It was a crazy story about how to get this interview because from different parts of the world we asked for some bands to talk to, and then, after some personal issues, I discover that I was talking with JAN-OLE LAMBERTI, the founder and guitar player of NAILED TO OBSCURITY, a band that I saw many times during the European Tour of their last album “BLACK FROST”, so we wait for RAIMUND ENNENGA and we were speaking about the new songs that the band are rehearsing these days, the exciting gig after a year and a half in the AREA 53 FESTIVAL, in Leoben, Austria, and many more.
I was looking at your Instagram and you played it in Austria I think what last month and so was that the first time you’ve played for like a year and a half?
RAIMUND: yes, it’s quite appropriate.
OLE: so we were lucky in a way that we were one of the last bands who had the chance to tour before covid, so like two or three weeks before the first lockdown here in Germany happened or all over Europe lockdown started we were still on tour or playing our last shows of a five weeks tour so and then there was covid and then this show in Austria was the only show we played since then.
And how did it feel to get back on stage again? Did you remember what to do? (haha)
RAIMUND: yeah, it was really very interesting because, as you said, sometimes I felt like I didn’t know what to do actually or whatever, I remember the lyrics because I prepared, haha, but well when it comes to the show aspect, I think we all lost something.
OLE: I think it’s a bit different for you because you are more interactive with the audience, while I can only speak for myself, but I’m more focused on myself while I’m playing and I realized before the show I was more nervous than normal, we rehearsed and when we realized we can still play the song, so that was good, but doing the changeover and all that I had really blackouts doing that normally it’s something I do without even thinking about it and now there were some mistakes that even cost us one song that we had, haha, so but then when we were playing I realized it’s all there, like muscle memory in a way and I realized I’m always doing the same moves and walking the same ways as I did on the last show this was still the same set that it was programmed in a way but for me, that was that way at least.
I guess the last year and a half has been pretty crazy, so I would expect everyone to be a little bit rusty when they’re getting back into doing it because you don’t have that momentum to go on anymore.
OLE: also before a tour, it takes two or three shows until you really feel that you are playing the way you want to play, it always even if you haven’t had a break like that you kind of need to get into the set, into the feeling, and now it was a break of one and a half years so it was also a lot of fun and relieving that you’re not losing it completely.
Are you writing anything new in these pandemic times?
OLE: yes, that’s actually why we are both sitting here at my place now because of course, we have to use the time now that we finally have time, I mean that’s the only positive thing that we have time to write songs and now we are sitting here to tweak on some vocal lines and things like that, we even recorded a couple of songs or parts of songs but it’s still a long way to go, but we’re working on a new album and which is going to be awesome, for sure, it’s also heaviest the best album ever.
The band is so heavy and slow at the same time, I just love how dynamic it is, you’ve got the dark and the light and all the kind of stuff in between, I’m really looking forward to the next one, any idea on when that would be potentially finished?
OLE: we had a plan but pretty much everything during the pandemic it’s a bit hard to plan and now we are changing plants again so actually we don’t really know at this point, we want to be able when we release it and it’s still not foreseeable when that’s going to happened and we are not done yet.
RAIMUND: actually, because the whole thing also changed our process, how to write the songs and everything because we weren’t allowed to rehearse as a five-piece, all of us together in one room and that was also kind of a thing that we needed to learn how to deal with it and everything okay so that’s also part of the whole thing.
OLE: we were kind of forced to change our songwriting routine by this which brought up cool new things and which maybe will have an effect on the music also so I feel that the reason that we have time and that we were forced to do things differently than we normally do, kind of had a positive impact, like not on the music itself, it’s just it feels a bit different which is cool because we don’t want to repeat ourselves and I think that’s a positive thing that’s happening right now so in the phrase that way.
In the pre-pandemic times would you guys just all get together, jam together, and write together, or would people bring riffs and ideas to the jam session and then kind of work them out together, it was that how you normally did things?
OLE: both, I would say normally it’s Volker (DIEKEN) our other guitar and I bring up like the main ideas sometimes, only riff sometimes, the main structure for a song brings that to the rehearsal room and then we jam on it and arrange it and make it a song together, so that’s always been like that, but a big part of the songwriting process was in the rehearsal room, now we didn’t have that anymore, with “BLACK FROST” it was like 70 or even 80 written in the rehearsal room because we were also under a lot of time pressure to get that album done for a tour and to fulfill the new record we had signed by then, but before that with “KING DELUSION” it wasn’t like that, we did much more in a home studio situation before we took the songs into the rehearsal room, and now it’s the same again just that the majority is now being done in the home studio session while we finish off the songs in the rehearsal room, so it’s always been like that but with different weights to the different parts of the process.
So, are you gonna finish any song soon or make a video as a preview song from the next album?
RAIMUND: to be fairly honest, it’s somehow the plan but we don’t know if we managed to actually do this because it’s not all upon us, so there are producers involved and everything so and country borders issues that you know.
OLE: there’s an idea to come up with something new in the foreseeable future but it’s for now it’s just an idea and we don’t know what we can really do.
Do you have any tour dates confirmed or some other festival appearance?
OLE: I don’t know if it’s a festival confirmed for next year, but I think you saw it on our website I think it’s not corrected yet, it’s already rescheduled so next year, another one a couple of festivals postponed to next year that we’re planning to play more shows but those are not confirmed yet or not announced. We used to make plans way ahead, can’t do it anymore, so that’s now the only answer, it’s a bit frustrating to give you the answer that we don’t know. The only plan we have, and even that is hard to plan, is writing that’s in our hands so that we are going to do and then the question is when and where we can record them the way we want them to record, of course, there are plenty of options nearby but we want to do this differently this time, so which it would have been quite a task without an epidemic and now it’s even harder but that’s the way we want to do it and so it’s going to take a little longer to do it that way.
Do you have another job?
RAIMUND: We´re actually living on the streets, haha, it´d be maybe kind of horrible to be absolutely let’s say depending on the music itself because it’s kind of frustrating these days so we’re in the more or less luxurious situation that we all have regular jobs.
OLE: and also even for bigger bands it’s not easy to live from the music so we’re not even planning to do that unless a miracle happens and you get a lot of money for music out of a sudden maybe you might consider that, but for now we have a setup that works that we all can do our jobs and tour as well and that’s all, the band is our passion and the fun thing to do and that way we don’t rely on having that output and earn money with it, it’s just we can finance our lives through our other jobs without standing in the way for the band.
I think there are advantages to that as opposed to having to rely on music do you see any advantage to that where you have a regular day job where you don’t have to depend on music for your income?
RAIMUND: on the one hand it would allow us to work on the music 24/7 which would be phenomenal, and we would love to do that but on the other hand maybe it takes us to have regular jobs I don’t know it’s really a tough one to answer.
OLE: I think it would be great if you could live only from being a musician, but on the other hand it would put some pressure on you to have a constant output to which when maybe the music would even suffer from it, unless if you have all the time to do it would be probably easier to write albums and definitely to tour compared to now, so that would be easier of course if you are a full-time musician, but on the other hand we would have to tour so much and work so hard to get to the point that we could even live from that, I think it depends on the size of the band if you’re a huge band getting a lot of money for playing festivals and stuff like that, then it’s easier to say it’s awesome to be a musician and live from it but for a band on our level I think it’s just too risky and too stressful.
RAIMUND: and we need our jobs to get frustrated enough to write this kind of song, haha.
Are you planning to make some streaming concerts?
OLE: we have talked about it but that was last year and already then we felt it’s a little old to do that and I don’t think we are going to do that, just let you know that we played a real show.
In South America, we have no concerts yet. How´s the situation about live concerts in Europe?
OLE: Here’s also not happening often (in Germany) there are some concerts yesterday I saw that VADER played in Germany but that was the audience was seated with a lot of space in between, so it looked weird, I mean, it was cool for the people to enjoy a live show but I think still not the same thing and things that are happening now in Austria it’s different, as the festival we played there was completely normal, like before, in Finland there are some festivals happening, Belgium is going to happen this month and some other countries.
In the far future are you planning to play in South America?
OLE: it would be a dream come true to do that and we’ve tried a couple of times but it’s really hard because it’s hard to do package tours there because that’s too expensive to fly over many bands and for only us playing we might not be known enough in South America so we’re kind of waiting for our chance, we would definitely do it and that’s one thing we would really like to do with the next album campaign. We’ve played in Mexico before but that was still before Raimund was in the band so that was in 2012 and that was amazing there was only one country in Latin America we want to do all of them, at least the ones where you can do proper metal shows, that’s a big part of touring the traveling and we all enjoy that so of course.
RAIMUND: sorry, after hearing all these stories the guys told me, but they played in Mexico I’m definitely in, we´d do that in the blink of an eye, that has to be done properly because it’s kind of expensive that’s the whole thing if it wouldn’t be that expensive, we would play for you right now.
OLE: I told Raimund that I’ve been doing some hiking in Patagonia a couple of years ago and I’ve been telling Raimond how amazing was there, it was one of the most beautiful pieces of the earth I’ve ever seen.
I’m just curious to know what your influences are, so as a vocalist and the guy that writes the lyrics. Where do you get your inspiration from?
RAIMUND: when it comes to the lyrics itself, I think life, in general, is the biggest inspiration that you can have because our lyrics are very emotional laden, and it’s all about personal experiences and some talks with close friends that inspire me the most and I’m also always trying to write in metaphor that people can kind of get their own meaning out of it. Sometimes it’s like an open book and it’s very easy to read and sometimes maybe it’s harder to get access to it but I think that’s the most interesting challenge as a listener to really find your key because there is not just this one answer what’s that song about there are so many answers and i like to hear the answers from the listeners so that’s it, it’s all about life in general and also experiences like OLE said hiking I also like that like to go hiking and yeah see the nature it’s such an easy answer but nature itself is also very inspiring especially when it comes to metaphors you see some rock or whatever and you all of a sudden have your idea how to tell a story based on that, and when it comes to the inspiration behind the vocals itself, I’m inspired by so many artists when it comes to the stage persona it might be a very different inspiration in comparison to the way I sing, when I started doing death metal vocals back when I was kind of in my teenage years I always thought I need to do the lower and like Glenn Benton and the high pitched screens as high as possible and you can hear that in the songs of my other band BURIAL VAULT but I think I matured from that and found my own way and in this day and age I wouldn’t say that there is one particular singer that inspired me the most and when it comes to my stage persona I think there are so many great of these so-called frontmen and you can look at them and be inspired by that, but the most important thing is find your own self up on stage and that’s still a work in progress.
That’s really interesting, in terms of the new material, have you found any themes emerge in your thinking about the lyrics?
RAIMUND: I try to write down all my ideas immediately because I’m afraid of forgetting them, and there is a collection of ideas that I have and some are pre-pandemic and some are written directly during the pandemic and I’m not that much inspired by the pandemic, this will happen maybe when it’s completely over, that makes it also easier for me because then it’s a closed chapter and I can look at it as an isolated thing that is easier for me because I think it will have an impact on the lyrics somehow but I don’t think it will be very obvious.
What’s your songwriting process or riff writing process?
OLE: the main influences are very similar to what Raimund says well, I would think things going out into the nature and stuff, especially when it comes to me, it’s about freeing my mind like forget about things that stress and stuff like that, then you can focus on creativity that’s what the effect has on me, of course there are obvious influences like bands and music that you listen to, but what I realized that over the last two years or so that for me personally big influences that I didn’t realize before are on one hand series and movie which are musically completely different always than what we do but it’s the atmosphere you can get from it, I don’t want to say copy things but I get the idea to write something else in our own style that transports a similar atmosphere compared to the piece of music that I heard and that’s a big inspiration and there’s a one particular one which is also Argentinian artist which is the guitar player Gustavo Santaolalla, for example is one of those which I only found through different series or movies and I think it was actually the Argentinian movie about Che Guevara “Diarios de motocicleta” (The Motorcycle Diaries) and easy clear or influences like that, that are not from our genre but can give an idea of how a song could feel like, that sounds completely different but has a certain atmosphere that I found somewhere else and another thing is thinking in live shows because now that we’ve toured a lot and have seen a lot of bands you realize what effect a song should have or can have when playing live and sometimes it’s just sometimes missing things in a set and that’s the idea for the next song, this one I’ve seen this and this with other bands, I really like and how can we do something like that in our own way, that’s a big part and a good trick I would say to start a song, if you’re aiming for a certain life feeling rather than just taking the guitar and just jam around to have an idea how could it feel to be on stage, imagine the whole stage how it looks, how you are acting as a band and then playing a certain part that has an effect that you’re missing from other songs or from the sets you’ve played before that’s a big inspiration now, especially since we can’t play live, so I’m imagining how it would be to play these new songs and that actually helps a lot, so those two things I´d say are the less obvious things that I´d call an inspiration for songwriting.
RAIMOND: and I would like to add something when it comes to the lyrics because the music is also a strong inspiration because sometimes I listen to the instrumental piece when it’s not fully arranged or even if it’s just a rough idea, sometimes it really gets me and I have my own idea all of a sudden without planning it so “KING DELUSION” came about that way and some other songs too, so I think the music itself is also the instrumental music it’s a strong inspiration for the lyrics because everything is very closely connected.
Do you have any other projects besides?
RAIMUND: I’m in a more local based band which name is BURIAL VAULT and I’m the vocalist for that band for quite a while and maybe this was also my access card into NAILED TO OBSCURITY because we used to play together while they have had a different singer back then and I also did guest vocals this year for the very first time I was asked by a befriended band which was also fun to actually do something with my voice the cool thing but I think that’s basically it but it’s just fun I like to work with my voice and I think my more local baseband very well is also constant training for the stuff that I do in NAILED TO OBSCURITY it’s working quite well this way.
I’ll have to check that other band out man sounds interesting!
OLE: it’s a really cool band, like Raimund said we already knew each other before Raimund actually joined us and that was through that band because we played so many shows together here that in this area so that’s without that band Raimund wouldn’t be our singer now, haha, I would say I don’t have any side projects, sometimes I think it would be cool to do something else but then I think well it’s also nice to have to be able to focus only on one project which is just it helps to stay focused if you don’t have so many different things at the same time and as we said we’re also working so for me this is all I need, all I want and it’s already a lot to do so not haven’t really thought seriously about starting something else.
RAIMUND: he has many jobs in the backsides just being the guitarist, haha, so I think it’s easier for me as just the singer, I don’t want to make that role in the band small or something but I also have my jobs within the whole NAILED TO OBSCURITY thingy but I think it’s easier for me than for him, it’s also cool to do something different sometimes because it frees my mind and then I can go full-on into the NAILED TO OBSCURITY mode.
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