Interview With Steffen Kummerer (OBSCURA)

[By: Mohab and Karim Tarek]

Progressive death metallers Obscura have been sending waves across the global metal scene with their latest offering titled "Omnivium." The 2nd in a 4 album concept series and the follow-up to 2009's highly successful "Cosmogenesis."

Omnivium is hailed as the band's heaviest, and most sophisticated release to date. Blending their signature sound, with high levels of complexity and layering, creating what the band like to call "the wall of sound."

Since the album's release back in March,
Obscura has went on festivals in Europe and North America, and will be heading out on their first Middle East/South East Asia tour in-support of the effort; starting next week.

The band recently confirmed their first ever show in Dubai, UAE on September 23rd with support acts Smouldering In Forgotten, Lunacyst and Billy Bob's Blood Drenched Brew, at Ratsky 3 (Excelsior Creek Hotel). [Ed note: Obscura recently announced Linus Klausenitzer as the band's new bassist. Read the official press release, here]

As media partners for the event. We got a chance to catch up with frontman/mastermind Steffen Kummerer prior to the band's performance to ask him about their latest release, how it differs from it's predecessor, what they look forward to seeing in Dubai, and more!
Here's how it went:

First of all I'd like to thank you for this opportunity. It's a real pleasure to have you on Metality. With Obscura being all over the media lately, I can only imagine how hectic it's been dealing with press, etc.

You are very welcome. The feedback for our latest album, Omnivium, is very positive so we recieve many interviews day by day. But I am glad for the recognition we get from a worldwide audience. At the moment we are preparing our upcoming South East Asia tour and looking forward to play in countries we have never visited before.

You guys released your latest album, and the 2nd in your 4 part album concept series titled "Omnivium." When thinking about the main differences to point out between this release and it's predecessor, what comes to mind?

This concept started with 'Cosmogenesis' while 'Omnivium' is the second effort of the whole idea. While most of the song on 'Cosmogenesis' where written before by the various members upfront they joined the band, 'Omnivium' was a real band release. The three songwriters Christian Muenzner, Hannes Grossmann and myself exchanged ideas, arrangements and single ideas massively to write the best material we can. In the end you can not divide who wrote which part of a song anymore. Every member knew exactly what sound we want to create with this band, the vision was exectly the same. Besides that we made a huge step in the production, there are more different guitar layers than ever to create a certain sound, the 'wall of sound' so to say. Just give a song such as 'Velocity' a listen, you know what I mean.

Critics and fans have been praising the album for it's high technicality and complex structures and layering. Was it a conscious move to focus more on complexity than on hooks this time around?

Well, our aim is to write good and memorable songs in the first case. The technique we bring in is just a tool to get the result and a good arrangement we have in mind. We do not write music to show off and tell everyone that we can play. If you are open minded for different music styles you will find several different influences that come around in the end. To combine those to our own signature sound is the aim every band on this planet has. I will focus on a more diverse mix of complexity and hooks on the next album.

What are some of your influences for this record music-wise? Did you listen to anything out of the ordinare during the writing process?

Everything and nothing inspires during the writing process. I listen to diverse kind of music all the time, not only shred death metal or black metal. I think in feelings, the mood you can create with a certain part and or riff. So in this way even a Portishead album can be inspiring.

OBSCURA's cover artwork has always been top notch, and really brings out a visual image of the music present on each release. And with Omnivium it's no different. Can you tell us about the concept behind the cover? And who came up with the idea?

'Omnivium' is based on the novel 'On the conection between nature and the spirit world' by Friedrich Schelling, a German philosopher. I took this whole novel as the basis of the concept we used to work with on this album, the evolution. The artwork was created by Orion Landau, an artist from North America we worked on all releases with. The whole graphic ideas for this band, merchandise, artworks, layouts, stage setups are based on my vision. Together with Orion we work on each deatail until we have exactly what I had in mind. Also the photos are part of this. Music, photography & artwork as a whole represent 'Omnivium', not only a download from YouTube in bad quality.

The band recently performed at Summer Breeze Festival (Germany) along with acts like Arch Enemy, Decapitated, Hatebreed, Sodom and more. How has the crowd reaction been to the new material? Do you guys have a favorite off the album to perform live yet?

To support 'Omnivium' we played a European & a North American tour so far and on all the shows people are interested how the new song may sound in a live situation. Reactions are very positive so far and during meet & greets after the show we get good feedback for the old and new songs. A very heavy song is 'Ocena Gateways', a pretty slow almost sludgy track off 'Omnivium' that works fine during the shows.

On September 23rd you will be performing for the first time in Dubai, UAE as part of your ongoing tour in-support of 'Omnivium.' What do you look forward to seeing first when you arrive in Dubai? Are you prepared for the heat?

We are glad to get the chance to play for the first time ever in the United Arab Emirates with our band. I love to travel but I never got the chance to visit the country before. All of us are curious about Dubai, not because of the heat, because of the different culture in general. From a view of a Central European visiting Dubai is like leaving to another planet. Everyone is looking forward to this show.

Would you mind telling us about the set-list for the show? Which songs will you be playing off the new album? I know that songs like "Velocity" would be more complicated to perform live as you've mentioned in previous interviews.

That is true, 'Velocity' does have too much layers to perform with two guitars in a live situation. But we will definitely play Septuagint, Vortex Omnivium, Ocean Gateways & Euclidean Elements for you. Also several songs off 'Cosmogenesis' are included to the setlist as well as one or even tw very very old tracks from the beginning of this band. I'd like to show every part of our history to the fans, so they know where we come from and see where we will go to.

Thanks again for doing this. Really appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions. Hope you have a killer good time in Dubai crushing it up! Would you like to add anything?

Thank you very much for your interest and this interview! See you in Dubai soon!

[Catch OBSCURA on September 23rd for the first time live in Dubai! (Presented by Spellbind Records) As part of the band's "Middle East/South East Asia tour" in support of their latest release "Omnivium;" out now via Relapse Records. With support acts SMOULDERING IN FORGOTTEN, LUNACYST, and BILLY BOB'S BLOOD DRENCHED BREW. For more details, visit the event's official page by clicking here!]

Order "Omnivium" via Amazon: CD | Mp3

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