November 2, 2017 Interview – Xenoyr of Ne Obliviscaris
Formed back in 2003, Australian band Ne Obliviscaris is a growing force in the land of Extreme Metal. Providing a breath of fresh air to a somewhat stale scene, Ne Obliviscaris offers something original and engaging, thanks to dynamic instrumentation along with masterfully crafted dueling clean versus harsh vocals. Recently releasing their highly anticipated new album, Urn, Ne Obliviscaris make an epic return to North America on a headlining tour, raising the stakes high for further dominance. Recently, we had a chance to speak with Lead Vocalist and Lyricist Xenoyr to talk about their new album, what to expect next from the band, the method behind their madness, plus more.
CrypticRock.com – Initially coming together back in 2003, Ne Obliviscaris has travelled a long road filled with hard work. Now set to release your third full-length record, what has the journey of the band been like through the years?
Xenoyr – The journey has been a tumultuous one, lots of highs and lows, like many bands I guess.. .but a highly enjoyable experience overall. Most people think we’re relatively new and don’t realize we’ve been around for years and we’ve done the hard times. Tim and myself are the remaining members from the initial line-up, and so with time and changing the members comes an evolution of sound. We’ve released a demo, two EPs, and now three albums, and only now am I coming to realize that we’re a real band; we tour the world on our releases and people actually turn up to our shows… a strange but comforting thing.
CrypticRock.com – That is a great accomplishment and really the essence of being a musician at heart. The new album, Urn, is out now. Could you offer a bit of insight about the inspirations behind the record?
Xenoyr – Musically, we wanted to be ourselves as usual, but we were conscious of working to a tight schedule, and also with losing our bass player in the process, we had to be more focused and efficient. We’d started writing a couple of songs while on tour last year, but most had been written early this year; we felt it was the right time, and really didn’t want to delay this release until 2018. I think we banded together under stressful circumstances and proved to ourselves that we are stronger than ever.
CrypticRock.com – It does not come across as rushed at all actually, so that definitely worked for the album; perhaps it just kept it from suffering from overthinking. It is extremely important in the modern age for bands to mix genres together to create a whole new sound all their own that explores uncharted territory. It seems obvious that Ne Obliviscaris excels at such challenges. Can you explain a little of the writing process and how you are able to fine-tune such a diverse sound into an intelligent mix?
Xenoyr – There’s so many bands regurgitating the same thing. I’ve no problem with that, but it doesn’t generally feel overly inspired, and almost feels like wasted talent. With Ne Obliviscaris, we’ve always tried to just be ourselves, to create through compromise, communication, and free-thinking to achieve our sound. We’re not all the most theoretical or proficient musicians, but our backgrounds are extremely different musically and our diversity has a lot to do with our sound. We’ve found the right people for the band, people who believe in what we do; we’re all on the same page, we want the same thing and therefore we make it work for us.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, finding the right team and keeping that vibe is key. Much of Ne Obliviscaris’ lyrics play out like stories. What was the theme behind the songs that make up Urn, and does your inspiration change from album to album?
Xenoyr – Urn, in this regard, represents death. It’s something we all have in common, regardless of who we are; it’s indiscriminate – race, religion, sexuality, species, means nothing in the end. Each song reflects on a certain aspect, but I’d only really call it a vague, unintentional concept album. I don’t look at death in a negative way, but more open-minded and accepting, after all… why live in fear of death, we know it’s coming, so why not make a difference in life while we can? Enjoy it and try to delay the inevitable, live for something, don’t just exist. My inspiration varies depending on my mindset, what’s happening in my life, and what the music ultimately inspires. I try to channel the music into a lyrical, morphing tapestry or painting for people to reimagine for themselves.
CrypticRock.com – It is difficult to understand how anyone could exist without finding their purpose or passion. Having two vocalists who switch off and harmonize, the band also utilizes the violin as its own feminine screaming ethereal. This is a big part of the band’s sound, especially in a live setting. Can fans expect Urn to have more of the same powerful dynamic?
Xenoyr – Of course, we’re always going to have those elements in our music… neither Tim nor I are going anywhere, and I don’t see us discarding that dynamic. We’ve worked together on Ne Obliviscaris for 14 years and so we’ve found out a way where we can comfortably combine everything in a constructive and complementary way. The album is just as dynamic if not more than the previous releases, there are plenty of highs and lows, and where light and dark can co-exist.
CrypticRock.com – That is exciting to hear! The Cradle Of Filth tour in 2016 was a pretty good match for Ne Obliviscaris. Although your style is much different, one can imagine you made quite a few new fans along that journey. That in mind, what has your tour experience been like in North America?
Xenoyr – We’d toured with Cradle of Filth across Europe already, so touring the US with them showed that there are various elements between bands that cross over, and that fans could enjoy both. Granted there are probably fans of both bands that don’t get it, but this is part of the whole experience, playing to people that may not usually listen to what you do, and hopefully appealing enough to them so they become fans…but you’re never going to please everyone. North America has been very good to us, probably one of the most accepting of what we do, whereas Europe is a slower burn, which is surprising as everyone thought we’d be far more popular there. Americans have welcomed us with open arms and every time we play in a city it almost feels like home… one reason why we’ll keep coming back.
CrypticRock.com – Those who discover the band are hooked rather quickly. You are actually back in North America into December with Allegaeon. Tell us a little bit about the tour plans in terms of how much new material will be played since many of your songs are quite lengthy.
Xenoyr – Definitely looking forward to playing the US again, it’s a month long and we’re covering a few cities we’ve not played before. We’re playing material from each album as it’s a 90 minute set, but obviously it’s a tour to promote our new album, so there will be a decent focus on new material.
CrypticRock.com – That sounds about right. On your previous North American tour, there was pretty minimal fashion exploitation since you were all dressed in simple black attire. As subtle as that may seem, the clothing you wear still makes a powerful impact on the band’s live stage presence, individually, and as a unit. Do you think this gives strength to the music itself and would you ever consider changing onstage attire?
Xenoyr – Absolutely, as a band we made a conscious decision to appear somewhat unified, as you’ve mentioned. We wanted a professional image, to be taken seriously, and for people to understand that we believe in what we do. There’s no wrong or right, bands can express themselves how they like, but we’ve had this mindset from day one. We all wear plain black clothes, however, they vary depending on the individual’s personality, and I doubt the attire will change dramatically down the track as we prefer to still retain some of our individualities… a unified black look is our comfortable compromise.
CrypticRock.com – Agreed that works for you and you do not need an over-exaggerated look. Extreme Metal is such a broad term as far as a genre goes. It can mean so many different things and so many different types of bands can fit under that umbrella. What are your thoughts on the international Extreme Metal scene in 2017?
Xenoyr – The international Extreme Metal scene is bigger and more exciting than it’s been in a while. I guess we’d fit under that umbrella, as we range from some quite extreme heavy parts to dramatic, quiet and acoustic moments, so we do cover a lot of ground making it difficult to categorize us. I think more and more bands are becoming harder to put in a genre, bands are evolving and exploring new areas, and there’s so many new bands popping up who are so open-minded, it’s inspiring to see.
CrypticRock.com – Absolutely, it has embarked on a very exciting path recently. Last Question. CrypticRock covers all areas of music as well as movies, particularly Horror and Sci-Fi films. If you are a fan of these genres, what are some of your favorite titles and why?
Xenoyr – Of course, I grew up on both… probably not the most sensible watching Horror movies at a very young age, but I like to call it… conditioning. Off the top of my head, some of my favorite Horrors and Sci-Fi are: The Shining (1980) – it’s one of my all time favorites, combining Stephen King and Kubrick so not sure there’s anything else to say. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) – it’s probably the most psychologically abrasive movies I’ve seen. Twelve Monkeys (1995) – I thought it was very well put together, brilliant acting and I have a slight obsession with diseases wiping out humanity. The City of Lost Children (1995) forever has a place in my heart; a beautiful, quirky film. Nosferatu (1922) – if you’ve any interest in vampires and haven’t seen this then you should be ashamed of yourself. I could go on but it would end up a book’s worth.
NOV 2 @ Whisky A Go Go, Los Angeles, CA
NOV 3 @ Beauty Bar, Las Vegas, NV
NOV 4 @ Loading Dock, Salt Lake City, UT
NOV 5 @ Globe Hall, Denver, CO
NOV 7 @ Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
NOV 8 @ Dantes, Portland, OR
NOV 9 @ Rickshaw Theater, Vancouver, BC
NOV 11 @ Dickens, Calgary, AB
NOV 13 @ Park Theatre, Winnipeg, MB
NOV 14 @ Amsterdam, St Paul, MN
NOV 16 @ Reggie’s, Chicago, IL
NOV 17 @ Foundry, Cleveland, OH
NOV 18 @ Mavericks, Ottawa, ON
NOV 19 @ Foufounes Electriques, Montreal, QC
NOV 20 @ Sonia, Boston, MA
NOV 22 @ Le Poisson Rouge, New York, NY
NOV 24 @ Blind Tiger, Greensboro, NC
NOV 25 @ Masquerade, Atlanta, GA
NOV 26 @ Haven, Orlando, FL
NOV 28 @ Gasa Gasa, New Orleans, LA
NOV 29 @ Rail Club, Ft Worth, TX
NOV 30 @ Acadia Live, Houston, TX
DEC 1 @ Come & Take It Live, Austin, TX
DEC 3 @ Club Red, Phoenix, AZ
DEC 4 @ Constellation Room, Santa Ana, CA