"We have a lot of new stuff in the works" - Ne Obliviscaris' Tim Charles

Ne Obliviscaris were recently in Brisbane, offering the perfect opportunity for Metal as Fuck to find out what the Melbourne based six-piece metal band have planned to follow their successful 2012 release Portal of I, and what impact signing with Season of Mist may have.

In recent times in Australia it is increasingly rare to see a local metal festival without Ne Obliviscaris as one of the headliners. With an international following, the guys from Melbourne are still wrapping their heads around their local success. “It still sort of trips us out that we're considered a big name band,” says violinist Tim Charles. Metal as Fuck caught up with the band recently pre-show in Brisbane, Tim Charles was designated press duties while guitarist Benjamin Baret warmed up for the upcoming performance and singer Xenoyr passed time practising his photography. 

“We're here to play Bloodline Festival, courtesy of Maria Bloodline, which is fantastic. We're really excited to be part of this and play with really great bands that we love like Psycroptic and The Schoenberg Automaton,” Tim explains, settling into his armchair. “We always like coming up to Brisbane, for whatever reason from the first time we came up here we've always had really good crowds. We're always looking for excuses to come up here."

Ne Obliviscaris are not the easiest metal band to slot into a genre. Though the multi-barrelled descriptor of melodic-progressive-black could be applied, it would miss the flamenco elements, the moments of thrash and the jazz breakdowns.  It is this unique combination of musical elements which caught the ears of their new record label, Season of Mist. Signed worldwide with the independent record label, Ne Obliviscaris are taking their long overdue steps into the international music scene. “It obviously goes without saying that it's pretty exciting,” Tim’s face lights up, and his bandmates both grin. “Just having that sort of distribution and publicity on a worldwide scale, to guarantee your CD is going to be easily available everywhere is all a band can really ask for. So many bands spend their whole career, writing music and just trying in vain for people to hear their music. They just want to get a chance for people to hear them and see if they like them or not.  When you sign with a record label you automatically get the opportunity where people will hear you. Every major metal journalist in the world will get a copy of our album when it comes out next year, and a lot of people will find out about us who don't know us now. We'll get that opportunity for people to hear our music, and then we just have to make sure it's good enough so when they hear it they like it."

Through their Facebook page, Ne Obliviscaris have been teasing the fans of their music with photos and titbits of their creative process. But it seems that this new album is well on the way. “We have a lot of new stuff in the works for sure. We spent most of the last few months writing, we're not far off halfway through as far as material and stuff like that. We have heaps of new ideas,” Tim promises. “Portal of I was a really long time coming. From the band's inception it took years to get that finally out, and because of that I think there is a lot of pent up creative energy. Everyone has a lot of ideas, so we're definitely hoping to make this one a lot quicker and get this one out sometime in 2014.”

Despite extensive touring within Australia, Ne Obliviscaris have yet to tour overseas, but this looks set to change. “We're talking to people all across the world at the moment. We really want to tour throughout Asia, and North America, and Europe primarily, but we have people requesting all over the place. Really we'd love to tour anywhere all over the world that we could and not go completely bankrupt in the process”

In addition to their time spent with Ne Obliviscaris, Tim and Xenoyr are behind the Australian local music company Welkin Entertainment, which holds an annual charity Australian Metal festival in Melbourne. Tim explains a little, “We have the Sonic Forge Festival in December each year. We had thirty bands across three stages and just under a thousand people, so that went pretty well. We do lots of things through Welkin Entertainment; booking bands, tours, managing, compilation records. It's all good because it makes it a little bit easier to help my own band as well, instead of relying on other people to come through all the time.”

Modest about the work Welkin does in promoting Australian metal, despite several compilation albums of which I have personally posted many overseas, Tim Charles doesn’t think his work with local bands has helped with International recognition of the exploding Australian metal scene. “In the end, all I try to do is identify bands I think have the potential to do really well, and that I love personally, and try to help advance their careers in whatever form that is. For some bands that might just be helping them out with the interstate  show or a tour, or releasing their album through the label, or representing them as their manager, any of those sort of things. It depends on the band and what they need and where they're at. I'm just trying to do my little bit to help those bands. Really, anyone that's helping the Australian metal scene, excluding myself, I think all of that together is what is helping get those bands out there.”

If you’re new to Ne Obliviscaris and thought I made a typo earlier, I didn’t. Tim Charles is the violinist in Ne Obliviscaris, but this isn’t a folk metal band or even a symphonic metal band. Eschewing the use of an electric violin on live performances, he is forthcoming about the challenges in adapting the sound of this classical instrument. “I guess one of the benefits of taking forever to do your first album is it gave me a lot of time to work out how to go from being a classically trained violinist, for my first 15-20years as a musician, to how to apply that to a metal band. The very first song we wrote, the approach I had to playing in the band is very different from how I play now. Instead of mimicking the handful of other violinists who play in metal bands across the world, and might have a lot of folk influence or classical influence, I landed up moving away from that. Probably my biggest influences are the guitarists in our band, or other guitarists. So when Benji's doing some amazing solo on guitar, I try and pull off a similar style things on the violin and get some similar sounds. For me, just that love of the interpretation of the guitar in metal is what I try to bring in a little bit to the violin, whilst mixing in some of the more traditionally classical and pretty stuff.”

Ne Obliviscaris on Facebook

Portal of I on Bandcamp