Hello Xenoyr and first of all I wanna thank you cuz you did that, also I want to thank you for your wonderful show in Romania at Rockstadt Extreme Fest. Now tell me how it all began? Let’s begin with the name. Why Ne Obliviscaris?
Thank you very much, glad you enjoyed the Rockstadt performance.
The band name Ne Obliviscaris, means ‘forget not’. It was chosen as it could be interpreted in many ways, as we wanted something that resounded with people and has a poetic sensibility about it. When you give people the opportunity to interpret something for themselves, allow them the space to think rather than telling them exactly…they form their own attachment to it therefore in turn it has more meaning to each individual. We’re not a simple band overall, however we simply believe in freedom of thought and expression.
You just release two EP’s this year Hiraeth and Sarabande to Nihil. Tell me a bit about the impact of them in the metal world/scene?
Well, the two EPs were both written between 2005-2006, so very early on in our career…we were very ‘green’ and inexperienced, and I think that shows comparatively to our two albums. That’s not to say they’re terrible, it was about us trying to find our feet and understand one another. We decided to release the material exclusively for our 2014 crowdfunding campaign…they were pressed only for the people who supported us during it; the EPs will never be pressed again nor will we play them live…as long as I live. The feedback from the metal community has been surprisingly positive, however granted we get a little negativity from them (as most people think they’re recently written), so we have an issue with people listening to the EPs as the first NeO experience, as it’s not a correct representation of what we do. Every time the songs appear on Youtube, they get taken down…We can’t stop torrents, however Youtube is more of an easier avenue to listen to music so its about limiting the accessibility to the EPs for listeners, and to respect the fans who supported the campaign.
Your violin playing also has a more new age/world music flair this time around. Am I right ?
I wouldn’t say you’re incorrect, after all we each have our own interpretation, but the term has never crossed my mind with what we do. I don’t listen to much new age/world music so I couldn’t honesty couldn’t say, however I would say that Tim uses his violin in a very experimental way, especially with the opening and closing tracks from Citadel; something you could possibly relate to a thriller/horror movie. Perhaps its a different sort of “new age”…
Tell me about the lyrics? Who is writing them? You or Tim? What does inspires you?
I write all the lyrics for both Tim and myself. For Tim’s parts he’ll generally give me a melody (and/or syllables) to work with and I’ll adapt words around that. My inspiration comes from many, many things; old art and literature, history (especially a fascination in world disasters, mass suffering and generally anything that creates extreme emotions in people), music, old black and white films…and I guess I draw on emotions from the darker experiences I’ve had.
Comparing you to other bands when suggesting you who are some bands that are unexpected influences in your sound?
To start with it’s really hard to give someone an understanding of our music by listing bands, but people have summed us up by mixing; Enslaved, Opeth, Cynic, (early) Tristania and Dream Theater…how accurate that is, is an argument fans will have, but in terms of unexpected influences; everyone in the band listens to a wide variety of music so we range from Sigur Ros to Emperor, to Mahler, to Death. I think if each of us listed the bands we listened to, there would be a lot of nodding heads but also some very cynical raised eyebrows.
I guess you’ve been asked that before but how do you and Tim determine when to go harsh vs clean and when to go dual? What kind of discussions go on?
Most of the time it’s all about the feel, for instance if we’re at rehearsal Tim and I will trial ideas over the top of riffs, now and then we’ll look at each other at the same time which will signify, yes. We’ll go away and try some ideas, then send thoughts back and forth via email, and most of the time it works out that what we write separately may in fact compliment one another’s parts…we seem to have this subconscious understanding.
Let’s get back to the beginning of the interview. You were this summer for the first time in Romania to play at REF. How was it in your opinion? How was the crowd towards your gig? Will you come back to us? : )
I could write an article on it but in short, Rockstadt Extreme Fest was my favourite show of the whole tour; it was about everything coming together…playing against a sunset backdrop surrounded by forest, in front of a passionate and beautiful crowd….and also being able to share the stage with some of our favourite bands always helps too. It was relaxed yet extremely well run, the staff were friendly and the day went without fault…we couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
We were a little unsure how our music would go down, but it turns out Romanians seem to get what we do…perhaps its the old world sensibility that we retain in part of our music. We’ll definitely go back to Romania…and in all honesty, I didn’t want to leave…so, if I disappear one day, I may or may not be living as hermit somewhere deep in their dark forests.
How do you compare the album from 2012 with the one from 2014? (Portal of I vs Citadel)
Portal of I was more of a collection of songs we’d written over quite a long period, whereas Citadel is more cohesive, flowing and more guitar driven. It feels cleaner and more direct yet just as much experimentation as POI, and somehow we got out what we wanted in a more efficient way I think. We’re proud of both albums, and there are elements which I like on one more than the other and vice-versa but Citadel feels like us more, as all 6 of us were there through the whole creation process…
The band recently crowd-funded a world tour. How did the response of over 1000 fans doubling your goal make you feel as an artist?
The crowdfunding campaign was certainly an overwhelming surprise, we really didn’t expect such a reaction from people across the world. It gave us the sense that maybe we were doing something right, it was validation to a degree…and I guess our fans also appreciate that we’re somewhat of an interactive band, as we always try to make our fans feel acknowledged. Treat one as you wish to be treated, is not a hard concept to follow. We’re still a very young band internationally, but this gives us hope.
Thank you again Xenoyr for doing this and thank you for your time. To conclude would you like to say something for your Romanian fans?
Thank you for the great questions, and also a big thank you to all our Romanian fans and everyone that supported us by coming to see our Rockstadt performance, it meant the world…and you all were our world that evening, an experience we’ll never forget. We will see you all on tour again!