Since the release of last year’s impressive debut album ‘Portal Of I’ (8th in the user-voted 2012 KYS Album of the Year poll), Melbourne’s Ne Obliviscaris have hardly had a moment to breathe. Currently working on a follow-up full-length and preparing to embark on their first overseas tour, it is a busy time for the band. Ahead of headline shows in Melbourne and Sydney this July, Killyourstereo.com sits down with lead vocalist Xenoyr.
How are preparations going for these two headline shows coming up?
Everything is going really well for that. Considering Saturday night is our only Melbourne headline show for the year we’re trying to hype it as much as possible. So far from the responses a lot of people seem to be looking forward to it.
The other show you did most recently was the Cradle of Filth performance at Billboard. How was that show?
We were a little unsure how the Cradle fans would respond to our music, but on the night it turned out really well and it was quite full [the room] when we started playing. We got a good response. A lot of fans afterwards came up to us and said how much they enjoyed it. Also, playing with The Amenta is always fun – they’re really great guys. Obviously, playing with Cradle was quite a rewarding experience. Some of us have listened to Cradle for many years and grew up with them. To actually meet some of these people you looked up to when you were a lot younger was kind of mind-blowing.
I was going to ask about that because I saw on Tim’s Facebook page he had some photos with the members of Cradle of Filth. How much interaction did you get to have with them backstage?
A few of us didn’t really get much of a chance, but some of us had quite a decent chat with a couple of the members from Cradle. They are really nice guys. You’ll get a lot of people that will spout negative feedback about some of the big bands and what they interpret these big bands to be like, but when you actually get to speak to them in a comfortable environment they are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. You’ve got to be like that if you want to continue in the industry. I guess that’s one of the reasons Cradle have been around for so long.
One of the cool things for you guys is you were voted by fans as one of the three possible supports and then Cradle of Filth personally chose you to support them. That must be a good feeling?
Yeah, it was quite a good response. There was stiff competition – Hybrid Nightmares. I kind of feel in a way, I don’t want to say it was unfair or anything like that, but I prefer bands to be chosen. But, if a promoter wants to do something that way then that’s fine. That’s how they run things. It got the show a lot more promotion. It got all the bands that were involved [more exposure]. Some bands on there were quite new and no one had ever heard of [them]. So, it was not only great exposure for us, but [also] for all the bands involved for everyone to check out.
Another of the other big things with the band at the moment is the new material you’re working on – a follow-up to ‘Portal of I’. How’s that coming along?
It’s going along really well. We’ve probably written about two-thirds of the album so far. It’s a little different when you’re writing with a restricted timeline. We now know it needs to be a lot more organised. We’ve been a lot more efficient in how we should be writing and we are a bit more focused. Before, we had years to write ‘Portal Of I’ and now with this, it’s full steam ahead and no stuffing around. We are playing a couple of new songs this Saturday night [at the Espy] that we are working on. They are not entirely finished, but they are pretty well established, so we shouldn’t be too rusty.
I hear those new songs are quite long in length…
…is that going to be the bulk of the album, a lot of longer songs?
It will be maybe a third of the album I guess [the longer songs]. One of the songs is probably about 22 minutes.
But, more information about why they are that long will come out later. The album will be a little different to what we’ve done. But, it will still entail the main elements of what people’s perception of NeO is actually like. We’re trying something a little different.
You’ve got quite a few exciting things happening with the band at the moment. The Asian tour you just announced is an obvious one too, tell us your thoughts on that.
We’ve wanted to get overseas for quite some time. We’ve had the album out for a year now and it’s just starting to expose things, and it’s starting to pick up, so we’re going overseas to test the waters. Asia is probably the best option to tour for us first because it’s closer and I guess it’s a lot cheaper for Australian bands as well. We are testing the waters with that and once we have a good understanding of how things run with that, [and] once our next album is released, hopefully in the next year, we’ll look at touring more extensively overseas.
That was going to be my next question – obviously there’s a lot of planning and logistics behind touring. Is the ultimate goal for the band to be at a stage where you’re touring ¾ of the year?
(laughs) All the guys would probably love to do that…to tour constantly. The issue is, Australia being so far away from everything, a lot of the guys have families and other obligations, so we have to take that into account. If none of us had those sorts of things obviously we’d love to tour the world constantly. Despite these things we have, we’ll be trying to tour as much as possible overseas. If no one sees you play then the less opportunities for fans and the less experience [overall].
Like you were saying there with members having family and other commitments. How have you noticed this balancing act now? In the sense, NeO has picked up. How do you manage the band and other commitments in your life?
It’s getting harder. We all work. We all have our day jobs. The band is starting to progress at quite a rapid rate at the moment. The closer [we get] to writing and releasing the album everyone is trying to contribute more. With myself, I don’t have much spare time outside of work to myself. Most of my time out of work is spent doing stuff for the band basically. I guess in the end, you get out what you put in and we want to take the band as far as we can. If you don’t have that sort of drive then there’s more chance of not succeeding to where you want to go.
This is going to be a hard one to pinpoint, but what has been the best moment in the band up until this point?
I guess the first moment where I thought I could sit back and actually enjoy anything was the moment we released ‘Portal Of I’. I thought that was the first moment where I realised things could be ok was when we released the album. However, I think ultimately signing with Season Of Mist was that one moment when you were actually acknowledged by a label you respect. [The fact that] they are putting you on their label with bands you’ve looked up to like Mayhem, Cynic, and all those sorts of bands, which you’ve listened to for years. You think, “Wow! I’m actually on a label with those bands.” That must mean to someone that we have something to offer. So far, the ‘Portal Of I’ release and signing with Season of Mist are the two moments that have meant the most. Who knows what the future may hold, but I’m sure it will be very interesting.
Speaking of ‘Portal Of I’ and how you spent many years working on it and all the hard work to eventually get it out. I remember going to the listening party you had for it at Eurotrash a year or so ago. How was it that night when you got to sit down and listen to it in full and just see the fans get to hear it as well?
It was an unusual sort of experience. I’ve never done that before. It almost seemed too self-indulgent (laughs) to listen to the album and have other people there, you’re almost forcing them to listen to the whole album (laughs). It was a bizarre experience. Directly after we got a lot of great feedback. That was a good way to gauge people’s reactions, but at the same time, most of the people there were primarily fans for quite some time. It was interesting (laughs).
For yourself personally, have there been any albums or bands you’ve been digging?
At the moment, the band that has probably stood out the most is In Vain and their album, ‘Ænigma’. They are a band from Norway – a progressive, extreme type of metal. That’s a fantastic album. There are other metal bands. A band called Plaga. They are kind of like an underground black metal band. Also, I’m quite enjoying the new Amorphis album as well. I used to listen to the very early Amorphis stuff and missed the middle period I think, but I’ve recently been listening to the new stuff. There are a lot of great melodies in that. And a non-metal band that I’ve been a fan of for years, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
Have you listened to the new Deafheaven record by any chance?
Funny you should mention that (laughs). I listen to a lot of black metal and Tim [Charles, violin/clean vocals] emailed me a couple of days ago asking me if I had heard the Deafheaven album [‘Sunbather’] before because he is madly in love with it. He has seen a lot of elements in Deafheaven I’d probably like. Because it’s a cross of post-rock, he wasn’t sure if I’d like it though? I have trouble listening to a lot of instrumental post-rock. I’ve probably heard the album a couple of times now and he forced me to listen to it when we were driving to rehearsal one day (laughs), and I’m really enjoying it. The one part I do have a little personal thing with is I hear these moments in it where it’s very post-rock and very uplifting. At those moments I’m not sure if I really like it or it makes me extremely uncomfortable? Because it’s so uplifting, I’m used to quite darker stuff. It has certainly opened my eyes [though]. From listening to it those few times, I’m quite enjoying it.
Good to hear. That was one of the reasons I brought it up because, as you said, you’re primarily into black metal and Deafheaven have a black metal sound, but it’s seems to be people that don’t listen to that style of music that seem to be getting into the band more.
I’ll listen to it and think that’s really uplifting and it’s almost happy, and I’m thinking, why is the guy screaming? (laughs). It’s almost a direct contrast. It seems to work, so it’s definitely interesting.
Were there any final words you wanted to pass on?
We are doing the Melbourne show on July 6th and playing in Sydney on July 20th. In November we’ll be supporting Enslaved in Melbourne and in Brisbane. Thank you to Killyourstereo and to all the fans that have stuck by us all this time. Also, thanks to anyone who is open-minded enough to take a chance and listen to us.
Well-put. Really appreciate you taking the time chat with us today and look forward to hearing the new album when that comes out because ‘Portal Of I’ was thoroughly enjoyable.
Thank you very much. We are really looking forward to hearing the new album as well (laughs).
Have a good rest of the day.
No worries Kane. Much appreciated.
JULY HEADLINE SHOWS:
SAT, JULY 6@ THE ESPY, MELBOURNE
w/ A Million Dead Birds Laughing, Toehider & Hadal Maw
$15 on the door
SAT, JULY 20@ THE BALD FACED STAG, SYDNEY
w/ A Million Dead Birds Laughing, Rise Of Avernus & Myraeth
$12 bf from the venue OR
$15 on the door