Obscura – High-Tech Cosmos Part ISunday, 28th February 2016
Dead Rhetoric: That was one thing that I picked up on was the pacing and diversity. But it does still have the same “feel” that Obscura has kept over the years.
Kummerer: That is actually something I really look up to – when a band has their own sound. When you play an album from like Metallica, or Suffocation, or Cannibal Corpse. Within ten seconds, you know exactly who it is. That is where I want to go, in establishing a band identity. Every band has their influences from different music, artists, and background. But if you form something where everyone can pick it up and say, “ok, this is that band.” You have reached a level of musical identity. No one wants to copy other artists all the time – you want to do your own thing.
Dead Rhetoric: I think it’s tough in the tech death genre to achieve that. But in talking with other people, it seems that metal fans that don’t listen to much tech death still listen to Obscura. What is it that you feel that Obscura does do that brings you in a different direction from other bands?
Kummerer: It’s pretty hard to say. I think that every band has their talents, and I’m not sure what it is that attracts more people to us. There are so many fantastic, great bands out there nowadays. Think about Fallujah or Beyond Creation – killer bands and I think they have the same audience as we do. They write great albums with killer riffs – good productions and compositions too. I think it’s just a good time for tech death. Perhaps the difference is that we have been touring a long time around the globe. Obscura has been around for 14 years and we have a few albums out there – perhaps it’s because we are old. I’m glad that people find our band and listen to the music. I’m happy if someone listens to the music and then says, “it’s not my cup of tea” or “it sucks” instead of not listening to it and just looking at the photos and covers, and saying it has to suck because they don’t play BC Rich guitars [laughs]. We just do our thing and don’t think about much around us.
Dead Rhetoric: You mentioned the artwork – I know you are releasing each track [before the album’s release] currently with some accompanying art and the lyrics. Do you think there needs to be something in this day and age that there needs to be significant artwork to go along with the album to keep people’s interest?
Kummerer: It completely depends on who is listening to the music. To quote “these days,” most of the kids listen to music through Youtube or Spotify. All of those streaming services. They don’t care about how CDs are made or what the music looks like. They take their smartphone and check the album cover and that’s all they get. They don’t even listen to the whole album – and that’s okay. It’s a different generation. But we have a lot of fans who are buying physical copies, especially vinyl. It’s a revival in almost every genre – jazz, death metal, and classic music. A lot of people are buying vinyl because they want to have a real product in their hands and to support the artist. They want to have a certain level of quality. That’s what I am absolutely into. I’m a graphic nerd. I put a lot of work into the artwork – not only the concept, but all of the merchandise and layouts of everything we do. It all takes a lot of work and I think many people appreciate it and support this as well. We are very happy with Orion Landau, who made most of our artwork. He has made everything since Cosmogenesis.
People see the continuity, and I think that is also very important in forming your own identity. It’s not only the music, but it’s what you see sometimes – the lyrics, the artwork, the physical product itself. If you are putting out low quality vinyls, people will throw it on your head. It’s one big picture, and for me personally, it’s important to have a balance with everything. Having a continuity with the music and the live shows. We are not a band who is sitting at home and writing new music and putting out an album every year. We would rather take our time and play a lot of live shows. With the last two albums, we played about 150 shows per album. There you represent your band as well. People who only stream music will still go to a live show, so they will see everything there and get impressions from the live show. We have a great team with Relapse and Orion Landau, and all of graphic designers – great people who put a lot of work into it. We all develop and share ideas until we have something that everyone is happy with. This is actually what we have the biggest amount of freedom with these days. The label doesn’t tell us what we have to do, and we don’t tell the record label what they have to do. It’s something you work together on and go until everyone is happy. I think most of the fans are happy as well.
Part II of our interview with Steffen Kummerer will post tomorrow night, Monday, February 29th.
Pages: 1 2