Interview – Agnieszka “Nera” Górecka (NeraNature)

In an exclusive interview to the Headbanging Moose, Polish singer and songwriter Agnieszka “Nera” Górecka talks about NeraNature’s latest album Disorders, as well as her inspirations for singing and composing, her favourite bands and artists, the music industry and more. And there is also some very good news for the fans of Darzamat!

neraThe Headbanging Moose: Let’s start by talking about your new album, the excellent Disorders. After three long years, your fans are finally able to enjoy more of that Gothic and alternative music found in Foresting Wounds plus some new elements, without losing the band’s essence.  How was the creative process of the album, what inspired you the most for composing it, and what in your opinion are the main differences to your first album? What influence did the fact that you’re sharing your time between Poland and the UK have in the musicality of Disorders?

Agnieszka “Nera” Górecka: We started making new songs over a year ago. The good thing was we felt we had all the time in the world, as we didn’t have time limit and didn’t have to rush. We got down to work separately and having a base ready forwarded it to each other for further ideas. For the first time in my life a few songs started with my vocal lines and music was created after. It’s a pretty nice experience I might take advantage of in the future.

In terms of the lyrics my greatest inspiration is life itself. I keep observing people around me and I try being in somebody’s shoes, to understand what’s in their heads and why they act this or that way. I am a very empathetic person, so it’s quite a natural thing for me to see through someone’s eyes. Then I choose a common denominator for and I write.

When me and Marcus started the band we promised ourselves to push the boundaries of our own limitations and habits and no matter the music trend, do what we feel like doing, search different styles and keep developing. I would say that the main difference between ‘Foresting Wounds’ and ‘Disorders’ is that the latter is softer and more electronic.

Living in a new place gave me plenty of new impulses. I found out new things about the world, other cultures and myself. It got me out of my comfort zone and made me even more melancholic and pensive which you can hear on the new album (laugh).

THM: Do you have any extra material left (a cover version, a brand new composition, a totally different version of an existing song etc.) you didn’t feel like adding to the album for a given reason, just like what happens with many different bands and artists when releasing a new album? If so, are you planning on releasing that anytime in the future as a single or bonus track, or is it something you’re going to keep just for yourself?

Nera: There is always some extra stuff left which is not a part of the album for a certain reason. If I feel something kind of doesn’t belong in what we’re doing at the moment, I just drop it, and to be honest, never come back to it. I just know that working on the next album my heart and my mind will be in some other place, telling updated stories.

THM: Although the whole album sounds very personal I consider Twisted, one of the top moments of Disorders for me, even more personal, especially in regards to the lyrics. Not only that, it also feels very organic and you look very, very joyful in the music video. Can you tell us more about this specific song as to how it connects to your persona, in other words, what does Twisted truly represent in your career and in your life?

Nera: I agree, ‘Twisted’ is one of my favorites on the album. The song and the video is a portrait of a woman who cannot find happiness in the real life, so she begins to live in a self made world with her imaginary friend and lover. No matter how unreal it seems, it’s a thing that keeps her alive. As Albert Einstein said “A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.” Some people can treat it as a mental affliction but for me it is just a parallel world, which makes your life bearable and more exciting. Is it a personal song for me? Yes, it is (laugh).

THM: The beautiful ballad I Play, another one of my favorite songs in Disorders, also seems very introspective and emotive. I’m not sure if I can ask you that, but was it inspired by a special moment or event in your life and, if so, can you share more details about it with your fans? It’s always nice to know how an artist generates such honest and heartwarming music.

nera02Nera: This song is about people too sensitive to accept callousness and cruelty in this planet. In other words it is about discovering misanthropy in yourself after what you have experienced. It is about a will to reject the system created by man to enslave another man. It is also about my losing faith in man as such because of his chasing after money and his own comfort and his unthinking, consumerist attitude towards our planet, the only one we have.

The whole album is set in the boundary points between what for some is still the norm, and for others is madness. I’m trying to describe the emotions of people glowing with reluctance to this world. The reasons for their inadequacy may be different, but their fears and feelings are very similar. Hence the title “Disorders”.

THM: I guess most people, including yourself, probably consider Mistaken the most alternative song ever composed by NeraNature. Is that a sign of how your music might sound in the future, and how has the reaction of your fans been to this song so far?

Nera: We like the idea of finishing the album with some odd song, as the end is the beginning of something new.  We did it on the previous album with the song ‘Someone’ and now with ‘Mistaken’. We can’t predict the direction the band will follow in the future though, because it depends on what will catch our attention, what will inspire us and what stories will be ready for us to tell. The fact is that ‘Mistaken’ was composed by Marcus and me only and I can’t say we won’t make some more composition like that one, because be both like playing with electro flavour and  austere texture. Time will tell.

So far I heard opinions that the song is intriguing. Still, most people prefer the ‘regular’ songs like ‘Twisted’ and ‘Drifting’. De gustibus non disputandum est.

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Album Review – NeraNature / Disorders (2014)

THM: It seems that you have embraced the new way the music industry is doing business nowadays, which means making available to the market only the digital version of your album, with no physical copies to be purchased anywhere. What are the main factors that made you opt to market the album only that way, and is there a chance your diehard fans will be able to buy a Disorders CD anytime soon?

Nera: With this album we decided to try to deal with the modern way of publishing, which omits people not involved in what we do. I personally needed some fresh and organic connection with myself, so I recorded my vocals all by myself in strange places like my car, for example. All that work on the album was one big experiment that ended up with no deal, no label, no strings attached – there is just us and the listeners. We made the music, the cover and the video with our own hands, using the tools we had. As simple as that. I think it was a one-time thing and I am sure we will cooperate with wiser and more experienced people in the future. Also, some limited physical copies might appear one day, but at the moment we’re good being out of business.

THM: You might have already answered this question a billion times, but what is the probability of you, Nera, being in a Symphonic Black Metal band again, being it Darzamat or any other band or project, even if it’s only as a guest musician for one single song? Is that type of music still present in your life? If so, which Symphonic Black Metal groups do you usually listen to and recommend to your fans?

Nera: I surely need some space for my alter ego (laugh), so I won’t leave Darzamat that easily. We are getting some stuff ready and the very first sounds are being made, so stay tuned for further info.

When it comes to music I’m not into one genre only. Let me just name some metal bands that were and are important for me: Tiamat, Emperor, The Gathering, Samael, Arcturus, Green Carnation, Opeth, Watain, Burzum, Limbonic Art, Ulver, System of a Down, Antimatter, Porcupine Tree, Bathory, Amorphis, Anathema and my latest discovery- Devil’s Blood.

THM: How about other bands, artists and music genres? What’s currently in your playlist for your day-to-day activities? I’m pretty sure you listen to a lot of Gothic, alternative and atmospheric music from the UK, right?

Nera: Actually, I don’t listen too much to Gothic music. I try not to limit myself and I reach for different stuff according to my mood. Lately, for instant, I listen to classical music and some jazz. If you checked my playlist now you would also find things like Kings of Leon, Riverside, Peccatum, Solstafir, Agnes Obel, Leszek Możdżer, Depeche Mode, Pink Floyd, Cocorosie, Ihsahn and Dead Can Dance. As you can see, I like a bit of this and that.

nera03THM: You probably know how huge the Polish community is in Canada (over a million Canadians claim full or partial Polish ancestry) and especially in Toronto, where over 4% of Torontonians are from Polish descent. However, besides the Blackened Death Metal by Behemoth, it’s really hard to find any material or to have any live concerts from Polish bands here in Canada. Why do you think this happens, and how likely is it to have NeraNature playing live in Canada and the US in the future?

Nera: That is a very good question, but to the Canadian agencies and promoters (laugh). I can assure you I would love to come and play with NeraNature and Darzamat, so I’m waiting for your invitation 😉

THM: Thank you very much for your time and for sharing with us all those details about your music and your life, and please feel free to send a final message to all your Canadian fans and to everyone else in the world that enjoys the music from NeraNature.

Nera: Thank you very much for your time, attention and support.

Remember to think for yourself and keep in touch with your soul! Wish you all the best! Nera

Links
NeraNature Facebook | YouTube
Darzamat Official Website | Facebook | YouTube

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Album Review – NeraNature / Disorders (2014)

Nera brings us the true nature of Gothic Rock.

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neranature_disordersThree years after her beautiful debut-album Foresting Wounds, our Polish diva Agnieszka “Nera” Górecka is finally back with her Gothic Rock band NeraNature and, of course, another excellent release, the highly anticipated Disorders. For the ones that were somehow expecting something similar to her old group, Polish Symphonic Black Metal band Darzamat, forget about it: Disorders is a delightful sequence to her previous solo album, or maybe I should say a sequence to Nera’s own experiences in life.

First of all, in my humble opinion I believe that if Nera was American she would have already conquered the world of music by now: she has the looks, a powerful voice, a strong charisma and everything else one needs to be successful in North America or anywhere else. Not only that, her music is very professional, beautiful and emanates lots of feeling and energy, but that invisible barrier that exists for many non-American artists keeps hampering a higher acceptance from fans all over the USA and Canada. I really hope that changes with time, and American and Canadian Gothic Rock fans, especially the ones who love that British sonority from the 80’s, can finally acknowledge her awesome work and elevate her to stardom.

Anyway, let’s focus on the smooth and captivating music from the new NeraNature album now, which is the purpose of this review. Although extremely short (the album has only 8 tracks split in less than 30 minutes), Disorders brings the listener more of that pleasant atmospheric rock that became so famous especially in the UK during the 80’s, with lots of additional elements from heavy and experimental music (preventing the music from sounding repetitive or obsolete), and Nera’s unique voice standing out all the time as expected. All of that can already be enjoyed in the opening track, Twisted, a very gothic tune with some electronic elements mixed with the guitar riffs, and Nera’s voice sounding as superb as usual. And have you noticed how happy she looks in her “selfie” music video for this song? Well, she definitely should be, as the final result is truly awesome.

neranatureThe album continues with its first single and a perfect choice for hitting the road, Drifting, which has a pure 80’s rhythm with strong riffs, lots of “wah-wah” and more mesmerizing vocals, and  In Contrast To, a heavier track with lots of Gothic moments, with highlights to its interesting piano notes and music breaks. Then we have The Clue, an atmospheric rock semi-ballad, and I Play,  the most melancholic track of all, with another beautiful performance by Nera and very introspective lyrics (“I play hide & seek / with the intention of losing myself for good…”). One very important detail that you’ll be able to notice after listening to this first part of the album is the presence of a lot more piano and keyboard passages than in Foresting Wounds, giving the whole album a more feminine and delicate approach, which perfectly suits the music direction Nera has chosen to follow in the past few years.

And it looks like Nera and her very competent band saved the last part of Disorders for a combination of distinct and pleasant songs: Reverse is a nice mix of Gothic Rock and Metal with some progressive passages, sounding a little like some of the old classics from Garbage; Hesitation is an intense song with a more direct instrumental, where Nera beautifully sings with her heart; and the last song, the very Gothic and experimental Mistaken, with its eerie intro and all other unusual elements, sounds completely different from everything else Nera has already done in her career, expanding her music boundaries in a very entertaining way.

To sum up, even though I still consider Foresting Wounds slightly better, Disorders (available for purchase on iTunes) is indeed a lovely album that will probably grow on me with time. That beautiful Gothic musicality only NeraNature is capable of generating is there, the lyrics are very personal and meaningful, and besides, listening to Nera’s voice is always awesome no matter the situation. And if the situation includes enjoying a good wine with the person you love while listening to the true nature of Gothic Rock offered in this album by NeraNature, it gets even better.

Best moments of the album: Twisted, Drifting and I Play.

Worst moments of the album: In Contrast To, and the fact the album is too short.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. Twisted 3:09
2. Drifting 4:54
3. In Contrast To 3:13
4. The Clue 3:47
5. I Play 3:09
6. Reverse 2:47
7. Hesitation 3:12
8. Mistaken 3:31

Band members
Agnieszka “Nera” Górecka – vocals
Marek “Markus” Tkocz – bass
Paweł “Senator” Nowak – drums
Piotr “Peter” Nowak – keyboards

Metal Chick of the Month – Agnieszka “Nera” Górecka

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Nera, prawdziwa polska księżniczka!

Our Heavy Metal goddess this month is the perfect representation of all the beauty and finesse of her home country:  Agnieszka “Nera” Górecka, or simply Nera, is a gorgeous Polish singer and songwriter from the city of Katowice (Silesia), known for her potent vocals in the Polish Symphonic Black Metal band Darzamat, and more recently for her own solo project called NeraNature.

Nera started her career in 1997 with the Gothic Metal band MidnightDate, from the city of Gliwice, about 30 minutes from Katowice. Then after a few years she finally joined Darzamat, in 2003, with whom she has recorded so far three studio albums: Semidevilish (2004), Transkarpatia (2005), and their latest one Solfernus’ Path (2009), as well as a live DVD called Live Profanity (Visiting the Graves of Heretics). In one of her interviews, she explained the meaning of the band’s name, saying it comes from the Latvian mythology and it denotes garden goddess ( dārzs = garden and māte = mother, in Latvian). In her own words, “I really like it as it seems to me very “organic”, close to the nature and paganism”, showing her passion for everything related to Mother Nature.

Due to Nera’s powerful voice, astonishing looks and sexy onstage moves (and of course, the overall quality of their music), Darzamat reached then some status, gaining respect from Heavy Metal fans all over the world, being invited to play in festivals with exceptional bands such as Arch Enemy, Carcass and Stratovarius, and even in a special Heavy Metal festival in India, which is something rare to see in heavy music today. Besides that, the band also featured in the 2009 edition of the amazing Metal Female Voices Fest. Nera’s mesmerizing performance with Darzamat can be seen in the videos In Red Iris, from the album Semidevilish, and The Burning Times, from the album Transkarpatia.

In 2009, Nera founded her own solo project called NeraNature, completely different from Darzamat. The music is more like some Gothic Rock, with Nera using her voice in a smooth and charming way, and according to Nera herself, “this project is more intimate, private and sometimes bizarre and freakish.” The name of the band is a combination of her own nickname and the word “Nature”, as a reflection of her deep connection with the environment. This connection can be easily seen in the lyrics, which are all about Nature itself, life, and a more feminist outlook of the world. She released a full-length album in 2011 called Foresting Wounds, which includes a pretty cool cover version of Garbage’s The World Is Not Enough, and has recently released a new single entitled Drifting (available on iTunes and Amazon.co.uk), which probably means there will be a new NeraNature album pretty soon.

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Apart from her career with Darzamat and NeraNature, she appeared as a guest singer in the albums Arcane (2010), by the Portuguese Gothic Metal band Dark Wings Syndrome, and Ordo Bellictum Satanas (2010), by the Ukrainian ex-Black Metal band Semargl.

Regarding her musical influences, Nera said the most important bands and artists in her life, which helped define her singing style, were The Gathering, Tiamat, Samael, Ulver, Bathory, Arcturus and Opeth. Furthermore, it seems she has a very eclectic taste for music, as she usually listens not only to Heavy Metal, but also to several kinds of rock, ambient, smooth jazz and some classical music. In her free time, Nera enjoys listening to music from the bands Peccatum, Emperor, Ulver, Opeth, Pink Floyd, Leszek Mozdzer, Satyricon and some soundtracks such as Twin Peaks, Requiem for a Dream, and Dracula. She also mentioned she has a special admiration for the music of the Norwegian Black Metal band Emperor, and that she would love to perform live one day with them.

And finally, when talking about her voice and technique, Nera said that your emotions, experiences and own interpretations are much more important than any singing classes you might take in your life (by the way, she has never taken any), and that the most exciting thing for her is that your voice is unique, it’s like your fingerprint, and it helps define each person in the world, not only singers. We have to agree with her, but let’s be honest and also admit that the voice of this gothic polska księżniczka, as well as her beauty and charm, are way above the average.

NeraNature Official Facebook page

“Nature is life, truth, beauty and power.” – Agnieszka “Nera” Górecka