Nocturnal Euphony International

Obscura

Interview w/ Steffen Kummerer

Band Members:

Steffen Kummerer - guitar, vocals
Christian Muenzner - guitar
Linus Klausenitzer - bass
Hannes Grossmann - drums

Crew:
Matthias Landes - guitar/drum tech
Ferenc Petöcz - merchandiser
Eric Larson - driver
Franz Hartl - video taping

Country of Origin: Germany

Illegimitation (2003 Demo)

Retribution (2004) 

Cosmogenesis (2009)

Omnivium (2011)

Illegimitation (2012 Compilation)


1.        Tonight we are speaking with the German Progressive Death Metal band Obscura. Welcome my friends. Steffen you are the founder of the band which you created back in 2002. Take us back to 2002. What led you to the decision to start Obscura?

Back in 2002 just a few people of my age where interested in metal, and especially extreme black, death, trash metal. We all strated to play our instruments in the same year and just founded our first band, which is still the same – Obscura. We all wanted to express our ideas within a band, rehearse together, build something up and overall enjoy the time as friends. We had a good time, everything was new. The first shows, contacts to other groups, later labels, agents and press people who also became close friends. Looking back it was an interesting trip, starting in a small rehearsal space somewhere in the out of nowhere to an international touring band with fans on the whole globe right now. Within ten years we all buildt up Obscura and still enjoy the tiny details as in the beginning; having a good time together, moving forward step by step and bring in new ideas in music, lyrics, art or overall going new ways e.g. the crowd funding project we just launched from day to day.

 


2.        Your focus is on creating the lyrical concepts and art. Would you say you are the primary song writer or is the writing process done by the entire band?

Everyone in the band brings in what he can do best, no matter what it is. With Christian Muenzner, Hannes Grossmann and myself we have three songwriters that all work together and write the music. The art & lyric concepts among the videos we release are my personal niche and one part I bring to the group. The songwriting works very democratic: who has an idea is welcome. In the end it doesn't matter who wrote a song or a part if we all come to the conclusion that it may fit to the whole band concept. We exchange our ideas and add or remove parts here and there and decide together.

 


3.        Just recently you have added a new permanent member. Please introduce us to your new bass player and tell us how the decision was made.

Linus Klausenitzer is known in the German underground scene for a while and we know us since a couple of years. We decided to give him the chance to join Obscura due to his impressive work with NoNeuclid, a progressive death metal band based on flamenco influenced extreme metal that plays with huge orchestras. A definitely underrated band and more known within the classic scene than the death metal crowd. Linus stepped in as a session member during a European and a North American tour and proved his skills as a bassist and being just a nice person to have around you. His musical education is very broad, from jazz to pop, from death metal to classic, he studied it professional and got best marks in the university. I am glad that our fans accepted him so quickly as our new bassist. He will make his own stamp on the next album and prove everyone that the addition of him is a step up for the band.

 


4.        With a solid and wildly talented band working together what do you see for the future of Obscura?

We are working together on a few new ideas for the upcoming album. I hope we can play in some countries we never have been before. I would love to visit India, Central & South America, Turkey, Bulgaria and a few Asian places we haven't seen so far. Also we will realize a few video projects and I hope we can figure out a nice concept for a DVD at a certain time. In general I am satisfied if we stick together and keep on working together as we are on new ideas.

 


5.        How would you describe the writing and recording process of the last album "Omnivium"?

The writing process of Omnivium took almost two years and was led by the three mentioned songwriters. For example the opening track was written by all three equally and you can not hear who was writing which part. That shows that everyone has a certain feeling how this band should sound like, how an arrangement should be and in which way we use harmonics. On the previous album each songwriter brought in his own songs that where already done back then. Hannes wrote 'Infinite Rotation' & 'Centric Flow' years before, Christian brought 'Universe Momentum' from his former band and I had written 'Anticosmic Overload', 'Incarnated', 'Desolate Spheres' and a few other ideas. Within the Omnivium songwriting all of our ideas merged into one big musical cathedral.
The recording process was in immense long session of almost five months at the Woodshed Studio alongside Victor Bullok, our engineer and producer. We recorded with him many times, but I guess the session for Omnivium was the most demanding, up to date. The many layers of guitars & vocals where an adventure for everyone. But, in the end it was worth the effort. The mix is better balanced than the previous album and the dynamics are fantastic. If you listen to the album on a mid class or upper class stereo you can hear all the details and recognize the huge amount of work we put into it.

 


6.        Are there any lyrical or musical concepts you would like to incorporate into the music of Obscura that you have yet to try?

There is a long term concept that started with 'Cosmogenesis' in 2009 and includes four albums. So for the upcoming two records it is more or less clear what will be expected. The next full length will work on the basis of the 'Weltseele' a concept by Schelling/Schopenhauer/Goethe and the fourth record will deal with a requiem and concerns a huge neo classical influence. Basically these are the ideas I always wanted to bring into Obscura. I would love to work with an orchestra and a full choir at a certain time, maybe this is something else for the future.

 


7.        2012 is just days away is the apocalypse or will it be another stellar year for Obscura?

In general I hope for the apocalypse, but it seems that we have to survive another year. How 2012 will turn out I do not know, but we are looking forward to our first headlining tour since 2007 and bring with us Spawn of Possession, Gorod & Exivious, a package none should miss. Also the songwriting process for the new album just started, so let's see how this will turn out.

 


8.        Tell our readers about the coming release "Illegimitation"

The demo collection contains recordings of three different sessions. Our very first demo, the more or less unreleased 'Illegimitation' demo (2003), the pre-production for Cosmogenesis (2006) and three covers of bands that influenced us from the very first beginning up to this date: Cynic, Death & Atheist. This way you have the chance to get an overview about the bands evolution within the first ten years.

We decided to release it by our own and not through a label due to the fact that this is only interesting for the fans that already know our work of the three full length releases and ask for the history of Obscura. While the re release of our debut album Retribution sold so far 10.000 copies and many people asked me on shows or via email for our demos we thought it might be a nice gesture to release all those recordings for a small community of fans and also our friends and old band members.

In the end we had the idea to use a kick starter project to realize this idea with the voice of our fans. They can decide if this collection should be done or not. Personally I am not a fan of best of collections – sometimes it smells like a label just want to make money with the leftovers of a band that split up or milk the cow of a group that left to another company. This way only the fans decide if they want to have those recordings or not. I guess this is fair for everyone.



9.        In closing please leave us with any final thoughts or comments and thanks for your time.

Thank you very much for your interest and the nice interview. See you on tour and support your local bands.

Steffen Kummerer



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