Tim Sköld is a busy man : he released two solo albums the last two years and started a new band, NOT MY GOD, with Nero Bellum (PSYCLON NINE). They're about to release their second album together, Simulacra (coming on the 15th of October via Metropolis Records, pre-order). We asked him a few questions about this upcoming album but also about some of his many collaborations, past and present... and maybe future, who knows?
© Cover photo : Vicente Cordero
Hi Tim. When I listened to Simulacra, I've been surprised by your singing. I've never heard you sound so expressive, dangerous and theatrical ! Some songs sound very aggressive. So did Dies Irae. Have you been especially angry lately?
I try to push myself for every record I am a part of making. Sometimes it might be more noticeable then other times but I know all my work is in someways new and unique. I do not analyze my creativity so it is hard for me to try to answer this. Sometimes I feel a song calls for a more intense style of singing and sometimes it’s a more melodic style. I have no formula or recipe for these things.
Simulacra opens with In service of the Wolf. The wolf is a recurring figure in your work. What does it mean ? Is it a fairytale wolf or, given that you use runes with Skold, a mythological one?
Yes I guess I like to think of the wolf as my spirit animal LOL. The wolf symbolizes many things and I associate with a lot of those.
How would you describe your approach for Simulacra and how it deviates from the first album ? I have the feeling it has a lot more diversity in it.
I think we have reached a new level of strength and confidence that allows us to go further on the path of this level of creativity. There’s very little in this project that is conventional if you actually think about it.
Did the pandemic change your plans by forcing you to isolation?
I think both of our styles of creativity is deeply immersive so that calls for a level of isolation and solitude. If you really want to become one with the music you create you have to take that journey.
For once, you’re not the guy playing all the instruments. How does it feel to let Nero take care of it?
Nero is constantly building variations of his modular synthesizer rig and it is by itself it’s own instrument(s). I have a profound level of respect for the work he does with these machines. Since I am not a part of creating the initial version of the music this allows me to approach my vocals in a different way.
Emotions seem very restrained in Not My God and the music is quite minimalist. Was it an orientation that you decided together from the start?
Yes it was. We both, separately, sometimes indulge in what could only be described as production, with many layers and different instruments but with this the intention was to keep it focused and very specific. The detail is everything. Apart from that, the definition is that Nero does the music and I do the vocals. The intent is to keep the interference to a minimum and therefore preserve the original intent and specific uniqueness.
You’re claiming “Not my God”... How would your god be like, if you could create one?
Odin is the perfect God!
You worked with a lot of artists. Do you sometimes see yourself as a mercenary, or can you establish a personal connection with what you do every time ? Do you keep contact with all the artists you've worked with? Have you been disappointed by some?
I try to stay in contact with some, while others I avoid. Some have disappointed me, even in personal ways, but I try to leave things in the past and move forward with the people I enjoy. Sometimes you make friends for life and sometimes you make enemies. Sure, at times I am the mercenary that makes sure the project gets done for the deadline and the budget it was assigned.
You were about to tour with FRONTLINE ASSEMBLY on MINISTRY’s next tour... And they’ve been dumped from the bill. Do you know if they had any kind of explanation for that?
I do not have any info on this but I love FRONTLINE ASSEMBLY and hope to work with them in the future at some point.
MOTIONLESS IN WHITE is quite different from all the industrial bands you’re associated to... and they’re also younger than your usual partners ! How did you end up working with them ? What did you like in this band?
It was Chris Motionless that approached me and I was really impressed with his enthusiasm. I think this band is very genuine and I think Chris’ level of engagement is super remarkable.
Your work gave a really strong identity to Marilyn Manson’s Golden Age of Grotesque and Eat Me Drink Me back then (and that's even more obvious when we listen to Anomie !). Was he very directive with you, or on the contrary more supportive?
Manson is also a great example of deep engagement and dedication to the art and work, something I think is super important. Since he is an artist himself he has an understanding and appreciation for my work and that includes the respect and support, something he was always very gracious with.
You worked with a lot of provocative artists. Do you sometimes fear you'll have to deal with cancel-culture?
I think that ultimately “cancel culture” will cancel itself and Art will prevail.
As such a busy musician and producer, do you have time to listen to a lot of music ? Do you stick to your classics or do you tru new bands?
I listen to both old and new music and I listen to music very often as in daily. I even listen to music from different genres. Classical, country and R&B hip-hop.
Thank you very much for your time. Given how chaotic these times are, I don't dare to ask you about future projects, collaborations or tourdates...
Yes I am already working on new, exciting and also very secret projects but if I could tell the future I would be out buying lottery tickets right now !