People aren’t that different, but cultures are: interview with Tim Charles (Ne Obliviscaris)

  • 11/10/2017 - 07:08 Read: 2101  Rate this item
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Remember, remember the 27th of … October – the day when the official release of the 3rd studio album ‘Urn’ of an unforgettable (not just because of the name) band Ne Obliviscaris takes place. No doubt it’s highly anticipated by everyone who is searching for an unconventional sound together with out-of-the-box approach. And take my word, they’re so dynamic that while listening to an album it may even seem from time to time that you’re listening to different bands. So the correspondent of couldn’t but talk to Tim Charles (violin & clean vocals) about the upcoming release and lots of other stuff.

MH: What we know about your music writing process is that you arrange a kind of a jam with the band and then see what follows. What can you tell us about your approach you used for the upcoming ‘Urn’?
TC: The songs come out in different ways, but it’s always very organic and collaborative between the rest of us in the band. You know, we always kind of feel that it’s not our song until the most of the band has had some impact on the final version of the song. And that is definitely the case with this album as well. The writing process was a little bit different this time just because it was more condensed. We wrote quite a lot of this album just in February-March this year.  Last year we had some really good ideas that we were confident with, but it’s always the final details that take us so long. 
And I guess the best example is the song ‘Eyrie’ - we actually wrote the majority of the structure, the basis for that song, the guitar riffs last October but it wasn’t really until the recording process in April that the final beats and pieces, the string sections, violins and vocals… It’s definitely very involved process, but we couldn’t be prouder of the new album and really think it’s the best thing that we’ve done so far, and we’re excited to hear what people think of it when it comes out.

MH: The creation process is clear, maybe you share some details about the concept?
TC: Sure, I think the way we approach the records is that I’ll be primarily focused on the musical direction of the compositions and try to get it to work cohesively together as a record. From then I collaborate with Xen, who writes all the lyrics to try to work out the concept, so that the artwork and lyrics fit in with the music, which in the most cases comes first. I guess with ‘Urn’ we have an album that all of the songs touch on the topic of death to some degree, which is why it is called ‘Urn’. And the cover kind of sums up the elements of the record from a concept point of view. And ‘Urn’ is like a reflection of death and reminds of our lives; you know, we mean very little in this vast universe we live in, but regardless we still try to create our own meaning of the things that we do.

MH: As we know Xen is a designer and is fond of photography. So don’t you plan to use some of his pics as covers for the next albums?
TC: Well, basically all of the artwork and band’s photos are essentially done by Xen; within that might be photos done by Xen, which he then digitally alters. Might not be obvious, but there are some elements of that already, because Xen does everything exclusively himself.

MH: You’ve recently released the video for your song ‘Intra Venus’, and our crew was wondering whether all the lighting effects we observe were the result of post production or it was filmed like that?
TC: There were basically several lasers and it was filmed like that. Everything was set up and it was quite a lot of time taken, we were working with the creative video director in Australia called Adrian Goleby, who’s actually also the guitarist for Australian band called Caligula's Horse. We even had a smoke machine bringing across, which then affected the way the lasers were on the video when you see all this smoke going through prisms of light. There were a few little post production effects on it, but the majority was filmed on the day.

MH: Some musicians don’t sign with any label just as a matter of principle in order not to be dependent on it. Since you’ve got experience working on your own and with the label, don’t you mind sharing your thoughts?
TC: It’s definitely different, but I think the most important thing is to have the right label. It’s quite possible these days to go without a record label, but the music industry still works in many ways in its traditional fashion. Season of Mist opened up international doors for us – it made more possible to get booking agents in Europe and US. So it obviously helped us to get where we are today.

MH: Due to your geographical position, I guess, it’s easier for you to tour across Asian countries…
TC: Well, it’s definitely the closest place for us to tour, absolutely.

MH: Do you do this often?
TC: We’ve done two tours through Asia. One in 2013 through Japan, China, Hong-Kong, Taiwan and Thailand; and we also did a short tour in 2015 with Fleshgod Apocalypse and played in Japan and Hong Kong as well. But we’re working on trying to get back to Asia in 2018 once the album is out.

MH: Can you say that such a geographical proximity can influence your music in a way so we’ll see it clearly in future works?
TC: I think that one of the great things about Australia is that it’s an incredibly multicultural country, and we really have so many influences instead of necessarily having the clear Asian ones. I think that the music of Ne Obliviscaris is very reflective of the fact that we have six quite different and unique people and we end up with this very diverse and eclectic music.

MH: Xen makes a big input in the band concerning lyrics, artwork, music, etc. And he’s also known for having critical attitude towards work. Do you feel such attitude towards Ne Obliviscaris as his bandmate?
TC: Generally he does a lot of lyrics and artworks without too much direction from us, the same on the other hand – I handle most of the business stuff, but we make sure that everyone’s happy. The most important thing within the band like ours is just to have respect for each other and to make sure everyone’s opinion is always valued and that the direction of the band is smth that everyone is on board with. We’re all quite different people, but we’ve always had this great connection musically. Since everyone treats each other with respect, I don’t think it matters whether someone is critical or has high standards to the music, or the artwork, etc.

MH: You know, I touched upon the topic of relations in your band on purpose. Usually people set up a band while being friends, but yours was formed on the internet and you didn’t know each other before. If we compare these two approaches, which pros and cons could you point out?
TC: When the band started back in 2003 it was just a try to find like-minded people to play with. I guess the difficulty of not being friends in a period of time in advance was certain lineup changes. So it took about three years to get the lineup together that we think was solid. And the reason that we stayed together was that we were friends; coming together for the music and then staying together because we had fun and a good time together. We’re a little family and we’re bonded by the music we create.

MH: By the way, one of our correspondents was lucky enough to see you play at Brutal Assault in 2014 and she told us that you made an impression of light and kind people, same impression of you I had watching your interviews. Have you ever had to apply some aggressive approach when the situation required like defending your views or whatever?
TC: I don’t think it was really necessary or appropriate for me to act in an aggressive way, but I’m definitely extremely passionate about what we do in the band. The band exists only due to the people who show us support; if someone appreciates what we do, we always try to give as much of our time as possible to all these people. And if someone doesn’t like what we’re doing or doesn’t agree with what we stand for – that’s fine and there are many bands that are good at what they do. No band has a uniform support from everybody.

MH: All of you guys love different music, Xen was even noticed loving raw black metal. So how come that people who like sometimes pretty orthodox and conservative music in the end create smth absolutely different? Is it a kind of therapy for you?
TC: I think that the music that comes out is just a melting pot of the people that we have in the band. Just as you said my favourite artists range from extreme metal to jazz, post rock and classical music; and all that comes through in the music that we create in some way.

MH: Don’t you have a kind of fight while creating your material?
TC: Sometimes. (laughs) I think that any band that has a lot of variety in their sound has a kind of disagreement within during the song writing process at times, but again we are very respectful to each other’s opinions and we always resolve them.

MH: And the last question, don’t get me wrong, I don’t stick to stereotypes but… do you have a kangaroo at home?
TC: We have kangaroos in the back yard, koalas on the trees and a few crocodiles. (stays calm like a good comedian while I laugh my head off) I mean here in Australia there are a lot of amazing animals and the most of them live out in the regional area. In the cities like where we live in, in Melbourne, you don’t see kangaroos, etc.

MH: Yeah, despite I’ve never visited Australia I find its wildlife, climate and everything amazing and so different from the area we used to live in. And while touring don’t you have a kind of cultural shock because of the difference you face, a reversed moon to name a few?
TC: There’s definitely some adjustment, but what I found is that people aren’t that different, but cultures are. Australia is a multicultural country and I feel like there are elements of many parts of the world that minimizes cultural shock when we travel, and now when we have done o much travelling nothing really surprises me anymore.


 In case you haven't preordered 'Urn' yet, you can do it here.


Interviewed: Gella Inspired

Photo is taken from the official instagram page of Ne Obliviscaris



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