The Nekroma EP release show was fairly ridiculous. It was hard, it was heavy, and it was a hangover to end all hangovers the day after. The lords of the underworld granted me the permission to once again speak with the crew post-show, as the underlords were equally inebriated. I met with King Necro, Pumpkin Queen, and N!c0 to discuss the who/what/where/why/when, and here's what they had to say.
(https://guiguisuisui.bandcamp.com/album/nekroma – listen loud)
King Necro - Diddly Board, Vocals, Synth
Pumpkin Queen - Vocals
N!c0 - Bass
KN: From the beginning, we always had a plan to make an EP, because for GuiGuiSuiSui we've been working on a project in which we wanted to make three EPs – A trilogy, based on the three characters we play in our show. We'd already done one before, so then we knew we wanted to do one for the “Necro King” and “Pumpkin Queen” characters. When we got the offer to do the Nakoma collaboration we thought this would be a good opportunity to put it together, but I don't think we actually had a set deadline. We were kind of working along the lines of “some time in 2017...” and I think Linda leaving, pushed it on a bit.
N: Linda's company closed the department, so she said “I'm leaving in a month's time!”, so I said “Okay, let's record.”
KN: All of the instruments were recorded at FuDa, off of GulouDongDaJie, you know the big instrument shop, it's got the place behind there...
PQ: And all of the vocals were recorded in the UK
KN: In a place called Gold Dust Studios which is in Bromley, it's actually one of my dad's mate's recording studios. It's been there for like forty years or something like that. So, FuDa was fun, except we turned up and they didn't have a bass amp, there was a miscommunication there.
N: We went through two bass DI...
KN: ...But I think for the actual mixing, that worked in our favour, because everything got more isolated then. We had all this shit going on with the drums, not any vocals to worry about and just a little feeding back skateboard-guitar, and it went way better than we thought because we went in and just wanted to do four songs, and then we had extra time so we were able to just basically jam, and that's what became the introduction, epilogue outro bit on there. It's just us sort of fucking around. And then yeah, we didn't really have it together with vocals so we said let's do that in Bromley. We worked with this really nice recording engineer who had worked with Duran Duran in the past.
KN: The band was live, yeah.
N: Multitrack, but all played together. Basically, we wanted to keep the feeling of a live recording so we didn't go through click or anything, we played like it was a live show.
KN: I think if we had tried to do that, it would have first of all taken way longer than just the six hour session, and it would have just kind of killed the vibe a bit... I dunno. In the recordings, there are some “mistakes”, and might be bits “out of time”, but I listen back to it and it kind of gives it more character.
N: It started as a collaboration, so in a way it's like with the previous Nakoma EP; we didn't work with a click. This is the same idea, catching the live vibe.
KN: I've tried to record to a click in the past, and I find it really difficult. I have really weird internal rhythm... basically I don't count when I play, just base on when it feels good, so for me it makes way more sense to be in the same room with people I'm playing with, and just look at them.
N: We really try to keep the live show and recordings close so in the EP, the only things we added on was the Tibetan Singing Bowl, for technical reasons. When you're in a room with drums and guitar playing at the same time, it wouldn't come out.
PQ: We actually came up with that idea during recording – before, in “The Tower” we didn't have the...err...
KN: ...Tibetan Singing Bowl. That's always an important thing. You want to be able to make a song and play it live, well, not necessarily... unless you're doing The Beatle's "Sargent Pepper's Lonely Leary Band", (or something like that when you just make an album and think “fuck it we're never going to play this live”), but for us, and I think for a lot of bands it is very important to play live because that's how you engage with an audience today. You really need to do that. If anything, now, live, we can actually be a little bit more adventurous because I've been using the Push 2. When we were originally recording, I was making loops and loading them on to an RC30 Loop Station and then just using that as a sampler, and that's really limiting because you have to just stop the loop, click through, and then do the next one. It's really not what it's designed for. Now we're able to do more, put more samples in there and things, and that's an interesting way around it.
KN: That new song, the one called “Ocean Of Eyes”, I actually started that with a new band I had with Jared and Nick last year called “Forbidden Zone” - we had various incarnations, one of those become their band “The Puking Unicorns”, because that kind of morphed out of “Cat Aids”; me Mike and Filthy Bill's punk band, anyway, I think it would be really cool to record that, I think it would be really cool to do something with that, it's just finding the right vehicle for that. If I was to record that song for example, I wouldn't just want to do a practice room one, I'd want to do it justice... but then it's like, if you're going to put that much time and effort into it, sometimes it can be a bit of a let down if you just throw it on Bandcamp. You need some kind of vehicle to put it out, whether that's a label, or you know another band you can do a split with or something like that.
It would be nice to get that and a few other tracks out, maybe do another EP, I'm very much on a high after that show; I'm very optimistic. It was a nice turn out. It was funny – I was standing by the door for quite a lot of the night, and there were quite a lot of foreign guys who were going to come in, and the first of all tried to walk in without paying the door ticket, and they kind of came back and were like “We have to pay fifty kuai for what? We don't even get a free drink?!” and walked out! We'd rather play for people who want to be here.
N: They might come back as vintage at some point...
PQ: We can make everything, and before we also had a USB release.
KN: As we did with the last EP, even though it was different, we did a CD because it's still good to have a physical product to sell. I'm one of the guys behind Nasty Wizard, we do tapes, but that's even more obscure... it's even harder to get a tape player. It's nice to have something physical at the merch table, and it's nice as well that when you tour different countries, different merch sells better in different places. For example, in Singapore and Germany vinyl goes super well. CDs go super well in other places. What we've done before is USB versions, and that's kind of the best of both worlds. A physical artefact with digital files on it.
S: Dan's friend Jon Cook (a really good photographer from Dartford, UK) did the photos. We went to get married, where was the place?
KN: In Kent, somewhere near Canterbury. It was a “de-consecrated abbey”, and I love that term “de-consecrated” because it makes it sound so; Satanic. There was actually a nun who committed suicide there...
PQ: It was our wedding day, and we were wearing our wedding clothes, and there was one room called “The Ruby Room” - the room you can see on the cover. Two chairs, and other very old furniture. When I looked at the environment, I thought “This is a good place to take a picture for the cover!” In my mind, I'd already thought it would look nice for both of us to just sit there, looking very calm, and elegant, but also wearing the creepy masks. I told the photographer and he said “Okay, I can do this for you.”
KN: So yes, that was actually taken on our wedding day... we had it pre-arranged. We'd do the ceremony, say our vows, everyone would eat and then we'd sneak off to take some photos. We took normal pictures of us being the bride and groom, everything pretty and whatever, but we also had our creepy masks and straight up banged them out, closed the doors and took the photos.
PQ: People actually like these photos more than the wedding photos!
KN: There's a shit load more we took above the hall where we were having the ceremony. There were these dorms in which the kids used to live, it used to be a boarding school at one point, and they looked fucking creepy; straight up like a scene out of Silent Hill or something. Boarded up doors, empty bunk beds, and us in the dark with creepy masks, which of course is what you do on your wedding day.
N: We have a different approach, there were some parts, like from “The Tower”, that came up after the original demo, kind of from jamming around. Linda's always been focussed on... “let's think first”. The side of the improvisation of the introduction, interlude and epilogue was because we were like “Oh, we've got half an hour left? Let's do an improvisation!”
KN: “Hemlock” is the same riff over and over, it's basically verse – chorus – verse – chorus, it gets a little bit limp so that's where we came up with the harmonic passage, and I enjoy that as well. Even though I came up with the original seeds for the songs, it's no fun to just go in and dictate what people should play. When you've got very very competent musicians around you, you have to let them put their own parts in there. There's only so many ideas that one human brain can have, but if you put four brains together then, wow, suddenly you can have something really amazing out there.