Updated: 05/07/03

Dark metal is alive and well in the States, thanks to bands like Nicodemus. Founder Christopher Morris has crafted a somber world of bleak and tragic soundscapes that will thrill the minds of even the most jaded of music fan. The Supernatural Omnibus is out now on Dark Symphonies. Here is a recent interview I did with the mastermind of Nicodemus.

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Nicodemus and how long the band has been together. Give me a little musical background on yourself --bands, education, etc.
My primary stage roles in Nicodemus are bass and lead vocals. Even though Nicodemus has gone from a one-man project to a full band, I still run the business side of things along with our manager, and I take care of most of the songwriting. I started the project in late 1998. I recruited Andrew Greene (drummer) immediately, though he didn't play on the debut CD. He took care of graphic design and website development as he tested the validity of my admittedly far fetched ideas. The other members were added over the course of the following two years.

My background is pretty simple. I started playing bass at age 12. I started private instruction when I was 14 and began going in and out of a few go-nowhere garage bands. I eventually went on to get a degree in Music Business and Audio Engineering. During my time in college I studied a lot of jazz and almost completed enough units for a Bass Performance degree as well, but I got burned out. In college I spent more time with fruitless projects that lacked any focus or discipline. When those fizzled, as they all did, the idea for Nicodemus was born.

What are your overall impressions of the metal scene here in California?
We no longer live in California, though the new CD was recorded in Sacramento. We now live in Portland, Oregon. While I was in CA, the metal scene was bleak. Interesting stuff always came from the Bay Area, but nothing to rave about. Since Nicodemus was able to establish itself without becoming part of a local scene, it didn't matter where we lived. Desire for better weather and better scenery called us north.

After doing a first album on your own, what made you decide to add other musicians for this second release?
I never wanted Nicodemus to be a solo project. But it made no sense to start writing songs, audition players, gel as a group, play the same stupid clubs to an audience of 5 of the other band's girlfriends, and then scrape together cash for a demo or a CD. That approach is ridiculous, so I decided to do it backwards. Start with an image, a product, some distribution, talk to labels, and then add the rest of the band. But from the start, I always maintained that Nicodemus was a band, not a solo gig.

Tell me the idea behind the album title The Supernatural Omnibus.
I read it in the description of a book that was a compilation of vampire and ghost stories. Some reviewer called it "a perfect supernatural omnibus". The phrase stuck with me and I decided to use it. It works well with the CD since the lyrics are a collection of supernaturally flavoured tales that blend into each other.

Tamar Yvonne has an excellent voice. Is she classically trained at all and what is her musical background?
Tamar really has no musical background. She's certainly a rookie in every sense of the word. Nicodemus was her first band and her participation was greatly appreciated.

How did you wind up being connected with Dark Symphonies?
When we first signed on with our manager, Jeff Keller, he was very enthusiastic about Dark Symphonies. He felt that we could fit in well with the roster and also felt they had the best chance to grab a decent distribution deal ahead of some of the other small metal labels. Even though we talked with numerous labels, and fielded offers from some, DS was a label that was high on his list. At first, they admitted that they really liked the debut CD and even added it to their catalogue, but the sound was a little too heavy on the black metal side of things. They had no idea what the new material was sounding like, and knowing it would be right up their alley, we sent them samples as the new tracks were coming together. We had an offer on the table from another label but we stalled until we got an offer from DS. We felt it was too perfect a fit. After hearing about 4 new tracks, DS felt the same way and quickly put out an offer. And just as our manager had predicted, they inked a distro deal just as the new CD was being pressed. Lesson of the day boys and girls - Listen to your manager!

Describe your music to someone who has never heard it before.
This isn't exactly easy, but so far the best description I have is this: Nicodemus is like a fight between Dimmu Borgir and Duran Duran in a scene from a Tim Burton movie. It's dark and ominous, but with charm and likability.

What inspired you when you wrote the lyrics for the songs on Supernatural Onmibus?
I don't really look for inspiration for lyrics. I'll usually just come up with one or two phrases that I really like and just play off of them. After those first few lines show up, lyrics just write themselves.

Have you ever played live in the Los Angeles area and/or plan to do so in the future?
LA is on the itinerary for our west coast tour later this year. I can't give any details yet, but the chances of seeing us in So Cal are pretty high.

Tell me about photographer David Penprase and what made you decide to use his artwork for the album?
Sometime in 1997 I saw a version of this particular image on the cover of an erotic novel. I thought the model was gorgeous and wanted to use the image at some point. Originally I was interested in using it for the cover of the first CD, but I decided against it once I found the work of John Santerineross, which perfectly represented the feel of the debut. When it came time to think about imagery for the 2nd album, the David Penprase image was first on my list. I had our manager contact David and had him send over some scans of the original. We knew right away that we would be able to capture the exact feel we wanted with some simple manipulation. We hashed out a deal and eventually got the rights to use and alter the original image. David is quite a brilliant photographer. More of his work can be seen at his website

Will you be keeping your Dark Throne label going and are you looking to sign other bands?
Dark Throne Music will now be more of a music production company as opposed to a label. I have little interest at this stage in signing bands, but you never know.

What are the future plans for Nicodemus?
2003 will be devoted to getting Nicodemus on the road. Right now we're working in a couple of new members. Once they get settled and we get tight we'll be heading out to play up and down the west coast and maybe into the mid west.

Do you have any messages for metal fans who might be interested in checking out your music?
If you invest the time to give Nicodemus a serious listen, you'll be well rewarded. It's in a league of it's own.


NICODEMUS: Their Official Home Page!
DARK SYMPHONIES: The Record Label for Nicodemus!
THE HIGHWIRE DAZE HOME PAGE: Return to the Main Page!

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