Hello Linus, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. Congratulations on finally getting another much awaited Obscura record out. First question–As a bassist and songwriter, what were your specific personal goals when you started writing Akroasis?
Thank you for the possibility to speak about our new album. After the split with Hannes– drums – and Christian– guitars – we had to redefine our sound to a certain point. We wanted to bring together the typical sound of every new band member with Obscura‘s typical elements.
In 2011 Jeroen Thesseling left Obscura. How did it feel for you to have to write your own lines that would inevitably be compared to a player as talented as Thesseling?
I respect Jeroen a lot and I am so happy to be able in a band where the bass has an important and interesting role. This is what Jeroen brought into this band and I will be thankful for this forever.
Actually not a lot of people compare us – I guess because I play in Obscura for so long now that people know my face already. Writing bass lines felt very naturally after all this time.
Akroas is has a lot more ‘breathing room’ than previous Obscura records. Was this more of your own choosing or Steffen’s (or both)?
This happened on purpose indeed. This was a goal that Steffen and I defined very early. I am happy that you can hear it.
Akroasis has the nicest Obscura artwork to date. On the cover it appears as thought here is adepiction of alargenet work, a common mathematical concept in Graph Theory. Did anyone from the band hint at this for the artwork? Or is this left to the artist?
Thank you once again. The designer is called “Orion Landau”. He also designed our previous albums. Akróasis is the third album of a four-album concept.
The different themes of those four albums can be found in the artwork. Cosmogenesis’ blue artwork described the coldness and loneliness at the beginning of the life cycle. Omnivium was green to symbolize evolution. Akróasis is bronze and shows sceneries of deserts and elements of previous albums on which you can look back. The polygons are the visual demonstration of a harmonic structure that is surrounding the planet.
The artwork is strongly connected with the lyrics. Steffen wrote his ideas to Orion Landau and after he came up with the first drafts we all talked about it.
Obscura is one of the most popular technical death metal bands out there now and has gone beyond just tech-death fans – What do you attribute this success to?
I guess we reach a lot of people because we are a very active band. We toured more than most Technical Death Metal bands and we are very active social media to be close to our fans. We did not only tour with other Teach Death Bands but also with metal bands from other genres like Devin Townsend and Children Of Bodom.
Omnivium sold 2,000 records in the US within the first week–Do you know how well Akroas is has done?
I haven’t seen any numbers but I know that the chart positions are the best that Obscura has ever had.
Obscura underwent a substantial transformation after Omnivium. Hannes Grossmann and Christian Muenzner left the band. Then, Fountainhead also departed shortly thereafter. Was there ever a moment when you felt like the next Obscura record would never come out?
There are also other reasons why it took so long to bring out a new album. First we toured a lot, we released the compilation Illegimitation and celebrated the band’s 10th anniversary. When we started with songwriting again the lineup changes happened so we needed to find a new sound. We knew that we don’t want to copy ourselves and that we need a good new team. If we wouldn’t have found a new sound for the band I don’t think that we would have recorded anything. Now it is a relief to see that all work and hard decisions were worth it.
The departure of Fountain head comes as a dismay to many guitar fans. How and when did it become obvious that the relationship between you guys couldn’t go on?
Fountainhead was not even 9 month in this band. It is hard to know if the chemistry in band works if you have never played a single live show together. We didn’t even have a rehearsal together. You find out if a lineup works when you have stress situations. This is what happened during the production.
A split-up is always more complex than people might think. It’s like a divorce. You can’t describe it in 2 sentences to someone who was not involved. He did a great work on the album and I won’t blame Fountainhead for anything in public – especially not being personal. It’s sad to see that he does. This way people only hear one part of the story. I am glad a lot of people realize this when they read his emotional posts.
Haha. Ibanez didn’t come up with the idea for this so far. I am very happy with their regular BTB basses anyway.
Alkaloid recently visited Egypt and the feedback was unbelievable. Is there a chance Obscura would visit?
Oh yes. This was an amazing experience. I talked with Nader about this idea already and I hope we can find a time spot to make this happen.
Your work with Alkaloid -The Malkuth Grimoire is one of my favorite records of all time. What is on the books for the band? Any upcoming news?
Wow. Thank you so much! We are still playing live shows to promote our debut album but the planning for a next record has just began. In a couple of weeks we will release a music video for the song ‘Cthulhu’.
Metatheosis by Noneuclid was an amazing record that sounded completely different from anything released in the scene. Will there ever be another Noneuclid record?
I don’t think that we write new material for Noneuclid in the next couple of years. Everybody is too busy in other bands now. Morean in Alkaloid and Dark Fortress, V. Santura in Triptykon and Dark Fortress, Seraph in Revamp and me in Obscura and Alkaloid. We still have a lot of recorded material from our concerts with different orchestras that we want to release. We just didn’t find the time yet. I spoke with Morean last week about it. I hope we can release those recording in the next 2 years finally.
Besides playing super challenging music, you’re also a programmer. How do those two extremely demanding careers come together? When you’re on tour,do you also work on your web development projects at the same time? Or do you organize it separately?
One of the reasons why I decided to start studying media IT was that I wanted to have a flexible job that I can combine with music. My time schedule is very difficult to manage so sometimes I need to work on web projects on tour indeed.
In terms of aside job,what are your words of advice for musicians in death metal who want to make a career out of this music?
It’s hard to find some words that work for everyone. Every life situation is different but it’s always good to have different options to help you to pay your bills. Be unique and open-minded.
Interview by: Sherif Morris
Edited by: NJ Bakr
– Also, you might be interested to check Sherif Morris’ interview with Morean of Alkaloid through here.