It has been nearly three years since Nothnegal, a Maldivian heavy metal band, released their debut EP, Antidote of Realism.
Last year, the band started recording their follow-up full-length release, Decadence, for the independent French label Season of Mist. The album will be released in the US on February 28.
With their wide array of cultural and geographical backgrounds -- from the US to Finland to Malé -- Nothnegal represent the diversity that keeps progressive and melodic death metal an ever-evolving force to be reckoned with.
Guitar World caught up with cousins Hilarl and Fufu to discuss the new album, upcoming contests and the future of Nothenegal.
GUITAR WORLD: How have the people of Malé received your music so far? Is it difficult being a metal band in the Maldives?
Hilarl: So far the reception for our music has been great. It’s really awesome to know our work is appreciated. It’s not difficult, really; but of course it’s considered less popular than the mainstream music just as it is elsewhere.
Who were your influences that led you to play this style of music?
Hilarl: It’s hard to narrow it down as we are influenced by a lot of bands. I can say some bands like Slayer, Megadeth, Metallica and Iron Maiden as some early influences and some newer bands like Machine Head and Fear Factory.
Have you always known you wanted to play something heavier?
Fufu: We grew up listening to heavy metal, so it kind of stuck on us for some reason.
Hilarl: Most of my favorite childhood bands are heavy metal bands, so I always knew I wanted to play something heavy.
What's it like having band members from various backgrounds? Does it play a part in your music?
Fufu: It’s great to have musicians of diverse backgrounds to give their ideas and insights.
I understand Hilarl and Fufu are cousins. Has having relatives in the band ever interfered with the business aspect of your music?
Hilarl: Not at all, we get along really well and we've always worked together when writing music. It’s easy to understand what the other has on his mind. We have known each other since we were kids.
What tuning(s) do you typically use?
Hilarl: It’s all in C tuning, or two whole steps lower than the standard tuning. The string gauge we are using is .11-.56.
What was your favorite piece of equipment used for the recording and writing of Decadence?
Hilarl: We recorded the guitars in my home studio, where we used a Digidesign Firewire interface with Pro Tools 8, so that’s probably my favorite piece of equipment since everything else goes through it.
Fufu: My Jackson RR3. We have also been using Jackson guitars exclusively for the recordings.
Is this Fufu's first time doing vocals on an album? What inspired that?
Fufu: Yes, it’s my first time. They left me no choice, so I just had to do it! [Laughs].
What about Greg Reely and Ahti Kortelainen intrigued you for the mixing of Decadence?
Hilarl: Greg Reely has worked with all kinds of artists and some of the best industrial music out there, so because our new material has an industrial sound, we thought we should try him.
Fufu: We have been listening in on the metal scene in Finland for sometime and have really dug the sounds of bands like Sentenced, Eternal Tears of Sorrow and Sonarta Arctica, who have all worked with him.
What do you plan to do with the Decadence pre-order contest winner of the trip to the Maldives? Any special agenda?
Hilarl: It’s mostly sun and beaches here, so there really is a lot to do for somebody who isn’t too used to that kind of stuff.
Are there any plans to tour the US?
Hilarl: We haven’t booked any US shows yet, but we have always wanted to visit the US. So yes, that’s a huge possibility mostly because the album is being released in the US.
What's in store for Nothnegal right now?
Hilarl: We are doing an Asian tour right after the album hits stores. We will be doing some shows with Opeth in places like India and the Maldives as part of their Heritage tour.