The year has just begun and NOCTURNA have been hailed as a new Euro Metal Sensation. Judging from the sounds of their upcoming debut Daughters Of The Night, that statement is completely justified. Rock Out Stand Out’s Lotty Whittingham and Martin White sent some questions to one of the vocalists Rehn Stillnight. Find out what happened.
First, how would you describe your sound to those who haven’t heard Nocturna?
Power, Symphonic and Gothic with Heavy elements, all blended together to create our own sound!
What is the meaning of the name Nocturna?
It means “Nocturne” in latin. While choosing our name we were searching for something dark and ancient, something that would suggest a ruined landscape you visit during the night. After many brainstorming days we came up with Nocturna, which we all instantly liked.
Who are you influenced by?
As a singer, my biggest influences are Simone Simons from Epica and Floor Jansen from Nightwish, among many others. But my all-time favorite band is Sonata Arctica, I especially love their first albums, so I’m very much into Power Metal! As a band we have so many influences it’s impossible to tell them all, because each one of us brought their background on the plate and we mixed all the elements.
Your debut album Daughters Of The Night, are there influences from gothic literature as well as gothic music?
There are gothic influences everywhere in the album, from the architecture shots used as background images in the booklet to our appearance and, of course, in the lyrics and music itself. There are references to Edgar Allan Poe, which is also one of my favourites, but also Milton (Paradise Lost) and Mary Shelley (Frankenstein). Grace [Darklight] is a true gothic fan and she’s also into more dark music, like Type O Negative for example, while I come from power, symphonic and soundtrack music, so we mixed both our backgrounds and interests in what you see and hear.
In terms of deciding what vocals to use, do you already have it in mind or is it a case giving both styles a go and see which fits best?
I’ve just started using my full chest voice, so for me it was quite new when I recorded those parts of the album, like in Blood of Heaven or The Sorrow Path. I started studying with classical teachers many years ago and I’ve always sung like that, so I’d just sing everything with my mixed voice, but having Grace with me in studio helped me a lot! She encouraged me to use my chest voice and belt out some high notes in full voice. So, let’s say we decide together how to sing each song.
What is your creative process for writing songs and putting an album together?
We wrote the whole album during the second or third (I lost count, sorry) lockdown in Italy last year, so we were all working from our homes. Each one of us recorded their parts of the demo and send it to the others until the final idea was coming to life, while we had just a draft of the lyrics and the melodies that you can now hear in the album. Me and Federico [Mondelli] are very “visual” people: while writing the lyrics I often asked him “What do you see in this scene?”, so I could visualize the same image and help him finishing the song, like we were watching a movie but… in our heads.
What was the inspiration for the band? Was it originally a solo project or did you want to collaborate with Grace for some time?
It has always been a collaboration with Grace, since the very beginning. We were both coming from the same band that just split up and wanted so much to create something together, so when we had the opportunity we took it with no hesitation… and here we are!
At Rock Out Stand Out we are passionate about spreading mental health awareness, what is it like in Italy?
People are starting to feel more comfortable talking about their mental health and problems, while it has always been some kind of a taboo. Speaking about myself, I’ve suffered from anorexia ten years ago following a traumatic event, so I’m completely open about spreading mental health awareness. We should care about our mind as we do about our body!
What do you think we as family members, friends, partners etc can do more of so people feel more comfortable talking about when they aren’t coping?
Don’t judge, this is the first rule. We don’t really know what’s going on in other people’s mind, sometimes they don’t even know themselves. Make them feel comfortable and distract them, because they should only talk about their problems if they want to. As for myself, I didn’t want to talk about it but I was lucky enough to have my family on my side. My mom helped me a lot by just taking me out on walks or in my favourite mall (even if we didn’t buy anything)! I think we can make the difference by just, like, being there.
What do you like to do to help calm down and relax?
When I want to relax or I have many things in my head I go out walking in nature, or if I can’t I take a hot bath with vanilla scented candles. If I want to release some stress or I’m angry over something I just play some videogames and kill some monsters!
Daughters Of The Night sounds like the name of a horror film. Do you like horror films? If so, do you have any favourites?
I’m actually not a fan of horror movies, but I’ve watched some. The ones I truly liked were “Silent Hill”, especially the first one, and the trilogy of “Fear Street”! I’ve played some horror videogames with my husband (he likes horror more than me) like “Outlast”, and it was fun even though I jumped more than once!
Do you have a message for fans and our readers?
First of all I want to thank you all for the overwhelming support you’ve been giving us since the first single came out. It’s amazing, and we couldn’t dream for anything better! I hope you liked reading this interview and, most importantly, that you like our debut album! Last but not least, speaking about mental health awareness, remember to reach out to someone if you feel like you need help. Remember you’re not alone!
Thank you so much Rehn for taking the time to answer these questions and best of luck with the album release.