, 2006 . .

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Ne Obliviscaris

Ne Obliviscaris
Dont Play In A Band If You Seek Fame



It was a band that literally broke into my life. Fearless, charismatic and very talented, Australia's Ne Obliviscaris come across as a mixture of styles, moods, good and evil, life and death. I first came across them at Finland's Tuska Open Air 2015 and have been following them ever since. The popularity that this band enjoys today is well deserved, and it seems as if it could not be otherwise. Many musicians dream of such a success story. But, of course, this is entirely due to hard work and dedication. In fall 2017, Ne Obliviscaris released yet another successful album, "Urn", and are currently touring it in Europe. Very soon on April 12 I will have another chance to witness their performance. And now let us offer you an interview with vocalist and lyricist Xenoyr, who found some time in the band's hectic schedule to answer some questions as a gift to his Russian fans.

First of all, I want to congratulate you on the new album. It's been a few months since its release, but the work you did still deserves praise.

Thank you, we put a lot of heart into Urn, glad its appreciated.

You work carefully on each release, and Urn was no exception. Does this album mark a next stage in development of your band?

This album is a moment in our career which cements our worth and defines a change, the moment in losing a bassist, and also signifies our purpose in moving forward with our ever evolving sound. The album is just as diverse as previous albums, however there is a more focused undertone overall. I think the limited time in writing forced us to be more efficient and streamlined.

How did the concept of Urn come together? Eternal questions of life, death and the finiteness of all things existing are topics that a lot of bands address. Was there anything special that attracted you to this subject matter?

Id been contemplating on ideas for the album for quite some time, Im naturally attracted to dark ideas and so regardless how light some of our music is, there will be a lot of dark or melancholic tones throughout. I wanted the album to represent perspectives of death; not necessarily in a negative way but more objectively and to highlight the fragility of life... What better symbol to use than a crematory urn.

After the work on the album was finished, was it more light or darkness that was left in it? How did the mood of the band members affect this ratio?

I think as with all our albums theres almost a balance of light and dark throughout but I do think that this album tests our limits of both lighter and darker material, there are more apparent extremes. We always write in an open minded way and we always like testing our limits, it was almost like a subconscious challenge we set ourselves.

How much of musical material was left overboard? Will you return to it in the future? After all, how often do you make use of any old ideas that were put aside until better times?

There wasnt very much material left at all, we dont like wasting good ideas, and when it comes to writing new albums, we tend to be in a different headspace so leftover material is almost redundant.

I am pretty much sure that you have already begun working on a new album. Could you at least hint in which direction this work will go? Maybe the concept of a new album is already in place...?

We have started throwing ideas around for the next release however weve no idea what the end result will look like. Personally, Id like to move into a more extreme realm but I know that with the influences in the band, thats a stretch... The sound is not my choice, its everyones contribution. Lyrically though, I have most of the say... Providing its not too dark, or offensive, but still intelligent and well thought out, then the guys are okay with things and give me total freedom. Ideas are forming, thats all I will say for now.

In many interviews you said that Urn was recorded exceptionally fast for you. Was it your decision not to delay with the release or were such conditions set by the label?

We wanted an album out in 2017 and our label told us they needed the album in their hands by a certain date otherwise we wouldve had to have waited for a 2018 release instead.

Do you plan to work at the same pace further?

Now that we know how fast we can work, were confident we could do the same. However I dont believe its good practice to rush to finish an album that gets written once. Id like a little longer to develop lyrics and ideas; writing for Ne Obliviscaris needs time and care put in, written words become history and have meaning for people (that care to read them)... Words are like art, at least thats how I see them.

You also said that your work as a band was affected by the loss of the bass player it united you. Why did this situation had this particular effect on you?

The circumstance in which our previous bassist was removed from the band wasnt pleasant, but it proved to only benefit the band. It was a dark time as it was just before most of the album was being written, and so you may be able to sense the dark underlying tone throughout the whole album, however the struggle we went through united us more so and made us function more as a well-oiled machine. We could either crash before wed made the album or believe in ourselves and continue doing what we loved.

Now we can congratulate Martino Garattoni on becoming a full-time bass player of Ne Obliviscaris (the official announcement was made on March 23 - ed.). How did he convince you that he's the one you need?

As soon as I saw Martinos audition I knew he would be the one. We invited him to participate in a couple of tours to see how he would fit and we could not fault him; hes a brilliant bassist, a huge presence, a humble, genuine person and now a good friend... And ultimately hes a decent human being.

During the work on Urn you welcomed anyone willing to join you to record choir parts. Were they really just ordinary people? Did you like such an experience?

The choir parts were from our Patreon members, those who were able to make it to the Melbourne recording session. Very few were professional singers, but they were still great and were very happy how it came out. I think it was a rewarding experience overall for both the band and the participants, we learned a lot and I think it opened their eyes to the process of recording and some of what we go through.

Would you like to involve even more people, like classical musicians?

Were open to the idea of having extra musicians in future, and we actually did have some extra violins and a cello on Urn, but in terms of guest musicians having solo or lead parts, thats something we havent discussed yet... Who knows.

As long as you mentioned Patreon: this is a really interesting platform. Why did you choose this way of financing? And what advantages does it give you?

Well, we initially did a crowdfunding campaign years ago to help us to tour overseas, as being so far away from the rest of the world were already AUD $12,000+ in debt (from flights) before weve left the country. That campaign showed us how much our fans wanted to see us and to support what we do. And so based upon how successful it was, we started Patreon as a way forward for both the fans to be more involved in the band and also for us to work more independently and be able to work towards being a full time band. When youre touring the world, no job really wants to employ you if youre leaving on another tour a few months later.

By the way, now its fashionable to release albums and then tour with a symphony orchestra. Despite the fact that your music is already strongly symphonic, do you have plays for anything like that?

We dont have plans to use an orchestra. Its an interesting idea but not something that we want to spend our time or money on. Perhaps in future we may discuss it but I dont believe we would use an orchestra in a truly conventional way. For me to completely agree to using one for Ne Obliviscaris, the music would have to be really twisted... But then again there is the chance of me being outvoted.

Do you think that your approach to creativity will change after Urn, or have you already found a successful algorithm that helps to make it easier to work on a new album?

Weve approached every album the same way; without a defined idea or direction for the music to go in. I believe the freedom allows for more creativity and more input from each of the members, therefore being more us. Deciding what were going to do beforehand would ruin the surprise for us.

On the one hand, Urn was named the album of the year by prog-sphere.com, on the other, some reviewers call it the weakest in your discography, exhausted, unremarkable. How do you assess the place of Urn among your body of work? Does it testify to the evolution of your music or, on the contrary, is it only a calm before the storm?

Everyone will have an opinion, some more valid than others, there will always be mixed reviews, and thats something we take with a grain of salt. Not everyone will like or appreciate what you do, if you cant deal with it then youre in the wrong industry. I believe "Urn" is almost an amalgamation of our previous two albums and also a further evolution of our sound. We write for ourselves foremost and we will never write the same album, that goes against our beliefs and so everything release will be different in some way.

What albums of 2017 and early 2018 do you consider the brightest?

2017: Samael "Hegemony"; Over the Voids "Over the Voids"; Cult of Erinyes "Tiberivs"; Der Weg Einer Freiheit "Finisterre"; Délétère "Per Aspera Ad Pestilentiam" (EP); Igorrr "Savage Sinusoid"; Chelsea Wolfe "Hiss Spun"; Meszaroth "Nihil Manifesto"; Satyricon "Deep Calleth Upon Deep"; Myrkur "Mareridt"; MordAStigmata "Hope"; Taake "Kong Vinter"; Moonspell "1755"; Medico Peste "Herzogian Darkness"; Selbst "Selbst"; Hallatar "No Stars Upon the Bridge"; Dødsengel "Interequinox"; Vulture Industries "Stranger Times"; Helheim "LandawarijaR". The releases this year so far which have grabbed my attention have been: Hamferd "Tamsins Likam"; Oceans of Slumber "The Banished Heart"; Susperia "The Lyricist"; Shining "X Varg Utan Flock"; In Vain "Currents".

Imagine that you brought friends to the party let them be Allegaeon and Virvum, the bands that accompany you on the European tour. How would you introduce them to everyone else?

Both are great bands, which more people need to take notice of... We toured the U.S. with Allegaeon last year, great band, great guys who play a complex kind of metal which has quite a broad appeal. Virvum weve known for a while, an insanely talented prog tech death band from Switzerland.

What qualities should your colleagues have, so that everyone would feel comfortable on a joint tour?

I believe that all bands on the tour have worked hard for years and deserve recognition for the sweat and dedication... The qualities that brings are open mindedness, belief in what they do, perseverance through the tough times, and a love of just enjoying the moment.

Some tours brought you new ideas and projects. I'm talking about Antiqva, which you founded with Cradle Of Filth keyboardist Lindsay Schoolcraft. The concept and the lineup that you revealed are very intriguing. Is there any news about this project? When should fans expect any tangible results from it?

Yes, Lindsay Schoolcraft and I created Antiqva while we were on tour together in Rome. The project was to create a black metal sort of thing which was to be heavily orchestrated, incorporating string sections along with brass etc, also choirs, Gregorian chanting and a few other surprises. As well seasoned musicians we knew what it would take to make the band work long distance, and so our goal was to create a band based upon the members, and not their location in the world. We have also Justine (drummer from Canadian bands Blackguard and Karkaos), Urzorn (guitarist from German band Negator), Memnock (bassist from Norwegian bands Susperia and Abyssic), Dalai (cellist; ex-member of Greek band Dirty Granny Tales), Andy (guitarist of U.S. band Black Crown Initiate). Were all still going through the writing process, its been a little quiet with a few of us releasing albums and touring recently however the cogs are still turning. We expect to have the first release written later this year and I guess well start recording into the new year. A release will happen...

I'm sure that you have a lot of stories from travels. Tell me the most touching one about the moment when you acutely felt that what you do is not done in vain.

The touching ones are usually the shortest. Years ago I had a young guy come up to me once after a show, in tears. He thanked me for the lyrics, especially to Forget Not, he explained that it had helped him through the death of a family member but also saved him from hurting himself. It was hard to comprehend that something Id done (and the band) had made someone feel so much, that was a moment that I will never forget, and something that made me feel like Id made a positive contribution to another persons life.

It seems like you were beginning musicians not long ago, and now you have four full-length albums, tours, festivals, etc. behind your belts. In your opinion, what are the most typical mistakes that young bands are doing today in pursuit of fame?

The first mistake is the biggest: seeking fame; dont play in a band if you seek fame, you will be shot down very quickly and no one will take you seriously. Dont rely on labels, webzines and people to promote for you, granted they help but if no one sees you pushing your own product then less people will care as they dont sense the drive behind it. Never think your band is bigger than what it is, because its never going to be what you believe it is. Dont think there is money to be made, those days are well and truly gone, but instead adapt and think of new ways to make the band work financially.

Surely once you also only dreamed of a real rock and roll life: tours, fun, fans... How much of our your expectations have come true? What, in fact, is the life of a rock star for you?

I never dreamt of being famous however I did dream about traveling the world as a musician. The publics perception is definitely a little glamorized about the rock and roll lifestyle, these days its rough, its hard work, its dirty and anything but what most people think... But I do believe people are slowly coming to understand the reality. Touring the world is enjoyable, but it requires dedication, focus and to not expect that things will get done for you.

Can you believe that the band has been around for 15 years already? This is a solid age for a team, but still it seems that you are still very young and new. Do you want to celebrate this date in a special way?

Its a strange feeling to realize the band started 15 years ago, we were actually discussing that recently, how time has passed and what weve achieved since. A lot of people think that we are a new band because we havent necessarily had the exposure internationally, as Australia is so cut off from the rest of the world... Its slowly building though so were hopeful more people will discover our music. Were going through some options at the moment to celebrate or at least acknowledge our 15 years, even if its just something small.

Finally, I want to wish you to achieve a new height to get to Russia. How do you imagine our country and your Russian fans?

Thank you very much, Russia is a place we definitely want to reach, weve heard a lot of wild stories about it. I dont have great knowledge about Russia however I do know a few Russians and theyre lovely people, its a good start from my eyes. Looking forward to eventually discovering the country for ourselves.

Ne Obliviscaris on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NeObliviscarisBand/
Support the band at Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/neobliviscaris

Interview and live photos by Olga Yurevna
Special thanks to German Martynenko
April 6, 2018
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