FeaturesObscura – High-Tech Cosmos Part II

Obscura – High-Tech Cosmos Part II

Dead Rhetoric: In terms of the concepts and building album upon album, how much of an emphasis is made that the lyrics tie-in to each album?

Kummerer: All of those albums have been written apart from each other. When I wrote the lyrics for Cosmogenesis, I had what was going to happen in mind, but I had not written any of those lyrics yet. To explain it differently, in Cosmogenesis I put some teasers in, like the anticosmic ideas in, and then in Omnivium, I asked a couple of questions within the three entities in terms of real life, religion, and rationality. I tried to answer some of those questions with Akroasis. At the same time, all of those lyrics are tied with astrophysics. As I have been reading lately, we are “the band with planets on the covers.” The third level which I link the albums is the philosophical part. With Cosmogenesis, I worked with a lot of ideas from [Johann Wolfgang von] Goethe and Omnivium had ideas from a book by [Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph] Schelling. Both of them were philosophers in the 18th/19th century. In Akroasis I pick up all of those ideas and I try to either give answers, I mirror them, or pick up the idea and put it to the next level.

All of those albums are connected in the four ideas of creation, evolution, consciousness, and the end of all things (apocalypse). This is all linked together liked a life and death circle. To be born/reborn and evolving into something, gaining consciousness, and then dying. Then it starts over again. This is also represented by the album covers and the colors especially. It’s all linked together, but I have to admit that when I was writing the lyrics to Cosmogenesis – I’m not a native speaker – I was not speaking English as well as I do now. There’s been many years between of reading books, going on tour and speaking to English-speaking people, even in Idaho [laughs], so there has been some evolution on the lyrical side. The basic idea has always been the same, but with each album I try to evolve it. I keep the freedom of changing, within the main topic, some stories in between. Otherwise I would have been forced to write lyrics for four albums in a row. It’s not a loose concept – I know where it’s going, but I have the freedom to write the lyrics with new interests with books or influences I have been reading at the time. It’s a nice compromise.

Dead Rhetoric: You mentioned specific influences for Cosmogenesis and Omnivium. Where there any specific books or influences for Akroasis?

Kummerer: Akroasis itself, the album title, means in Greek, “to listen” or “close listening,” but I took this title from a book called Akroasis by Hans Kayser. He was a Swiss professor of astrophysics, and discussed the harmonic structure of the universe, or harmony of the world. He basically said that everything within our cosmos, or everything material that you see and touch, somehow has a harmonic relationship to each other. Like how DNA is built up and how trees are growing. This was something I am really fascinated by, and the fun fact is that this idea was actually going back to Pythagoras, who was working with monochords. There were so many links to my private life. I was working at a university at that time, and we had one of those monochords that were being used in psychotherapy. A monochord looks like a couch made out of wood, and on the side you have up to 34-36 strings that are all tuned to the same note, and you actually don’t hear with your ears, but with your bones. It’s a psychoacoustic trick, since your bones actually hear better than with your ears, but that’s something else. When you are laying down on this couch, you put your head onto the wood and then someone plays the 36 strings – it sounds super bizarre and brutal. You feel all of those waves [in your bones]. When Pythagoras and the others brought up this idea, they more or less said that you can hear your existence, or you can fall into thinking about getting in harmony.

You combine the astrophysical point of view from Kayser, but a little bit of this spiritual/philosophical aspect. What I accidentally found out was Goethe and Schelling – both of them wrote a few poems and texts about this exact topic. Schelling wrote a book on it, where he tries to explain some physical facts that we didn’t know at the time. It was very inspiring – he writes in a very old fashioned way, and I tried to combine this with Hans Kayser’s ideas. This all merges into Akroasis with the third layer of different world religion views. At first, you have the astrophysical level. Second you have the philosophical level. And at the third level is the religious point of view. So there we are again with the three entities from Omnivium.

Everything links together, and I try to give answers here and there, as well as asking new questions. From my perspective, it’s very interesting. It’s very deep. I really put a lot of work into the lyrics, and translating old fashioned German into English, which is not my first language, takes a lot of time. There are so many nuances with the words that I try to catch. I think if you read the lyrics, it reads pretty abstract to start.

Dead Rhetoric: Anything going on with Thulcandra right now, or are you just focusing on Obscura for the time being?

Kummerer: Last week we played a nice show in Germany with Thulcandra, and it seems like the band gets more and more recognition these days. We just released the vinyl editions of the first two albums, and they are almost sold out. We have a very small fanbase, but they are absolutely into it. This kind of music is not very popular these days, but we keep with it. There’s a big difference with Obscura, as we can make a living out of it, and Thulcandra is made for different reasons. Three of the guys have full-time jobs, so we maximize time for one tour a year. But we’d rather do the big festivals instead. Right now we are about to prepare a new album. I hope we can hit the studio by the end of this year, and it seems like we are playing Maryland Death Festival in May. It will be the first time we hit US soil – I hope we get our visas.

Dead Rhetoric: So Akroasis is coming out – any plans for the rest of the year at this point?

Kummerer: So far, we have confirmed a tour with Death DTA in Europe, which will be in March through April. Then we are playing a full festival season in Europe and then Asia. It looks like we are going to be going to South America. We are about to book a tour in Australia and China, and we are going to India, which is going to be very exciting since I have never been there. Aside from that, we are still fighting and trying to get our visas so we can do a proper tour over there. Unfortunately, we cannot make it to Summer Slaughter this year. As I mentioned earlier, I’m happy that we have so many people that work with us and support us – the people behind Summer Slaughter offered us the same slot for the tour this year. I absolutely appreciated this offer, but we still don’t have our visas and no one knows what is going to happen there. But still, the gesture is nice at this point. I hope we can make it to North America, maybe at the end of this year. Maybe at the latest next year. Fingers crossed. So we will not be wasting our time at home, we will be going on tour and having great shows – this is the plan for 2016.

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