Legendary Behemoth frontman Nergal has just released the latest album from his side project, Me and That Man. The LP, New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol. 1, showcases a different side of the extreme-metal musician, offering up a blend of gothic folk, blues-rock, and outlaw country.
Nergal is joined by a number of guests on the album, with each track featuring a different vocalist. Among the metal luminaries to contribute to the effort are Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, Emperor’s Ihsan, and more.
Heavy Consequence recently caught up with Nergal to discuss his inspirations for the album, his collaborations with the aforementioned artists, and the latest on Behemoth.
In addition to those topics, we also asked Nergal about a story from last year, in which the musician reported via Instagram that he was barred from working out at a YMCA in the United States because of his religious beliefs and his Darkthrone t-shirt. He later admitted that he made up the entire thing, so we wanted to find out why he would fabricate such a story.
New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol. 1 is out now, and available here or here. An album stream is taking place Friday (March 27th) via the embed at the bottom of this post beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET, with Nergal participating in alive Q&A on the YouTube page.
Read our interview with Nergal below, and then check out the album in full.
On the vibe of Me and That Man, and his musical inspirations for the project
Some of [my inspirations are] Tom Waits, and Nick Cave, and Iggy Pop. Some of them are punk rock, some of them are alternative. I’ve never really paid attention to the genre they are part of, rather than what energies they transmit through their art. I always wanted to do this more primitive, more simple sound.
I started my first more rock and blues based path like 20 years ago, 15 years ago when I was just doing like a side project with friends of mine. It was called Wolverine. So that one was very much inspired by Danzig. From Danzig, it’s not far to blues artists and Johnny Cash, and Roy Orbison, and others. So, I think I just kinda developed that interest in the passions of mine and just went further. And at some point I just decided, okay, let’s try to do it officially.
On the song “Run With the Devil” and the line “My heart is pure / But my church is black”
It’s a song that was written with a wink. If you’ve seen the video, we did it jokingly just for fun. Basically, it’s pure entertainment. That particular line, obviously it refers to the first album, and the first single, “My Church Is Black”. A lot of times, I’m just being accused of being the devil incarnate. Of course, I use a lot of metaphors in my art that are evil and that are dark. I’ve always been fascinated by those topics, but at the end of the day, I really hope I’m a decent human being, so that’s how I would interpret that line.
On the song “By the River” featuring fellow extreme metal legend Ihsan from Emperor
We’ve met a couple of times in person and he always seemed to be a super humble and friendly human being. Emperor was a big part of shaping my black metal spirit in the early ’90s. It was and still is a big deal for me, and I’ve always looked up to Ihsan. He happened to be an approachable human being.
These [guest singers on the album] just like to be challenged and they just like to do something that is out of their comfort zone. And I think we really succeeded in many cases, even in Corey Taylor’s case — when people listen to that song, they could lever guess who the person behind the microphone is. So I think we succeeded with that.
On the song “How Come?” featuring Slipknot’s Corey Taylor
Corey was already a fan of Me and That Man, and would play some songs on his podcast. I remember we met in Chicago, and I just wanted to thank him for that. And then we just stayed in touch. He happened to be a big coffee person, too. And then I approached him and he said he’d gladly do it, which was quite unexpected considering his super tight schedule. And that was awesome. He’s fronting two very successful bands. If Slipknot is not touring then Stone Sour is touring, and then vice versa. It was a big surprise and a great pleasure to have him on the record, and I think he did an amazing job.
On whether the creative wheels are turning on a new Behemoth album
Of course! I’ve been writing music for last couple of months, and I didn’t really stop. I’ve already collected several ideas that will eventually turn into new Behemoth songs. I’m feeling more creative than ever. My brain is just storming with ideas. If everything will go fine, and according to my plan that I have in my head, we’ll probably be entering the studio with Behemoth later this year. I’m very excited about it. I know it’s like much sooner than like any other album. Usually, we take more time off. But, this time, for a change, I just can’t stop f**king writing. So, why I should slow my process down?
On fabricating a story about getting kicked out of a YMCA for his religious beliefs last year
Well basically, apart from being a musician, an artist and an entertainer, I’m also an observer of different processes that are part of our lives. And this social media process is playing a pretty big role in our lives. It keeps us updated and gives us information. This thing made headlines all over the world, and people would just get infuriated but there was no journalist who came to me and said, “Man, in the first place, was that truth?” They just see something and they assume that it’s all truth, that it’s all facts. They never think that it’s Nergal’s social media. I’m not CNN. I’m a guy from a band that just f**ks with the world, if he wants.
People who follow me know that I can be very serious on certain topics, but then I can be completely goofy. My advice is question everything, everything — always go to the source and double check.s go to the source and double check … I’ll probably be poking more and more often, because it’s healthy. It’s good for your brain hygiene. If you follow that without questioning and just blindly follow that, who are you but a blind ship?