Eduardo Mora. Photo: Miriam May Nyback


05/01/20 | N.B.

The California-based black metal collective Night of the Palemoon remains the best kept secret in USBM. Founded in 2017, the label carries on the grand tradition of the black metal ‘collective’ (while subverting others) and boasting an imposing pantheon of over 10 projects, most of which are the work of one man, Eduardo Mora. These various bands and projects, from the long-running Yohualli and Mäleficentt, to outliers like Viento, Omeyocan and Edo’s eponymous post-punk incarnation, represent some of the most unique and inspiring releases coming out in the modern era of underground extreme music. And all united by a proudly, prominently displayed aesthetic symbolizing their creator’s indigenous American heritage, giving these works a visceral sense of purpose and a connection to something real.

What is your musical background, originally? When and why did you start playing black metal?

My musical background originally started from listening to a lot of Spanish rock and Mexican music while I was growing up. I started getting more into metal before I hit my teen years and once I started listening to metal I was trying to find more and more extreme bands. Honestly I never really thought there were sub genres within metal. I’d always thought of bands within metal genre all the same, just some performed more extreme than others. For example, I considered Iron Maiden and Slayer one in the same it wasn’t until I came across black metal that I discovered there were sub genres within metal. Other than the genres mentioned I also grew up listening to a lot of other styles of music. Black metal was the genre that really had a huge impact on my life when I first came across it, or should I say when I fully understood what it was.

As I mentioned I had thought all metal bands were the same, so I was listening to Sarcófago, Venom, VON, and Bathory not knowing they were black metal, just an extreme form of metal. If I can recall I was about 13 or 14 years old, an old friend had left a box full of CDs and honestly I was in awe seeing the artwork to a bunch of these CDs. Even though I was already used to seeing the Gothic culture in the way they dressed I was immediately hooked by all the corpse paint, the chains, leather, and bullet belts. It was something I had never seen before. I remember seeing Darkthrone's first three black metal albums, Enthroned’s “Regie Sathanas - A Tribute to Cernunnos”, and the one that really stuck with me was Windir’s “Valfar, Ein Windir”. I started looking up more about Windir and from there that’s when I was learning what black metal is and it’s history. It was a truly mind blowing experience for me. Upon coming across black metal and checking out more black metal bands I decided to teach myself guitar and from there it was the beginning of everything I am doing now.

Yohualli. Photo: Jorge Cortez

When was the genesis of Night of the Palemoon? Was it started to organize multiple existing projects under one banner, or has it always existed alongside them?

Night of the Palemoon was always an idea on the back of my mind when I was younger. In the early days of Maleficent (Now Mäleficentt) I was amongst individuals, who I thought at the time, had the same drive and vision as me, but unfortunately that was not the case. Night of the Palemoon didn’t see the light until about late 2016. As you stated it was started to organize and to better control the many projects and plans I had at the time and still continues to do so today. Another purpose was to release my own music by my own will without having to rely on labels. Of course I am still open to work with labels as it helps me out distribute my art on a larger scale. Lately I find myself thinking of bringing more individuals of the like, but being the person that I am, I am still undecided but we shall see what the future holds.

What drives you to release as much music as you do? What is the idea behind frequently starting new Night of the Palemoon bands as opposed to creating thematic releases under an existing band?

I draw inspiration from various things and emotions. There’s a drive in me that I cannot fully explain and it just keeps me creating more and more. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be music there can also be drawings or some graphic designs. Art is important. I cannot see myself ever stopping so as long as I live there will always be new things to come.

The idea of coming up with different projects, is somewhat something I do unconsciously. There’s really no set plan from the beginning. For example with Viento, I wanted to created something in the vein of atmospheric "DSBM” I set a rule of how I am going to write it or play it and once it manifests I think to myself if it can belong to an existing project or perhaps I need to start a new one. Most of the time that’s how it happens, and if I want to keep the project alive whenever I write material for it I follow the same rule I did in the beginning to create new material, of course these rules can change from time to time and depending on how it goes I’ll see if can fit to the original existing project, to another existing project, or if I need to start another project.

Ixachitlan "Eagle, Quetzal, and Condor" art by Healing Ways Artistry

How does your indigenous American heritage inform your black metal, and your art in general? How does that differentiate your work from more traditional European, anti-Christian black metal?

Above all and anything else I will always be indigenous first. Anything and everything I create I always want it to have, if not all, a touch of native culture. So as soon as I came across black metal I knew at the time I wanted to include my indigenous and not just mine but other indigenous cultures to anything I create black metal wise. The idea also came to me when I noticed a lot of the Norwegian black metal bands adding their own culture into the art, like the Viking culture. I figured if they are doing it why not us as well, I wanted to empower indigenous folk and show them we can do the same thing if not, better. Little did I know, this was somewhat something that has already started with Xibalba and a lot of other bands and I feel it’s still somewhat fresh but it is developing some momentum and we are seeing the rise of some fresh native black metal bands. Indigenous culture is unique and I feel the music should be too and not fully follow the sound of European black metal, so whenever I write I push myself to not follow their sound and create something unique and of course I am not the only one. You can hear it among other native bands. I can only hope that this movement continues.

What is the significance of giving a project like Winterreisse an English name, versus a Nahuatl name like Omeyocan? What do project names mean to you?

Winterreise is actually the first band to be in the Night of the Palemoon roster that is not mine, so I cannot fully comment on the project. I can say that the individuals were around during the early days of Yohualli. I saw some potential in the project during those days but it wasn’t until around late 2017 early 2018, if I can recall correctly, when we began working together.

Project names give identity to the music created. I feel that they also represent a part of the creators identity.

What led you to to start incorporating post punk/goth influences into your black metal? How do you feel these styles complement one another?

Whenever I create anything I usually try to break from what is usually the norm. With the black metal stuff, depending on the project I try to incorporate some “unusual” things that you do not hear a lot in black metal, like those dancy Indie beats, or heavy delayed, revered, and chorus guitars, which I a lot of folk mistaken for synths. If you hear what you think is a synth, it’s most likely a guitar and you can hear those type of things in Viento and Ixachitlan. The indie band Foals is a huge influence on the way I write music and perhaps if you check them out and listen to my stuff you might be able to hear some of the influences. They were actually the first ones that really drove me to add all these unusual sounds to my Black Metal. Nowadays, I draw a lot of influence from post punk, goth rock, deathrock bands such as Human Tetris, Frio y Vacio, Twin Tribes, Altar de Fey etc etc.

Mäleficentt "Night of the Crimson Stars"

One can hear clear influences from bands like Mütiilation and Vlad Tepes in your music, you recently covered a song from the former, and the Night of the Palemoon sigil strongly resembles that of Les Légions Noires - what compels you to pay such overt homage to these artists?

Perhaps I can speak for many that Les Légions Noires had a really huge influence in black metal and just in individuals as well. These talented folk were really ahead of their time and their art is the prove of that. To this day I am still in awe when I read about Les Legions Noires. They really had this unique sound that somewhat helped me shaped my own style of writing. There’s really no words that can describe the glory of Les Legion Noires, you just have to experience it for yourself.

How many different personnel are or have been involved with NP over the years? How much recording/composing do you complete singlehandedly?

Not that many, for the majority it has only been me.