme. There’s a whole world to explore, but of course Tolkien will always be a part of the project.
5.Currently there are only 2 members in the band, are you planning on expanding the line up in the future or do you chose to remain a duo?
We will remain as a duo. But we aren’t all alone. The songs are written by us and all initial ideas are ours, but we had some additional help like in the track “A Elevação de Túrin” in which our friend Gonçalo L. Matias has applied some choirs. It’s my favorite song in the EP, by the way.
6.Has the band done any live shows or is this strictly a studio project?
Not yet. We are in a very premature situation. Maybe in the feature we can perform some shows in our city or elaborate an intimate event to our closest friends. Right now we are focused in writing stuff, put it online and spread our word.
7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
I’ve got in touch with some labels around Europe and got a cool feedback, but no signings. Most of them haven’t plans to release new stuff, because most of the old things they’ve released are stuck in the warehouse. Others said that they only work with Eastern Europe bands. Still, we’re doing our job by spreading our music by the means we have.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of neo-folk?
Generally good, I’m happy to say. The people who aren’t related with the underground always point the production as a downside, because it’s raw. We record live and with a headphone’s microphone – a thing that reminds me about Burzum’s Varg Vikernes in the 1990s. On the other hand, the underground enthusiasts like the raw production. I also want to add that the neofolk fans that have talked to us are very pleased with the fact that we have a saxophone – like I said, it’s an unusual instruments in the genre.
9.Are any of the band members also involved with any other musical projects?
My brother plays in a philharmonic band and with 16 years old he’s already a soloist. I’m very proud of him. About me, I’ve had a couple of metal bands, but nothing too serious. Right now, with 27, I’m focused in my main job, in the metal zines I publish and, of course, Nienör.
10.When can we expect a full length album and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
I don’t know if we will release any full-length. If we do, I guess it will be in a far future. I prefer EPs, because the interval between releases isn’t so large and it makes us closer to the fans. Musically, we will keep doing our stuff, having fun writing about themes we like, exploring our instruments, exploring everyone’s senses.
11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Darkwood are my main influence and inspiration regarding Nienör. But I can also point others, like King Dude – he’s just awesome and his way of playing have helped me a lot. Like I said, my background is all about black metal, so I’d point an infinite number of bands that I’m listening to nowadays.
12.What are some of your non-musical interests?
I’d say that music is the center of my life. I’d kill myself if I got deaf. But let’s not get pessimist! Like our band’s name suggests, my brother and I are bookworms. About myself, I’d like to point Tolkien (of course!), José Samarago (for me, the best Portuguese writer of all time), Fernando Pessoa, Jack Kerouac or Leon Trotsky. I also write for some metal websites and that’s something that pleases me a lot, because I’m able to listen to new stuff every day and even get in touch with the bands.
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
We’d like to thank you for this interview. It means a lot for us and for the growing of our band. Underground is a very important element in music and we’re proud of being part of it. Cheers!