Nailed To Obscurity aren’t your average extreme metal band. The German death-doom maniacs have been fermenting in the fertile metal underground of Lower Saxony for the past decade and a half, cooking up full length LP’s every couple of years. Aside from the creeping dread and crushing despair native to the sub-genre, Nailed To Obscurity separate themselves from the pack by injecting just enough melody do avoid becoming boring. Black Frost, their fourth album (Out January 11th via Nuclear Blast), appears to be the furthest the group is willing to take themselves from their dark selected path.
Bucketlist caught up with Nailed To Obscurity over email earlier this month to determine, once and for all, what makes this grimmest of bands tick. The answers were as brutal and metal-sounding as anyone might have guessed from a band who cite Tom G. Warrior’s Triptykon as a main influence:
So, first thing’s first, let me say Happy New Year! Do you guys have any New Year’s traditions that you do together as a band?
Raimund: Happy New Year. It is definitely a special year for us. Having released our new record Black Frost and being on tour with Amorphis, Soilwork, and Jinjer in Europe is just beyond amazing.
We don’t really have New Year’s traditions. In Germany, and especially in our area, it is quite common to do fireworks and firecrackers, but we simply spend time with our girlfriends and families.
Other then the release of your new album Black Frost on January 11th, got any other plans for the coming months?
Raimund: Like I already mentioned, we are currently touring Europe with Amorphis, Soilwork and Jinjer and we are already planning further shows. Our goal is to play as many shows as possible in support of “Black Frost.” It’s great to see the audience’s reactions towards our new songs. So far, it was awesome.
Raimund: I think it is our darkest, most atmospheric and most mature record to date. We know a lot better than ever before what we want to achieve with our music and which kind of mood or atmosphere we want to create. Having said that, we also touched a lot of new grounds with that album when it comes to the guitar-work and vocal-experiments.
There is no closed concept behind the music and its lyrics but all lyrics touch common ground. They are all dealing with the fact that a lot of people can’t accept their darker emotions as a part of themselves and how these feelings turn into a burden after years of oppression. I am using metaphors for these feelings and they are open to any kind of interpretation. I want the listeners to find their own key to the lyrics and maybe the words are able to become a vehicle for their darker emotions. A vehicle that allows them to get rid of these feelings.
We find inspiration in nearly everything. It is not just music in general but also books, TV-shows and chats with friends. Sometimes it is also just a walk and a moment of silence that leads to interesting ideas. The most important thing is you have to concentrate on your innermost feelings. These are the most inspiring moments because the music we want to create is very moody and melancholic. You wouldn’t be able to express honest feelings if you didn’t feel them.
No offence, but does the overwhelming melancholy of the death/doom genre ever get to you? Do you feel that playing such gloomy music adversely affects your mental state?
Raimund: Like I said before, an important part while creating a certain atmosphere for a song is to feel it. When we play the songs during a rehearsal or in a live-situation we try to recreate the initial mood. This leads us to re-visiting the emotions and the atmosphere. But playing “our” music is also our channel for darker emotions. It is kind of cathartic to a certain extend. To answer your initial question in short: Yes.
You called your band ‘Nailed To Obscurity.’ Is that how you guys feel? Do you think your style of metal could ever hit the mainstream, the way Behemoth has, or will it remain underground?
Raimund: The band was named before I joined the band and it goes back to a song-title by Hate Eternal. The initial idea of Ole and Volker when they formed the band was to play extreme death metal. But due to their abilities back then and because of their growing interest for more dark and sinister music the style turned into what it is now. But the name fits even better than ever. We really feel “Nailed To Obscurity” and this forces us to play the music we play. When it comes to mainstream-success, I don’t know if this kind of music will ever be so popular. But it is our purest innermost motivation to play exactly this music with this band. No matter the success. 🙂
Let’s talk about the metal scene; do you think streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music are good for emerging bands? On one hand it offers a chance to be more widely heard, but some say it simply doesn’t pay enough to make music a viable career.
Raimund: It is a tough question, because the band was formed when these services were already on the rise, mentioning Napster and other download-platforms. It changed the so called music-industry forever and it’s harder to earn money through record-sales due to that. This is a matter of fact. But for a music-consumer there is nothing wrong with using these streaming-services. It’s a great thing. You are able to check out different bands in a small period of time. For example when we are on tour in support of well-known bands, people check us out first via these streaming services to get an impression. And then, they buy merchandise and/or the album after the show we played. Today, you have to “work” harder to make a viable career based on music.
You guys have been around for close to fifteen years now. Do you have a set schedule of tour, write, record, release; or do you only write when inspiration strikes? Is it something that comes naturally, or do you have to sit down and work on it?
Raimund: We try to schedule but it is also kinda tough. We aren’t living so close to each other but we are writing our music all together in our old rehearsal room which is still the same since the band was formed. Ole and Volker are creating the basic ideas as a two-piece and then they take everything into the before-mentioned rehearsal-room where the songs are being written with the involvement of all the other members. You can’t control inspiration. Sometimes you are inspired and sometimes you aren’t. Besides the problem that we only have the weekends to write songs (we all have regular jobs), we are also playing shows. The shows also force us to interrupt the songwriting-process. So, these are all factors that you have to keep in mind. But besides that, we try to schedule the next record for ourselves and try to reach our deadline. When it comes to Black Frost, we really nailed the deadline because we wanted to put out the record prior to the tour, talked to our label about the latest possible deadline and managed to write and record the whole record until then. We really spend all weekends in 2018 writing the new material until we finally entered the studio (live-shows were the only exceptions).
We’ve looked through your tour dates, and we don’t see any Canadian or North American ones. Any chance we could see you guys West Side before the end of the year?
Raimund: The only thing I can say right now is: Let’s see 🙂 We would really love to play North America but it is also not that easy for a small band like us. I can’t promise anything.
Touring can really take it out of a band, both physically and mentally. What are some tricks you guys do to make those long bus rides seem shorter?
Raimund: The first thing is we have a great chemistry within the band. We like to have the others around and we always get along extremely well. Same goes for our crew, our sound-engineer Heiko and our light-guy Lutz. We always have a great time. But sometimes you need some time for yourself. I like to go out for a walk or listen to music. It’s also great to watch movies or tv-series with the others. But we also assist the further road-crew on our tours. It is never boring.
We’ve interviewed a lot of artists on Bucketlist, but this question always gets a good response: what would be your dream lineup to tour with? Any bands you still haven’t shared the stage with that you want to?
Raimund: There are just too many to mention. We would love to play with Triptykon or Dark Fortress because it would be cool to share the stage with our producer V Santura (besides the fact we love their music). Playing with Paradise Lost, Katatonia, Tiamat, Secrets Of The Moon, Opeth, etc. would also be great. But we also like inhomogeneous line-ups when it comes to music-styles. We are open to nearly everything. 😀
And on that note, what’s still on your Bucket List? What do Nailed To Obscurity want to do before they (inevitably) kick the bucket?
Raimund: We never thought about that but the simple answer is: Before we kick the bucket we want to have played all continents. That would be great. It great to play a show far from home and reach out to people with a completely different cultural background, etc.
Written and Compiled by Max Morin
*edited by Danielle Kenedy