STEFFEN KUMMERER (Obscura) – Speed it most important for me

STEFFEN KUMMERER (Obscura) – Speed it most important for me

Steffen Kummerer er sjefsgrowler i det tyske death metal bandet Obscura. Bandet har gitt ut sitt debutalbum "Retribution" på Vots Records og sitt andre album "Cosmogenesis" på Relapse Records. Sistnevnte album ble en prioritert utgivelse, selv om det vel ikke slo helt an i alle kretser. Steffen Kummerer forteller oss i sitt bidrag til The Deepthroat Series at det blant annet blir forsøkt å innføre en lov mot growling for barn under 16, da dette kan vise seg å være skadelig for barna. Les mer om dette og blant annet om hvordan Steffen holder stemmen ved like.

When did you start doing extreme vocals (What year and at what age)?

I started growling at the age of eight. I was in a classical choir where I discovered the more extreme side of my vocals. Then I took growling lessons by a local death metal star.

What made you start to do extreme vocals?

I honestly liked the beauty within the guttural sound. I also liked violent movies and computer games where people scream a lot and die.

Can you describe the technique or the techniques you are using?

I have developed a system with different arpeggio growl patterns which I can easily lay upon every type of rhythm. But this goes way too far to explain here. I also can growl in any key and mode.

Has your technique changed during your career?

No. Never change a running system.

Have you ever hurt yourself by using a "wrong technique"?

Yes, and sometimes the growls got in the wrong key, they were almost like screams. But screaming is the wrong technique. Growling is the thing, man!


Is there something you do on a regular basis to keep your voice in shape? Any routines?

I always start at a low tempo, like 60 BPM and work my way up to 240 BPM by making steps of 10 BPM each time. Sometimes I growl various scale and arpeggio sequences (do-re-mi-fa-so-la) Magnesium is also good for your lungs.

Do you think it can be dangerous to do extreme vocals?

Yes, especially for young kids it is dangerous. People here in Germany try to get a law passed that forbids growling under the age of 16.

What is most important for you – to make cool sounds and interesting rhythms, or to have a clear diction/pronunciation?

None of the above. Speed it most important for me because the songs are so fast. They are faster than a train. Or Nicki Lauda, who burned his face. I sometimes burn my lungs.

Do you think that extreme vocals can be made into a science, like "this is how it works for everyone, to make this sound you have to do this etc"? Or is it more intuitive and individual how to do it?

If you do it my way you can't make anything wrong. I don't like people who are too specific about vocals.


Do you have any advice to people who wants to start doing extreme vocals?

Get your ass into the rehearsal room and practice. It might help you to read some books on guttural growling before.

Mention three extreme vocalists whose style you admire, and explain your choice. What specifically do you like about the styles of those three? Also mention three vocalists (not necessarily extreme vocalists) which you have been influence by, and explain in which way you have been influenced by each of them.

Darth Vader, because he really sounds extreme without being too loud at the same time. Tom Angelripper, because he and Tom Araya are the only two guys in thrash metal which can actually growl. Third, Ja Rule. His growling is really outstanding and though it's not a metal singer, he really slays. The influences on my singing are the ones I like best too. The Undertaker is also a big influence.

Who do you want to challenge in this series? (Who should be the next extreme vocalist to answer these questions?) Give a brief explanation for your choice.

Will of Mortician. He has a beautiful growl voice. I want to know how he gets so much personality and soul into his voice.