Melbourne’s Ne Obliviscaris recently announced the release of their debut album, Portal Of I. It’s been 9 years since the band formed and during that time NeO have seen members come and go and an expensive and lengthy battle with immigration to retain their guitarist Benjamin Baret.
Now the album is finally here and the band are about to head out on their first national tour. Xenoyr (harsh vocals) took the time to answer a few questions about what makes the guys tick.
Prog Blog: Congrats on the recent announcement of the album and tour. How does it feel to finally be getting this record out?
Xenoyr: Thank you, it’s been a long time coming; we’re all itching to get back out there. The release is going to be a cathartic experience for all of us, especially for Tim and myself who’ve been working towards this since 2003. I formed the band and after so long, with so many setbacks and sacrifices, seeing that this is going to happen feels so surreal and unbelieveable…yet at the same time there’s a sense of sadness in the realisation that it has taken so long.
PB: For those new to the piece, how did the band come together and what took so long to get to this point?
X: We started as a four-piece, in the hope of making dark melodic metal with a black metal slant (I guess we have maintained that but in a different way). On our voyage we’ve had numerous lineup changes: a bassist, 2 drummers, and multiple guitarists…and with each new recruit, our sound has developed more and more, so songs have been either discarded, changed or refined, and because our songs aren’t exactly short, it can take time for us to be happy with what’s been created. As with everyone, life gets in the way also…there’s been a lot of dramatic changes in each member’s life, which has caused delay after delay too. As a band, we’ve learnt a lot of life lessons about patience and respect…and despite everything, here we are today, intact, a new album recorded, and looking forward to letting go of some of our demons.
PB: Without an album or any official release, what has been the band’s strategy for promotion up until now?
X: For us, obviously getting to this point has been a long uphill battle, but we’ve tried to keep in the public eye, updating about the band’s recording progress, Benjamin’s visa issues etc and also interacting with fans on our various sites, just to let people know that we still exist and for them not to give up on us releasing an album. We’re still a small Australian band that most of the world has no idea about, so we keep perspective and promote as much as we can. If you don’t promote, no one will know that you exist.
PB: The buzz online seems to be positive so far; were you ever concerned that your fans/the metal scene had moved on and forgotten about you?
X: Well, in a way…we have great fans, but it’s hard to keep people interested with only a 3-track demo, so it’s understandable that we may lose people along the way. We’re very humbled by the feedback and encouragement from the fans that have stuck by us, and who have had faith or hope that one day we may have an actual album. We’re forever grateful.
PB: With the recent departure of drummer Dan Presland and your new drummer Nelson Barnes coming on board, you’re now juggling members from interstate, members with families and members with day jobs. How do you make it all work?
X: Tell me about it; it’s not easy. Communication is the key I think, and a lot of planning ahead keeps things working well. We’re all busy people and we put a lot of effort into this band, and unfortunately sacrifices are made, but we all have a common goal and we all want it to work…so it does. It gets messy sometimes and I think to get through it, you need a sense of humour. With us it’s, “what setback next?”
PB: The album is coming out in Australia through Welkin Records. Tell us a bit about the label and the reasons for putting it out independently.
X: Welkin Records is run by our violinist Tim, so obviously this helps. It allows us more flexibility, better communication and more control of our home turf seeing as we know how to do things here. The label is relatively new but has already a great reputation. Internationally, we’re very inexperienced, so we believe the label that will release the album worldwide (which will be announced soon) will do a great job; we’re really looking forward to working with them.
PB: What are the band’s plans beyond this upcoming tour?
X: Once this tour is done, we’ll be doing some more shows later in the year, in which we’ll hopefully be heading over to WA also and some other areas we’ve neglected. There will also be copious amounts of writing new material with our recently recruited drummer Nelson…so our focus will be playing as much as possible and getting our next album underway.
PB: What other Australian music is piqueing your interest at the moment?
X: Australia has some amazing talent and it looks to be a great year for Aus releases: Be’lakor, A Million Dead Birds Laughing and Okera are launching their albums in the coming months. Other bands that people should check out: The Schoenberg Automaton, Arcane, Arbrynth, sleepmakeswaves…and my personal favourite, Virgin Black (if only they’d wake from slumber). I know I’m missing a lot, we’ve so many underrated bands here.
PB: Any plans to head overseas?
X: Ideally we would love to tour internationally as any band would. Once our album is released, and we discuss things with our label, then we’ll see where things are at. We’re confident though that we’ll get overseas as our sights are set far…so who knows what the future will bring.
Ne Obliviscaris tour Australia during May and June.
Ne Obliviscaris Portal of I Australian Tour
Friday, May 18 @ The Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC 18+
Saturday, May 19 @ The Castle, Dandenong, Melbourne VIC *ALL AGES*
Saturday, June 9 @ The Enigma Bar, Adelaide SA
Sunday, June 10 (Public Holiday Eve)@ Beetle Bar, Brisbane QLD
Saturday, June 16 @ The Bald Faced Stag (The Wall), Sydney NSW
Listen: Ne Obliviscaris And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope