- by J.N.
- Posted on 06-07-2018
Into the Void of Eternal Light – An Interview with Obscura
Eternal Terror Live recently caught up with the kick-ass technical death metallers known as Obscura to discuss their latest bombastic assault entitled "Diluvium", which is an excellent record that all you lovers of progressive and highly challenging metal ought to check out as soon as fucking possible. Linus (bass) was kind enough to answer all our questions regarding the new album, inspiration, motivation, life cycles, and touring activities. Read on, folks.
Greetings, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions of mine. Much appreciated.
How are you doing today?
Linus: Hi! Thanks for having me and for letting me speak about our new album.
I am very fine. Yesterday we had the first rehearsal with our new material and it feels great to be so close to taking those songs to where they belong: on stage.
For those out there who are not familiar with how Obscura came about and how it all started, could you briefly outline its history and tell us a bit about the members of the band as well as your releases? Some of you are involved in other bands, so how and why you decide to join forces and bring Obscura into the world?
Linus: We have just celebrated our 15th anniversary. The founding member Steffen Kummerer formed the band with some friends that shared the same passion for music like Death, Cynic and Atheist. After some lineup changes they started to develop an own style. The band started intense touring (headlining tours, support tours for bands like Cannibal Corpse, Children of Bodom, Sepultura, etc.) and releasing albums regularly.
Was there a certain motivation or desire behind the launch of Obscura? In other words, was there a specific purpose or an agenda of sorts, or did you personally feel that you needed this particular musical outlet in order to express yourself fully?
Linus: We are often associated with the genre "Technical Death Metal", which means that we use virtuosity and complexity as a basis for our songwriting. By doing this, we don’t want to create a show-off but using the musical strength of each member to write unique music that wasn’t there before. We want to make music that’s as intense as it can get. Apart from these musical motivations, we just want to celebrate the music that we love together with people that we like. That’s probably the basis of most bands, I guess.
I absolutely love "Diluvium". It is a highly intense and compelling album from start to finish. I wasn’t surprised by that, mind you. I had a feeling that it was going to rule. Given that its predecessor, "Akroasis", was released only two years ago, I was wondering how long you actually spent writing and recording "Diluvium". When were some of the first songs from the album composed and was it a short yet intense songwriting period for "Diluvium"?
Linus: Thank you! That’s great to hear. We are constantly collecting some ideas but writing an album like this takes a lot of time. Therefore, we had to take some time off to do it. We wrote the album more or less in 3 months last summer including an intense pre-production. Then we hit the studio in October/November last year. After being locked in the studio, we went back on the road to fill the waiting time for the release of "Diluvium". We went to markets like Japan that we couldn’t play the year before because of the song writing process.
One of the first things that caught my eye when I received a promo of the album was the highly evocative song titles such as "Clandestine Stars", "Ethereal Skies", and "An Epilogue to Infinity", just to list a few examples. However, the lyrics were not included, so I was wondering if you could tell us a bit about the themes and subjects that the record revolve around? Is there a concept of sorts?
Linus: One of the reasons why this album is so special to us is because it’s the last album of a 4-album concept that is telling the lifecycle of a universe. The first album, "Cosmogenesis", is about the formation, the second album is about first transformations and the third album is the philosophical part when reflection begins. As you can imagine, this album is the dramatic end of this life cycle. "Diluvium" can be translated as a great oceanic flood. Our singer Steffen read somewhere about the sea of nothingness and was fascinated by the idea that the pure emptiness covers everything. The waves of nothingness absorbs everything like a black hole. This 4-album concept can be found in the artwork, lyrics and our music. We love to create an own world around the music with a lot of details to emphasize the character of our albums.
How do you guys go about writing and composing songs for Obscura? Do you compose and write stuff separately and then bring all of that to rehearsals where you then experiment with it, or is everything written and arranged collectively?
Linus: We live way too far away from each other to meet on a regular basis. Our music isn’t music that can be composed spontaneously in a rehearsal room anyway, so we compose with software or we record at our home studios. Then we upload our ideas to a server and discuss them via Skype. After 3246515 Skype sessions and 4654654 different versions, a song is finished. Even then, the songs are only in a very raw state and are ready for every musician to put his personal playing on. Everybody has a lot of freedom on their instruments with respect to interpreting songs.
Do you improvise a lot in the studio or is everything more or less planned out and set in stone before you start recording? How do you like working in the studio?
Linus: It depends on the individuals. Our drummer Sebastian Lanser likes to compose his drums very detailed and writes down every single hit before he enters the studio. Being the bass player, I improvise more often. I like to hear parts a bit differently every time I hear them in a song so I add variations often and play them differently live.
Are you intuitive and spontaneous when it comes to composing songs and coming up with ideas?
Linus: It always needs to be a mix. If I only sit down with my instruments, I am often stuck with the same kind of routines. Therefore, I develop techniques to get out of my comfort zones. This can be a harmonic or rhythmical system for instance. If the ideas don’t feel emotional to me I get rid of them fast.
Photo by Christian Martin Weiss
What are your plans in terms of touring "Diluvium"?
Linus: We have just toured through Europe so we decided to start with a North America tour this time. In September/October, we will do a headliner tour with Beyond Creation, Archspire, Inferi and Exist there. After that, we will come to Europe in February with another headliner tour. Any other plans are only basic yet. We have a great fan base in Indonesia, Japan and Mexico, so they are high on our priority list as well.
Speaking of shows and touring, do you like to perform live and tour, or is that merely a necessity of sorts in order to promote your music?
Linus: We tour a lot so it would be very painful to hate it. For me it’s one of the best moments as a musician. The magic between the musicians and the crowd is something I don’t know from any other situation.
The band has existed for an amazing 16 years now. What motivates you to keep doing what you do both musically and personally?
Linus: We are lucky to have fans that don’t want us to repeat ourselves. That’s what makes it interesting. It’s a challenge that we enjoy a lot. Personally, it actually helps to play together for a long time to get along well. We know what to expect from each other and know each other’s strength and weaknesses. We learned to work as a team and to handle stressful situations.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer this interview for Eternal Terror Live. Any final words, threats, or comments to our awesome readers?
Linus: Thank you for your interest in our band! I hope to see you all on the road!