Experimental duo Nhktar captures an evocative range of emotions with atmospheric, cinematic, spellcasting that resists conventions of genre. Singer MaeDea ov Moon’s voice is fierce and profound, elevating songs through their exploration of ancestral realms with collaborator Sam Hollier. Nhktar hails from New Orleans, where the cycles of birth, celebration, and death are woven into an ever-renewing tapestry. They present an​ alchemy of transitional sounds building expansive soundscapes of non-binary exploration, infusing polystylism with performance art and poetry, layering loops of cello, voice and piano.

Their debut self-titled album, out November 20th, is a sonic altar, seducing the listener to explore, expand, and broaden their perception of other worlds. The record also features visual “micro-epics”,  filmed in the hardwood flats and industrial zones of New Orleans with director Jessica
Daugh and a crew of thirty-six artists.

How did the process begin making Nhktar?

I have been doing years of research into the burning times of Europe and I also work as an Erotic somatic healer – I wanted to form a band where I could bring my research, Erotic work and performance art together experimenting with multiple artistic disciplines. Sam and I play music in another band called Painted Honey, which is acoustic and instead of changing that sound –  I asked him about forming this duo where we would plug in, layer sounds and create songs that are more like water rather than verse chorus verse.

What music did you grow up listening to?

I got into Nas, Mobb deep, Wu-tang clan and when Lil Kim’s hardcore album came out it changed me – Lil Kim was like the opposite of everything I was taught, her confidence, her content, how she held herself in this world. You know at that time she had the most profound sexual politics of any artist. Then I  got drawn in by more atmospheric sounds like, Portishead, Tricky, and Massive Attack but their persons were always kinda hidden behind their sounds. They don’t really stand out to me as much as people, but as music. If that makes sense? Some artists are music themselves and don’t step out of their music to become this Iconic being, which is beautiful to me as well. I appreciate that.

If you could highlight one or two songs on the record, what would they be and why?

I would highlight Forest and Moonlight. Forest is the end of a life. Every end is the beginning of the next. It holds this edge inside of it. Where everything that is culminated  breaks apart and you are in this skin that is both tender and new but informed by tempered wisdom. The landscape of that song doesn’t return in the album but it’s like the last piece of Earth you can stand on before the listener dives into the waters. Music holds spells and Moonlight, holds dark glittery starry erotic forces that come through winter and into the roots of spring. I sang that song so many times on my piano that it became a part of me, a part of a mysterious reality that holds a culture within it, ready to be born. Moonlight is where I want to live and how I want to be received in my intimate relationships. It’s also got that Lil Kim influence. of this is who I am, this is how I hold myself, if you are intimate with me – you will respect that and I will respect you. It’s like everything that Forest is not: Mutual respect & Sexual attraction.

What events in your life have made you a better songwriter?

Most of my ancestors are Irish and it has not been long that my bloodline somewhere else besides Ireland. Only three generations compared to thousands of years. A mystic Irish belief is that three cauldrons are born with you and they distribute knowledge and wisdom to the poet. They are filled and sweetened by The four sorrows; longing, grief, jealousy, and ” the pain that exile” inspires. The four joys; sexual pleasure, deep nourishment, poetic inspiration, and inherited ancestral gifts. I would say that these sorrows and Joys have mingled inside of me, tempering me through my life has hugely influenced my music and songwriting, just as it may have for my ancestors for thousands of years. Those sorrows carved riverbeds into my hearts, making space for deeper channels of inspiration, joy and pleasure to be expressed.

What is next for Nhktar?

Our first album will be released on November 20th with a full length video album in collaboration with Shrine 13.  Then in the spring, we will head to Portugal to work on an audio/visual installation that explores queerness in ancient energies and Pre-christian ritual practices.  We will be staying at an artist residency composing the soundtrack, collaborating with a Porteguese men’s choir and filming the visuals on a vast landscape known for being held by the Sun.

You can find more information about Nhktar at...

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