Thursday, May 14, 2015

Obsidian Sea Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?

Anton: We are trying to spread it around, let people hear it and we’re busy making some live shows happen. Some new ideas are already starting to emerge but we’re taking our time with them

2.Recently you have released  a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

Anton: I guess you can say the sound is still rooted in the traditions of what is called “doom metal/rock”, but with a dreamlike and sometimes uneasy air to it. I don’t know how others will feel, but to me it’s a quite introspective album that you can drift away to.

The main difference with what we did in the past is that we didn’t have the desire to stick strictly to the “canon” this time around. We gave ourselves more freedom with the songs and as we also had some line-up changes the sound naturally changed too.

When I look back, I feel the debut was much too straightforward and while this is not necessarily a bad thing, the current one is to put it simply, better musically. Of course, every band probably declares the same thing for their latest work, but I think there’s a lot more from our personalities put into “Dreams, Illusions, Obsessions” so it’s a more accurate representation of our band and the energy behind it.

3.This is the first album to be released in 3 years, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time period?

Anton: First of all, we added a bass player (Ivaylo Dobrev) in late 2012 so I’d say we were getting used to writing and playing our music as a trio both live and in the rehearsal room, working out what sounds best for this line-up and of course, writing the current album. Three years between albums seem like a long time when we look back but it didn’t really feel that way especially when you consider the mundane day-to-day activities, work etc. that we have to deal with in order to keep the band going.

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?

Anton: There isn’t a strictly defined concept but I think the album title fits quite well with what we are trying to achieve. In the end these are all stories about Man and his fate: his journeys inside his own soul and mind and the connection he has with what lies beneath the surface of our everyday existence – ecstasies, dreams, faith, the wanderings in which one could lose himself and become detached from his own beliefs and suffer.
This is probably not the common routine “reality” at first glance, but then again, this is what really matters and what defines us as humans, I believe.

The particular inspirations, I think, are not so important. All the lyrics are based more or less on our own life experiences so they might look distant and abstract to some, but for me the main goal as a lyricist is to evoke a certain mood, a subconscious and emotional reaction with them, rather than preach or “say” something self-righteous to someone which is to be understood in a literal way. I have no ambition to do that.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Obsidian Sea'?

Anton: Again, there isn’t a hidden “true” meaning behind it but when I came up with it I had this picture of the night starlit sky in my head. Subconsciously I’ve always associated music with the element of water, with the waves and the sea. So there you have it. I never felt that I have to explain the name to myself and to others, I think it just goes well with our music.

6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

Anton: I haven’t thought too much about it. First of all, we haven’t played so many shows because there aren’t a lot of places in Bulgaria you can go and play especially outside of the capitol – Sofia - and we are just starting to arrange things for abroad.
Anyway, we’ve done memorable shows with 1000mods and Ufomammut (both great bands) but I believe we are getting steadily better live and for me personally our very last performance -  our album promo this April - was actually our best in terms of overall atmosphere (which is the most important in the end).

About the stage performance – we are not a band who tries to interact too much with the crowd or try to get them fired up or whatever – I’d say when we get on stage we enter our own little spaces and sometimes it feels a bit trance-like to me, so we try to accentuate that with the lights and with some little touches on how the stage itself is set. We don’t do anything really expansive or flashy – we just focus on the atmosphere and try to instill our own mood and temperament into those who watch us live.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?

Anton: We are working on it. We have a couple of shows in Bulgaria planned for June and we were also invited to a fest in Serbia (you can look it up here: ). Hopefully we’ll be able to do something of a mini-tour in some of our neighboring countries at least: Greece, Romania, Serbia, but that is still to be arranged properly. Anyway, if someone is interested in offering us a stage – we are open to any invitations, you know.

8.The new album was self released, are you open to working with another label again in the future or do you prefer the DIY approach a lot more?

Anton: Both ways have their good and bad sides. We worked with Solitude Productions from Russia for the first album and I cannot say we were unhappy with them but we wanted to try and do things ourselves this time in order to really know what’s happening and to have full control over the band’s dealings. It’s pretty hard work and we are still getting experience of how to do it properly, but we manage for now.
Anyway, we are not against working with labels in the future. We’ll see how people react to the album, it was released in 500 copies so I wouldn’t exclude even a future re-release if someone is interested, of course.

9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of doom metal?

Anton: It’s still early to say, but there are people from around Europe and the US who bought it and so far we’ve seen some positive reviews (one of them was yours for which we thank you, of course) so that makes me hopeful for the future. However things are not moving too fast, because we’re not the most well-known band in the style so we’re working on getting a wider distribution for the album. Things will happen in time.

10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

Anton: It’s hard to say. I’m not really interested in doing the same thing over and over again. I’m happy with the current album’s direction and I think we still have some nice songs in us in that vein, but there’s not a lot of new material for now… We’ll see. It’s not unthinkable for me to do something completely different in a couple of years if we feel like it.
Actually from what I’ve seen, people really focus on the very traditional element of our music, which is nice, but I feel there’s an unusual atmosphere to it that you can catch if you really listen. It’s not straight “doom” or only “metal” to me and probably we’ll add more strangeness in the future.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Anton: Well, obviously the biggest influences are classic doom bands from the 70s and 80s like Trouble or Pentagram (you all know them) but also early Judas Priest albums, Budgie, Wicked Lady. I also like to listen to soundtracks quite often – Goblin and Fabio Frizzi, some stuff from John Carpenter or say, Angelo Badalamenti’s score for Twin Peaks all come to mind. But it’s an influence in terms of mood and approach to music more than anything.

Anyway, the list would take too long and I’m really not so sure what really goes into our playing so perhaps people would find some completely different similarities.

However I can say for sure that our current sound owes a lot to great Italian bands such as Black Hole, Paul Chain, Death SS or Epitaph.

Apart from all that, nowadays… I listen to almost the same as always, some of the things I mentioned already too. I’m pretty slow in discovering new music. Boring, I know, but it makes me feel comfortable that way.

I can say that one of the last bands I saw live was Wovenhand and I was really impressed...

12.How would you describe your interest in the occult?

Anton: It’s strange, because this is a question we are often asked in interviews, but the truth is we don’t have a real profound experience with it nor do I feel we need to pretend just for the sake of image like many others do.

However, if we expand the answer to whether we are interested in the nature of being, of the world, of ourselves and ultimately – in the truth which unites all this, then yes, we are, as everyone who is working through any form of honest inspiration is…

And I think knowledge and experiencing life are one and the same but knowledge should be approached with honesty and not pride and there are lots of paths to it, be it philosophical, esoteric, imaginative, creative or even the most simple of practical experiences, but it has to be done with pure heart.

And to be honest, I have found that even the experience of not simply “playing”, but actually letting music sound through you is often more profound than the very superficial “wisdom” some sources offer under the pretense of truth.

13.What are some of your non musical interests?

Anton: I don’t want to sound pretentious, but my main interest is living in an authentic way. I studied philosophy, graduating a few years back and I always had an interest in the ways of fantasy and imagination so this defines my taste in books and movies too.

14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Anton: Thank you for the interview and for showing interest in the band.
There’s no need to talk too much, music says it better anyway. Take care!

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