On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Nisvanis, the band celebrated the launch of their new album “Masturbation” on April 4 at Gandan Live House. The following is an interview with bandleader D.Enkh-Amgalan.
Your new album’s title is very controversial. Why did you name it in this way?
Actually, the album title is related to financial issues. I decided to name the album “Setgel Khudulnu” (Excitement). A friend of mine, who financially supported our album, said that if we named the album like that he wouldn’t support us. He said “Setgel Khudulnu” is a boring name. So we decided to name it “Masturbation”.
You have released four albums in 20 years. What is special about your new album?
Our band tried to be different and unique from other bands when we were first established. We criticized social issues through our songs “Emiin San Ruu Alkhsan Ni” (Walking to the Pharmacy) and “Surguuli Nuraasai” (Wish School Would Collapse) in our first album. We get satisfaction from our songs. Modernist poet B.Galsansukh wrote the songs in “Masturbation”. In addition, I don’t think that other bands can release an album named “Masturbation” except Nisvanis. We are happy that we sing about naughty and peculiar issues.
Nisvanis made music videos for some songs in the new album. Will you make a music video for all the songs?
We will make music videos for our other songs. We made a music video for “Masturbation”, “Tsag Khugatsaa Bugdiig Emchilne” (Time Heals Everything), and “Setgel Khudulnu” (Excitement). You can watch it on YouTube. We are planning to make a music video for “Aaban, Beeben”.
Have your music videos been featured by TV stations?
Yes. We don’t care if our music videos are or are not played. Rock music lovers and fans of Nisvanis are watching our new videos through the internet. We are not expecting our videos to be watched on TV.
“Masturbation” was released 10 years after your third album. What are you planning to do in the future? Have you made plans for your next album?
The name of our fifth album will be very strange. We already started writing songs for the fifth album. We will work on our fifth album after Nis Nis Fest 2016. The fifth album is expected to be released in September or October. We haven’t done anything in the past 10 years. That’s why we are planning to release two albums in one year. Our fifth album will be titled “Setgel Medreliin Uvchtun”(Mentally Ill Patient). Actually it was a secret. We are young people. So we have to create a very energetic album. After “Mental Illness”, we are planning to make more mature songs to suit our age.
Poets work closely with artists and performer. Does it influence your songs?
Of course it does. Me and poet B.Galsansukh are childhood friend. My friend Galsansukh is our spiritual mentor. Nisvanis is friends with lots of painters, poets and journalists. I am very happy that we create songs through their unique way of thinking.
You usually write your own songs. Why?
We agreed on one thing when we were first established. That was I had to be responsible for songwriting because I am a singer. I usually don’t participate in music arrangement. The band’s view and philosophy are reflected in our songs. I am responsible for leading the band. I think I am carrying out my duty well.
How do you choose other people who write songs for you?
It is very difficult to make music on others’ work. Because that song might not match our band’s music genre and philosophy. So I choose poems of B.Galsansukh and B.Erdene-Solongo. I usually don’t use songs from other people.
“I let my hair down while I am singing on stage. My hair hides my face. We can see people’s emotions from their faces. So I use my hair as a way to hide my emotions. Plus long hair has a lot of advantages”
Your songs have controversial themes. Do you often receive criticism?
Yes, we do. Some people say: What is this? Or is this a song? There must be criticism. We are also psychologically prepared for criticism. And we are very confident in what we do. For example, we received a lot of criticism for “Wish School Would Collapse”. At the time, yellow journalism had a strong influence. We faced many offensive comments from people who misunderstood the song. We didn’t destroy any building, and didn’t want others to actually destroy school buildings. We criticized the daily life of students and Mongolia’s education system through the song.
How did your parents react when you formed a rock band?
They said stop this madness. My parents were shocked, and called from Erdenet and said, “What are you doing? What about your education?” I studied to become a piano teacher. I was studying to become a conductor at the State University of Arts and Culture. Suddenly, I became a rock enthusiast. During summer vacation, I let my parents listen to Nirvana and Sheryl Crow. They liked them. Rock music is energy.
What was the most shocking thing that happened to you during a concert?
A guy pulled my hand and I fell off the stage.
Most rock music lovers have long hair. Why do you grow your hair?
Basically, long hair looks good. For me, I am a shy person. I let my hair down while I am singing on stage. My hair hides my face. We can see people’s emotions from their faces. So I use my hair as a way to hide my emotions. Plus long hair has a lot of advantages.
Tell us about this year’s Nis Nis Fest.
Nisvanis has been celebrating our birthday on April 9 since 1999. This year is our 20th birthday. The special thing about this year’s event is that a lot of old and new generation rock bands will perform with us. For example, Kharanga, Hurd, Aysyn Salkhi and Shar Airag. The festival will start at 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon and end at 1:00 a.m.