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Interview with Xenoyr from Ne Obliviscaris

Interview with Xenoyr from Ne Obliviscaris

Torben K.: Hi there on the other side of the world ;) First of all I would like to congratulate you on "Portal of I"! Assuming that you aren't very familiar with the German language, you couldn't enjoy yourself reading all the canticles I sung about your album. As far as I know, the opinions of the other German critics are running in the same direction. How does it feel releasing an album, which is celebrated as being one of the best new discoveries of the year?

Xenoyr: Hello from Australia, and thank you for your kind words, it's nice to know that you and your fellow countrymen/women appreciate what we're doing…despite whatever positives being in German! We've experienced loss, love, pain, grief, and joy whilst creating this monster, and to let it loose feels so cathartic and liberating, but sad at the same time... kind of how I imagine what it would be like watching the world end...ha! People have been so positive and gracious towards's so hard to contemplate the massive response we've had; we're still absorbing it all really.

Torben K.: Although you have recently released a highly acclaimed album you aren't very popular in the European metal scene. Would you mind introducing yourself to our readers and telling them what they will miss when they won't check out "Portal Of I"?

Xenoyr: This is true, Europe doesn't really know we exist so to explain what we’re about is this; we're a six piece band that combine most kinds of metal like black, death, thrash, prog, in which we incorporate jazz, rock, flamenco, acoustic, classical and western art music. Our music expresses so many things from light, darkness, beauty, sadness, passion, and hope... Simply, it is for the open minded.

Torben K.: "Ne Obliviscaris" is an old Latin quote meaning "Lest we forget". Why have you chosen this name for your band and what does it mean to you?

Xenoyr: We wanted a name that resounded with people, something they could relate to and personalize; it could mean remembering who you are, what you stand for and never losing sight of that, or remembering the important things in life or what most people attribute it to; celebrating the life of a lost loved one.

Torben K.: Let's talk about your first full-length release. "Portal Of I" has been released in Europe a few weeks ago, but was completed some months before. Therefore I guess you have some distance to the material now. Are there any things you would like to change / improve?

Xenoyr: Looking back on the material, we're proud of what we’ve done and the work that has gone into it. The only thing I would change is that time that it took us to create it, haha... "Portal of I" is an expression of that period in our career, and that's an authentic example of us, so to change anything would be a lie. Performance, writing quality and ownership of what we do as individuals and as a band are all things that will improve between now and album number two, and there's a lot of pressure to go a step beyond what we've done... which by judging by what we've started so far, we’re quite positive, yes indeed.

Torben K.: One thing which makes songs like "And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope" so special is the brilliant Violin-playing by Tim, a very prominent characteristic of your music. When and how was the idea of combining various styles of metal music with classical violin-playing born?

Xenoyr: Yes, Tim is a wonder! When we formed the band we wanted to incorporate another dynamic to the music, either by using a violin or cello. We wanted to stick with an authentic instrument rather than going with a keyboard, for our music we needed something more organic and deep. I've no problem with keys, they just wouldn't suit us. I found Tim on a forum discussing stringed instruments in heavy music, I seized the opportunity... and here we are today!

Torben K.: Every time I'm listening to "Portal Of I", I'm impressed how many different styles of music your mixing and how homogeneous the outcome still sounds. A "typical" Ne Obliviscaris song starts with Progressive Black Metal, continues to Melodic Death Metal parts, has an acoustic interlude (which sounds like Spanish Flamenco) and ends somewhere in the Jungle of Metal music. Where do you take all those different influences from? Especially the ones for the acoustic interludes?

Xenoyr: As individuals we have so many different influences, and we all work together to meet on a common level... where the music leads is what we feel as a band. It needs to feel natural and organic. Each song takes on a life of its' own, they're each a journey in themselves...

Torben K.: And while we're on the subject of the diversity of "Portal Of I": How would you describe the genre of your music to one of those fetishists of stereotyped thinking? ( I guess you're having them in Australia, too ;) )

Xenoyr: Haha, vaguely I would describe our music as Melodic Extreme Progressive Metal... perhaps.

Torben K.: "Portal of I" is quite an interesting title, which leaves room for different interpretation. Why have you chosen this title and what does it mean in context of the album?

Xenoyr: Yes, interpretation is something that was intended. As a whole, it's a journey of sorts, an expression of where we've come from, what we've been through, who we are... and where we want to take our listener. It's somewhere where people can be inspired to realise themselves and live their true lives…people need to be free to think, live and dream.

Torben K.: Unfortunately I had no lyrics within my promotional package, so this is one aspect of your music, which wasn't discussed in my review. Would you mind telling about the lyrics of "Portal of I"?

Xenoyr: The lyrics are about life, death, self-exploration, expression and evolution, darkness, light, colour, and ultimately about hope. What I write comes across to many as quite dark but the message is always positive, as negativity has no place in our music. Lyrically it can be a little abstract for some but this opens it up for people to interpret it for themselves... it gives people their own unique connection to what we create.

Torben K.: Another aspect of your music which was treated as an orphan in my review is the artwork. I tried very hard, but except from finding it really nice, I couldn't make a head of the meaning of it. Help me out ;) Who has drawn this one and what is the meaning behind the artwork?

Xenoyr: Ha, thank you, I did the artwork so I'm glad you like it! I love abstract art with the sensibility of direction, so I guess in this case it's my representation of that. It expresses our music and all the elements that we incorporate, the different themes of light and darkness and the all the different emotions.

Torben K.: In my opinion the Australian metal scene enters the European limelight currently. In my world view of the last years, your country was a great destination to travel to, but I never thought about great bands when it comes to Australia. This has changed with bands like you, Be'lakor, Germ, Austere and Psycroptic moving into our focus. This is your chance to promote other bands from your country, which deserve our attention!

Xenoyr: Being so cut off from the international scene Australian metal suffers and we have to work harder to be heard. Bands that I can think of right now apart from the ones mentioned; Virgin Black, Ruins, Arbrynth, A Million Dead Birds Laughing, Arcane, Katabasis, Nazxul, Paradigm, and Okera. There are a lot more bands here so I do encourage international readers to take a little time to cast their ears to our foreign shores, they might be surprised.

Torben K.: Let's take a look into the future. Where do you see Ne Obliviscaris in ten years? Will we have to wait another nine years for album No. 2? ;)

Xenoyr: In ten years we hope to have a few albums under our belt (minimum!), to have toured the world extensively and to still be challenging ourselves musically and creating more music that represents us. As it stands, we've started writing album number two, and we've a much better idea of what's involved in recording and releasing an album so this time it's going to be a lot smoother sailing.

Torben K.: You have nearly reached the end of my questions. But before it's time to say goodbye, I would like to do some brainstorming with you. Your first associations on:

Xenoyr: Europe: A beautiful place that I need to go back to... with the band next time.
Australia: Isolated, and a melting pot of creative bands.
Religion: Not for me, but we all have to have faith in something.
Sex, Drugs and Rock'N'Roll: Sex = Need you ask? Drugs = Music is my drug. Rock'N'Roll = Just add blast beats...
The best band in the world: Emperor.

Torben K.: You've made it! Thanks for answering my questions, thanks for your great music! The last words are yours!

Xenoyr: Thank YOU for the opportunity and the great questions, it was a pleasure! I'd also like to thank our international fans new and old, for their patience... we'll see you on tour! Until then, be well and be free.

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