– Hello and thanks for taking your time. First off, soon after releasing your new «Omnivium», what’s OBSCURA currently up to?
A: We’re rehearsing for our upcoming European tour with Hate Eternal, Beneath the Massacre and Defiled which will take place between 29th of April – 21. of May. Besides that Steffen and Chris will perform for TC Electronics at Frankfurt Musikmesse and I’m currently producing an instructional drum DVD.
– And how has been the feedback for the album so far?
A: Overwhelming! I didn’t expect such a positive reaction throughout all magazines.
– The first thing that caught my attention was the cover artwork. We could say «Retribution» was the red album, «Cosmogenesis» blue and «Omnivium» the green one. What does green mean and in which way is it’s meaning in connection with the whole album?
A: Yeah, every album has a certain colour sceme which represents the individual feel of the record. Omnivium is green/maritim which relates to both Ocean and earth, or you could say «nature» in general which also fits to the evolutionary topic of the album.
– And how important is the artwork for you? As it always has a huge pressence but, with the MP3 and all that thing going on, it seems like the art is nowadays getting less attention or being less
cared by many bands.
A: The artwork makes the record complete and truely belongs to it. Of course the music is most important, but colours and lyrics also are important to get the full message of our music. I don’t like MP3s, one can hear that the quality is slightly lower if you use good headphones. And I want to hear an album or song as it was intended by the author – with best sound quality possible.
– Since «Cosmogenesis» it also seems like there’s some «cosmic» vibe in your covers; is this an influence for you?
A: That’s just an aspect of the whole philosophy behind Obscura. The cosmic vibe is definately something we want to have in our music and artwork.
– Each album has an overall feeling, different one from each other. Do the colors in your covers have something to do with that representation?
A: Already mentioned that in question above.
– Due to the well-cared artworks and your music, i have the impression you really care and are quite picky with your creations and their whole package, so I guess you’re picky too with the production, which sounds just great. You have worked once again with V Santura; how has been the process? How do OBSCURA use to work in the composition process? Moreover, I imagine working with the same producer creates a positive work enviroment for you.
A: All in all it took two years to complete the songs. We never rehearsed any of the songs or parts before we recorded the album. We just wrote out the ideas on note sheets. Thus we had a good overview of the songs and could find the best possible structure. By playing riffs in the rehearsal room, usually on a high volume, you forget to listen to what you’re actually playing. The most important thing when writing songs is to have a vision or idea of what the song should finally sound like in terms of drive, melodies, structure and dynamic. And with such complex music it’s better to write it down, otherwise you get lost. So it was more of a composing process like classical composers would write pieces rather than a typical band – songwriting process. Not the usual way but it worked very well. Next time we’re probably chosing another method. V.Santura is an important person for us in the production process. He can perfectly picture the sound that we want to have for a specific situation and an album in general. His workflow and style perfectly fits for Obscura. And he also helped to arrange some of the vocal patterns and most of the bass lines that Jeroen played.
– For the ones who don’t know it yet, what’s the main concept in the album? If I’m not wrong, the lyrics’ basis is Friedrich Schelling’s «On Nature’s Connection to the Spirit World», so everyone can have it’s very own interpretation but, how have you managed to explain your own thoughts taking this philosophy as basis? Is literature or philosophy an important part for OBSCURA?
A: You’re right. For that whole lyric idea of ‘Omnivium’, Steffen (our singer and guitarist) used Friedrich Schelling’s ‘On Nature’s Connection to the Spirit World’ and layered as described his own thoughts.You can interpret the album and the concept within the lyrics and design in very different ways. In the same way we usually compose music, we try to build a main basis and layer it with different other ideas until the result is a satisfied reader. Here you have the obvious story of the concept ape to human on a visual view, but as evolution I also see a very phoetic and philosophic link as we as humas develop new views and deeds as well as a third layer of bio- chemics and the fourth layer of higher philosophy thoughts as well as the great discussion about religions. I love seeing how readers, friends and fans in the same way interpret all ideas in a different way. The focus within the lyrics is based on the higher philosophy and the discussion within different religions.
On all of the lyrics I also have a personal opinion, a personal preference and a different view on the topic itself especially on the point with religions. There is always a link to the real life, those ideas never get old. But, I do not tell people what to do, what to think or how to live their life. With ‘Omnivium’ everyone should find his own truth.
– And how important are your lyrics for the band?
A: Very important! Not as important as the music though, but still a huge factor.
– Sound-wise, I think we can notice on «Omnivium» a more mature sound and a good evolution respect your previous works, keeping even stronger your very own trademkark. Could you say you have already found your own sound?
A: Yes, definately. On Cosmogenesis we just recorded an album with no pressure from in- or ourside the band, there were no expectations of any kind. So we recorded an album that featured music we like our own – prog death from the early 90s. As that album was a pretty big success, considering that after the release we toured with Cannibal Corpse, Black Dahlia Murder and Atheist. Expectations became big among our fans, but also a few who claimed that we’re not original and just imitate our heroes. Well, for Cosmogenesis the Death-vibe was just very strong and that’s something we intended. This time we thought that it is the most important thing to show the world our own signature sound. We’re not a retro-band at all! THis is our sound, dark and diverse!
– It’s also more complex; has been a challenge creating it?
A: It was challenging, but without any challenge you don’t improve. And we want to improve every time.
– I could say it follows a similar pattern to «Cosmogenesis» but being more prog and dynamic. Was this something planned or just a result of a natural evolution?
A: Both. The prog aspect is pretty improtant to us since those bands like Rush, Dream Theater, Symphony X and various others are influencing our music more than any tech death band! But it was a natural process, nothing was forced on this record.
– One of the songs that caught my attention was «Ocean Gat
eaways», as it has some MORBID ANGEL feeling. What can you tell us about it?
A: I agree. Being a huge fan of the band, I was just sick of waiting for another album. And «Heretic» wasn’t a strong album imo. So I just came up with that song to pay tribute to MA, I feel very connected to their music. But there are also some things going on in the song which Morbid Angel hasn’t done yet. So it’s not a homage, it’s just a song with influences.
– I think in «Omnivium» the different music styles that have influenced you are more obvious, though your music has always been a mix of all them, and I’d dare say your influences seem to be quite varied so, what musical styles are an influence for you? Am I wrong if I say that even Classical music has influenced your style?
A: Every member is influenced by different stuff so it’s very divers indeed. We are very open minded and want to make records as divers as possible. Classical music is one specific thing that influenced us, but I’d say that we’re not experts for that genre.
– You will soon start a tour with HATE ETERNAL, BENEATH THE MASSACRE and DEFILED. What do you expect from it?
A: A lot of great shows, lot of fun and a good time.
– And, finally what are your near-future plans beside that tour?
A: We have a tour confirmed in the US with a pretty big band. It will be announced this month!
– That has been all, thanks once more for your time. If you now want to add any final words, last lines are yours.
A: Something for my own business: check out my website at www.hannesgrossmann.com. I would highly appreciate it. Thanks for the interview.