Archive for the International Category

Perseverancia y Valentía: Organic Se Mantiene Fuerte Por Más de Veinte Años Y Sigue Adelante

Posted in Bands, From other US States, International, Interviews with tags , , on October 5, 2013 by Héctor Rodríguez

This interview is available in English. Click here for the English version.

Formar parte de una banda de heavy metal extremo nunca es fácil. Es casi una garantía permanente de que nunca vas a alcanzar gran popularidad, y mantener todos los integrantes a bordo solo por el amor a la música es un reto grande. Aún dentro del mundo del metal, los gustos del público fluctúan de una dirección a la otra según pasa el tiempo. A pesar de todo eso, el metal ha sobrevivido cuatro décadas. Varios de los originadores del género se han mantenido fuertes: Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, y Iron Maiden, para nombrar sólo tres ejemplos sobresalientes. Pero estas bandas no son de metal extremo, y son gigantes que venden muchísimo, tanto de su música como en mercancía. Las bandas de metal extremo, especialmente aquellas laborando arduamente en escenas locales, no disfrutan de esas ventajas.

Organic, previamente conocidos como Organic Infest, es una banda cuyos orígenes se remontan al 1988. Su estilo es uno que mezcla las influencias del death, thrash, y doom metal, entre otros, lo cual resulta en música que le puede agradar a una gran variedad de oyentes. Combinan agresión con melodía, evitando así la monotonía de la que sufren muchas bandas de metal extremo hoy día. Aún cuando estás oyendo melodías, la música te está golpeando el cráneo sin misericordia alguna.

Ellos son de Puerto Rico, al igual que este servidor. Por lo tanto, yo he tenido experienca directa de la escena de la que ellos forman parte.  Además de ser una escena especialmente difícil, Organic ha tomado unas decisiones muy valientes. La principal de éstas fue su reciente decisión de seguir adelante sin guitarra en la banda, optando por utilizar dos bajos en su lugar. Recuerde que ésta es una banda de thrash/death metal, géneros en los cuales la guitarra se considera mayormente como el instrumento principal. El cantante y bajista José, mejor conocido como Chewy se equipó con un bajo piccolo, y añadieron un segundo bajista, Tony, para mantener el retumbo profundo del bajo regular (el baterista Juan complete el trío.) Esta decisión les trajo crítica y escepticismo, pero ellos siguieron adelante, tornando a la mayoría de los críticos y escépticos en creyentes cuando escucharon los sorprendentes resultados. Eso, amigos, conlleva cojones.

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  Fotos por Fran Jaume Photography, excepto la foto de Juan (baterista) por Tommy Galdy Photography

(Chewy contestó todas las preguntas, excepto donde se indique lo contrario.)

¿Qué fue lo que inspiró sus comienzos en la música?

Tony: Yo siempre he admirado el arte y he deseado expresarme a través de la misma. Después de tratar varios tipos de arte, la música se convirtió en mi favorita porque es la que me permite expresarme completamente. ¡La música no tiene límites!

Juan: Mi deseo de tocar la batería surgió cuando comencé a escuchar una estación de radio local (Alfa Rock) a mediados de los ochenta. Bandas como Rush, Saga, Triumph y otras de esa época.

Chewy: Yo crecí escuchando bandas como Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin y Judas Priest. Luego me adentré en la música de W.A.S.P., Iron Maiden y Savatage. Pero lo que me hizo decidir que quería tocar el bajo fue cuando descubrí mi banda favorita y mi mayor influencia:  ¡Coroner!

Cuéntame sobre los orígenes de la banda.

La banda comenzó en 1988 con el nombre Black Cross, y los integrantes eran Pedro (batería), Freddy (guitarra), y yo Chewy (bajo y voz) y era mayormente heavy metal. Ese mismo año cambiamos el nombre a Darkken y estábamos tocando canciones de D.R.I., Anthrax y S.O.D., porque esas eran las bandas que el guitarrista favorecía.

Nos mantuvimos así como hasta el 1990 cuando yo estaba escuchando bandas más pesadas como Possessed, Pestilence y Death, y el guitarrista se interesó en ese estilo y comenzamos a cambiar la dirección de la banda. El baterista (Pedro) se retiró de la banda porque a él no le gustaba ese estilo. A principios del 1991 conocimos a Juan el cual se unió a la banda. Luego cambiamos de nombre otra vez a Concealed Damage. Esto no duró mucho (solo una presentación) y entonces un día se me ocurrió el nombre Organic Infest, el cual le gustó a todos. Ese nombre se mantuvo hasta el 2005 cuando Freddy (guitarra) dejó el grupo. Entonces Juan y yo decidimos acortar el number a sólo Organic. Estuvimos sin guitarrista como por un año. En el 2006 adquirimos un gran guitarrista, Ed Díaz, pero solo duró un año. En el 2007 estábamos buscando un reemplazo, pero nos dimos por vencidos debido a la frustración constante con los guitarristas. A fines del 2007, Juan me dijo en un ensayo, “Mano, ponle distorsión al bajo y toquemos.” Comenzó como una broma, pero luego decidimos hacerlo. Comenzamos con la idea del bajo piccolo y añadimos un cantante (Junito) y Tony en el bajo, y tocamos así hasta el 2010 cuando Junito dejó la banda. Desde ese entonces estamos con los integrantes actuales.

¿Qué les dió la idea de eliminar la guitarra y utilizar dos bajos en su lugar?

La idea de los dos bajos vino como una solución a nuestros problemas y malas situaciones con los guitarristas. Queríamos tocar, y estábamos desesperados. Así que Juan me dio la idea y luego escuché a un bajista llamado Brian Bromberg, quien hace eso en uno de sus discos titulado Metal, y el tipo es simplemente asombroso. Así que me dije a mí mismo, si él puede hacer eso un estilo de rock/fusión, yo lo puedo hacer en metal. Así fue que nació la idea de usar el bajo piccolo.

 ImageJuan – Batería

¿Este nuevo concepto tomó forma rápidamente, o hizo falta mucha experimentación?

Tomó mucha experimentación. Pasé por mucho para finalmente lograr el sonido que quería obtener del bajo piccolo. Muchas distorsiones, ajustes y ecualización. Pero ahora finalmente tengo el sonido que quería luego de experimentar por tanto tiempo. También tuve que hacer cambios en mi técnica de tocar en general, especialmente en las partes tocadas con “muting.”

¿El hecho de no tener guitarra impactó su método de escribir canciones?

Realmente, no. Yo siempre he compuesto música en el bajo, así que el proceso se mantuvo igual. Lo único que cambió es que ahora toco líneas soloísticas como un guitarrista lo haría normalmente.

Cómo reaccionaron sus seguidores y la escena en general a su nuevo nombre y alineación de integrantes?

Hubo gente que decía, “¿Freddy dejó la banda!? Ese será su fin.”  ¡Estaban tan equivocados! Creían que Freddy lo hacía todo y era el “cerebro” de la banda – de nuevo, estaban equivocados. Yo escribía todas las letras, nombré la banda, creé todo el concepto, escribía la mitad de la música, e incluso hacía los arreglos de algunas canciones escritas por él. Él era un buen guitarrista de death metal, y un buen amigo, pero no era el cerebro en la banda. La prueba está en el hecho de que ahora tenemos mejor música. Por supuesto, siempre están los fieles que se alegraron de vernos continuar y crecer como banda. Acerca del nombre, no creo que haya sido un gran salto, porque ya muchos se estaban refiriendo a la banda como Organic nada más. Era sólo algo que queríamos hacer, ya que nuestras letras no eran sangrientas como antes.

 

Algunos podrían decir que el nombre Organic, comparado con su nombre anterior Organic Infest, no suena muy metálico. ¿Que piensan al respecto?

“Organic” es todo lo que se relaciona a un organismo, seres vivientes, vida y muerte. ¿Que podría ser mas metálico que la vida y la muerte? Organic es un término que es muy amplio y nos permite escribir sobre cualquier tema. Mientras que el nombre Organic Infest sugiere un estilo más al estilo death metal con letras sangrientas, el nombre Organic nos provee más libertad en las letras y también en la música, la cual ahora mismo no es death metal, si no una mezcla de todas nuestras influencias, las cuales se extienden a todos los estilos dentro del género (power, thrash, death, black, doom, etc.) y son parte de nuestro estilo original.

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Tony – Bajo

¿Cuál es el proceso de composición en la banda, y como arreglan las partes de los bajos?

El proceso es diferente para cada canción, pero mayormente se trabaja en sesiones de “jammeo.” A veces escribo una letra completa con versos, coros, puentes, y también concibo el patrón vocal, y luego añadimos la música. A veces escribimos la música primero, las estructuras básicas y amoldamos todo hasta que todos estemos satisfechos, y luego añado la letra. Acerca de las partes del bajo, usualmente yo concibo las partes y luego Tony le da su propio toque y estilo. Con el bajo piccolo toco como si fuera una guitarra, porque esa es la función que desempeña en el contexto de la música.

¿Qué le dirian a alguien que se queje diciendo que su bajo piccolo suena igual que una guitarra, y que por qué entonces no utilizar una guitarra en vez de un bajo?

Bueno, hemos tenido tantos contratiempos tratando de mantener un guitarrista en la banda que decidimos hacer otra cosa. Además, yo no toco guitarra, yo soy bajista, siempre lo he sido, y siempre lo seré. Si hago que el piccolo suene como guitarra, pues esa era la intención – tener un sonido de guitarra sin seguir la tortura de conseguir un guitarrista. Además, algunos son puristas y nunca aceptarían lo que estamos haciendo, y a nosotros nos da lo mismo. A los innovadores siempre los han tratado como locos y muchas otras cosas hasta que otras personas comienzan a seguirlos. ¿No es así que el metal se convirtió en la gran música que es? Al principio la música extrema se consideraba que era solo ruido, y ahora muchos guitarristas, bajista y bateristas están siendo reconocidos como grandes músicos. Es sólo un proceso de adaptación. Lo más importante es que nos gusta lo que estamos haciendo, y cómo lo estamos haciendo. Ante los cambios que hicimos, muchos me dijeron, “Chewy, lo que estás haciendo es un gran error. No va a llegar a nada.” Esos son los mismos que ahora nos siguen, vienen a nuestras presentaciones y dicen, “Wow, lo que ustedes están haciendo es impresionante.”

Chewy, como desarrollaste tu sonido vocal?

Cuando yo empecé, todos los “gruñientes” sonaban diferente, era algo nuevo y tomé como influencia lo que me gustaba de cada uno. Vocalistas como Chris Barnes, Chuck Schuldiner, Frank Mullen, David Vincent, Glen Benton, John Tardy, etc., estaban gruñiendo pero sonaban diferente el uno del otro. Nunca me han gustado las modas, así que cuando los gruñidos era la orden del día yo hice lo opuesto utilizando un estilo vocal más agudo como en el black metal, y cuando ese estilo se puso de moda, volví a los gruñidos otra vez. Principalmente lo que hago es cantar como la parte de la canción lo exige. Es algo que hago a base de cómo se siente, al menos en las grabaciones porque en vivo yo uso varias voces diferentes ara darle textura y variedad a la música.

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Chewy – El gigante que toca el bajo pequeño!

Tú desempeñaste una muy buena voz limpia en la canción “The Deathwish.”  ¿Tienes planes de incorporar más de ese estilo, o va a ser solo “si la canción lo necesita?”

Quizás incorpore más voz limpia en el futuro, pero sólo en canciones que tengan esa onda. Como dijiste, “si la canción lo necesita.” Además de Coroner, que es mi mayor influencia, las otras dos son King Diamond y Candlemass, que utilizan voz limpia. Incorporar eso estaría bueno. ¡Un reto, pero bueno!

¿Cómo ha evolucionado la escena en Puerto Rico desde sus comienzos hasta el presente?

Chewy: La escena en Puerto Rico ha sido una muy diversa, controversial, y difícil. Ha habido tiempos de crecimiento, pero en otras ocasiones se estanca fuertemente. Cuando comenzamos 22 años atrás, era muy difícil grabar y promover la banda. Todo se hacía por correo y por intercambio de cintas de grabación. Ahora es todo más fácil para las bandas grabar y promover su música por la internet, y aún así veo muchas bandas quejándose. Ahora hay promotores que traen bandas internacionales y todo eo, pero para las bandas locales como nosotros es más difícil tocar porque casi no hay sitios disponibles para tocar.

Juan: Siento que aún con todo el tiempo que ha pasado nuestra escena no ha evolucionado mucho. A veces se siente como que estamos resbalando, quedándonos en el mismo sitio una y otra vez.

Tony: Estoy de acuerdo que nuestra escena podría ser mucho mejor de lo que es. Si hubiera más cooperación entre las bandas en vez de ser una competencia para ver quién es el mejor, nuestra escena sería una muy buena.

¿Qué planes futuros tiene Organic?

Organic está ahora más fuerte que nunca, muy enfocados, y muchas cosas buenas están por venir para la banda. Nueva música, nuevas grabaciones, y muchas otras cosas buenas para promover la banda y darle una oportunidad de escucharnos a los que no nos han escuchado.

¡Héctor, gracias por la entrevista y sigue tu excelente trabajo, hermano metal! Saludos!

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Forget Not The Bass: Cygnus Establishes a Strong Presence in Ne Obliviscaris

Posted in Bass players, International, Interviews with tags , , on January 20, 2013 by Héctor Rodríguez

Every so often (but less and less frequently as time goes by), I come across music that is truly Earth-shattering. Music  so unique, so powerful, so brilliant that as I listen, I feel like time has stopped, and I have entered another dimension. This happened recently when I discovered a band from Australia called Ne Obliviscaris.

Formed in 2003, Ne Obliviscaris (Latin for “lest we forget” or “forget not”)  incorporates influences as varied as death and black metal, flamenco, and jazz.  Their line-up includes the dual guitars of Matt Klavins and Benjamin Baret,  the harsh vocals of Xenoyr, and the dynamic drumming of Dan Presland – all elements which are the bread and butter of extreme metal. But it also includes the clean vocals and violin playing of Tim Charles, and the endlessly creative bass lines of  Cygnus, Brendan Brown.

It would be easy for the average bassist to become a mere footnote in a band like this. The sheer intensity and complexity of the music, and the strong musical personalities involved  turn the idea of  fulfilling the bass role convincingly into an overwhelming proposition.  To say that Cygnus more than holds his own in such a challenging setting would be a huge understatement. Instead of laying back and playing basic root notes to anchor the swirling kaleidoscopes of sound, he jumps right in, delivering nuanced, elaborate  lines that are so well-crafted that they could almost stand as musical works of their own.

I haven’t had the pleasure of witnessing Ne Obliviscaris live, as they haven’t toured in the United States yet.   Perhaps if more people over here become fans and supporters, we’ll be fortunate enough to receive a visit from them. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the interview, and more importantly,  their music.

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Cygnus 4

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 It’s no secret that your real name is Brendan Brown. Where did the moniker of Cygnus come from and why?

When Ne Obliviscaris were flourishing, we were young and adventurous and there was a point in time we decided we should have stage names such as bands we aspired to like Dimmu Borgir (Shagrath, Vortex etc.)  I chose the name Cygnus from an Alarum song (amazing jazz-metal band from Australia).  A dear friend of mine who is the ex-guitarist in the band wrote a song on their Eventuality record called Cygnus X-1. The name seemed fitting for two reasons:  my love for astronomy and cosmology and that it is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard.  NeO dropped the use of using stage names shortly thereafter, but I kept mine as a musical alias, as I wish to release my own bass solo music and simply label it Cygnus.

 Guitarist Matt Klavins said this about you in an interview: “Brendan had once told me that he used to play simple bass lines and then one day everything just clicked and he understood the bass.” Can you elaborate on that? 

Well, music is all patterns. I don’t know a great deal of theory, just some basic principles:  Minor and major arpeggios and scales. The compositions in NeO are very chordal based.  So if the guitarist is playing an E minor chord (which we often do) I realized that I can play the entire E minor scale over that chord and anything I construct will work musically. It’s when I came to that simple realization that a fundamental group of notes can be used to create a pleasant melody over the most basic of chords. Music then became so much easier to express. So a lot of my bass lines incorporate scale runs, high melodies (above the 12th fret) and lots of octave funk/groove work. I always wanted to be a drummer but my mum wouldn’t allow that because of the noise, so she bought me my first bass when I was 14. The rest is history and finger callouses.

The music of Ne Obliviscaris seems to be orchestrated to the last note. Am I correct, or is there any wiggle room on live shows for any of you to alter your parts at least slightly?

The only people in Neo that improvise ever so slightly would be myself and Dan our drummer. Obviously it’s impossible to hit every single cymbal the same way it was hit on the recording (there were more cymbals and extra toms on the album as Dan put everything he had to make up a mammoth kit in the studio.) I would not improvise a whole new bass line, but maybe add certain accents or certain styles of playing. For example if I am feeling aggressive on stage I might slap/pop some of the notes to accentuate them where as I did not do that exact technique on the album. I think little tiny things like that work well live. When you are a vocalist you can’t just change lyrics or vocal patterns because everyone will notice! I minimally change specific parts to enhance the music to cut through or just reflect the way I am feeling on stage, most people would not notice. I think it was only once my bass student said after a show “you did some cool runs on the end of that riff.”

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NeO Band

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 The band’s bio says you incorporate influences “from progressive to black, thrash, death and melodic metal, and even western art music, jazz and flamenco.”  Can you name any specific artists that stand out for you and your bandmates as important influences?

We all have very different musical backgrounds, but we all clearly share a love for extreme Metal! There is no argument there. Tim [violin/clean vocals]  has a strict classical upbringing,  but he listens to absolutely everything. He is probably the most open-minded out of all of us. He even appreciates some pop, which is something the other guys don’t feel so strongly about! Xenoyr [harsh vocals]  listens to predominately black metal and I grew up with a brutal death metal background. My heart lies with death metal, I listen to it every day. I love all styles of music; as long as it conveys emotion I will like it.
I can tell in 30 seconds if I like a band or not. I love nonmetal bands such as Sigur Ros, Lamb, Bjork, Aesop Rock, The Gregorian Brothers and Portishead. The list is endless. I know Benji [guitar] has a strong love for flamenco and traditional Gypsy music and bands such as Death and Psycroptic. All these elements and influences are absorbed into the entity that is Ne Obliviscaris. Bands that have influenced us would be Opeth, Emperor, Immortal, Satyricon, and Disillusion to name a few, but our music collections are quite extensive.

Clearly, the band’s music transcends the standard structures of verse/chorus/bridge. Where did the impulse to write such expansive musical pieces come from, and what is the songwriting process like?

It can be challenging at times. We don’t intend to write such lengthy songs,  but once we all have our input the musical journey always seems to be around 10 minutes in length. Often a member will come up with some riffs or bulk of a song in their own time and bring it into the rehearsal room and we all jam it out and discuss repetitions, solos, who takes turns,  whether the vibe feels like harsh vocals or clean vocals or even both! It’s a long process most of the time because there are six entities that all have different opinions and may not all agree on the same thing. There have been times where five members loved a part but one did not, we don’t take majority vote, so the part was changed until all six members are happy. It always works out for the best in the end. We transcribe our songs in Guitar Pro so they are easy for each member to learn and add their parts. I find it a useful tool to create interesting bass lines because I have a terrible memory and I need to write down everything. If something isn’t working I can simply delete and start again. Most of my bass lines come from spontaneity and just playing in the moment. There are infinite possibilities. You have to tap into the right one. Let your heart guide you, and write it down as you’re going.

 On a band with two guitars, two voices, a violin, and a drummer playing such complex compositions, most would expect the bassist to play very simple parts, yet that’s not the case in Ne Obliviscaris.   On the quieter passages, you’re playing a very contrapuntal role, but even on most of the heavier passages, you often do not mimic the guitars, but rather remain in that contrapuntal mindset. In my opinion, the fact that you don’t “dumb it down” when the music gets really heavy gives the somewhat abrupt changes continuity. What are your thoughts on this, and how did that approach come about?

I guess it’s just my style.  I may have a bad memory but I have a chaotic mind! I like busy complex things. My mind is always racing and everything I do in life has some form of complexity about it. When I first picked up the bass all I did was play as fast as I could. It was sloppy, it was chromatic, I had no idea what I was doing but I knew I wanted to make fast, aggressive music. So I did that for years. Over time,  I became more mature and my active mind started slowing down and I began to understand melody and holding back on the bass. I am self-taught and I learned some basic theory, minor and major scales and arpeggios. It opened up a massive doorway. I have always played in death bands where I just follow the guitars note for note. NeO allows me to explore the bass and I love it. Playing with NeO is the best feeling on Earth, and I love how challenging each song can be.

 The band goes from the quietest whispers to aggressive blast beats, which are used rather often in your songs.  Who in the band is the most into extreme metal, or do you all have relatively similar influences?

We all listen to similar bands and are very open minded individuals but we all have genres which we learn towards more. I for one have a huge passion for brutal death metal, where as our vocalist Xen leans towards raw black metal. But we all listen to similar bands such as Cynic, Emperor, Katatonia, and Opeth – the list goes on. We regularly show each other bands we have discovered. A band some of the guys are into lately is called Thank You Scientist. They are far from metal. They can be described as technical groovy funk. They also have a violinist and are phenomenal players. I can’t get enough!

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Cygnus 2

  Describe your gear, and please elaborate on your preference for headless bass guitars.

At the moment I use the Eden Navigator WP100 World Tour Class Bass Preamp, Matrix 800 Power amp, Fractal Axe FX Ultra guitar Preamp, Furman PL-8CE Power Conditioner all inside one rack (so I don’t have a separate unit for guitar and bass, I keep it all together for convenience.)  I run it through an Eden XST 4OHM cab for bass or a Mesa 4×12 cab for guitar.

I prefer headless instruments. I like the visual aspect of it. I feel it gives you a creative edge and something to be remembered by. I could not tell you the amount of times I hear people say “Oh you’re that guy that plays the headless bass.”  I was first introduced to Steinberger guitars by  Alarum guitarist Mark Evans. Not only is he one of the best guitarists in Australia, but having this guitar just made him rise above the rest. It was something I could not get out of my mind since I was 16 and first saw them perform their incredible metal-jazz fusion. I bought a Steinberger bass and recorded the demo and album with that. Now I use a custom made Status m2 headless mahogany bass with gold hardware and a graphite neck.  It’s my dream instrument and I could not play any other bass. I have 9 guitars and basses of different varieties. Two 8 string Agile guitars and a 5 string custom Belman fretless bass to name a few.

 I hear you doing chords sometimes, and tapping. How do you pick your spots? Do you gravitate towards certain chord shapes or voicings?

That would all come from the heart. A good musician must know when to not overplay. When I am shown a riff I learn the root notes to get my positioning on the fret board and from there I hear piano-like melodies that enhance the melodies that are already present. I just play these lines on the bass, if there is something that isn’t working we will communicate it, but it is rare as we all trust each other’s judgment. Obviously I would not do a bass solo under a violin solo, so I will hold back and keep it direct and interesting until the time is right. Generally I find bassists that play very simple bass lines are just musicians that aren’t very skilled or creative. It’s not that the part always requires one simple long drawn out root note; it’s that they can’t think of anything else to play or they’re just following the basic root of the guitar chord which does not enhance the music at all.  It’s a shame because there is unlimited potential there and I don’t believe the bass is there to be a simple backseat instrument. In old Funk and R&B music the bass often takes the forefront with quite complex, chromatic walking bass lines, dead notes and running arpeggios and extremely interesting pulses. I draw a lot of inspiration from those players even though I don’t necessarily like those genres.  I believe that the best use of bass I have ever heard is Spiral Architect’s A Sceptic’s Universe, and Cynic’s  Focus. They are by far my biggest inspirations and still to this day I cannot understand how they came up with those bass lines. They inspire me daily and forever will.

 On one of the videos in which you appear doing bass tracks at the studio, your bass is shown to have a curious pin attached to the strap. It’s a guitar pick crossed out, as if to say ‘No picks allowed.’ Is that just purely in jest, or do you in fact feel very strongly against using a pick to play bass?

I got that badge when I bought an Ebow (an electronic sustain device).  I don’t play with a pick and never will, I am against picks on bass. In my opinion if you play with a pick because you like the “sound it creates” – well, you can use your fingers to sound like a plectrum by angling your nails onto the string. People who play bass with plectrums are guitarists in my eyes, or just plain lazy. Every bass player I look up to plays with their fingers. Although an honorable mention would be my friend Cameron Grant from Psycroptic. He plays with a plectrum but I respect him because he keeps up with their guitarist Joe with some of most blistering fast and complex guitar riffs I have ever seen.  So I forgive him. (Laughs)

 On an interview with vocalist Xenoyr he mentioned that the band changed drummers at one point (from Dan Presland to Nelson Barnes), then went back to Dan.   How was that transition for you, and are there any noticeable differences in their styles?

The band was on hiatus for almost 2 years, with [guitarist] Benji’s Visa problems and personal issues in the band, money, and loss of loved ones etc.  It was a very tough time for all and Dan is someone who has a huge drive and must keep busy whether it be drumming or working. He lost interest in the band because it seemed we were going nowhere and he decided it would be best to step aside and focus on other things. It was very hard to deal with as we believe he is one of the best metal drummers out there, and there is a big shortage of phenomenal drummers. Our dear friend Nelson put his hand up to try out and claim the throne. He did a fantastic job. He really understands the drum kit. He learned the entire album in a couple of months. However, Australia is a very big place and Nelson had to fly down from Brisbane to Melbourne for every rehearsal and gig. It was just not a viable option, but it was the only option we had and did not want to delay the release of the album as we had already been waiting two years. We toured Australia for the Portal of I  album launch and went back to our jobs. We discussed the future of the band, if this is a long term commitment or if it would be best to part ways with Nelson due to the distance between states. NeO need to rehearse weekly to write such intricate music and there was no way we could fly Nelson down weekly,  or even fortnightly at best so we approached Dan again. We informed him that the band was back up and running and we have been touring and playing in front of large audiences and his interest was ignited.  Dan is now a permanent member of NeO again and we could not be happier as he is family to us and so easy to work with. He is the human metronome. As for Nelson, he is busy with his own band The Schoenberg Automaton and they have just released their debut album Vela. It will put Australia on the map because it is absolutely groundbreaking technical metal. They will be huge!

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Cygnus 1

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You mentioned earlier that you intended to do a solo project. Can you please elaborate on that, and if you’re involved in any other projects outside Ne Obliviscaris?

I am in a few projects. There was a point in time I was in 3 full-time bands at once: Aphotic Dawn, Primordial Space and NeO. Aphotic Dawn is no longer around, they also featured Dan Presland on drums. We supported Morbid Angel and Kataklysm but did not release anything. I stepped aside from Primordial Space to focus more on NeO and my other projects. It was a hard decision because I love that band so much and have been part of it for 6 years. We rehearsed regularly but did not get anywhere – just a handful of gigs, no official releases. The band is still together and features Benji from Neo on lead guitar.

As of now NeO is my main focus and always will be. I play in a band called Vipassi with Dan on drums, and Ben from A Million Dead Birds Laughing on guitar. He is an absolute genius, and although the band is moving very slowly, once it hits the live circuit I think people will be quite surprised. It’s definitely the most challenging work I have been involved in. It can be described as a mix of Ulcerate, Deathspell Omega and Gorguts.

And lastly,  I have been working on a solo death metal project called Infinite Density for the last 4 years. I have 22 songs and have been recording them at home over and over,  getting better at producing,  but I am a finally at a stage where I am happy with my guitar playing and producing abilities and will release a demo/EP containing 8 tracks this year.  So keep an eye out and follow me at www.facebook.com/infinitedensity.

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Check out Ne Obliviscaris on the web:

https://www.facebook.com/NeObliviscarisBand

https://twitter.com/NeObliviscaris_

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