Interview with Naheulband

  Van Muylem    26 februari 2015

Naheulband is one of those almost legendary bands who has been part of the Trolls et Légendes festival since the very beginning. Time to part as its’ the 10 years edition!  

First of all: a pretty weird name for a French band, from where does the name come and what does it mean?I'm John Lang (aka Penn of Chaos), writer, lead singer and main composer in the Naheulband.
(I'm French as well, even if my name does look from English-speaking country...). To answer your question: it means nothing at all! Actually, we don't really have a name for our band, because we started it accidentally, about 12 years ago... This is only the band playing songs from my writings, "Donjon de Naheulbeuk", which is a fantasy/RPG adventure with not-so-much heroes and stupid monsters. So, we named ourselves Naheulband without really thinking about it. Now, we have to live with it

Who designs your stage clothes & can you describe them for those who haven’t seen them yet?

We build our sets of stage clothes ourselves, and we don't really spend a long time on them because... We have other things to do! I'm sorry about that. But the main thing is that we try to personalize different characters from my writings, folks from an "adventure gang". So we have the wizard, the warrior, the orc, the thief, the ranger, the priest, and so on...

Can you say something about the lyrics and the kind of songs you will bring to us?

We don't sing in English, but nearly all of our songs are about RPG stories - a couple of them use traditional music from different countries, but most of them are original music written for it. Sometimes, we also sing Irish pub songs (in English), just because we enjoy them.. But if you don't speak French, there is a good chance you don't understand a thing about our show. You can enjoy the good mood, instead...

If I take a look at your website it’s very clear that you do a lot of things, maybe you can enlighten the people who doesn’t know you yet?

I've been publishing a RPG audio podcast since early 2001, in which I act voice for all main characters (but I'm not an actor, just pretending), and I've been writing on the web since 1995 - which makes me a "dinosaur of the internet"... So, there is a lot of my work free to download on the web (hours of things to hear), as well as free music. I also write and publish comic books, novels, music albums and different products with different companies - I happened to have a TV show and a video game project in the pipe as well (which will be available in English, at last), and when I don't do all of those things, I work on a free tabletop RPG, which is also available on line. So, I'm kind of very busy. I'm also the only webmaster of two big websites. This is exhausting...

Seems like you are very productive, but how do you all manage to do it? I suppose you all have a day job too?

I don’t! But most of the folks in the Naheulband do... That's why it's a bit complicated to rehearse and prepare new stuff! We only play on week-ends, and not too far from home. So, we are kind of "music tourists".

This will already be the 6th time that you’ll play here, how was the first time?

We've been playing in Trolls & Légendes from the first edition: so, this is the 6th time we will play there. The first time was very nice, and so were the others.

You have a habit of playing on the opening night, known for the special atmosphere; can you describe it for those who have never been there?

For us, it is exactly the same as most of our gigs, but with more people. The public out there is outstanding and do all kinds of silly stuff with us! We love it.

Any impressions on the previous editions, did you have time to look around …

From what I know, it's a very nice festival. But I didn't really have time to look around, I only went to say "hello" and "goodbye" to my friends working around there... My usual schedule: Before the gig I go to sound check, and then we play music, hurray! Then I go to sleep, then I wake up to go to the library corner and sign my books and stuff all day, then I go to bed, then I wake up, it's another day at the library table, and I run to get my train... And after that, I sleep for two days.

This edition will be the 10th anniversary edition, anything special planned?

There is always something special in our show, as we don't really know what we are doing... So, this time we will come up with new songs, of course, and stuff we didn’t have time to rehearse. But most people don't care, as long as it is funny!

A friend of mine did a project (Empusae): he made the music for a strip. Music and strip where sold together and is was a very good match, wouldn’t that be something for you? And would you try out something at the Trolls & Légendes happening? I’m asking this as you already have a comic strip, but not melted together with the music.

Actually, I do. Three of my comic books are putting together comic strips and the Naheulband music. I will not have time to work on other stuff, sorry about that!

What are the things you would like to visit or the people you would like to meet at the happening of this year?

I have no idea, I will probably struggle with the schedule and run like a headless chicken, as always

I’m just back from Tallinn (Estonia), where you have the Olde Hansa and was very impressed, do you know it and would you be interested in playing there? I have been there to a place where you can have a dinner and bear based on the real medieval menu …

I'm not playing in countries where they don't speak French, because our music is mostly based on lyrics. But I already love the menu.

If you would have a chance to interview another band playing on this happening: who will it be and what would be the question to ask?

I don't know who is playing out there, I just know our friends from "La horde"

What can we wish you, to close this short interview?

I wish I will have time this year to actually SEE the festival.


More info about the festival: Trolls et Légendes VI