Lacrimas Profundere – Doom Among the StarsFriday, 16th August 2019
With a band that has an existence that spans over two decades, it’s likely that some changes are bound to happen over time. Starting out as more of a doomy/death-inclined act, Lacrimas Profundere made their way through the late 90s and into the 2000s before turning more towards gothic and rock influences. But for guitarist Oliver Schmid, as time when on there was a yearning to go back towards the band’s roots and he found himself the only one left in 2018, it seemed the perfect time to do so. The result, Bleeding the Stars, reclaims the band’s doomier moments while combining it with some of their more recent gothic flavoring. A potent mix, and one that we felt needed a bit more info about. So we fired off some questions to Schmid about the sound and line-up changes as well as where they can go from here.
Dead Rhetoric: What made going back towards the doom roots an appealing choice at this point in the band’s career?
Oliver Nikolas Schmid: The last couple of years I often thought about the best period of my life, the best period musically in my life was as I discovered old Paradise Lost stuff, Anathema, and My Dying Bride. When you get older, you look back at things. It’s quite refreshing to revisit those times. Over a 25-year span of the band, we’ve had periods where we haven’t done anything like this. We’ve changed styles quite a few times over the years. It’s always nice to come back to it. The main point is, if there is this intense, melancholic melody line in there, doesn’t matter if it 2 tones or 17 tones, easy or complicated to play. The only thing that counts is: does it swallow my heart, touch my soul, and stay in my head? This time I think I´ve created some of those and found the “doom metal” in me again. It’s great to have it back.
Dead Rhetoric: Was it tough to dismantle most of the band in order to proceed in a different direction?
Schmid: No, the bandmates left cause of many reasons, money is always a problem in the music circuit but also decisions like future, new job, family whatever. Tour life is also not as easy like it seems. If I count all together the result is: sitting in bus or plane: 4 years and 27 days, playing time in this period: 8 weeks [laughs]. So, you like it or you don’t, and if some members feel like they are too old for this kind of rock´n´roll, then, they are. Being in a band with all these guys, everybody thinks it’s a piece of cake. It’s not easy.
People change as they grow, and they wanna go in different directions and do different things and suddenly in the beginning of 2018 I was the only member that was left who would still die for this band. OK, we’re not Manowar, so I’ll rephrase it: who would do anything for this band. I stood in front of a pile of shards that either could be left lying or wanted to be put together. After that the broken porcelain vase was indeed an unsightly flower pot, but I loved it very much, because no one is owner of a flower pot like this and I hoped everybody could see the beauty in this flower pot like me. The flower pot called Bleeding the Stars would be released.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel that Bleeding the Stars works as a crossover between the gothic and doom sides of the band?
Schmid: It works great! You know, Hope Is Here was a concept album and I think that if a musician, no matter what genre, dares to go to a concept album, it subconsciously gets kinda progressive. Do not get me wrong, I’m a big fan of when bands leave their trodden paths, but nowadays I would do it differently. There are some wonderful tracks and moments on the album, but also some things I would not do anymore. Commercially Hope was a great success, especially in Germany with a Top 30, our highest charting in our hometown so far. But soon after the release I had it in my mind to compose a doom dark record again without concept story behind, only the questions: Why did I become a musician, which bands influenced me 25 years ago and why nobody told me that my mustache looks so stupid [laughs]?
The result is the blueprint of everything I like in music. Something like the perfect dark doom album. And do not get me wrong, when I say “perfect”, I mean, “perfect for me”. I wanted to combine the riffing of Primordial with the vibe of Anathema and the tunes of Paradise Lost, or Dark Tranquillity. I wanted to combine all my influences and make the album I always wanted to hear. When I sit down to write a song, I do the song for myself. I write a song for myself because I need to come out with that particular song. It’s for me, and then, after I’ve produced a record and put it out, if someone finds that song of mine important, it’s just an unbelievable gift.
Dead Rhetoric: What else do you feel that Bleeding the Stars has done for the band?
Schmid: To create the album, it cost me two years, on and off, of my life. In the end the result is cool, no, shit what I’m talking about, it’s my very own masterpiece, so it feels good that I didn‘t waste my time. I think it has been worth all the tears, sweat, toil, headaches because of too much of everything [laughs]! I miss the times our bodies were in better shape and my fingers didn‘t hurt after every riff that I play, because I got diagnosed with Arthrosis. There are good days and bad days. In the end this affected my songwriting.
In the past, I only took my guitar and played, mostly crap stuff [laughs] and sometimes cool stuff came about. Nowadays I wait and listen until the melody finds me. Good things come to those who wait and in the last few years I have been very patient [laughs] but nowadays I changed diet and I feel better, perhaps a follow-up to Bleeding the Stars will never happen, cause I don’t feel this pain anymore [laughs]!
Dead Rhetoric: Christopher [Schmid] hasn’t been the vocalist for the band in over a decade but still contributes to the band – how important is the relationship between the two of you in regards to the sound of Lacrimas Profundere?
Schmid: Yeah, I absolutely have to give Christopher a massive massive “thank you” for helping me more than any other record I’ve made. He is my musical soulmate and I don’t know what I would do without him. This album wouldn’t be what it is without his determination and many many, MANY hours of work. After I sent him my ideas in form of the first demo recordings he was “in” the next day. He was always the guy who said to me, “let’s do another record that brings back the ROOTS of Lacrimas” and now the time was right.
Dead Rhetoric: What can you say about the lyrics of Bleeding the Stars?
Schmid: Everybody has some thoughts about it: is there a life after death, what will stay if we leave? I always come to that point that you only can leave the biggest footprints you can walk. That’s it. Last year we read up on the big bang theory a bit. When something huge is created, there is always blood involved somewhere in the process. So we thought that as the universe was created the stars have to milked out of their blood. And voilà: the album’s title was born!”
Bleeding the Stars deals primarily with the theme of destiny, how it is fulfilled or how it is forced to fulfill it. For example, they say “it’s in your blood” or “it’s in the stars”, which in the end makes up the album title, which is composed of fate analogies. On the other hand I love this blood red color, cause I’ll never forgot that my guitar endorser ESP guitars did a limited edition model for Gary Holt (Slayer, Exodus) and for the paintwork of his guitar he sent his own blood to mix in. I really liked that idea, but my blood would not be enough for every item of the digipaks and vinyls, so I decided to not follow his way [laughs]!
Dead Rhetoric: There’s a limited extra cd with some piano versions and a new song – where’d the idea stem from for this?
Schmid: You know, streams are the future, but not for the bands, because it pays badly. Don t misunderstand me, I also stream, but only to discover new bands. If I like them I go buy the fucking album. Listening to metal music must be done on your stereo system as loud as fuck. Not with headphones on your phone. So, we wanna give the people that don’t stream, but buy our albums, an extra gift you can not stream. That’s the bonus cd, besides a part of our backdrop, a patch, a towel and we hope the go home and listen to it loud, cause we did the mastering as we listened loud and you only can feel the music if you listen loud and not via headphones.
Dead Rhetoric: What made Julian Larre stand out as you were finding a new vocalist?
Schmid: It was not that easy like in the movies Bohemian Rhapsody or The Dirt where the band only has to play a gig and a genius like Freddie Mercury went backstage and say “Hey, here I am,” or like Tommy Lee who went to school with Vince Neill. To be honest, nobody in my school was a really good singer or performer, if someone of my former school mates read this, “sorry bro’s” and no single day in my life a guy did like Freddie walked into our backstage area.
So, I had to do it the hard way and watch about 2 weeks of material in Youtube. How I can describe it in a friendly way: not everybody who calls himself a singer, is really a singer. But it was worth it, cause Julian was outstanding and being in the band now, he can sing anything, so you don’t have to worry about throwing something in front of him and going, ‘Oh, man. I hope he can hit that note,’ or whatever — there’s not a worry about that. So you’re able to just sit there and go as far as you wanna go. Everything started getting better and better. And he brought this excitement to the band that we haven’t had for quite some time. And now we just can’t wait to get out on stage every night. If we’re off for a couple of days, its, like, ‘Ahhh… When do we get back out there? It’s so much fun.'”
Dead Rhetoric: Where would you like to see the band move, musically, as you continue forward at this point?
Schmid: Fuck, we’re around for more than 25 years, it would be nice to get a little sip of success.
Dead Rhetoric: What are some cherished memories you have from the band, either from touring or studio-work?
Schmid: I’ve visited so many great countries, in China the great wall and forbidden city, I’ve gone to Iceland to shoot a videoclip, and seen the Red Square in Moscow. Also, our first tour in Mexico and South America, the desert in Dubai, and the lights in Tokyo. Ah there are so many bro!
Dead Rhetoric: What still interests you about writing this sort of music?
Schmid: I still love this sort of music and I’m still very thankful to be able to go out and play these tunes.
Dead Rhetoric: What plans does Lacrimas Profundere have for the rest of 2019?
Schmid: We will play some festival shows and headliner shows here in Germany in the summer. In September we head over to Russia, in October again some shows in good old Germany and in November we join our longtime friends in The 69 eyes and go on tour for all of November, beside a headliner and a festival show in Spain. Hopefully see you soon. All the best, Oliver Nikolas Schmid, Guitarplayer and beerdrinker in LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE.