Obscura Ė Tech-ing It Up In North America
By: David E. Gehlke
Now on their second jaunt through North America is less than five months, German technical death metallers have the opportunity to really test their mettle as headliners for the first time on these shores. It's a giant leap for a band that has already become a critical favorite thanks to the daunting technicality of 2009's Cosmogenesis and this year's Omnivium. One has to think the Germans are up for the challenge, given the dazzling proficiency of their live set, and America's willingness to latch onto just about anything of the difficult-sounding variety.
The only blip for the year thus far has been the departure of heralded bassist Jeroen Paul Thesseling (Pestilence), who left Obscura in a sea of Internet back-and-forth, prompting the band to enlist Noneuclid bassist Linus Klausenitzer, who was kind enough to phone Blistering while sitting in the offices of Relapse Records. Amidst casual interruptions from his bandmates (you could hear them poking fun at him in German in the background) the ultra soft-spoken and polite bassist field some questions from Blistering on the eve of their headlining run with Abysmal Dawn and Last Chance to ReasonÖ
Blistering.com: Youíve been able to tour on Omnivium for the better part of the year now, so was it a success that youíve been able to follow-up Cosmogenesis in such a manner?
Linus Klausenitzer: Yeah, the reaction so far has been great. And the tours so far with Children of Bodom and Hate Eternal in Europe have been great as well. All of the reviews weíve gotten so far have been awesome, which is nice because people are saying this is more complex than the first album, and we didnít know if people would like it, you know?
Blistering.com: Youíre the new guy in the band. How did that come about?
Klausenitzer: I got a call from Steffen (Kummerer, guitars/vocals) in January and he asked me if I could play the European tour with Hate Eternal because Jeroen couldnít make it. Then I came over for the Children of Bodom tour in the US, so yeah, I like the guys and weíve had a great time on each tour, so itís working out.
Blistering.com: Did you know the guys well before you joined?
Klausenitzer: The main guy of NonEuclid is from the same town as Steffen is from, so they went to the same concerts and created a mutual friendship. They got in touch with me, and it worked out.
Blistering.com: The preparation for some of these songs must be off the charts.
Klausenitzer: Yeah, it was tough. Lucky for me, Iím used to learning complex songs from my time in Noneuclid. The song structures in that band are very complexÖso Iím used to it. I didnít have very much time to learn the songs, so I had to work my day job, then practice all night to get things down. Needless to say, I didnít get much sleep [laughs].
Blistering.com: Did any songs give you any real challenges?
Klausenitzer: A bunch of the songs from the previous album were hard to learn because of the BPMís. Some of those are very fast. I think the most complicated ones are ďUniverse MomentumĒ off of Cosmogenesis and ďAnticosmic OverloadĒ from that album [as well].
Blistering.com: Did any of this make you nervous?
Klausenitzer: Well, I was confident in my abilities. I already played a bunch of their songs and technical music before. Itís an honor to be playing with these guys. Itís really awesome to play with a guy like Hannes [Grossman, drums]. Heís fast and heís a great combination of speed and stamina. A lot of drummers can play powerful, but not for long periods of time and he can keep it throughout an entire set. His sound is very preciseÖand he can play like, three hours without getting tired.
Blistering.com: I know youíve been over to North America before. What were your impressions?
Klausenitzer: I love it. What I love is that the American fans are more open-minded. Theyíre into so many different types of music that it makes it easier for a band like us to come over and play. The driving distances are another thing, but itís something Iím used to. Iím very happy Iím traveling with a bunch of guys that are fine guys. I would be very difficult to drive in a bus or a van with a bunch of guyís everyday where we were getting on each otherís nerves. We donít here. I never had any stress with these guys so far [laughs].
Blistering.com: Iíve spoke with Stefan before and he seems pretty mellow.
Klausenitzer: Of course. You can play technical music and be easy-going. Thereís a lot of musicians who are really creative, but donít have the personal skills down. Iíve played with a lot of bands before and most Germans are really laid-back, so that helps.
Blistering.com: Since this is your first headlining tour of America, there must have been quite a bit of preparation going into it. How much work did you put in?
Klausenitzer: Oh, lots of hours. Since itís expensive to meet up and rehearse, we all spent time at home rehearsing the parts and making sure we had everything down. Itís not easy to find much time to rehearse every day, but weíve done three tours so far, so we already tight from that. We know the songs really good, but I had to the learn the most since Iím the new guy. The rest of the guys already knew the songs since they played on them in the studio.
Blistering.com: You obviously sound prepared and when I saw you in June, the band sounded really tight. You canít be nervous then, right?
Klausenitzer: Iím a little nervous [laughs]. Iím interested to see how many people show up for the gigs. But Iím not really going to focus or worry on that. We have good bands with us on the tour and I hope people can come out see the shows and really like us. Itís a big step for us.