Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: Buffalo, NY’s Theatre Nocturne

Because every day another band records another song.  Because 83% of those songs are unlistenable and you can’t be bothered to sift through the dreck.  Because metal is about not giving a shit and waking your own personal storm.  Because music is universal, expression is boundless, and even indie labels (whatever that means these days) don’t know everything, Decibel brings you Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack.
Theatre Noct logo

Even extreme music, while supposedly existing on the frontier edge of what can be considered listenable, contains its own midrange spectrum and fringe populations.  That muddled middle holds little interest for me.  I much prefer the border dwellers – those hangers-on to triumphal melodicism on one end, and the dense, mangled auditory catastrophes on the other end.  New York newcomers Theatre Nocturne satisfy my need for the latter.  Percussion and riff speeds pile up around my head, barely registering before another wave crashes down atop the others.  Vocals… sweet bleeding goatballs, those vocals!  Please, someone, stop torturing him that way!  Or, wait… I mean, don’t stop!  It sounds great!

The band’s first release, an EP called Anhedonia, is full of unchecked violence that makes me frightened to go outside and terrified to stay in.  Get your fill right here on the Deciblog, or head over to their online homes at Facebook, SoundCloud, or Bandcamp.  But first, read up about what feeds their inner darkness and what we can expect from the band in the future.

Who are Theatre Nocturne?  How did the project start?

Theatre Nocturne is Erik Wagonblott and Kenny Zotara on guitars, Justin “Noodle” Herzog on bass, Justin Foley on vocals and Mike Paquette on drums.

Erik had the idea to start an absurd death metal band called Fleshpipe, so he recruited Kenny, Noodle and Mike.  Erik and Mike had played together in a previous project, and Ken had worked with Justin in the past so we asked him to join on vocals. After jamming together a few times we realized we had something good, albeit very different from what we had originally intended, and we decided to continue. We have been together since September of 2011.

The music on Anhedonia is heavily chaotic in terms of both speed and density.  What drives your performances to these levels?

As fans of horror we try to convey a dark atmosphere in our music, but also a sense of aggression. We are all natives to Buffalo, [NY] – a cold, dark, miserable place to live – so we take some inspiration from that as well. Metal by nature is not a spectator sport, the fans want to be involved, so we want to play music that gets the audience moving.  Ultimately, we are just writing the music that we ourselves would want to listen to.

How did the songs on the EP come together?

Erik brought the riffs for “To Visit My Flesh” to our first jam session and we all really liked it. That was the first song we completed as a band. From there everyone began contributing their own parts and piecing songs together in the same style. We found a good chemistry and just kept going. After recording the tracks in studio we felt they tied together well both musically and lyrically so we decided it was time to release them and show the world our music. Basically, these tracks completed the story we wanted to tell.

Is there any thematic thread running through the songs?

Justin: Lyrically, yes. One theme that governs my pen would be the Libertine mindset, which has ever since I began reading works by De Sade, Wilmot, etc… The sarcastic, unrestrained way of thought has always intrigued me and played an important part in my personal life. The lyrics to the  Anhedonia EP were written during a very down trodden part of my life and each song represents a major scene during that time. And by the end of the final track, to me, everything just feels still. With influences such as perversity, listless indulgence, and a metaphorical self-destruction, the ending stillness is like Prozac. I hope others can take away something personal from Theatre Nocturne as I have. 

Justin, where do those seriously wicked vocals come from?  Can you keep that up for any lengthy duration?

Justin: Thank you for the compliment. Vocals are just something I have been doing since early high school as sort of an outlet. And yes I can keep it up for a lengthy duration. On some of the new songs we’re working on I have been experimenting with longer, drawn out vocals in some parts. Hopefully everything will turn out sounding as decadently as ever.

Do Theatre Nocturne members have any other projects going on right now?

Erik currently plays guitar in a band called Ghost Sequence, picture Depeche Mode meets metal. Justin also has a solo ambient / soundscape project called The Dark Psyche.  Noodle and Mike have both played in rock bands in the past.

Theatre Nocturne is a relatively young project.  Do you have plans for the near (or more distant) future with the band?

Right now we have 4 new tracks done and are in the process of writing a few more. We are planning for another release later this year.  Long term we would like to take the project to a professional level, experience touring as a band, and of course continue writing for as long as we see fit.