MATG Exclusive Interview: Necrol of Secrets She Kept and Kult ov Azazel
Written by The Black Metal Bitch
For those of you who didn’t know, Florida’s Black/Death metal outfit Secrets She Kept is fast becoming a major player in the underground metal scene thanks to the hard work and efforts of the band’s founding member Necrol. Having formed the band as a one man project in the early 2000’s he’s been on a roll now for over a decade turning Secrets She Kept into the metal powerhouse it’s become today, as well as picking up guitar duties in one of America’s most infamous black metal groups, Kult ov Azazel.
One would imagine that it takes one hell of a work ethic and level of commitment to the music world to be a part of not one, but two big name metal bands – and you’d be absolutely correct. We’re just starting 2017, but the Black Metal titans have already put out a well-received split with Canadian Black Metallers Idolatry and even more recently co-headlined Florida’s biggest black metal festival, the Black Kvlt Fest, with the legendary Inquisition, but for Necrol there’s still plenty of work to be done including finishing up the latest installment in the Secrets She Kept discography, the upcoming full length The Summoning Darkness. I managed to catch him during a lull in his schedule to talk about everything from the new album and news from the Kult-camp to Antifa and ‘80’s glam metal band Skid Row.
BMB: First thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us! Congratulations on another successful Black Kvlt Fest! You guys (Kult ov Azazel) headlined with one of the biggest names in the American Black Metal Scene: Inquisition. Care to give us all the juicy details on the event? How was it playing with the iconic Inquisition? Are you a big fan of those guys?
Necrol: Thanks! And thanks for having me. I’ve played Black Kvlt Fest three times, twice with Kult ov Azazel and once with Secrets and this was by far the best one. Biggest turnout I’ve seen at that fest, great crowd responses…and great bands. Juicy details? (Laughs) I don’t really have any good stories. Any that I may have, I can’t say (laughs) I didn’t really spend too much time backstage or anything so I don’t really have the scoop on that. Playing with Inquisition was awesome. They put on a killer show and they’re both awesome dudes. However, I can’t say that I’ve ever really been into Inquisition. That was my first time really even hearing them. Good first time, though!
BMB: Earlier this year Kult ov Azazel dropped a great split with Canadian Black Metal newcomers Idolatry. First I’d like to say that there’s definitely a noticeable change in the overall sound and I can’t help but feel you played a role in writing the new stuff (which I was personally a big fan of) First I wanted to ask if you could verify my suspicions and second I wanted to know if you could tell us how you guys hooked up with Idolatry?
Necrol: The EP was really written by everyone as a whole. Some more than others. Mostly Xaphan, of course. My biggest influence was on “Corpus Edimus, Sanguinem Bibimus” and of course the opening solo on “Into the Belly of the Beast”. For those songs I was just given the early Pro-Tools sessions that were basically just two guitar tracks and a rough drum machine, and put whatever I thought sounded cool over it. As far as Idolatry, I have no clue (laughs) That’s all Xaphan.
BMB: Secrets She Kept has been kind of a hidden gem. You put that project together back in 2002 if I’m not mistaken, initially a one man band. Can you give us a little history lesson on the band and how it all came to be?
Necrol: Originally Secrets was a one man band, myself doing everything. I self-released the three song “Symphonies of Eternal Suffering and Damnation” demo in like 2001-2002 and then got picked up by Morbid Souls Music to do a full-length. “Requiems to Midnight, Woe” was released in 2005 through that label. Myself having performed everything again. At that time I started using that album to pass around and try to find members; which I did. From there we began playing shows locally, then touring, then eventually recording “La Fin Absolue du Monde” which we released through Metal Messiah Records in 2010. Currently we’re working on releasing our next album “The Summoning Darkness”, hopefully this year.
BMB: It’s been seven years since “La Fin Absolue Du Monde” dropped. The album is absolutely devastating. The blending of Black Metal with Death Metal is fucking killer and if I’m not mistaken the first album written with a full band. Care to take us behind the scenes and walk us through the creative process behind putting together a Secrets She Kept album?
Necrol: Thanks! Honestly, each album is recorded so differently and the writing process is equally as different. First off, it takes forever (laughs) and unfortunately, I’m not one of those people that has a cache of riffs or can just jam with the band until something cool happens. I’ve never been able to do that. I write extremely spontaneously. Sometimes it takes a really long time, sometimes it all comes together at once. Having started out as a solo musician, the writing/recording process was a lot easier. I could just write and track at the same time, any time I wanted. I did that from the beginning and with “Requiems…”. On “La Fin…” things were a little different. I demoed out tracks myself and used them as templates. For that album we had Mike Heller (Malignancy/Fear Factory) on drums. I just sent him the demos and he tracked them, putting a little of his own touch on a few things. The newest album we’re working on “The Summoning Darkness” was a bit of the same but a lot different. I demoed tracks out, gave them to our drummer Sin Scythe and he tracked them with Jeremy Kling (The Absence). Then we went into my own personal studio and myself and Satorn tracked all the guitars and bass. Then (laughs) we gave all the sessions to James Murphy and I am doing vocals with him and he is re-amping all the guitars and what not. So, it varies greatly with us. I like it that way though. I feel like it gives each release an individuality.
BMB: I know late last year Secrets She Kept hit the road and did an east coast tour. How was the experience? I was sad, you guys missed New England! How is it being on the road and are you noticing a good turn out in terms of fans?
Necrol: The last Secrets tour had it’s ups and downs. As all tours do, really. On that run we went to a few places we’d never been before, so it was a bit of a gamble. I feel like our turnouts are slowly getting better and better each time we go out. Especially once we’ve been to a place before. And we’ve yet to get to New England. If you know any promoters that want to bring us there, send them my way!
BMB: I’ll see what I can do because I would love to see you guys in Worcester! Where is your favorite place to play live?
Necrol: I always love playing in Texas. We’ve never had a bad show there. The crowds are always awesome, always a good turnout and the bands are always brutal as fuck.
BMB: What’s your favorite Secrets She Kept song and why?
Necrol: I don’t think I can name one favorite. I really like a few of them for different reasons. “Damnation Black” is always fun to play live, and it was the first song I wrote for Secrets. “Fucking Christ” is a fan favorite, so that’s always a fun one to play live. I think “A Wolf for Every Womb” is really cool because it’s different. We got to play around with different methods of playing on that one. Probably the first, and only, Secrets song to utilize bass chords.
BMB: How did you come to be in Kult ov Azazel? Were you a fan before you joined the group?
Necrol: I’d always known who Kult ov Azazel was. How could you be a fan of black metal in America and not? (Laughs) Back in 2006 Xaphan put out the call for a guitarist on like, Myspace, or something. My girlfriend saw it and sent him a message about me. From that point, I went down to Ft. Lauderdale to try out and that was that.
BMB: What are the biggest differences between working with Kult ov Azazel and your own project Secrets She Kept?
Necrol: Secrets and Kult ov Azazel are sort of a different style of black metal for one. Being onstage with the two bands is different; in Kult ov Azazel we are there to spread the glory of Satan. In Secrets, we’re there to fuck shit up. So there is a difference in stage presence. Kult ov Azazel is also a much bigger band than Secrets. There’s more opportunities and privileges. The biggest difference is that I’m not the leader of Kult ov Azazel (laughs) so there is less stress on me as far as having to be the band “manager”.
BMB: It’s 2017 and there’s a billion Black Metal bands out there today. How do you stand out from the crowd? What is the future of the Black Metal scene in the States?
Necrol: I personally think that there is a serious cookie-cutter thing going on with black metal in the states. Everyone wants to be as minimal as possible. Little-to-no stage presence, everything is mid-paced, and seriously underwhelming attitudes. I know that that is a very unpopular opinion and that just emphasizes my point even more. With some bands, it works. That’s their thing. But when bands start inbreeding, one band copies another and then another band copies the copy and so on…your shit starts to get deformed and essentially retarded. I feel like we stand out, both bands, by doing the opposite of that. Both bands wear serious corpse paint and stage attire, both bands are fast as fuck, both bands take chances. I think right now, that’s what makes bands stand out. By not being lazy and not conforming to the current trends in the scene.
BMB: Are you finding Secrets She Kept is getting bigger because of your work with Kult ov Azazel? Or vice versa?
Necrol: Not really. When I first started Secrets a lot of people were interested in the band because I was in Kult ov Azazel but at this point I think I’ve done so much with Secrets that the band is able to stand on it’s own two feet. Also, I rarely even tell anyone that I’m in Kult ov Azazel unless they already know and I do the same with Secrets. If I’m at a Kult ov Azazel show I don’t mention Secrets unless someone brings it up to me. I’m not trying to mooch off of the name. I will say, though, there are definitely more people coming up to me at Kult ov Azazel shows now because they know me from Secrets which is kinda cool; shows me that all my hard work is paying off!
BMB: What are some of your biggest influences as a musician?
Necrol: I think my biggest influence is other musicians. Being around other musicians that are inspired and creative and totally in their element really puts me in that place too. Listening to other great musicians do what they do is also really influential to me. Listening to some bad-ass guitarists shred makes me immediately want to pick mine up and do the same.
BMB: Name one album you absolutely couldn’t live without.
Necrol: One album I couldn’t live without would probably be Skid Row’s “Slave to the Grind”. If I couldn’t listen to anything off that album ever again I don’t know what I’d do with myself (laughs)
BMB: You can’t be a guitar god all day, every day. What are some of your hobbies outside of the metal scene? What do you do for a day job?
Necrol: I’m a bit of a space nerd. I watch college lectures on the subject all the time and follow channels like Space Time on YouTube. I’ve been doing a lot of video production and stuff lately as well.
BMB: Do you have a guilty pleasure band?
Necrol: I proudly listen to all different types of music so I have a lot of what might be called “guilty pleasure” bands. Especially to metal heads. But to name one…I’ve been listening to a lot of Die Antwoord lately. I don’t know why, they’re so fucking weird.
BMB: What’s your favorite part of being a musician?
Necrol: Playing an instrument in general is pretty gratifying by itself. Hearing a finished product of something you’ve worked hard and put a lot into is awesome but being able to take all that and give it to the masses and have other people take your work and identify with it somehow; have it effect them in some way…that’s probably my favorite thing.
BMB: What is your opinion on anti-free speech organizations like Antifa coming after Black Metal bands like Marduk? Do you foresee any issues in the future with either band and having to deal with protesters who take things out of context and trying to boycott or shut down shows?
Necrol: I can go on about this forever but Antifa is total bullshit. They are just a group of uninformed, probably over-privileged assholes simply looking for a reason to cause problems. As far as black metal goes, to my knowledge, they’ve only had one “justifiable” instance to their cause. Even though that is also riddled with it’s own issues that contradict them but they are really biting off more than they can chew. Black metal is not a genre to be fucked with like that. It’s only a matter of time before they decide to pick a fight with the wrong band and group of fans. As far as issues from them with Secrets/KoA, well I’m sure they could create some reason to try to shut us down. It’s just a matter of: will it get them enough attention to do so? That I don’t know… I’m not worried about it though.
BMB: I know you mentioned earlier that you’re actually pretty far along with the new album, “The Summoning Darkness”; care to elaborate on what’s left as far as development?
Necrol: The new album is almost done. As far as coming out this year, I’m not really sure. We’re still really early in the year, so I’d like to think it will. But I can’t really say for sure.
BMB: What’s 2017 going to look like for Necrol and his projects?
Necrol: For both bands its getting our new albums done; that’s priority. I’m sure a few shows will pop up before that, here and there. As of right now, nothing is scheduled.
BMB: Any advice to younger musicians trying to break into the scene?
Necrol: Be creative, be unique, and put your everything into what your doing. People will notice.
Thanks, Necrol and we wish you the best of luck on the new album! Be sure to check out Secrets She Kept and Kult ov Azazel on Facebook: