miércoles, 20 de febrero de 2019

THE OCEAN: "Romper esquemas es la premisa". Entrevista exclusiva.

El trabajo periodístico encuentra sus recompensas cuando podemos concretar aquellas cuestiones que más nos reconfortan y satisfacen de la profesión, sea cual sea el objeto profesional, cuando podemos completarlo sentimos la sublimidad.

En mi vida son algunas cosas las que me elevan, que me hacen sentir satisfacción, que me reconfortan y que me permiten sentir cómo el desarrollo profesional va de la mano con el trabajo y el esfuerzo individual. Mi página es, probablemente, uno de los lugares donde se concentra con más fuerza el foco de la satisfacción personal.

Las entrevistas, la escritura y los reviews de bandas son el desenvolvimiento del espíritu y, no siempre, se valoran y dimensionan como lo que son: esfuerzos personales que marcan mi vida y que se han convertido en lo que más busco: ser un periodista de la escena extrema.

Particularmente las entrevistas son algo que me entrega una satisfacción altísima. Contactarse con las bandas para solicitar una entrevista, recibir la respuesta, positiva o negativa, redactar algo decente que sea desafiante o entretenido, escribir la introducción de cada entrevista y, finalmente, publicar la entrevista son los pasos que se siguen.

Cuando me confirmaron la entrevista con la banda alemana THE OCEAN realmente no cabía en la dicha y la satisfacción profesional: era una agrupación que durante los años que los he escuchado siempre me han impresionado, tanto su propuesta musical como el fondo lírico que construye la banda en cada álbum, así que ni bien leí el mensaje que aseguraba la entrevista dije: “chucha, soy un bendecido, alguien único, realmente he llegado donde nunca hubiera imaginado”.

No es por desmerecer a los otros artistas que he podido entrevistar, pero contactarte con las bandas que te gustan es impagable, produce un sensación de crecimiento, seguridad, estabilidad y continuidad que reconforta espiritualmente. Es, probablemente, la razón por la que comencé en una primera instancia con lo de las entrevistas: saber de primera fuente todo lo que no me quedaba claro de la música y de las bandas.

Es más, después de leer las respuestas escritas por el propio Robin Staps, fundador y único miembro original de la banda, solo puedo pensar en seguir, mucho más, con mucha más fuerza, más bandas, el metal es mi espacio, mi vida está aquí.

En esta oportunidad tengo el enorme orgullo de presentar la más reciente entrevista: THE OCEAN.

Un saludo caluroso, disfruten la entrevista y disfruten la vida. Hasta siempre. 

FELIPE: Estimated, thank you very much for wanting to participate. I confess I'm a follower of the band and I'm also someone whose albums have deeply questioned. Thank you very much for your time.
THE OCEAN: Thanks!

FELIPE: How do you remember the first years of the band? Was the first band of each of the members? It was always present to build challenging albums with a deep idea behind?
THE OCEAN: I am the only one that is currently still in the band that was there in the first years. We started out as a collective with varying members in 2001, at times we had 3 or 4 different guitar players in the band, as well as a pool of classical musicians that were somehow part of the band, but not permanent members. We decided to keep this term after the collective consolidated into a more consistent band lineup, as we always played with different people and as a there have always been a lot of people contributing that were not band members, but still very important towards creating what we do – guest musicians, video artists, lighting designers, classical players, etc. So we are both, THE OCEAN and THE OCEAN COLLECTIVE.

FELIPE: How did the idea of building several albums with a theme focused on science arise? How was the work of musical and lyrical creation?
THE OCEAN: The new material was shaping up to be in the vein of “Precambrian” music wise, so it made sense from the beginning… and when I closed my eyes and listened to the pre-productions, I saw archaic images and prehistoric landscapes in front of my inner eye once more. That’s a lot of times how we get to the conceptual frame of our albums, I’m trying to visualize the music that I write and that usually goes intuitively in the right direction… it’s like a reverse soundtrack, where the music is there first and then you come up with the motion picture, based on the music.

“Precambrian” was an important record for us, one that shaped our sound for the years to come, and when we played the “Precambrian” 10th anniversary tour this year, it felt like most of the songs on that record have stood the test of time and still felt somehow right when we played them live.

FELIPE: What can you say about your next work, "Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic"? I could hear it and it's a new top in the history of THE OCEAN.
THE OCEAN: The new album is more simple in terms of arrangements, with a focus on heavy riffs and lots of space — space for vocals, but also space for other types of sounds…I asked Peter Voigtmann, our lighting guy since 2013, to contribute synths and soundscapes to the new record. Peter was operating lights for us, but he really is a drummer and a musician with a great sense for sound design. He came back with something that was really special, his sounds were not just background layers but really colored the guitar tone on the record… so he ended up playing pretty much over every part of every song in the end, and naturally, we wanted to have him do that live as well. He will create most his sounds and effects analog and in real time, so it is really bringing something to the show that wasn’t there before.

FELIPE: What albums and what bands were a reference to wanting to form a band like THE OCEAN?
THE OCEAN: Neurosis, Breach, Refused, The Swans, and mid 90s chaotic hardcore bands like Botch, Today Is The Day, Converge, Dillinger Escape Plan.

FELIPE: What kind of activities you do apart from the band? I understand that your artistic performances are very varied and not only focused on music.
THE OCEAN: We all do different things. Paul and I run a record label, Pelagic Records, which is taking up more and more time, we have released almost 130 albums on CD, LP and digital formats so far. Loic works in a recording studio in Switzerland and Mattias is a chef in Stockholm. We all live spread out across Europe.

FELIPE: In recent years I have been strongly attracted to the work of NEUROSIS. His lyrics, his music, his visual proposal and the ideological and discursive aspect that his members express have been decisive. What do you think of them and is there a band that is deeply relevant to THE OCEAN's life?
THE OCEAN: I got into them with “Through Silver in Blood”, but the album that really was a game-changer for me was “Times of Grace”. I saw them live around the time when that came out, must have been 1998 or 1999, and that was one of the most intense shows I have ever seen. The way they combined visuals with music, and their whole set into one long song with interludes and transititions between the tracks, that was great, and no one was doing anyhting like that at the time.

FELIPE: Defining a sound is arbitrary, subjective and related to personal experiences and tastes. Knowing this, the sound of THE OCEAN is usually positioned under the parameters of Sludge, Post Metal and Alternative Metal. What do you think of these styles? They fit with the proposal of THE OCEAN? How would you define the sound of THE OCEAN?
THE OCEAN: I usually leave that up to journalists, I'm not a big fan of categorizing music or art and putting everything in a certain drawer... but people love to do that and I understand why, it makes sense and our minds are structured that way, that we always need to pursue a certain order, give labels and tags to things, in order to understand them and find them when we need them. As for The Ocean, there are elements of all the styles you quoted in our music, but also other influences that are maybe less obvious, coming from film, from soundtrack and ambient music and even from dark jazz and expererimental electronic music.

FELIPE: Given the lyric of your albums, the depth, versatility, imagery, innovation and the risk of them, where does the base come from? Who is the main responsible? Why did you decide to write the letters you have written?
THE OCEAN: Lyrically and thematically, the red thread that goes through the album is the idea of eternal recurrence, which is the idea that everything happens over and over again, an unlimited amount of times, in infinite time and space. This can be conceived both for occurrences within our individual lifetimes, as well as in the great scheme of things, for the history of humanity or even life on earth itself. It’s an idea as old as humanity, was found already in ancient Hindi writings, the Egyptians embraced it and then it sunk into oblivion with the arrival of the occident, because the idea of eternal recurrence bears integrally a sort of chance and randomness, which is hard to reconcile with the idea of one unique creation made by one unique god… Nietzsche however was an avid fan of the idea, and during his intellectual reign it rose to new fame and glory, haha.

When you look at the Phanerozoic, you see a lot of examples for eternal recurrence. Continents have collided and drifted apart, life has nearly disappeared from the face of the earth multiple times, then resurged again in different forms and places. Global temperatures have risen, fallen, risen again.

“Phanerozoic” is essentially an album about time, perception of time, and the fact that there are things in life which we cannot change, and finding our own personal ways of arranging ourselves with that prospect.

FELIPE: I could see you when you showed up in Santiago, how was that experience? I hope word gets out with other German and European bands.
THE OCEAN: Oh it was a great night, really. Beautiful venue and really good crowd, we were positively overwhelmed as we didn't really know what to expect from playing in Chile for the first time ever, and it turned out to be really great.

We are currently working on another South American tour, which will likely happen in late 2019 or early 2020. Tell your friends!

FELIPE: In these 18 years of work what elements stand out as positive and as negative to carry on THE OCEAN.
THE OCEAN: Oh man, so many of both... we just got back from a super intense tour in India, Australia and New Zealand. The fact that we play in a band that allows us to travel to these places and get paid to play shows there really is a dream come true. So an abundance of positive experiences, travelling with friends, playing great shows in Siberia or Santiago de Chile, or at big open air festivals like Hellfest in Europe is on one side... and on the other side lots of hardships, getting robbed in Spain on the Dillinger Escape Plan tour, dealing with broken down buses in the middle of nowhere in the US, losing band members that were friends, watching relationships fall apart because we are always on the road... it's a little bit of everything really, but for me personally all the positive aspects defintiley outweigh all the negative ones.

FELIPE: How has it been the experience of having a record label? Who are in charge? You might think that listening to good bands is a dream for some.
THE OCEAN: It's been a great, vastly rewarding ride. In the beginning, Pelagic Records was more like a hobby but it has grown into a full-time label now. Paul (The Ocean's drummer) and I are in charge. We have both always been interested in the “other” side of music, not just playing in bands, but the side focused on marketing, promotion, relations, product/packaging design, etc... It's all just different sides of the same beautfiul coin for us, and I'm happy that we get to work with so many incredible bands, and can contribute to making them heard and building them up, that is a great experience, besides playing in our own band.

FELIPE: During the years of existence you have had many momentary collaborations and have also experienced some lineup changes. Why this interest in including different and diverse artists in some of your works? Is it difficult to maintain a stable lineup?
THE OCEAN: Yes, it is difficult, especially when you are a young band and you have nothing to offer really.. then all the good musicians are usually already taken by other bands. Also, people's priorities in life change, at one point they want to start families or pursue careers and work jobs that make them have a steady income and give them security. Being a full-time musician is tough in every regard, it poses a big challenge finantially but also regarding your personal relationships, when you are constantly on tour. A lot of people are very excited about this life for a while, but then they realize it's not for them.

As for the guest musicians is concerned, I have always found great pleasure in working with artists that were personal inspirations for me... so even when we recorded “Aeolian” in 2006, when I was writing the vocals I always had a certain characteristic voice in mind, a voice that I knew, from another band I was listening to... and so naturally, rather than trying to find someone to emulate that specific voice, at one point I started reaching out to the original voices and asked them if they wanted to contribute to our album.. that's how we ended up with guest vocals from Tomas Hallbom (Breach), Nate Newton (Converge / OMG) or Caleb Scofiled (Cave In / OMG) back in the days, and it was a similar scenario now with Jonas from Katatonia.

FELIPE: I thank you for the time and desire to participate in this space. Any musical release or news you have the doors open in this part of the world. This space is for a personal reflection or for a farewell. Thank you very much and goodbye.
THE OCEAN: If you are into what we do, please check out other PELAGIC RECORDS bands like Briqueville, LLNN, Abraham, Earth Ship, Spook the Horses, Saver, Ylva, etc... you might find something you like! Thanks for your time, looking forward to returning to your beautiful country.

martes, 5 de febrero de 2019

Ennui: "El Funeral Doom se hace en Georgia". Entrevista exclusiva.

Tratando de hacer del tiempo algo que tenga trascendencia y utilidad, los últimos meses retomé los contactos con agrupaciones musicales para coordinar posibles entrevistas. Esto tiene que haber sido entre diciembre y enero, instancia que resultó ser mucho más productiva de lo que yo hubiera imaginado. Fueron varias las agrupaciones que aceptaron ser entrevistadas, cuestión que me obligó a tomar el tiempo en mis manos.

Durante estas últimas semanas retomé el trabajo creativo de preguntas y de algunos reviews de discos, pero sin duda que las bandas y los cuestionarios son lo que me han hecho trabajar más; no es solo pensar en algo interesante, profundo y que resuma mí interés y gusto por determinada agrupación lo que resume una buena pregunta, hay que realmente darle la vuelta y pensar, repasar discos y escribir. En esta dinámica he estado los últimos dos meses, nada mal para un trabajo hecho a pulso.

Lo satisfactorio, y que es quizá la razón de mayor peso para entrevistar bandas, es que todas son de mi agrado. Entrevisto a las bandas que me gustan, ¿qué podría haber de mejor en la vida de un profesional? Esta debe ser una de las razones de más peso para que este lugar no haya dejado de funcionar; es difícil asimilar que el trabajo que realizo puede llegar a ser valioso para cualquiera, y que en alguna parte del mundo alguien pasa un rato agradable leyendo una entrevista, un review o descargando un disco, porque en mi cabeza está, egocéntricamente, el gozo personal de hacer lo que uno más gusta.

Siguiendo esta lógica es que me contacté con la agrupación georgiana de Funeral Doom ENNUI, uno de los destacados y elevados representantes de las nuevas bandas en la escena del Doom, para enviarles las preguntas para una entrevista. Ellos, con amabilidad y mucha simpatía, accedieron de forma inmediata. Sin embargo, el tiempo pasó, como siempre, y las preguntas y las respuestas se fueron postergando y las semanas y los días fueron haciendo que la urgencia se volviera algo del pasado. Sin embargo, todo en la vida tiene su tiempo y sus exigencias, de modo que con nuevas energías y con un renovado deseo de cerrar el círculo de las entrevistas inconclusas es que me propuse completar, o solamente definir si vendrían o no las respuestas de las preguntas enviadas y sí las bandas anteriormente contactadas seguían interesadas en participar y ser entrevistados, y los resultados han sido inspiradores.

ENNUI, la más reciente entrevista, con sus álbumes ya publicados y comentados en la página, viene a cerrar un círculo que me produce satisfacción, un autorreconocimiento del trabajo realizado, un impulso para seguir y una constatación: esto es lo mejor de la vida.

Desde Georgia, oscuros, guturales, deprimentes y con bellas armonías que agobian y estremecen, la más reciente y sublimadora entrevista: ENNUI, sombríos y funeralescos.

Un saludo caluroso a la banda, didi madloba tkveni droistvis, me gamomigzavne tbili misalmoba da akvs k’aribch’eebi msoplios am mkhares, y un saludo caluroso a tod@s. Agradecer a Serj Shengelia por darse el tiempo y el profesionalismo en responder las preguntas, gmadlobt serzhs tkveni dro. Samudamod.

Disfruten la entrevista y disfruten la vida. Hasta siempre.

FELIPE: Guys, thank you very much for wanting to participate. I confess a follower of your discography. Thanks for your time.
ENNUI: ¡Hello! Thanks a lot for supporting us and for your interest.

FELIPE: You could make an introduction to the group: Trajectory, members and albums.
ENNUI: My name is Sergi Shengelia. I am the guitarist and co-founder of ENNUI, which is a 2-member band. We already have released 4 full lenght albums and two splits. Our last work was released under the mark of Non Serviam Records on 5th September of 2018.

FELIPE: For the information that I was able to compile in the network you are a duo, it is difficult the creative work and the composition of your songs considering that you are two people?
ENNUI: Actually this is pretty much easy. We use to work according this method: David makes demos of his songs at his home studio and I also make my songs at mine. Then, after all we usually have to choose the best tracks which will go to album. Then we're preparing for professional studio recordings. We also have no problem with experiments or improvisations, there are only two important things: 1. all songs must follow the conception of album. 2. we always trust each other the matter of songwriting.

FELIPE: There are not many Georgian bands that have international recognition in the extreme metal scene. Which do you recommend as unforgettable groups of the Georgian scene?
ENNUI: I agree with you. I can name only the one most successful and world-wide popular band from our country - Psychonaut 4. But it does not mean that the rest of bands are bad... You know, the life in Georgia is too damn hard to pay much enough attention to your musical projects and fully surrender yourself for art. This is the most important reason why the local bands are usually quickly giving up.

FELIPE: How did you get to know each other and what motivated you to form ENNUI?
ENNUI: I've met David long time ago... I do not remember exactly but it was near 2004-2005 when he made vocals for Cannibal Corpse cover during the gig of my death metal band Angel of Disease. We met on rehearsals before, but became close friends a little bit later. We decided to found ENNUI at the funeral of our mutual friend. Maybe it sounds banal, but not for us.

FELIPE: What bands are an example when thinking about the professional projection of ENNUI?
ENNUI: It's difficult to bring any example. ENNUI is our own attitude to the world around us, it’s the mirror of our life. We never had in mind to have any different bands as the benchmark. ENNUI represents what we have in our own imagination of this genre: David’s lyrics as the tip of this huge iceberg and our music as the rest of it.

FELIPE: In some of your albums have collaborated important names of the international Doom scene such as Daniel Neagoe, Greg Chandler, Don Zaros and John Devos. How were these collaborations concretized? Did you try to cover a lack or was it to give greater strength to the compositions?
ENNUI: We were really happy to work with them. Honestly, I'm not too strong in communication so David is responsible in organizing of collaborations with guest musicians. But for me it was a wonderful experience to work with such talented people. Greg Chandler is a very wonderful person and a man of giant talent. Nobody can imagine my happiness when I heard his vocals on the track I wrote. Daniel is great too and it's hard for me to imagine how someone can be so talented. He does everything: vocals, drums, guitars, bass guitars, keyboards. I am not familiar with Don as David does, but considering the fact that I'm huge fan of Evoken, I can say that I was incredibly happy to work with him. We met John 3 years ago when we had in plans to make a split album with his band MESMUR. This plan was changed but we had a chance to work with John and his guitarist Jeremy Lewis during this period. Those guys are ones of the most wonderful people I've ever met! And especially I would like to mention John. He rescued us at the most difficult moment when we were looking for a drummer. He recorded whole album in a shortest time and he did it in a best way. I will never be able to convey in words the whole respect and gratitude to this Person!

FELIPE: With what record and from what band did you feel the need to compose extreme music related to Doom Metal?
ENNUI: I don’t remember exactly but it was 2001-2002.  My friend gave me the record of Esoteric – “The Pernicious Enigma’’ album. Especially the song ‘’Dominion of Slaves’’ impressed me. From that moment I fell in love with this band and this genre of music.

FELIPE: How do you observe the Doom Metal scene? What would you add and what would be left? Have you been able to meet bands from other continents?
ENNUI: I strongly believe that Doom Metal, especially Funeral Doom Metal does not need anything to be changed. This genre has enough loyal fans, and we should not forget that this music is not for everyone and it must remain so. No, we did not meet any band from other continents, but we had a chance to share the scene with some Russian bands in Moscow. We also have a lot of friends from Russian and European bands.

FELIPE: Why the name ENNUI? I read what it means "boredom" in French. What did you seek to represent or recreate?
ENNUI: This question is to David. He already had an idea of this band name when we decided to play the music. But I can say that in case of our band this is not about the ''boredom'' only, mostly it's about the state of mind or spirit totally devoid of motivation, no will to live or any life goals. Boredom of existence.

FELIPE: How is the compositional, musical and lyrical work, considering that the bulk of your songs are very intense and extensive?
ENNUI: I can speak for myself. I invest in ENNUI all that I cannot put in everyday life and in other projects. Music tells itself how to make the next step. Very seldom used to pre-calculate or think out long before the recording of our music. I think that's right. If you think in advance about the development and continuing of the album -  music can turn out "dead"

FELIPE: Being a politically young country, does the recent history of Georgia influence the band's gaze?
ENNUI: Culture did, but not a recent history. For example, once we used as lyrics the poetry of Georgian poet and publicist Terenti Graneli because his works have that emotion which was very close to us and to funeral doom metal at all. Also some elements of ancient Georgian history - the cover art and the album title of our first album ''Mze Ukunisa'' which means ''The Sun of Darkness''.

FELIPE: A few months ago you edited your new album, I could hear it, it is an extensive, powerful, violent work that made it clear how many limits can be overcome in extreme music. How was the creation work? What complexities did they find when constructing such extensive songs? What reflection do you have left after being commented as one of the albums of the year 2018?
ENNUI: I must say that the recording process of this album left a terrible impression for me. From this point of view, it was the most difficult album for me. But the music itself was written long before we entered the studio and to be honest, we never had any problems with songwriting. We even had some ideas to make a double CD album. So the process of making the music was absolutely not complicated and moreover pleasant. What I cannot say about the record process. At least John recorded all drum lines at his studio within several days, but the following processes (recording guitars, studio preparation and everything else) exhausted us. Although the result was worth of it and now I think it was a really great experience for us.

FELIPE: How is your daily life, do you devote yourself entirely to music, work in something related to music or work in something different from music?
ENNUI: Both of us work in sphere of IT. I think that’s too silly to count on profit from music, especially to expect that it can be our main income. I'm sure that everyone has the same issues. I used to talk with members of many great and legendary bands from different corners of the world and everyone told me that music is not their main profession.

FELIPE: Metal is regularly judged as "noises", "jars" and other pejorative concepts. However, over the years the different scenes have been delivered to the main and most virtuous, imaginative and talented exponents of music in general. I understand that prejudice, ignorance and laziness for wanting to leave this ignorance articulate this unfounded criticism. How has your life experience been and what have you experienced?
ENNUI: People are always afraid of what they do not understand. Also this ''fear'' is expressed in different ways. We lived in the ''country of the highlanders'' during terrible hystorical period when the daily routine was full of lawlessness, corruption, criminal elements and absolute chaos. I'm afraid if I start telling you about this experience - this interview will stretch into a whole novel, ha-ha. So, I will not talk much. Personally I never had that issues, but I had and have friends who were stabbed by knife simply because of their long hair or pierced ear. Now everything changed and people became a bit more tolerant.

FELIPE: What look do you have of religion and the Church? Historically, spirituality has been an almost innate condition in man, but I refer to the institutionalization of spirituality.
ENNUI: I don't contemplate religion in any form. For me, it's a 12-hour flight back along the line of civilization. I don't even want to talk about it at all. But this is my personal opinion and I don’t want to offend anyone. Everyone has his own ''cockroaches'' within his head.

FELIPE: I thank you infinitely for the time, the disposition and the desire to participate in this space. Any novelty, musical or news release, have the doors open in this part of the world. This space is for a personal reflection or for a farewell. Thank you very much and goodbye.
ENNUI: Thank you so much for this interview. And many thanks to all our fans for their support. I promise that we will always try to meet your expectations and never let you down. I wish you all good luck, pure heart and a bright mind.