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Progressive Rock Interviews

Nature Ganganbaigal

Interviewed by Mike Korn

Interview with Nature Ganganbaigal from 2015

MSJ:

Let me first ask when you got the inspiration to play heavy metal. Was there a specific band or album that started you down that path

I started to listen to heavy metal when I was in middle school. I just went to those easy to find bands like Slipknot and Metallica, and for a middle school kid that’s not a bad idea to start with. I just like the sound and the spirit behind heavy metal … very free and independent.

MSJ:
Was Western metal easy to access in China or Mongolia or is it difficult to hear?

It is pretty easy to access , thanks to internet. If you look at the name list of the bands that toured in China, you will find Metallica, Testament, Kreator, Dream Theater, Arch Enemy. You can stream their music and go to their concerts. Not as easily as in the Western world, but still we get the chance once in a while.

MSJ:
Is there support from the authorities and the more “mainstream” culture there for what you and Tengger Cavalry are doing?

Not really. As you know, mainstream and authority really don’t give support to this kind of genre. We are on our own in the fight for this.

MSJ:
What’s your background with traditional Mongol music? Are there a lot of teachers who are making sure this music is carried on?

Yes, I was taught professionally by Mongolian teachers. I learned Mongolian fiddle Morin-Khuur, throat singing. I studied them and learned traditional songs - very important basic things.

MSJ:
Do traditional Mongol folk musicians support what you are doing or do some of them think maybe it is changing the music too much?

Everyone has their own opinion. So far most of my Mongolian friends in the music scene dig what I am doing since I still retain the traditional spirit in my music.

MSJ:
To me, the mix of authentic  Mongol music and heavy metal sounds incredibly natural. It makes sense! Is it easy to integrate instruments like Morin Khuur and Yatga into metal, or does it take a lot of effort?

For me, I need to take time to study the traditional way of using these instruments and observe and analyze how they convey their own sound in composition. And then I take that idea and put it into metal, trying my best to retain that traditional way of using it and at the same time, making it sound natural with heavy metal.

MSJ:
Are the old Mongol traditions like throat singing, knucklebone games and falconry in a healthy state or are they in danger?

They are totally safe and awesome.

MSJ:
The Mongol Metal label is now active. How long have you been planning this label and what are some of the future plans for it?

It has only been launched for a few months and we are planning to promote more Mongolian metal to the world. But let’s first see how the compilation Mongol Metal we have just released goes.

MSJ:

On the “Mongol Metal” compilation,  Tengger Cavalry unites with Ego Fall and Nine Treasures. Is cooperation between the bands strong, and are there more Mongol metal bands to come?

These three bands are the only bands that I could find so far that fit into the genre. I am looking forward to see more bands like them and would love to help them promote their sound.

MSJ:

Tengger Cavalry is the leader of the Mongol Metal movement. What kind of an honor is that and what kind of pressure does it put on you?

Never thought about it. You know, I just go with the flow and see where it goes.

MSJ:
Are there any plans for Tengger Cavalry and other Mongol Metal bands to play in the West?

Actually Tengger Cavalry has just recruited new members stateside so we will start performing in the US first.

MSJ:
Are your lyrics all inspired by Shamanic tradition and Mongol history or do you delve into other areas?

Yes, mostly just traditional themes like shamanism and Mongolian horseman themes. I am not very creative, I just like singing about the old times!

MSJ:
You also have a solo album out under your own name that takes more of a progressive rock approach to the music. Tell us more about that.

Yeah, it is a Mongolian folk album with electronic and orchestral music blended in. It is a cool concept, imagining when Genghis Khan’s music meets Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack. I got the chance to experiment with new sounds and arrangements on it.

MSJ:
What was the last release you got just because you wanted to hear the band?

Kreator! I haven’t listened to them for a long time and just purchased their “new” album Phantom Antichrist.

MSJ:
Have you ever had a “Spinal Tap” moment where things went wrong that you could share with us?

Yeah! I just realized I left my key at my home one month ago! That’s really bad!

MSJ:
Any last messages for fans in the West?

Thank you all for taking time to read the interview and I hope you enjoy our music.

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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