December 20, 2019 Interview – Oliver Nikolas Schmid of Lacrimas Profundere
There are many different acts that may fall under the title of Gothic Metal, however, Lacrimas Profundere should be considered one of the genre’s elite leaders. Formed back in 1993 in Germany, the band has created a textured sound unifying Doom, Death, and Gothic Metal stylings over the course of 12 studio albums. Growing artistically, all while building a dedicated following, they have toured the European region extensively, yet are arguably much more deserving of broader recognition.
Most recently releasing Bleeding The Stars back in July of this year, they welcomed in new Vocalist Julian Larre to the fold, and in exchange find themselves going back to the roots of the band with a balanced mix of harsher and more smooth clean vocals. Defiant to keep the motor running and continue to pump out quality Goth oozing Rock-n-Roll, founding Guitarist Oliver Nikolas Schmid recently sat to chat about the history of Lacrimas Profundere, their latest album, future plans, plus much more.
Cryptic Rock – Lacrimas Profundere has been an established band for over twenty years now. Originally begun as more of a Doom Metal act, you would shift focus to more Gothic Metal as time went on. As the founding member of the band, how would you describe the journey of the band?
Oliver Nikolas Schmid – Something like a circumnavigation around the globe. I’m very disappointed about the fact that Lacrimas Profundere has always been an underrated band and still is to this day. We did so many great records yet could not achieve the success these albums truly deserve. However, I love this job and, to be honest, if I look back at it now, it feels more like two or three years rather than 26!
Cryptic Rock – It is wonderful to hear that you still are so passionate about it. That said, you have kept the band going strong with quality new material through it all.
Oliver Nikolas Schmid – Everything goes around in circles and I’m going back to my roots again, which is also the path I want to take for the upcoming albums. Although I think the bell-bottoms I wore during the Fall, I Will Follow period will never come back. (Laughs)
I have some issues with the index finger of my right hand, probably some sort of arthritis, and it starts hurting after a while of playing. So now I have learned to take better care of myself; I’m trying to eat better and I’m improving my lifestyle so I can manage it better. I guess I’m getting old now. (Laughs)
Cryptic Rock – (Laughs) Aren’t we all? Looking at the band’s history a little more, you could see the band starting to shift stylistic approach and grow by the time Burning: A Wish was released in 2001. Would you agree this was a pivotal release for the band?
Oliver Nikolas Schmid – That’s actually a hard question. I would say yes, because Burning: A Wish was the perfect link between our past and the future. It opened many doors for us, such as our first tour in Mexico. My brother Christopher had his first experiences with his clean voice, and for the first time in our career we gained attention outside of Germany. No matter who you ask, most of the people still like that album the most, which is not too bad for a record that was released in 2001.
Cryptic Rock – Absolutely! That means it has stood the test of time, plus the band has been very consistent throughout the years releasing quality material. It was back in 2007 when Christopher departed from the band. Respectfully, Rob Vitacca did a great job fitting in with the band. That said, when Chris decided to step down, did you think it would be a challenge to continue on, seeing as his voice was such a big part of the band?
Oliver Nikolas Schmid – Yeah. I still love his voice and it always fits perfect to my composings. When he decided to step back I didn’t know how the people would react to Rob; I knew that there would be a massive change and I was pretty much hoping for the best.
Now, 10 years later, I’ve found myself in that same difficult situation again. I would be lying if I said I’ve never thought about quitting. It’s incredibly hard to find the perfect singer. When Rob decided to leave the band, I wanted to convince him to stay for half a year, but in the end I knew that it made no sense to continue with him. It was clear that we had nothing more to say musically to each other. Sometimes decisions have to be made. So mid-2018 I was faced with a heap of broken pieces yet again. I could have quit altogether then, but I simply love this job too much to quit.
Finding Julian was the best thing that could happen to me and Lacrimas. However, I don’t wanna talk too much about new members and singers. We’ve made cool records in all of our epochs. I now hope this lineup will last for another ten years or even longer.
Cryptic Rock – Let’s hope so! Everything has all worked out in one way or another through it all. Looking back, those who know the band, back in the day, would read that Chris was still working with Lacrimas Profundere behind the scenes following stepping down as vocalist. We are now over a decade removed from that, though: is Chris still at all a part of the band behind the scenes?
Oliver Nikolas Schmid – Yes, he is. I absolutely have to give him a massive thank you for always helping me, giving me advice and assistance. He is my musical soulmate and I don’t know what I would do without him. Bleeding The Stars wouldn’t be what it is without his determination and an incredible amount of hours of work. We both did 90 percent of the songwriting before we entered the studio, before I asked Dominik and Julian to join the band. So I guess it’s safe to call us the “brothers of Dark Metal” from now on. (Laughs)
Cryptic Rock – That is great to hear. Let’s briefly talk about the latest changes with the band: in the last two years Rob stepped down as vocalist and you brought in Julian Larre. How did you connect with Julian, and what has it been like working with him?
Oliver Nikolas Schmid – It was definitely not easy to find a new singer. First, I called some of my friends in the business – for example, Markus of Crematory, our Producer Kohle, and many more – asking for singers, and listening to a lot of cool stuff but it was not like “wow.”
Then, for weeks, I watched singers on YouTube and suddenly I came across Julian. This guy sang songs from Asking Alexandria, Slipknot and HIM. I wasn’t worried that maybe he could not sing certain stuff. You can pretty much throw anything at him and he can hit the notes or scream. He brought this excitement to the band that we haven’t had for quite some time, and now we just can’t wait to get out on stage every night. If we’re off for a couple of days, it’s like “When do we get back out there?” It’s so much fun.
Cryptic Rock – Awesome! And Julian made a fantastic debut with the band on your latest album, Bleeding The Stars. This album retains the classic Lacrimas Profundere sound, but also has a kind of throwback vibe to earlier material as well. Was it your objective to sort of revisit these sounds a little bit this go around?
Oliver Nikolas Schmid – Yeah, Julian was able to bring the scream vocals back on the table, which made me want to go back to our Doom/Death Metal roots; simply a combination of the riffing of Primordial with the vibe of Anathema and the tunes of Paradise Lost or Dark Tranquillity. When I write stuff I still see a vinyl LP in front of me. I still think that it should be listened to from beginning to end, not just a bunch of singles. Back to the core of our sound – doom, killing leads, heavy riffs, slamming drums, and everybody will be there moshing to this monster. Julian is the best singer I could get for this kind of job. Long story short: we made the album I always wanted to hear.
Cryptic Rock – It is a great album that really stands strong with the band’s other work. You mentioned how sadly the band has often been overlooked, but Lacrimas Profundere has attained a great deal of recognition in the European market. This in mind, the North American fanbase has yearned for you to visit. Is a US tour at all possible?
Oliver Nikolas Schmid – We know that there are so many people in the US that want to see us play live, and looking at our Spotify numbers, most of our listeners are actually based in the US. Sadly, it remains a dream for us at the moment. It is simply too expensive for us. It is difficult for us to estimate how many people would actually come to the shows; the risk is just too high. The flights, hotels, working visas, etc. are so much work and money.
Cryptic Rock – Understood. Let us hope that changes sooner rather than later. A lot of the band’s sound is attributed to your very unique guitar style. What are some of your musical influences?
Oliver Nikolas Schmid – Thanks a lot! There are so many, like Billy Duffy of The Cult or Zack Wylde, to name a few. But really it’s the love for my instrument and it feels like a part of my body, if you know what I mean? I always have my guitar with me. My band hates me for that because I bring it to the hotel, as a carry-on on the plane, and sometimes if I have a double room for myself, it gets the other side of the bed. (Laughs)
Yesterday I read the words “guitar god” written about me – and wow, this makes me proud – but I don’t see myself among all these great guitar gods out there. These days it’s hard to be special or sound like nobody else, so what I’m trying to do is that. I don’t turn down the tuning like everybody seems to do; I still play in standard E-tuning. On the other hand, I try to let it sound like I would play a very deep baritone or 8-string guitar, and I spend a lot of time to find the “right” sound on my amp – and if I say a lot of time, I mean a lot. (Laughs)
Cryptic Rock – (Laughs) Well the dedication certainly shows. Last question. If you are a fan of Horror and Sci-Fi films, what are some of your favorites and why?
Oliver Nikolas Schmid – No Horror, I’m the romantic ninja guy. (Laughs) Sci-Fi from Star Wars to Transformers. At the moment I watch Transformers with my little son and I love it.
2020 Lacrimas Profundere European Tour Dates:
Mar 27, 2020 Hellraiser Leipzig, Germany
Mar 28, 2020 Backstage Halle Munich, Germany
Apr 2, 2020 Kulttempel Oberhausen, Germany
Apr 3, 2020 EXIL live. music. club. Göttingen, Germany
Apr 17, 2020 Nachtleben Frankfurt, Germany
Apr 18, 2020 Headcrash Hamburg, Germany
Apr 19, 2020 Cassiopeia Berlin, Germany
Jul 5, 2020 AZIMUT Hotel Pereslavl’-zalesskiy, Russia
Aug 28, 2020 Maimarktclub Mannheim, Germany
For more on Lacrimas Profundere: lacrimas.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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