The first Friday of June, the 4th we have a date, “Arbor” will be released worldwide by the one-man-band INTERPOLANT, Tobias Borras is the creator of this masterpiece of Brutal Death Metal, straight from The Hague, Netherlands, this time we got the chance to talk with him about many issues, starting with the first track of his first album called “Sycamore”, it’s a mixture between wolf art with keyboards and a few slam attributes, it’s intense and has a very clean production.
We had the chance to hear the whole album, were surprised with the production, it´s brilliant. How did you do it?
When I started this I tried to start over the past couple of years I tried to do some new things and then every time I felt mad this is not really good enough or whatever and when I started this I thought well now I have this clear concept in my mind of what I want to achieve and then I thought “well just do one song first and see how that goes” and then I had one song and I thought well I’ll just do three and then see if I’m still liking this enough right and then and then it went on and then I thought well six is not really good numbers, so let’s do seven because that’s a better number and then I thought “well so now I’m at this point” and I did everything myself and then I wanted to continue that because I wanted to do the production myself and the mixing and mastering, so I had to invest some time because I never mixed and mastered before, obviously I have some experience with it but not on a professional level so I took quite some time to invest in that and then yeah this is what came out.
Well, so there’s a lot of knowledge there. How did you get it?
I’m not sure if you guys are familiar with this concept it’s called nail the mix (check on www.nailthemix.com), basically it’s a company that allows subscribers to watch along with a professional producer so it could be the producer of periphery or the producer of art spire and then they show you real time so usually the videos are like six, seven, eight hours long, they show you real time how they mix a particular song of a particular band so the one that I really enjoyed was the one that’s done by Adam Nolly Getgood I think is his name who did the mixing of the periphery album he’s also the bass player and he just shows you exactly how he mixes the whole song, so from scratch right, that was really informative that’s how I did it also I have obviously some experience because I’ve been making music for quite some time so I had some idea in my head of how I wanted it to sound but basically stuff like this in the old days you had to go to a studio and see how it’s done and then the producer probably didn’t want to show how it’s done but now you know times have changed this is really easy to do it like this.
More impressive when you know that you just started out to really produce your own stuff because it sounds like you had already lots of experience.
In the past with earlier producers there was always some you can ask, someone to change something once or twice but if you ask it like 10 times because it’s still not exactly how you want it to be it gets quite offensive, it’s not really polite to ask someone 20 times to maybe and now I didn’t have that whole problem so for some people the mix might not be good enough or whatever but that’s fine for me it’s the best that I could do and I think for the next album I would probably hopefully do it better than this time but the whole idea of having total control over everything to me was also a bit scary because I had to learn a lot of stuff right but it was also very comforting because I knew that if I wanted to have the snare just a bit louder or the bass because I really like really loud bass I’m a big fan of RUSH and getting Geedy Lee’s bass in on some albums I think is amazing and I really want to have the destructive sound of the bass and not all producers are a fan of a bass as loud and now I just wanted to put it as loud as I wanted it to be.
Do you write the songs, play all instruments, did the production and all the technical stuff. What was the harder part for you when producing “Arbor”?
The hardest part for me is always the beginning because as someone who does something creative it’s always a challenge if you are still able to do it because you begin with this blank canvas and then you start and perhaps, you have something in your head or perhaps you’re noodling around or something but there’s always this fears or something in the back of your mind that you’re not able to do what you did before, because perhaps what you did before was just this that you had a stroke of luck or whatever and then you’re not being able to do it anymore and so for me the beginning was the hardest, because when I started this project I had this concept in my mind, I wanted it to be abstract I wanted it to be not to use the guitar, to actually play riffs, but to support more of the rhythmical aspects and use the keyboards to provide some of the of the melodic parts but I wasn’t sure if I was able to do it so the first couple of times I mean you sit down and you write something and go like “ah that really sucks” and then that happens three, four, five, six times and then suddenly something happens and then you go “oh that’s okay” and then you start the second song and I’m not sure if I can do it again and that that process basically continues and by the time I started mixing I wasn’t sure how well I would be able to mix it but at that point I was sure enough that that it would be acceptable at least, so the beginning for me is always the hardest part.
You do everything by yourself, all the instruments, everything, like it’s a massive talent, isn´t it?
I’m not sure, I think a part of it is that I have quite a lot of dedication so if I want to do something good then I can dedicate quite a lot of the time and attention to it so that also helps obviously and I also have a clear view in my mind of what I like to hear so during the musical career I played with a lot of musicians who were really really good so I played with a lot of really great musicians over the years and that whole process also makes you get quite critical of yourself if some things are good enough or not and so I think I have some talent indeed but it’s also quite a lot of dedication and hard work as well.
You used to be in advance, so this is a very different, very personal project. It’s a project that you really need to be alone, isn’t it?
Indeed and that’s also something that I really like because it’s very challenging and it’s also very confronting because if you have or you’re in a dip or whatever then usually you have some other band inmates who go okay well let’s do this so let’s do that in this case it’s only me and that’s also for obviously the whole social media stuff which is all quite new to me so I also had to dive into that to see how it all worked, I’m not really a big fan of promoting or something right because it’s in an ideal world you make something that you consider is beautiful and then other people recognize this for what it is but obviously it doesn’t work like that, you have to meet the right people and you have to have a lot of luck as well, but indeed as I should say it’s something like this is easiest done on your own because I wasn’t confined by other people’s opinions of whether it sounded right or whether it could happen or not so when I listen to it, I merely hear the keyboards functioning as for the synthesizers functioning as a melodic aspect right but a lot of people here’s something that they call industrial which is not something that I would associate with it but obviously that’s fine but industrial metal for me it evokes a different experience than what I hear when I listen to this music but that’s fine but if I can imagine if you were in a band and I would make a demo like this and I would send it through what do you guys think about this and then go man that sucks man that’s not that’s not and then it would probably stop right there and now I also made some songs in the beginning which in retrospect indeed did suck but it also gave me the opportunity to grow with it and then produce songs that were a bit better than the ones before.
It’s very interesting that you say that with the quality of a product. How did you develop your vocals?
I didn’t really develop anything, I started singing when I was 13, 14 or something, and the singer that we had then he left the band, I think I’m not sure how the whole process went but at least we needed the singer and I thought well then I could just do it myself, so we started out with the covers of IRON MAIDEN at first, but I can’t really sing so when we switched to Death-Metal covers of PESTILENCE, then that was a bit easier for me and then over the years it grew but also here since I recorded everything at home I could just play around with it until I thought it sounded well so if one day the vocals didn’t sound well, I just did it another day and then I did 10 takes or something as long as it took until I was satisfied, which is also a luxury that we have now and that we didn’t have like 20 years ago when you had to book a studio or something.
Do you consider playing live with some hired musicians or some friends one day?
Well, it depends on how it goes because usually if you’re in in beginning in a band and you’re not a well-established name then playing live can be fun but also especially if you’re getting older a bit then you’re more aware of how you invest your time and taking half a day off from work to sit around in the backstage area for six hours until you have to play a show for a venue that’s half empty or more people that are actually waiting for the main act that’s not always the most fun experience, so in the bands that I played before that was a bit different because when we started that I was also younger so then you then you have the whole growing curve and then the whole process is fun but right now I’m probably if I’m sitting in the backstage area I’m thinking well I could also be at home making music or working out or doing stuff that I enjoy more than waiting around right but that could change it depends a bit because I also miss a bit the whole performing live, the whole vibe that you get so I haven’t really decided on that yet we’ll see how it goes.
Do you want to have another project beside this one, with friends or with a band?
Perhaps, I’m not really sure, well I hate to sound like a dictator but, I usually have an idea in my head that I think my idea or how I have it in my head is better than other people’s ideas and that doesn’t always work well so in my previous band I was only doing vocals and all those musicians were really great right so that that was a bit different but if you play in a band you have to make concessions and right now I’m also in a point in my life that I’m not ready to make concessions I like to do things my way I want to make it as extreme as I want or as complex as I want without someone saying yeah I have to because some of the of the of the parts in this on this album are so complex that they never repeat there are two songs on there, which have no clear repeating rhythmic structure which means that if I when I played it I had to look at the sheet music to know when I needed to play something and for if you’re in a band that’s not really fun, I mean you have to play, you have to rehearse it quite a lot of times in order to get five minutes of non-repeating music exactly correct which yeah I’m not sure if that would work so but in this case I mean for me it’s perfect and for me it that works fine but yeah it depends a bit on the situation.
When did you get into metal?
I think it was in first grade of high school when a friend of mine made me listen to DIRE STRAITS and then I heard the guitar solo in “Sultans of swing” and I was like man I can’t believe that’s so complex and I thought well that’s just impossible and then my neighbor’s kid was also my age his brother was into IRON MAIDEN and then I heard them, and I heard the guitar solos and there and I was like “man that’s insane”, I mean those guys must be the best guitar players on the planet and from then on it went further and further because then I heard SLAYER and then I heard “Reign in Blood” the double bass part in “Angel of Death” so my mind was continuously blown each time I heard something new and then it just it just progressed further and further so the first time I think I heard actual Death-Metal was probably around 13, 14 albums like false from GOREFEST and PESTILENCE obviously and DEATH and I think that never stopped, so I could I continuously listened to Death-Metal until now, I must say over the past few years I’ve been more selective in what I listen to, because I also really enjoy classical music I’m a big fan of BACH also the whole the rhythmic parts and all the melodies, I really enjoy, so I think 13 or 14 first time I listened to actual Death-Metal.
Did you study music?
I started the classical guitar when I was nine and I did that for a while then I got a bit bored with it but then I discovered the electric guitar and also all the like the names I just mentioned so that was a huge influence on me but the past few years I only usually play a classical guitar that’s the only instrument that actually enjoys studying because I don’t really like I also like playing electrical guitar but electrical guitar more is more of a necessity to me to create the whole music whereas a classical guitar for me is a solo instrument that I can perform when I’m studying here right so that’s a whole different concept to me so I enjoy playing classical guitar a lot more than electrical guitar but obviously I need the electric guitar to make music like this so I enjoy the mute creating the whole music where the electric guitar is just a small part but making actual music on my own I really enjoy the classical guitar more.
It sounds like a unique alone standing piece of art that will be probably never be repeated live or anything like that.
If this album gets very well received and I get a nice offer, not a monetary offer, but an offer to play somewhere that’s really nice then that perhaps I know the musicians who could do something live, I’m not sure if I could be able to do the guitar and the vocals live because this is quite complex but never say never. You have to take small steps and if at the beginning you are already aware of all the things that still need to be done then probably there’s a big chance I wouldn’t have finished it but in the beginning I just focused on what’s today and what’s the next day for some for example right and then I had one strong then two three and then I had seven and I thought okay well perhaps I should make an album of this and then well I also had to do the artwork and then the mixing and the mastering, but I took them one step at a time baby steps and then yeah that worked out very well for me and I think for the next album some steps will be because I already learned for example the mixing and mastering, then it will be a bit easier hopefully and also the social media stuff and also the all the time that I invested in seeking out people to send the album, in the end I decided okay I’m going to do it one way and if that doesn’t fit that particular web scene then that’s fine but I cannot do a new way for every web scene so that also took quite some time to get that whole structure going.
How about the record level that’s your own idea also?
Yes, the main reason behind it is that well it’s I wasn’t really sure if I would actually do it like this but I thought it visually it looked better if there would be a record label on the album itself that is the first thing but also I thought it would be easier to communicate with different web scenes if the mail actually comes from a label because since I’m doing all the label tasks already so the whole promotional stuff and the whole investment stuff then well, why not call it the label, which is only for me actually also because the whole music industry especially now it’s quite hard and I mean even if there were a band that would be interested I’m not sure if I would have the time and energy to give them what they would need I find it hard enough to do all the not stuff like this.
Follow Tobias Borra´s INTERPOLANT at:
Official website: https://interpolant.com/