Hi and welcome to Kronos Mortus metal magazine! How are you today?
I’m fine, it’s actually kinda warm and cosy here in my flat so everything’s just fine! And how about you?
I’m fine, thank you! I’m so glad to talk to you! So let’s start with the first question: you recently contracted with Nuclear Blast. It’s a great leap forward in a band’s life and I suppose you’re quite glad about it…
Yeah, we’re very happy about that. It’s actually, as a matter of fact we’re realising right now how big this step for us is in the evolution of our band actually is because now that we’re able to throw out video material or whatever through the Nuclear Blast channels, we really realize how huge this playground acutally is. Because after we released King Delusion we were very happy with the result and how the album turned out and we were also quite happy with Apostasy Records, the label that we were assigned to prior to Nuclear Blast. And then we thought we should maybe try to make the next step in the our evolution and the label manager, the owner of Apostasy Records told us that he thought likewise and he said: would it be okay for us if he would search for a larger metal label for us and if he would also be able to stay with us as our manager. We agreed because we really wanted to keep him because we were very satisfied with the work he did for us over the years. And yeah, then he put this offer from Nuclear Blast on the table and asked us if we wanted to sign it and we were like „Yeah! That’s definitely a ’no-brainer’! And yeah, then we signed to Nuclear Blast but like I said before: really realising how huge this step is for us as a band… That is happening right now.
Unfortunately you’re not so well-known in Hungary still, although you’ve been playing for a long time already and your music is really receptible. Please tell me about the band and about yourselves! How did the band form? What was the turning point that led you to the subgenre of melodic death doom metal?
The band was formed in 2005 by our guitarists Ole and Volker. They were befriended since their very early days and listened together to metal and all that stuff and they were really into Sepultura and they said to each other and Andreas Kisser and his guitar playing and he as a person is so cool we definitely have to form a band just to go on a same path. And that was the main reason why we did that and in the very beginning they were seeking in this Frisia which is the area where the band was formed. We’re also Esens the home city of the band is. And they were seeking for the right people to form this band. And it was kinda tough because there is no scene over there. There is no metal a really big thing over there. And was kinda tough for them to find the right people but after several line-up changes in the very first two years they found the first proper installment of Nailed to Obscurity in 2007 with the addition of Jan see our drummer and cast Schorn, our bass player. And back then they had a different vocalist, Alexander Dirks. He was also the vocalist on the debut Abyss and they played all over Germany at local shows. Not so many shows but all over Germany and they had a sort of a little reputation in our area and they were – let’s call it that way – my personal favourite band in our area and I was also in another band, a Burial Vault which I’m still a part of. We played some shows together with Nailed to Obscurity as us Burial Vault and in 2012, Ole, the guitar player told me that the band was thinking about changing the vocalist because… yeah, I don’t wanna dig that deep into this topic because I was not part of that and I like Alexander, the former vocalist. He’s also still a friend of mine so everything ended up good but back then there were some problems with him, that the band had with him, and they asked me to join them. I thought about that because playing double duty is a tough thing I think because I really wanted to stay with Burial Vault but I decided to join them because I love their music so much, on the top there was such a huge quality in and I also said I like might be able to add something to it and then we finished the record that is now Opaque. The album was back then already recorded also with vocals from Alexander they weren’t that satisfied with the results and they said: we will erase all the vocal lines and we will also erase the lyrics. You are able to write your own lyrics, do your own thing with these songs and see what comes out. Then I started writing lyrics for that one and I also asked Ole and Carsten to help me with that because I really wanted to make sure that everything fits a 100% with their own let’s say, vision of these songs and then it ended up being recorded as Opaque and been released as Opaque and then we moved on with this new line-up back then and wrote the second album together and that was King Delusion which was released in 2017, last year and that record really pathed the way for everything that is happening now because we were able to sign a contract with Nuclear Blast and we also became, we also got the opportunity to play with Amorphis, Soilwork and Jinjer in January 2019 and we really, really wanted to make sure that our new record would be released prior to the tour. And so we nurtured this year. We really tried to use it the best way possible and we started the writing or let’s say, Ole and Volker, they are always starting as a two piece before we, the other band members like Jann, Carsten and me are joining the fall to arrange and finalize and let’s say, write the final songs. That was the in end of 2017. This whole year, I think from February onward we were in the rehearsal room nearly every weekend and the only weekends we were not in the studio were the weekends when we played shows. But that was basically the story of Nailed to Obscurity so far.
These melancholic death/doom themes can go well deep, it’s like there would be a silent, inner anger that heals the spirit from inside out. What do you want to hand on through your music? What are your favourite topics?
It’s kinda hard to say that because the music is very atmospheric and like you said, melancholic and also melodic so I think we are focusing on the atmospheric and melancholic component of our music. We tried to put this on another level on that record. I think the lyrics, they are following that because as the music is getting more atmospheric and darker, the lyrics are following that because I always tried to find the lyrics that really fit with the music. I collect ideas, lets’s say all day, everyday, every time when an idea comes to mind, I try to send myself an e-mail or write it down or whatever just to keep the idea. When we starts writing songs, I try to find out which idea might fit a certain song better or if I have to write something new or it’s the song inspires me to write something new. That’s actually the process. But when it comes to topics that I like, writing about it is kinda tough to name just one because the lyrics are all about inner struggles, inner conflicts and I try so search strong metaphors for that. Because I really want to give people something that they can use as their own playground. They can try to find their own key to the lyrics. This is, I think for me, personally, this is very important. I like to write about these kinda topics because it helps me to get rid of them. It is my channel, like our music is my channel for these kind of emotions. So there is no special topic that I write about but it’s all very emotional, very personal, very close to me as a person.
Your band has its unique style, that’s a fact. But if somebody has never heard about Nailed to Obscurity, how could you describe your music, related to other bands?
That’s a tough question because on the one hand you really don’t want to say a certain band sounds like this or that but on the other hand I know that there are some bands that definitely have to be named here and that is Opeth, especially the Face from Still Life upon to let’s say Ghost Reveries, Watershed, especially Blackwater Park. This is an inspiration and this is the band that pathed the way for what we’re doing now so. And then there is Katatonia I think, when it comes to the melancholy and when it comes to the progressive component. Katatonia is definitely a band that had a strong impact on us and then there’s Paradise Lost when is comes to metaphors and the lyrics and when it comes to let’s say, the feeling of the more rougher parts in the songs. It’s also a strong influence for us. So I would say our music is a combination between these three, before mentioned bands but there is also a, yeah, let’s say a little bit of Secrets of the Moon in there and besides these influences there’s a unique kind of melodies in atmosphere and way of songwriting so I would put it that way.
I understand. Next is a tricky question: what do you think about your music? How hard to listen to it in your opinion?
You have very good questions! I have to say that! That’s for sure! Definitely! These are good questions! It’s not the typical stuff so I have to think a little more. (laughs) For me personally, when I listen to our music, I’m aware that there is a lot of me, as a person in the songs on the records that I was part of on Opaque, King Delusion and Black Frost. So it’s sometimes kinda tough to listen to them but most of the time I really feel that this is and was back then also my channel for pain in a way and for darker emotions and darker times in my life. So there’s a lot of personal stuff that find its way into the music, like conversations with friends or inner struggles that I had or maybe still have. So I think our muic is very emotional and for me, very personal and I hope that listeners are also able like I already said to find their own key to our music, to the metaphors and have similar kinda feeling.
Your new album called “Black Frost” is due to release on the 11th of January via Nuclear Blast and already we can see a video about it on youtube. What do you expect from this new material? What are your plans with the album for the future? Do you want to expand your fanbase through Black Frost or it’s rather for the die hard fans of Nailed to Obscurity?
I hope it will allow us to extend our fanbase while we hope to remain the ones that already found their way into our kind of music because we are also still very proud of what we did prior to Black Frost but it’s definitely feels like a new chapter for us. Besides the fact that there is this new label, there is also some sort of new self-confidence for what Nailed to Obscurity means to us and we know a lot better about the strength and the qualities of our music and I think this is pretty much reflected of Black Frost because we are definitely able to or let’s say we were able to put our musical ingredients to next level while we also added something new to it. We’re definitely looking forward to finally release it and extending our fanbase but we also look forward to hear what the people that already listened to Nailed to Obscurity would say about the new stuff. The press reception so far that we heard was very positive and we hope that we will stay that way and we’re also looking forward to tour with Amorphis and Soilwork and Jinjer and present our music to new audiences. It is the next chapter of the evolution of Nailed to Obscurity so to speak.
So you’ll play rather the new songs on the tour…
Mostly but we will also add some older stuff as well to mix it up a little. But we try to focus on Black Frost because this is our new record and we want to show it to the world. This is the ’Black Frost tour’ for us, so it would be wrong to not do it that way but we also want to show that there is more from Nailed to Obscurity so we will definitely include older stuff as well.
What is the difference between Black Frost and your previous albums anyway?
I think Black Frost is more dynamic. It features even more haunting atmosphere and also when it comes to the guitars, they are sometimes more ambient-like to feature the vocals in the way. That was also the reason why Black Frost also features lot more clean vocals than everything we did so far. That is also kinda new for me as the vocalist (laughs). It is a definitely new ground for me because I tried different voices on that record. It’s not pre-cleaned vocal voice that I use on record, I tried different techniques even for the whisper. I use two kind of whispering voices. So I hope that the people outside will like that and our understanding this as an answer to the more dinamic music because maybe some people might misunderstand this as some sort of „Oh no, they’re sell out people, they’re doing more clean vocals!” What I think it was just a natural transition. It’s not that I don’t wanna growl. I love growling and you can hear that on the record too because I really love doing the harsh vocals! (laughs) But it was also interesing to play with my voice a lot more. So, yeah, Black Frost, returning to the question, is the most dynamic, most atmospheric and darkest record that we have done so far.
Fortunately on the 25th of January we will see you playing in Hungary. What are going to expect the people attending Nailed to Obscurity’s Hungarian show?
Yeah! First of all, we will definitely looking forward to play there because we heard so many interesting things about the Hungarian audience. They’re very passionate and we look forward to bring the atmosphere from the record to the stage and hopefully keep the audience in the atmosphere during our show, making them a part of that. We’re definitely looking forward to that, this is something special for us. Will you be there, too?
I would like to be there, but I don’t know exactly yet…
If you go to the show jut let us know, it would be great to meet you in person!
Ok., thank You!
You’ll be our guest!
Thank you very much and thank you for your time, it was nice to talk to you!
Thank you for your time as well!
So we’re looking forward to your show in Budapest and I wish great success in your career, blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!
Thank you very much and Merry Christmas to you, too and Happy New Year! Thank you so much!
Thank you for the calling! Good bye!
Take care! Bye!
The interview was taken with Raimund Ennenga (vocals) on 19.12.2018.
Contributed by: Zsuzsanna Muszka