Adrian Erlandsson is one busy guy. He recently left Cradle of Filth (see Adrian's interview with antiMUSIC) to concentrate on his own projects. Besides occasional teaching and holding drum clinics, he has joined Needleye as a session drummer. On a larger scale, has put together a soon-to-be-unveiled metal project. Possibly dearest to him right now however, is a new band that he put together with his wife, British model Amber Erlandsson (Morrigan Hel) and friends of theirs. Besides the Erlandssons, the band includes guitarists Cherry Forever and Sam Hain along with bassist The Witch.
Nemhain is possibly one of the hottest bands on the horizon and I'm not just talking about the music. Check out their websites and you'll see why. But pin-up status aside, the band has the chops to make a serious bid for your CD player. Their music is a blend of punky rock and metal that is slightly raw but energetic. In fact the unbridled enthusiasm of the band on cuts like "Heroin Child" and "Speed Queen" is positively adrenaline pumping.
Despite the band currently caught up with readying their debut CD, Amber took time out to answer some questions by e-mail, with band mates Lisa and Cherry chipping in as well.
antiMUSIC: How did this band come together? It seems like as least two of you, (you and Lisa) have never been in bands before. Can you also give us a background on everybody (you, Cherry, Sam and Lisa)…except that Swede guy. We kinda know who he is :)
Amber Erlandsson (Morrigan Hel): I used to sing in Welsh music festivals called eisteddfod as a kid, I then moved to London at 7 years old after my parents divorced. I bought my first electric guitar, a white Fender when I was 12. Myself and my best mate Debora formed a band called "The art of falling apart" we didn't have a clue and really sucked but it was all good fun! I was obsessed with Black Sabbath at the time and was desperately trying to play along with Iron Man and Black Sabbath without much success. I was then in a metal band briefly at around 17 years old called "Obsidian" with a few London based guys which ended up not working out. I've been writing lyrics consistently for years, one of the songs on our demo "Girls like Honey" I wrote the lyrics in part when I was 16 and I think I still have an old tape recording from an Obsidian rehearsal, it sounds almost unrecognizable.
Rachel Irving (Cherry Forever): I was in bands since I was 15 or 16, my first band was an all-girl band called Desolation Angels, for whom I played bass. A few weeks before our second gig our drummer dropped out and she ended up getting replaced by our friend's 12-yr old brother. His name was Charlie Simpson and he went on to be in two really successful bands, called Fightstar and Busted. I've continued being involved with music since. Within recent years I've recorded backing vox for several artists, including a Demented Are Go album and a Franz Ferdinand a-side single. Also in recent years I moved onto playing guitar, but got really into writing very soft folk/alt country songs until Nemhain kicked me back onto the rock n roll road!!
Sam Astley (Sam Hain) : Sam has played a variety of instruments with a variety of bands with styles ranging from jazz to metal in and around the London area, though for the past couple of years he has been concentrating on writing music for short films which he co-produces. He has been playing guitar (his first instrument) for thirteen years and is heavily influenced by great melodic lead guitarists such as Slash, as well as the more experimental, noisy playing of Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth which all contribute to the sound of Nemhain.
Lisa Dickinson (The Witch) : My first foray into music was playing the tenor horn in the school band, aged 7. It was almost as tall as I was, and I just about managed to play about 3 songs on it! It was when I discovered the likes of Skid Row, L7, Alice in Chains, Pantera and Danzig that I got really into music, and specifically, into playing bass, as it was always the low end that I tended to listen to. I first started playing bass about 10 years ago, and just played along with stuff I liked, as well as messing around doing comedy songs with my friends at university, many of whom were music students (the rest were just drunk!). It was only when we formed Nemhain that I really applied myself to becoming a better player, and actually writing songs, and my lovely Ibanez 5-string has opened up a lot of new depths, which can hopefully be heard on the Nemhain noise.
antiMUSIC: Your sound is very street-ish, kind of like The Distillers (your vocals are very Brody-ish and I remember seeing pix from a couple of years ago with you, Adrian and Brody at some festival). How did you go about deciding the direction of the material you're doing….or did it decide itself?
Amber Erlandsson: Myself, Rachel and Lisa were all teenager's in the early/mid nineties when bands like L7, Danzig, Alice in Chains, Hole, PJ Harvey, Type O, Soundgarden, etc. were at their peak and the riot girl movement was in full swing. I'm still really influenced by that era of music and that seems to be reflected in the songs we write. We all love The Distillers and have met Brody on a few occasions but I wouldn't say Nemhain's music sounds that similar other than the vocals being quite raw… their stuff's a lot punkier. I would definitely say that the music decided itself, when you're writing stuff it really does come from the subconscious… either that or way too much booze!!! Some of the best songs have been written whilst inebriated : )
antiMUSIC: Who does the writing in the band and how did your songs come together in terms of which one was first, etc?
Amber Erlandsson: We all write our own parts, although it usually starts with myself and Cherry sitting down with some of my lyrics and working out a basic melody and guitar part to present at rehearsals. Then everyone puts their parts in (fnar, fnar) and makes changes/adds dynamics etc… Our first song was a song called "Blood Runs Free" which isn't actually on our demo.
antiMUSIC: You've got three songs on the site (all excellent by the way) and you've done a video for another one. How much material do you have at this point and when can we expect product?
Amber Erlandsson: Cheers! So far to date we have 9 complete songs and about 3 unfinished songs. We're constantly writing and are about to record again in January which will include a Misfits cover for an upcoming Misfits tribute album that we've been asked to contribute to for www.kegrocks.com
antiMUSIC: Personally, who do you look up to in terms of vocalists?
Amber Erlandsson: I'm a big PJ Harvey fan, more into her early stuff though. Danzig's awesome, Nick Cave, Wanda Jackson, Brody, Chris Cornell, Layne Staley, Elvis, Phil Anselmo, etc... I'm into vocalists that have the blues, that's a major thing for me.
antiMUSIC: You've got a wide range of bands on your MySpace ranging from Pantera to Peggie Lee and Carl Orff. Is there one main style of music that you prefer over another or is it just one big melting pot, ruled by moods?
Amber Erlandsson: It is pretty much ruled by my mood, mainly rock/metal/alternative... although I do occasionally find myself strangely drawn (with a sledge hammer) to our Turkish neighbour's dischordant bongo playing at 7am every bloody morning!
antiMUSIC: You've been a model for years. Do you feel that gives you a leg up on things like video (in terms of quickly and accurately conveying the image/feeling you want to get across)?
Amber Erlandsson: I was really shy and uncomfortable as a kid so having spent years pulling weird faces into a camera probably has helped me to some extent when it comes to band video shoots/performing live, etc… I dread to think how I would have dealt with it back then. Probably shat myself....
antiMUSIC: You've done loads of work in front of audiences, especially with Cradle. How comfortable do you feel right now in terms of fronting a band?
Amber Erlandsson: Like David Attenborough poking around in the undergrowth! I can't even put into words how amazing it feels to be in a band, writing music and playing live. I've wanted to do it for so long now and I still can't believe that I'm finally doing it after going on about it for years. It f***ing rocks, it's totally primal!
antiMUSIC: How have your few live dates gone so far and what was the reaction from the audience?
Amber Erlandsson: We've had an amazing response, everyone's been really enthusiastic so far. We're pretty energetic when we play live and that really seems to get the crowd going from punks, rockers, random piss heads and people mum's!
antiMUSIC: Do you feel that your presence on the periphery of the music biz has given you a good perspective on things rather than somebody just jumping into it straight from the garage?
Amber Erlandsson: Yep! From touring as a dancer/resident pisshead before I met Adrian to coming out to travel with him on tour I've seen a hell of a lot of things… good, bad and just plain boring. I'm definitely well prepared for life on the road and having a hippy upbringing definitely helps. No dumping on the bus and lock up all your JD!!
antiMUSIC: What are your ambitions for Nemhain? Is this a full-time gig or are you content to play the odd show around Britain?
Amber Erlandsson: We want to take it, or let it take us as far as we can go! Nothing short of world domination ; ) or at least Bradford Rio's ha ha!
antiMUSIC: Are you trying to (or have you already) secure a record deal or are you opting for the indie route?
Amber Erlandsson: We can't really go into any detail at the moment but next year is looking pretty damn exciting for us.
antiMUSIC: Are there any plans down the road to come to North America?
Amber Erlandsson: There are a few plans in the pipeline but we're always open to good offers ; )
antiMUSIC: What does Tasker (Amber & Adrian's cat) think of your new pursuits?
Amber Erlandsson: She's packing her furry bags and is looking forward to chowing down on meaty foreign delights... She actually hates it when I do my warm ups. She looks at me like I've got severe mental problems and cringes.
antiMUSIC: What's the next step for the band?
Amber Erlandsson: Finishing writing and recording the rest of the songs for our first album and playing till our throats, fingers and other parts of our anatomy bleed!
antiMUSIC: Thanks Morrigan!
Amber Erlandsson: Thanks a lot for the interest in Nemhain and sending the interview over. antiMUSIC rules!!!!
Morley Seaver and antiMUSIC thank Amber and Nemhain for doing this interview.