WINTERFYLLETH: interview with Chris Naughton
Directly from Bloodstock 2012, here is what guitarist, vocalist and frontman Chris Naughton shares about the band’s origin, their unique blend of black metal and old Anglo Saxon traditions and their captivating live performances. Their latest album The Threnody of Triumph is out now on Candlelight Records.
Let’s talk about the very interesting origin of the name Winterfylleth: how did you come up with the idea of using this very historical connotation to name your band?
The whole concept of the band revolves around English history and the rich cultural heritage of the British Isles. The world winterfylleth is a very old English word which means winter full moon. It represents the change between autumn and winter, which in the past was happening during the whole month of October. It was basically the first full moon of winter.
Which part of England are you from?
We are from just south of Manchester.
Can you give us a little bit of history on how you guys came together?
Myself and Simon (Lucas), our drummer who is over there and not paying attention …… We met seven, eight years ago and we realised that we were interested in history. We started playing together in a band called Atavist, a doom metal, heavy band. We decided that we wanted to do more black metal stuff and faster songs; songs that were more about history and culture, representing a social commentary rather then the depressive, bleak subjects we were singing about in Atavist. We used to go walking together in the hills around the villages near where we lived and we came across some beautiful folk stories. The cover of our first album, The Ghost of Heritage, has a castle and a hill. The first song of the album, Mam Tor (The Shivering Mountain,) is about that hill.
It’s interesting considering there are lots of young musicians like yourselves who have no idea whatsoever of the history of their own country, as they are more interested in dealing with more depressive subjects.
There are lots of bands out there that have nothing to say, they make music for the sake of it; whereas I’d like to think we’ve got some relevant and interesting sayings with our music. Too many people today seems to be disengaged with their past, they do not really have any idea on who they are and where they come from. We think it’s important to re-engage people with their heritage; there is so much to learn from history. Think only about the mistakes that were made by the governments from which we could all still learn. If you have knowledge of what was going on in the past you can create a more positive future.
Let’s talk about your latest album, The Threnody of Triumph, which has just been released. I have not read one negative or even just a mediocre review; they were all as great as the word triumph in the title implies. The third album is usually very important and cements a band’s journey to stardom. Was the making of The Threnody of Triumph a difficult process?
I am really thankful that lots of people like it; we are really proud of it and of the fact that so many people care about what we do. We have been asked many times if having a third album was somehow a more difficult project to work on than the others, but it wasn’t for us. We are not just a band for the sake of it, we are friends, we hang out together and always talk and exchange ideas; we always find stories to write during our walks. We all write together: we had some line-up changes throughout the years, I had always been the constant writer in the band, but now we have Nick (Wallwork, bass, backing vocals) and Mark (Wood, lead guitar) who have been with the band since The Mercian Sphere, our second album. They did not have much chance to write on it as I did most of the writing myself, but they did have much more input on The Threnody of Triumph; it feels like we are building more ideas. It’s was more a team effort this time.
I must say that with The Threnody of Triumph you have developed a very unique sound, very Winterfylleth.
Thank you. As a matter of fact, there has not been any particular band that influenced this record. To be honest, some of the stuff we listen to like Whitesnake, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, we only listen to it for fun. We are huge fans of Enslaved; I do not think we sound like them but the spirit of what we do is similar, like the progression through all the riffs and all the dynamics. They have a sound defined as their own, and I think we have a similar identity.
You are going to play here at Bloodstock soon, you also played at Wacken last week….
I hated it….
It was a very difficult festival for us to be honest; nothing was wrong with the organisation, but it was raining, no one could go anywhere because of the mud. We were on at 1 am so you can imagine… that at that point everybody wanted to go home. I think it could have been better. We are grateful that we had the chance to play there but we would like to do it again with a better time and hopefully with better weather.
And how do you feel about playing here at Bloodstock?
We come here as fans when we are not playing. We have always respected the people behind the organisation and they have always respected us. Bloodstock is the real metal festival; I mean other festivals will have metal bands in their bill but Bloodstock, in this country is the real, I hate to use this word but, TRUE proper metal event. The funny thing is that the weather is never really good in England, but this is the best I have seen in a while, across any festival!
What about your next live performances? Is a Winterfylleth tour going to be announced soon?
We don’t have a formal tour planned down yet, it’s on the way with some big bands; it would be great if it happened with Enslaved. This year, to be honest, we have focused on playing at the festivals. We do not want to do too much too soon, so hopefully we will have the full tour coming up next year.
Is there any band you are looking forward to seeing today here at Bloodstock?
I am a big fan of Witchsorrow, so I am looking forward to see them later. I also hope to see Orange Goblin too if I can; we are only staying here today and I also want to spend some time wandering around to see the culture and what is happening, you know?
Check Winterfylleth live at Damnation 2012 (Leeds, UK on November 3rd 2012)
For tickets and travelling information check: www.damnationfestival.co.uk