Tengger Cavalry is a Mongolian Folk Metal band originally from China. Currently based in New York City, vocalist/guitarist Nature spoke to me about the band’s origins, the types of traditional Mongolian instruments used, and Tengger Cavalry’s future pursuits.
How did the band originate and who/what were your inspirations?
The band was originated in China. When I was learning Mongolian fiddle, Morin Khuur, with my Mongolian teachers in Beijing, I came up with this idea of blending traditional Mongolian folk with heavy rock/metal. I listened to many western folk rock and folk metal, and it really inspired me on how you can arrange your sound with folk and metal.
Can you explain the different types of traditional instruments used in the music?
Sure. Our main melodies are carried by the Morin Khuur, a famous Mongolian ethnic string instrument. And then there is the Tovshuur, a two-stringed plucking instrument that we sometimes use as the way we use an acoustic guitar. Also we have the Yatga, the Mongolian multiple-stringed plucking instrument, which has a very bright sound.
Why was the band moved to New York City?
Back in 2013, I decided to pursue a music career and I was successfully accepted to New York University’s composition master program, so that was the starting point of my music career in NYC. After 2 years, I find that NYC is a very open-minded city and it is good for me to write crossover music. People here like to hear different sounds.
Any plans to reunite the China-based lineup?
We already recruited new USA band members, and the current lineup works very well, so we will stick to what we have now.
How would you compare the current lineup to the original lineup?
The current lineup is more professional and efficient than the old one. I am satisfied with the present lineup.
Any plans to tour East Asia in the future?
Maybe next year or so. We keep getting invitations from Asia, but we want to do more gigs stateside first.
There has been a growing trend of the wearing of horse masks at Metal shows. Has anyone done that at your shows? If such a thing were to happen, what would you think of it?
Ha, I didn’t know this fun fact. Well, so far nobody did it but there was one time a fan raised a portrait of Chinggis Khaan, and it was so cool haha.
Do you think Tengger Cavalry’s growing fame would inspire more Mongolian-inspired bands?
We would like to think that everyone has their own music taste and somehow we crossover somehow we write our unique sound. But it is good that TC is getting more attention.
Any plans to perform at any festivals?
Yes, next year in July we will perform at the French rock festival, Ragnarok festival, as co-headlining.
What would you consider to be your favorite Metal album of all time?
I would say Slipknot’s Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses.
Special thanks to Jason Han for providing additional questions.