Hello there. How have you been?
‘Hello! I’m fine thanks, busy with some plans. Nice plans though, so I can’t complain at all.’
Could you start off by introducing Negura Bunget and tell us something about what the name of the band means?
‘Immortally rising from the spirituality of immortal lands, Negura Bunget began their journey through the universe of black metal in early 1995, with Hupogrammos (guitars/vocals/keyboards) and Negru (drums). The first demo, From Transilvanian Forests, was recorded at Magic Sound Studio in Bucharest, November 1995, and released at the end of the same year, under the band’s original name, Wiccan Rede. Once their conceptual perspective shifted towards the exploration of the universe and spirituality of their ancestors, the band’s name changed to Negura Bunget. The new approach became clearly evident on the debut album, Zirnindu-sa, released by the newly founded Romanian label Bestial Records (late 1996). December 1998 brought Negura Bunget’s second release, Sala Molksa, a mini-album also released by Bestial Records. Mãiastru Sfetnic is the third opus of Negura Bunget. The album was recorded at Bilutza Studio in Timisoara in June 2000 and released in a special digipack format (designed and handmade by Negura Bunget). In June 2002 Negura Bunget again entered the Magic Sound Studio to record their fourth album, the first one to be released by code666 Records. ‘N Crugu Bradului can be seen as a spiritual endeavor though the essences of the Transilvanian traditional spirituality. 2005 saw the release of the limited edition Inarborat Kosmos MCD, the band’s first material to be recorded in their own studio, Negura MUSIC. OM, the latest Negura Bunget album, was released by code666 Records in November 2006. In October 2007 Negura Bunget signed a contract with German label Lupus Lounge / Prophecy Production.
Negura Bunget is a black fog coming from a deep dark dense forest. The name tries to picture somehow the kind of atmosphere, both musical and spiritual we’d want to create through our music. It has also a symbolical nature, standing for the inexpressible parts of our ideology.’
Negura Bunget comes from Romania, which might intensify the dark atmosphere of the music to its listeners. What was it like to start a black metal band in Romania? Did your origin influence your musical choices in any way?
‘It was pretty hard in the beginning. The metal scene was just being born around here when we started, but although we had many difficulties, at the same time there was that enthusiasm going on, which also helped us. I think Negura Bunget is fundamentally connected with the lands it comes from. Both musically and lyrically there’s a close connection with the local spirituality, history and nature so it would have been impossible to do everything the way we did in some other place.’
In addition to the question above: To me Romania has a very mysterious feel to it. What is it like to live there and where exactly do you live?
‘We live in Timisoara, which is one of biggest cities of the country. It’s also one of the most Western ones, so we are actually closer to Wien than Bucharest (the capital of Romania). I think Romania is indeed a bit different compared let’s say with the Western European countries. The most important characteristic is I’d say a certain mobility in thinking and relating to the concrete reality of life. People are more adaptive here, and always try to manage situations in a personal way. There’s also still a part of the country untouched by the modern world, where people live by the rules of nature. That’s something you can hardly find in other places, and unfortunately it’s getting less and less even here.’
What has been the most evident inspiration for Negura Bunget? If you had to describe your own band, with which bands would you compare it or from which bands do you draw influence?
‘More has to come from within. All you listen to can only help you shape your own vision better. That is of course if you have one to begin with. Enslaved, Emperor, Burzum, Wolves In The Throne Room are some bands mentioned in the same context with us but that’s a personal opinion all the time.’
Last November I saw Negura Bunget play live for the first time and it was an absolutely great experience. By using a variety of unusual instruments, if I may say so, you make your live shows worth while. Could you tell a little bit more about this concept?
‘For us I’d say everything is rather simple and natural. When playing live, we always want to bring all there is on the album. If something, the atmosphere should be even more intense. Using different traditional instruments came naturally into our music, we wanted to do that from the very beginning, but instead of doing it just for the sake of it, we awaited the right context for using an instrument when it's really needed by the musical concept. Fortunately we create quite a few such contexts by now, and I hope we’ll continue on this path. Each time we do take a small step, a whole new perspective opens. So it’s up to us the way we embrace that.’
You’ve been on tour for almost two months by the end of last year. How did that go? Also, I noticed that you’ll be heading to some bigger festivals in April and June. Do you feel like Negura Bunget is a band that does justice to itself by playing on such festivals?
‘The tour was quite nice. Was very long and exhausting, but we managed to end it in good spirit. I think we never played so far in a context we felt awkward and I hope we won’t. We always try to put our best on stage, no matter if we play in a small club for 10 people or on a big festival for thousands and the rewards are similar as well.’
Negura Bunget was formed in 1995. I can only imagine a lot has happened between then and now. What has been the most striking transition for Negura Bunget since its formation? This can either be in the line-up adjustments or perhaps in the shift of sound in between albums.
‘I don’t think we had big transitions going on. We had more like a natural evolution. Of course we never wanted to do the same things on our albums, so they are all quite different, but there is not that kind of gap difference, you can still follow lines. That’s what I think, of course, and some might disagree, that’s not a problem at all. We had quite a lot of line-up changes in the live formula of the band in these years, but the core of the band was untouched. We started as a duo, there are now three official members, and it has been like this for years. The current live line-up is also stable for quite a while.’
A couple of years ago you published a magazine called Negura Magazine. What ever happened to that? Could you elaborate on the term ‘Central European Ideological Magazine’?
‘The magazine is not official dead yet but I can’t tell you a deadline for a new issue either. It’s not easy these days to have on an old fashioned printed magazine on your own, but that only makes it more important. So I won’t give up on it! The title is quite self explaining, as we wanted the magazine to feature a rich content of spiritual and philosophical ideas characteristic for the area is comes from. The “Ideological” terms refers of course only to ideas, we have no political content whatsoever.’
Om (2006) was the last album released by Negura Bunget. That’s quite some time ago. When can we expect a new album? What does the future hold for Negura Bunget?
‘We do have a lot of new material planned for this year. There’s a new version of our Maiastru Sfetnic album coming out soon, which will be more like a new album than a re-recording. There’s a live DVD to follow shortly after, and then there’s a new album in the second part of the year. It’s also rather normal for us to take some time between albums.’
For now I want to thank you for your time. If there’s anything else you would like to share, please do so!
‘Thank you too for the support! Stay black!’