FeaturesNightmare – Blurring the Lines

Nightmare – Blurring the Lines

Photo: Cyril Berkane

Despite the postponement of festivals and cancelling of tours, Nightmare returns hungry as ever through their latest studio record Encrypted. Continually developing their sound and incorporating more modern extreme elements at times with the riffs and vocals should help the group increase their following amongst the younger generation who may not be as familiar with their heavy/power metal discography. We were able to reach out to their latest vocalist Barbara Mogore to learn more about her personal musical background, joining the group and the pressures as being the newest singer in a veteran group, thoughts on the latest album and working with Simone Mularoni, video shoots, artwork, how it felt to finally be playing festivals and touring again, and future plans.

Dead Rhetoric: Can you inform us a little about your personal background when it comes to music memories in childhood – and when you started developing an interest in heavier forms of music to eventually start performing in your own bands?

Barbara Mogore: I basically started when I was a child singing in the shower, everywhere. I started to be interested in heavy music around 11 or 12 years old. I was around my friends, and they would share with me different music. I was used to classic rock music with my parents: Queen, AC/DC, all that stuff. I was well-raised, but I needed something more. And then that happened during my later years of school.

One of the more serious bands I was first involved with was called Muddles. It was an alternative rock/metal band. We were able to play some nice festivals, we did one album and one EP so that was cool. I had other experiences too, but that was the most important.

Dead Rhetoric: You joined Nightmare in 2022 replacing previous singer Madie. What circumstances took place that you ended up joining this group – and did you have any worries or fears being the latest singer as to how you would be accepted in a veteran act such as this?

Mogore: Of course, one thing is that my first gig was two weeks after I knew the stuff, it was a very short time to learn all the songs and get involved with the band. It was the first challenge. With every lineup change, it’s always hard because all the people don’t understand the real story behind the changes, you have to deal with some anger and social network stuff. You started, you need some energy power, and it can be hard at the very beginning. But I was able to get through this and I am very happy about it right now.

Dead Rhetoric: Do you remember when you were first asked to join the band?

Mogore: I met Yves (Campion) the bass player and the only original member of the band. I met him at Wacken, and I didn’t know him before. We met there and talked; we spent a lot of time together. He mentioned that their current singer, he thought something was going to happen. Shortly thereafter, I got the offer to join the band.

Dead Rhetoric: Encrypted is the latest Nightmare album – probably the most adventurous or ambitious in terms of expanding the sound, style, and additional dimensions of the band. Tell us about the songwriting and recording process – and how you feel about this effort sitting in the discography of the group compared to previous efforts?

Mogore: It’s not easy because I am fresh in the band. The process for this album was kind of like every Nightmare album. The guitar players do all the instrumental songwriting – and the full music is already done, then Yves comes in with his bass parts and the vocal lines, and I write the lyrics. They told me and listening to the old albums, it’s like you said the most adventurous album, and most ambitious too.

Dead Rhetoric: Were there any fears about introducing some of the guttural, growled vocals that are on this album? That hasn’t been as much of a thing on the previous Nightmare albums…

Mogore: Neither in heavy metal. It was kind of a test. We did it because we wanted to introduce something else. With my influences, with my personal tastes too, we tried to do something different from the other vocalists. We wanted something special, and to enjoy a mix of everything. At the end, I think it’s been a good thing.

Dead Rhetoric: You stated that you handled the lyrics on this record. What sort of subjects or thoughts did you want to get across?

Mogore: This one, it was fantastic and also something from nowadays. A post-apocalyptic universe. It talks about the secrets of our planet, and how the cycles of life come and go and what is the entity, the person, or something that breaks that after humanity messes up. It’s a fantastic mix between all of these subjects.

Dead Rhetoric: You decided to work at Domination Studio with producer Simone Mularoni. What do you enjoy most about his process, were there key ingredients or aspects that he wanted to focus on for Nightmare to achieve the final product that the listeners will hear?

Mogore: We worked with Simone for the mixing and mastering. Nightmare has worked with him for their last album. He really understands the sound of Nightmare. We have been very happy with the sound and the power of the recording. Let’s do it again with him for this one.

Dead Rhetoric: How did the cover art design with Franck Jeannin come about for Encrypted? I especially enjoy the different color scheme present for this one…

Mogore: It was really special. Franck is a really good friend of mine and I know how he works. We wanted red as the dominant color, black, and I told him a few words. As we know each other perfectly, he came up with the first drawings, and I thought they were perfect. He really understood what I wanted, and as you see with the colors.

Dead Rhetoric: What was the video shoot like for “Saviours of the Damned” – and do you enjoy the process / work behind the scenes? Do you view this as an important promotional outlet through social media channels to boost the profile of the band?

Mogore: It was really special. It was recorded in my hometown, and the first time I had to work with other people, actors. It was really logistically complicated to manage, but it was really cool. As you know, in art, you want to do something really big and perfect, and often it never comes out exactly the way that you want. We are happy about this video, it’s really original the idea, it’s strange a little bit.

Dead Rhetoric: Discuss the process of re-recording “Eternal Winter (2023 version)” originally released on the 2009 album Insurrection – was it more a decision to introduce you to the fold prior to the album’s release?

Mogore: That was the first idea. It was between the last album, COVID, the tour, and we wanted to give something to the fan base to introduce myself and see the difference (in terms of) a voice. We tried a little bit of guttural vocals on this song. “Eternal Winter” never had a video done for that song, and it was the best song of Nightmare, so we wanted to do something about that.

Dead Rhetoric: How did it feel to finally get back on the road over the last year or two after being stuck in your homes with the pandemic? What special highlights or memories do you have with the festivals, 70000 Tons of Metal Cruise, and the full European tour with Rhapsody of Fire?

Mogore: For me personally, it was the best year of my life. It was crazy, 70000 Tons of Metal Cruise, I think you have to do this at least one time in your life. It’s a dream, and it was my first tour in March with Rhapsody of Fire, being in a tour bus. Really the best year of my life, musically.

Dead Rhetoric: Did you change your approach with the old material, being the new singer, or did you do your best to stick to how things had been done before?

Mogore: For the old songs, I tried to stick the most that I could to the versions performed by the other singers. As you may have noticed, I don’t have the same voice, so we have to pitch things towards my voice. I put a little bit of me in the songs too, but it’s very similar to what has already been done.

Dead Rhetoric: Where do you see the career arc of Nightmare at this point? Do you think there are additional steps that need to be taken to hopefully move the band up the ladder in terms of a stronger following for touring situations and higher festival billing?

Mogore: I think Nightmare has a big background for being alive for forty years. There are ups as there are downs, lineup changes, COVID, the music industry that is so complicated. You don’t know – the fan base is lost because they don’t know what Nightmare they may get. Some of the younger people don’t know of Nightmare, so we have a new fan base that isn’t as aware as what has happened before. As long as we are having fun, that’s the most important thing at the moment.

Dead Rhetoric: Who would you consider mentors or musicians that you respect and admire that you are able to look to as inspiration either when it comes to your musical endeavors or how to navigate situations behind the scenes / business-related matters?

Mogore: It’s like in life, you meet people at certain moments. If you meet some people at a stage where you are not ready, you can have magical things happen. It’s a combination of everything, a lot of people and a lot of different people.

Dead Rhetoric: When looking at your life, what are some of the choices you’ve made that make you who you are as a person?

Mogore: Still believing that you can still do something for a living and love it. And work, every day waking up feeling like it’s good to be working. I am making a living from music; I am happy and grateful for that. It’s not easy, but if you keep believing you can do it, in any kind of work.

Dead Rhetoric: How do you see the state of heavy metal in 2024? What excites you most, and what areas (if any) do you believe need the greatest amount of work or improvement?

Mogore: That’s a tricky question. I don’t have a real answer to that. It’s helpful when you have bands succeeding from your country, which can give you possibilities. Gojira opened up the mind of other countries, so everybody can help each other to grow. In France, mostly people are listening to rap music, French rap, right now. I hope it will change. In Germany, it’s spread out, normal and crazy for metal.

Dead Rhetoric: What hobbies or interests do you have away from music, when you have the energy and free time to pursue them?

Mogore: I love sports. I love tattooing and art in general, drawing. Everything that I can create with my hands, I like to do.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the horizon for Nightmare or any other endeavors you will be involved in for the next year or so?

Mogore: We have plenty of festivals across Spain, France, Slovenia to play. Ten of them, I think. I hope to have more and a tour at the end of the year or into 2025. Fingers crossed; we will see.

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