Decibel Exclusive : An Interview with Linus Klausenitzer

Aseka Wickramarachchi from Team Decibel got the opportunity to interview one of the Goliaths, none other than the German Technical Death Metal giants, Obscura. He was able to get hold of Linus (Bassist for Obscura/Alkaloid) to answer a few questions regarding their latest album Akróasis, the new line up and the recent developments at the Obscura camp.

akAseka: Obscura released their 4th album earlier this February, it has been about six months since you guys released it. How are the responses so far for Akroasis?

Linus: No one would probably admit if the new album is a disaster, but I really couldn’t be anymore happier about the reactions from everyone. It started off with the amazing reviews by the press. In a lot of big metal magazines we had better ratings than bands like Megadeth and Dream Theatre that brought out their new album at the same time. On social media and on the DTA tour in March we could see how much our fans like the album. We played on the biggest festivals and in front of the biggest crowds so far.

Aseka: Akroasis is been released after five years since Obscura released their previous record, ‘Omnivium’. What was the major reason behind this delay?

Linus: We toured a lot, we released the compilation “Illegimitation“, changed our line up and wrote a lot of music to find the new band sound. Especially the last 2 years before the release took a lot of energy. Now it is a relief to see that all work and hard decisions have paid off.

newAseka: Let’s talk about the new line up. Tell us about the current line-up of the band and how did that result on the compositions and the recording process of Akraosis and maintaining the signature sound of Obscura?

Linus: Our new drummer is Sebastian Lanser. He is very versatile, he has experience in classical music, pop, fusion, jazz and even power metal. His will to try bringing in new elements to Obscura and his interests in rhythmical complexity are a huge part of the new band sound. Our new guitarist Rafael Trujillo joined the band after the production. He didn’t contribute to the album composition wise. When we released the first album’s teasers, some people thought that we wanted to pretend that he was part of the album but our only plan was to present our new line-up. He is a very precise and a versatile guitarist, just check out his YouTube channel and you can see for yourself.

It is always important for us to bring in the individual strengths of every musician. These days most bands lack innovation. In my opinion, we managed to create our own, unique sound on the new album, Akroasis.

Additionally we all wanted to put more focus on the most important tool in composition: Dynamics, more space to breathe after technical parts, more hard riffs but also more clean parts and melodies.

Aseka: Steffen Kummerrer, Hannes Grossmann, Christian Muenzner and Jeroen Paul Thesseling. This is the Obscura everyone is familiar with. How was it to work with a profound personality such as Steffen Kummerer to you and the rest of the guys?

Linus: I am not sure if this is the Obscura line up that everyone is familiar with, every new band member was always integrated very well and fast. Our fans were always very open for new band members, they know that line-up changes are very normal in our scene. Talking about the line-up that you mentioned, I think that they created the unique trademark of this band, and it was the first line up that had great success.

I have never met Jeroen unfortunately. I love his tone and his bass lines.

Christian and Hannes are very good friends of mine and I still make music with them in Alkaloid.

I see a lot of weird comments on the internet where people talk about Steffen’s complicated personality – just like people talk unfairly about Dave Mustaine and other people that they have never met. It’s unbelievable how much energy Steffen puts into this band. He is a good friend and I am happy to be in a band with him.  

jeroAseka: A personal question… Jeroen Paul Thesseling is considered a phenomenal bassist in the music world. What were your initial thoughts when you were asked to fill in his void at Obscura?

Linus: At first I was skeptical if my own style would fit on to his bass lines. But the Obscura guys told me that I can interpret the bass lines the way I want, I felt better afterwards. Playing his bass lines for 4 years on tour surely influenced my own playing a lot.

picmonkey-collageAseka: You guys had mentioned that ‘Akroasis’ is the third rendition of a continuation process of the concepts forwarded by Obscura’s previous work, ‘Cosmogenesis’ and ‘Omnivium’. Give us a brief idea about this obscure concept behind the album ‘Akroasis’ to our readers, and how the recent record is interconnected to the previous records.

Linus: Steffen came up with the idea of the four album concept that is telling the lifecycle of a universe. The first album Cosmogenesis is about the formation, the second album is about first transformations and now the third album is the philosophical part when reflection begins.

The mathematical theory of Pythagoras finds place in the lyrics and also a little bit in the music. The instrument “Monochord” is a perfect example to demonstrate the harmonic basis of this theory.

Aseka: Since what is remaining is the finale of the concept cycle are you guys planning on something mind-boggling? What could the Obscura fans expect on the fourth record?

Linus: Right now we are collecting ideas already. Last week I’ve written the first version of a complete song already. In the lifecycle story the fourth album will be about the apocalypse and the end of everything. This is why we want the music to be epic and more brutal again. The guitars will be very different – no fretless guitar, but still very dynamic with a precise and very direct sounding guitar. I can’t wait to hear the solos of Rafael with his incredible phrasing.

Aseka: Let’s talk about touring. Have you had the opportunity to discover heavy metal in this part of the world? Especially South Asian countries such as Sri Lanka and India since there is a growing fan base for heavy metal music.

Linus: I am always, very interested in metal around the world. The scene is growing and it is wonderful, and thanks to the internet, we can play all around the world.

There are a lot of countries where we want to play but sometimes it is not very easy to manage all the production. The equipment that we require is not available everywhere.

You can’t play Obscura’s music on a normal sized drum kit for an example.

I have a friend in Sri Lanka that often tells me about your great metal scene, I’ve met fans from Sri Lanka when we played on our South East Asia Tour in 2011 and on the Hammersonic Festival in Indonesia this year. The history, your culture, your food and your nature is something I would love to explore more. Those are just a few of the many reasons why it would be great to come and play in Sri Lanka.

India is on our ‘to do’ list as well, we are discussing different touring options for next year right now.

Aseka: Finally, any special mentions of who helped Obscura to put out an elegant record such as ‘Akroasis’?

Linus: Oh, absolutely. Our producer V Santura had a very important role on every Obscura album. He is a working machine, he has very creative ideas and is helpful in every possible situation. On all albums he worked very close on the vocal lines with Steffen.

It was hard to find a common spot in our time schedules this time. But we didn’t want to work with any other producer. This made the production stressful, but he is surely one of the reasons why this album sounds the way it should sound.

And of course I want to mention our fans. A technical band requires way more work than a “normal” band. Without their support this band wouldn’t be alive anymore.

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