Behind the Yixja moniker “hide” himself a nice and talented guy who started both Dalla Nebbia and Mesmur projects. While the first one, and oldest one, lays in a Black Metal environment, the second one, Mesmur is built on a granitic Doom Metal ground.
But the truly interesting thing about these two acts is that they are both international bands, which means the members don’t live in the same country and of course they can’t rehearse all together. So, this thing made me curious and we talked about it and other interesting stuff about both his albums and bands.
SL: Hello Yixja, welcome to “The Somber Lane” blog and thank you for giving us the chance for this interview! First of all would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Y: Hey, thanks very much for the interview opportunity! I’m Yixja, guitarist and keyboardist from the American band Dalla Nebbia. We play a form of atmospheric black metal that takes heavy influence from 70’s progressive rock as well as doom metal, and were at one time based in South Carolina, but have since spread out all over. I now live in Wilmington, NC, our vocalist Zduhać is based in Duluth, MN, drummer Alkurion is in Seattle, and bassist Tiphareth near São Paulo, Brazil.
SL: Your moniker “Yixja” sounds quite curious to me as well as the name of the band “Dalla Nebbia”. The first one intrigues me ‘cause I don’t have any idea of what does it mean, while I understand perfectly your band moniker since I’m Italian. Now, would you please explain us the meaning and the stories behind both these monikers?
Y: We’re not Italian and I don’t speak a whole lot of the Italian language, but I do think it’s a beautiful language. The choosing of the phrase Dalla Nebbia as our name was based about 50% on the meaning of the words, since we felt it describes the sound of our music, and 50% on the phonetic sound of the words themselves.
As far as our stage names, there’s no overall theme but we chose monikers that we feel fit our individual personalities and interests. “Zduhać” is the title given to men in Serbian tradition who would use magic to fight off unfavorable weather, appropriate since our vocalist actually has a job in atmospheric science and climatology. “Tiphareth” is a reference to the Kabbalah Tree of Life, and is associated with balance and harmony. “Alkurion” is a Lovecraft reference, slightly altered. And my name “Yixja” is a Vigenère cipher. Feel free to try and decrypt it haha. I’ll give you a hint- the key is part of our band name.
SL: I know that, not long ago, you’ve released your second full-length album “Felix Culpa”. Would you introduce your album to our readers and tell the world why everyone should love your record?
Y: Sure, I’d be glad to. We’ve been working on Felix Culpa for quite a while now, and we’re very happy with the result! We’ve moved away a bit from the acoustic guitars and earthy “folkiness” of the first album, and toward a denser, more melancholic sound. There’s still a lot of aggression too, but the tone of the album I would describe as a combination of mourning and bitter anger. This tone is conveyed musically, as well as in the lyrical themes and the title, which is Latin for “fortunate fault”, a reference to the problem that religions face with explaining the existence of evil in the world, and the common Christian explanation that God chooses to allow evil and tragedy as part of a divine plan.
Let me also add that we’ve been joined on this album by the fantastic Norwegian violinist Sareeta, who you may be familiar with from her work with Borknagar, Solefald, Asmegin, and many others. Sareeta’s involvement on almost all the songs I think really helps take our music to a new level of emotional intensity.
SL: As I could understand you guys are not living all in the same town, actually there’s quite a distance between every one of you. Also I know you play for another “international” band called “Mesmur”. So, the thing that makes me really curious about this kind of projects is how do you guys schedule your work. Who composes the songs? Who takes care of the recordings and production? What are the difficulties that exist in playing in a band of this kind? In one question, give us an inside look in the world of an “international” band.
Y: To date, the process has always started with me composing the music on my own. I’ll put together a rough demo instrumental version of a new song, with guitars, synth, and simple programmed drums and bass parts, maybe also some general ideas where vocals could be appropriate. I send this to Zduhać, and he comes up with lyrics and vocal lines based on how the music strikes him. Occasionally the song structure needs modification to fit what he wants to do, but so far we’ve been able to play off of each other’s ideas very smoothly. Once vocals are recorded and the song structure final, Alkurion and Tiphareth record their own ideas to flesh out and improve the rhythm section.
My other band Mesmur has a very similar process, although it’s with a different vocalist and bassist. Dalla Nebbia’s drummer Alkurion and I started this death/funeral doom metal project in downtime during the writing stages of Felix Culpa, while we were waiting for Zduhać to finish some of his parts. The composition/recording process is similar to that of Dalla Nebbia, but I think Alkurion has had a more active role in the writing/arrangement process for Mesmur, before we hand new material over to the vocalist. We released our eponymous debut full length last winter through Code666 Records.
It would be nice to have the musicians in the same geographical location if we were doing rehearsals and live shows and everything, but I think it’s really cool how technology has enabled us to pick and choose ideal musicians for a project, regardless of where they live.
SL: Since we both mentioned it, would you like to give us a few words about your other project, “Mesmur” and your self-titled debut album?
Y: Mesmur sort of straddles the line between funeral doom and atmospheric death/doom. It has the funeral doom pace through much of it, but there are also plenty of punishing riffs over double bass drumming, influenced by bands like Evoken, Mar de Grises, Esoteric, and Ea. Doom elements had begun to seep into more and more of the new Dalla Nebbia material over the past couple years, and Alkurion and I thought it would be a good idea to explore this direction in depth. Once we started writing, the material came very quickly and naturally, and we soon hooked up with Australian vocalist Chris G from Orphans of Dusk, whose vicious growls fit the music perfectly. Like I mentioned before, we released our debut album this past winter, and we have a lot of material together for a new one, most likely to record early 2016.
SL: I noticed that both your projects are signed to a label, is there any reason why you did so? Do you think it is a better way to stand out in this day and age “music industry”?
Y: Well it’s never been about the money for me, and I’d prefer if possible to leave the pressing, distribution, and sales parts of it to the experts haha. I do help with promotion, and we manage our own Bandcamp and Facebook pages, but beyond that I’d rather just focus on writing and recording music.
SL: Tell us something about yourself. What do you do besides music? Do you have any other hobbies?
And what inspires you, in your everyday life, for when writing your music?
Y: Well I have a day job in IT, and I have a wife and two young daughters to support. Besides music, in my free time I enjoy watching films, craft beers (the darker and stronger the better), southern barbecue (both cooking it and eating it), growing hot peppers, following sports, lots of things that aren’t necessarily “metal”.
No one thing inspires my music; it depends on the day. The instrumental compositions have been inspired by all kinds of everyday emotions, put under the microscope and intensified. When Zduhać takes over, he interprets the emotional content of the music in his own way, aligning it with lyrics that generally have more specific sources of inspiration from his own experiences and observations.
SL: Have you ever been discordant with the lyrics Zduhać wrote for your music? Maybe you had a different vision for that certain music or melody and a specific lyric didn’t fit your original idea. If so, what did you do then?
Y: Believe it or not, no, Zduhać and I have been completely on the same page for every Dalla Nebbia song we’ve written so far. Usually he’ll talk a little with me about the general idea he has in mind for a song before he goes to work, but I’ve been onboard with all his ideas.
With Mesmur, the vocalist Chris and I have had to work through a little more differing of opinion on what to do with songs. Our songs I would say have taken a little more back and forth to finalize music with vocal parts, but in the end we managed to come up with a finished product we were both very happy with. I think the additional effort definitely paid off in the way the album turned out, and I can say the same about the new material we’ve been developing as well.
SL: Well Yixja, unfortunately this is the end of our brief chat.
But before we wrap this up, if you have anything to say to your fans and our readers this place is all yours.
Thanks a lot for your time!
Y: I don’t really have much to add, except for a thank you to everyone who’s still supporting the underground and buying music in this day when everything is so readily available for free.
Thank you for taking the for taking the time to do the interview. It’s been a pleasure talking with you!