cernunnos Rising

Interview with George Nicholas of Cernunnos Rising

January, 2016

George Nicholas: Cernunnos Rising

 

George

 

Just before Yule I was fortunate enough to catch up with a favourite interviewee of Pagan Pages, George Nicholas of Pagan band, Cernunnos Rising. George was kind enough to bring us up to speed with what’s been happening since he last spoke to us.
MS: It’s been five years since we last spoke to you, and there have been two more Cernunnos Rising albums in that time. How has the band evolved? Who are you working with currently?
GN: Albums to date have been Cernunnos Rising, Wild Soul, Urban Druid, and the latest is Nature’s Child. The band members are now Martin Robinson on flutes and keyboard; Phill Orme on various instruments, vocals and lead guitar; Terry Gallagher on bass; Carla lewis on vocals and Eric Smith on drums. I tag along too.
MS: Going back to your third album, the title Urban Druid will no doubt resonate with many Pagans who live in our ever increasing cities. What was the primary inspiration for this album?
GN: My primary inspiration for creating the Urban Druid album was living in London; years of commercial business and hassle, and a feeling of being disconnected from nature in particular. I would seek out green spaces whenever I could and write my poetry and songs. Many of the songs are about trees, in fact, and some of their lost lore and mythologies. One song in particular was inspired by an ancient Yew tree I use to visit whenever I could, up in Borrowdale in the Northern Lake District; still alive thousands of years later, and going strong.
MS: What made you decide to use the theme of different trees throughout Urban Druid?
GN: The theme of trees seemed to sit well for me on the Urban Druid album, because trees and wild natural places occupied my mind so much when i was surrounded by concrete and city structures. It was my method of escape: visualising, drawing and writing about trees, and their ancient myths and legends.
MS: Is there a particular tree you connect to spiritually and why?
GN: I have no particular favourite tree really. I love them all, from the acorn decorated oak, to the essential apple tree, to the Elder tree with her beautiful, rich berries and aromatic flowers, to the ancient thick dark verdant Yew. All of them, special.
MS: Are you still an Urban Druid yourself, or are you more surrounded by nature and the countryside these days?
GN: I have seriously made it my business to spend the remaining years of my life enveloped and surrounded by nature. I live in an open aspect upon a hill. I welcome the clear vista of the sun arriving in the east, and relax and admire the beautiful sunsets that this aspect allows me to enjoy of an evening. I also spend much of my time on my land where I have my own stone circle with a central fire pit, surrounded by a mixture of trees; my peaceful little Nemeton.
MS: When and where do you feel most connected to nature or your spirituality?
GN: I feel most connected to nature and in the moment when I’m in a storm, or swimming in a cold mountain stream, or diving in the sea, or hang gliding, or skiing, climbing or in caves; in fact any aspect of land, sea and sky and in all seasons.
I certainly feel divorced from nature stuck in front of the T.V. or glued to a computer or mobile phone in a built up, urban scenario. Dissolves the soul.
MS: Tell us a bit about this year’s album, Nature’s Child. How has this latest album differed from your first two? Has it been more of a challenge, or as you create more albums, does the process become easier?
GN: The Natures Child album is different from the other albums in as much as I have mixed up the treatment and styles of the songs, as not to follow any format. There are personal songs on there; there are heartfelt ecological concern songs and protest songs on there; even new mixes of older popular songs, particularly Blessings Of Beltane. I had my Daughter Katie and co singer Carla do a much more sensitive and feminine version. I feel they have a quality in their combined voices i could never achieve and their version is closer to the Goddess.
MS: Do you have favourite tracks from the albums? If so, which are they, and why?
GN: I’m afraid I don’t have any favourite tracks from my albums. It’s the same with my artwork or paintings; once I’ve completed it I no longer like it! I instantly move on to the next creation.
MS: Do you have any gigs coming up over the festive season?
GN: There are many gigs we are considering at the moment, including a very large one in North Wales. We like to visit and play to our fans at our usual yearly venues like Pagancon in Preston, Lancashire etc. We will be confirming our dates in Jan 2016. Our last gig for this year will be our Yule event for the Merseyside Circle of Pagans at the `Casa Liverpool city centre.
MS: What has been your favourite gig to date, and why?
GN: My favourite gigs to date have been PaganCon as it is so friendly and warm, and a wonderful communitas has developed. Also I loved playing in the beautiful wooded areas of Silverdale for Wood Spirit Camp.
MS: How many of you are there when you play live, generally?
GN: 6 or 7 usually in the band when we play live, but can cut down to 3.
MS: Which do you prefer: composing, studio time or performing?
GN: I really like studio time. It seems like  a magical creative process, where things come to life and the last drops of inspiration jump from the cauldron and add to the tale.
MS: Do you consider yourself a Bard?
GN: People describe me that way… I consider myself a ‘creative’, be it poetry, music, art, sculpture. I consider myself fortunate and blessed.
MS: Who have been your biggest musical inspirations? Is there anyone you would absolutely love to work with, given the chance?
GN: Again, I try not to follow another’s style or skill. I don’t want to have musical inspirations if i can help it. The words and lyrics are my own, and the sound of the songs just happens, although some of my songs seem to me to have a formula. For instance Urban Druid has a jazzy twist, Beyond Us is the Cost has a Spanish feel, etc.  I’d love to work with Kate Bush, Nigel Shaw of 7th wave music, Brendan Perry of Dead Can Dance, Mike Oldfield, Loreena McKennitt… Ha ha, don’t want much do I?

 

George2

 

MS: What other projects do you have on the go at the moment?

GN: I have projects upon projects!! My charity takes up so much of my time it’s hard to get anything done, but I’m doing a new album, launching The Werebears (my character creation) again, various mural projects, possibly building a roundhouse meeting centre and devising a new book.

MS: And finally, how will you be celebrating the festive season?

GN: I`ll be celebrating the season with family and friends, with music and laughter… and prayers and deep thought for those now and in unborn time who the British government decided to turn to dust and exterminate. /I\

Up and Coming Musical Artist Cernunnos Rising

May, 2010

Up and Coming al artist

cerr



Well I have some very exciting news for everyone, back in October of 2009 we here at Pagan pages were honored with a wonderful music review and in interview with George Nicholas from Cernunnos Rising and it seems that our good fortune has followed us as we will be once again having a the fortuitous opportunity to be the first to spread the good news that Cernunnos Rising and George Nicholas are coming out with a brand new album and are bringing their music to the US, which we will be featuring here very soon; and as always George Nicholas brings forth the songs of the Green man and the musings of the Deep woods with his exhilarating Druidic music.

Cernunnos Rising

October, 2009

Green Man

Cernunnos-Rising-Album-cover

For those of you who have never heard of the band Cernunnos Rising, let me introduce you to the men behind the music, George Nicholas and the band Cernunnos Rising (Simon, Nick and Phil). George is the founder and main driving force behind the registered charity ` art For Their sake’.  As for the rest of the band well, what is there to say except WOW. Cernunnos Rising is in my opinion, one of the greatest up and coming bands I have had the pleasure of interviewing to date.

George-Nichols

(C) Copyright George Nicholas


Interview with George Nicholas and Cernunnos Rising

Pagan Pages: When you are not making music how do you earn a living?

George Nicholas: I earn my living as a muralist. wherever there`s a wall, we can make a change… That could be a child’s bedroom, it could be a restaurant, it could be a swimming pool, and it could be a toilet! Anyway have a look, www.impact-murals.co.uk

PP: What other creative outlets do you have?

GN: I have a very potent imagination and this has come in handy when involved in the creation of some of my inventions, one that I had the most fun with was the creation of the children’s character concept THE WEREBEARS. It took me a whole year just to do that cgi animation trailer on the website with a friend but I can honestly say I learnt an awful lot in the process. Anyway! I make sure I’m active and effective in this modern world we live in, share my skills, and strive to be of benefit in any way possible, and that includes my poetry and music, and I hope people share my sentiments and enjoy the words and feelings I’m trying to share. My heart is with spirit and essence of the green world and nature and all my `inspiration` comes from my time in `connection` with her and my pursuit of the essential principal of balance within and without.

I try to express this in my album Cernunnos `Wild Soul` And convey the message of the need to acknowledge the turbulent forces within as well as without! Also I, like many have a deep reverence for the seasonal aspects and complexions of the year and wished to pay tribute with my words and music; The journey of the soul, and The Coming and Going features heavily on the album and a song about my very earliest recollection/dream about waiting to come into existence and having my chance to become me, to become my wonderful children!

PP: Can you tell us a little more about yourself and the rest of the band?

GN: Some details on our Simon… At 22 years of age Simon is a very versatile and competent musician and multi-instrumentalist. Simons love of nature is such that we don’t often see him much as he disappears to the mountains of north Wales with his backpack full of apples and nuts, and his flute protruding from the top, often stopping in beautiful and ancient  locations  playing his flute like the great god Pan annoying all the locals and wildlife (Joke)!

Simon has been a member of Cernunnos for six months and we bumped into each other at the ancient monument and burial site of Bryn Celli Ddu, on the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales; Simon now lives by the Formby Nature Reserve on the North West coast.

Simon works and looks after old people and is a qualified chef, but they are all very unhappy with the constant diet of apples and nuts he provides (another joke maybe). All Joking aside Simon is a very caring and helpful soul and will often seek out opportunities to help wherever he can, in work or the local community. He has now become a full time volunteer of the charity we run called art For Their Sake.

Our other band member Nick Reynolds, At 49 yrs of age comes from North Wales and lives in a little place called `Nercwys`. Nick is a bass guitarist and session musician and stands at 6ft5ins tall and is a multi-media designer. Nick was one of my layout artists and scriptwriters when I produced the Werebears comic many moons ago. Nick is another forest dweller and has this longing for the wilder places that we all share.

Then there is Phil Orem, he owns and runs the studio where we are doing our album. Phil is also the owner and engineer/producer  of “The Doghouse Studios” and has worked in recording since 1984, working with some of Liverpool’s finest bands along the way. He set up his first studio back in 1987 with little more than a Tascam 244  and a couple of mic’s, and has progressed to the current Pro-Tools based set up he uses today. As well as running The Doghouse Studios, Phil has worked with several top North-West show bands, including The Untouchables, The Emotions” and The Memphis Soulhounds. He is currently Playing guitar for The Salford Jets who had minor chart success back in the late 70’s with such songs as Gina I’ve got a Cortina, Manchester Boys, Who you Looking At and Looking at the Squares. He Is also with Mike Sweeney and the Thunderbirds a 60’s 5 piece Band playing revival weekends with the likes of The Foundations, Steve Ellis (love affair), Herman’s Hermits, The Troggs, The Merseybeats and The Searchers.

Now as for me…mmm, where to start? I was born 1955 in Liverpool, England, the usual very poor upbringing and childhood  I discovered at a very early age i was artistic and creative and had an unbridled imagination and often  thought about `the other realms` and their inhabitants, maybe most kids do, but my sketches of them upset my parents a bit. I spent most of my time in the local woodlands/cemetery, an amazing escape from the not too distant urban sprawl and noise. I used to love to draw trees, and this place became my own little timeless wildwood. Enduring the bullying that went on for most of my early years i decided to pursue `boxing` as a form of self defense and became very successful along with my crazy brother Ray who is now a very busy and respected  pro Stuntman. We soon discovered how to use and direct that Chi force with formidable results often many bouts ending with left jab knockouts?, I found the whole thing very interesting and I am convinced it was the power of intention and mind, I now know in my later years that this is the case, and the same `energy`, direction, and intention of mind, and imagination can also be used to creative ends, or to destructive ends. For the last 40yrs I have made a point of using my `creative` skills to benefit others particularly those disadvantaged and ill, hence setting up the charity  art For Their Sake this is one of the `loves of my life!.

After being accepted into art college at the age of 15 yrs of age and coming out of that straight into a no job situation, I found myself working on building sites, and nightclub security in the unfolding years.(these were black soulless years for me, trapped in a city of conflict and crime).I eventually found myself a job as a scenic artist at the Empire Theatre, I stayed there until i was made redundant and cast back into the city rat race, I then found myself a job as a sign-writer, that lasted a year and I was made redundant again(I`d had enough).

I immigrated to Georgia, U.S.A..and made my way to the very `green` Jonesboro. At last!. somewhere with trees;  I ended up being a full time pro-Fireman, and also an E.M.T, and paramedic, ran a sign company, and art studio. It was bliss for a couple of years until I smashed and broke my back in a serious fire falling through several floors, … My first Daughter Sharon being born with medical problems, my house being cut in two by a massive tree during a storm, my Dad suffering stroke problems and a random attempted murder on my brother Ray, and I had two heart attacks due to a stupid doctor giving me massive muscle relaxant overdose( twice).

I returned home to merry old England and her ancient places and distinct seasons and realized and practiced my inherent spirituality, and so the journey began.

Although I was only still 26 yrs of age I felt I had been alive forever! Bored, I decided to paint the world’s `longest` mural at Alder Hey children’s hospital; Europe’s largest

children’s hospital, this earned me a place in the Guinness book of world records. Although they sent me the certificate with the hospital name on it  and not mine, (Never mind,. the pleasure was in the doing)!.

It was about this time I became a singer, and also started doing some acting on TV. I also worked for an animation company and this prompted me to become a pro-cartoonist, and create my own characters and syndicate them to all the newspapers,.. this then led to a full time occupation of publishing and creating my very own children’s comics nationally selling 100 thousand of each issue, these years were great fun, but I still just wanted to go sit in the woods and write my songs and poems, and soak up that awen, mmm! The next period led me to invent the werebears , wow! Things became busy and I ended up in the U.S. again talking to film giant Universal Studios and others; and secured a very successful toy deal and publishing deal back home. That was years ago but there seems to be new interest in the werebears and I’ve just spent the last year creating the new hybrid toy that not only changes from cute to nasty, but he howls if you squeeze his paw, and his eyes light up in the dark,.. I can`t help myself , I just have to be doing things! If this concept is a success again, I want the royalties to go to our charity because it will help fund all the many projects and schemes with have on our `to do` list, some of them very big indeed!

Anyway The best bit!,..I had decided at our Yule gathering on the isle of Anglsey to fulfill my desire to turn my poems into song and perform them! This was going to be interesting! I needed to learn to play the guitar first, so I could at least put some tunes together around my lyrics ( time to light some serious candles and imagine this whole thing coming together, like never before!!). After asking for some tunes to drop out of the ether, and consulting with the consultants in the `field`, one by one my songs began to materialize. I actually had to visit the isle of Mona for a top up and plug-in! and fill up on `inspiration` so to speak. What is remarkable, is that for the first two and a half months of this year I was laid up with slipped discs for six weeks and then was struck down with an acute

and very nasty condition called Llabrynthitis, this is a deep middle ear infection resulting in your whole world spinning violently `round  and `round constantly with no let up, needless to say this makes the sufferer violently sick and constantly vomiting, for about 8 weeks solid ( it is possibly the worst thing I’ve ever had and makes you want to give up and catch the next bus to Tir_na-nog!). Anyway making the most of this period of not wanting to open my eyes in case I fell off the world, I had time to think and refine and decide upon my songs, as a result of this forced reflective void in my life, I made up my mind and final decisions concerning the songs and so this is where we are today.

I feel I have been totally true to myself and have reflected my feelings and sentiments and beliefs in the words and music(feels weird!). All this has taken six months up to now. What started the ball rolling was my 14 yr old daughter Katie just decided to design a logo and  my space page ( the stuff that`s up there now) and put my stuff up to see what kind of feedback we`d get,…What can I say, Things are manifesting for sure! Jumping the gun a little the title for the next album is URBAN DRUID, should be interesting, as there are thousands of the buggers out there!

Just to finish off we will be creating our own CernunnosRising website and our music and our own home spun album will be available from there in the very near future!

Thanks sooo much for your interest and I hope I have not bored you to death with the fiddly bits of some of my life /journey, Love and Blessings, George xxxx

PP:  Bountiful Blessings go out to George, Simon, Nick and Phil. Thank all you so very much for grating the readers and I such a magnificent opportunity to be the first to interview such an absolutely wonderful up and coming group of artist. It has truly been awe an inspiring experience. Again thank you.

To the Readers:

To listen to Cernunnos Risings music click here and prepare to be intoxicated…

Cernunnos Rising Links

http://www.myspace.com/cernunnosmusic

www.werebears.com

www.artfortheirsake.co.uk


www.impact-murals.co.uk