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Almost A Dirty Dozen with NIK & MARCO from NONEXISTER – March 2024

| 15 March 2024 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Zurich’s NONEXISTER have released their new single “Where Does Your Mind Go.” Since their first single “Your Pain Up My Veins,” the band has consistently delivered captivating and cinematic videos and their latest output is no exception. NONEXISTER’s latest release may not be as loud and heavy as the band’s previous releases, but it’s just as intense. In “Where Does Your Mind Go,” the desert-like wideness of sound meets the isolation of introspection, and the sonic landscape mirrors the deepest depths of the soul. NONEXISTER thrive on the interplay between the energy of electronic music and the catharsis of heavy music. As if they were soundtracking an after-hours club in the middle of nowhere, the Zurich-based band, consisting of Marco Neeser (electronics, songwriting, production), Nik Leuthold (vocals, songwriting, production), Reto “Fu” Gaffuri (bass), Siro Müller (drums, backing vocals), and Silvan Gerhard (guitar, backing vocals), swings like a pendulum between moments of industrial ecstasy and moshpit-ready outbursts.” We get Marco and Nik to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Nik: “Demons” is a journey through the unfathomable depths of human nature — that’s what the lyrics are about and that’s how it sounds. The songs talk about the abysses in our heads, in our lives and in society and sometimes about existential threats. “Demons” is dramatic, possibly disturbing, sometimes ironic, and now and then, quite surprising.

Marco: We don’t put any hidden nuggets on purpose but both sound and lyrics are quite complex. So there is a lot to find even when you already know the songs. There are so many layers and details in the music that you’ll easily find some new ones if you listen closely. And many of the lyrics are deep, so you’ll always find something new to think about if you want.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Marco: When I first heard “Blue Monday” by New Order, I realized that I wanted to buy a drum machine and a synthesizer, and when I first heard “The Ace of Spades” by Motörhead, I knew that there also has to be room for heavy distorted electric guitars.

Nik: I always wanted to be a musician or an actor when I was a child. I was fascinated by the stage in general, had a lot of imagination and loved to sing. So I started to play the guitar when I was 8 years old and later on wrote my first own songs. It was understood that when I got older I would continue with this.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Marco: There are many. I admire artists who do their thing uncompromisingly and against all odds, who reinvent themselves over and over again, but who somehow remain true to the essence of their artistic expression. And these can be artists in very different genres. If I had to drop a few names, I would think of Nick Cave, Robert Smith, David Bowie, Trent Reznor, Al Jourgensen, Jello Biafra…

Nik: I agree, but let me add some very important ones to me… NoMeansNo, The Young Gods, JG Thirlwell (Foetus), Mike Patton, Melvins, Tom Waits…

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Marco: Trent Reznor. He may not have invented industrial rock with Nine Inch Nails, but he has developed it further in an exciting way, infecting a wide audience. He writes great songs that also work acoustically, and at the same time he’s committed to a sound design that is very sophisticated. It is therefore not surprising that he’s now also a successful film composer, together with his creative partner Atticus Ross.

Nik: …or Mike Patton. His creativity and his diversity in styles and in using his voice are unique. I am sure creating something with him can go anywhere, can produce anything. It would be very thrilling to work on new material with him.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Nik: I am a very passionate rock climber. I spent quite a bit of my life in my van traveling the world from rock face to rock face. So whenever I can, I need to go out to the mountains. And I am very social, I am usually around some good friends as much as I can.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Marco: Until now we luckily didn’t really have any comparisons we really disagreed with – or probably I don’t remember 😉 … Mostly we heard things that really flattered us. We don’t stick neatly to a genre but are still stylistically stringent, we are always NONEXISTER. I would say our music is somewhere between industrial, alternative metal and some electro punkish stuff. It is dark, dramatic, deep, melancholic, it has unusual song structures and is quite elaborated in all the details.

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7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Nik: The nice thing is that we are all people who like to get things going. There is no lazybone among us, so the roles change.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Nik: Oh, I don’t get easily starstruck, I admire great work, but it doesn’t make me see the people who make it as superhumans or something. I don’t like to feel dependent. But if I have to name someone who impressed me deeply with their music lately and much more than I expected, it was Buika, a modern Flamenco and Jazz singer. I think she is a talent of the century. She has an incredible voice, masters it unbelievably with so many subtle facets and I have hardly ever seen somebody dive that deep into their emotions when they perform. When she sings it can make you cry.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Nik: The best thing about being a musician is the opportunity to create something new and express yourself. If I couldn’t be a musician I would try to find another way to do this. In another art division or by making all kinds of little projects that I can define myself or together with people I appreciate.

10. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Nik: Not a single one, but I remember several moments when I was very young and missed opportunities by being too proud or too timid in situations when I met more experienced and/or known people. They could have taken a closer look at my work or even offered a possible collaboration and I refused or didn’t dare to speak to them.

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Marco: It would have been great to be part of the recording session for The Clash’s album Combat Rock in New York in 1982. It’s such an amazing and versatile record, and it is still relevant today, both musically and lyrically. The band really had something to say, and the way they went far beyond punk rock and experimented stylistically without ever just being eclectic is great. Their openness was also reflected in the fact that they engaged artists from a wide variety of styles as supporting acts at their legendary New York shows.

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Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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