Obscura's Christian Müenzner Talks North American Tour And New Bassist
Band Photo: Obscura (?)
The German titans of technicality, Obscura, have finally hit North American shores for a proper headlining run to show off their blistering blend of death metal and progressive musical ideals. The Metalunderground.com sponsored trek is in support of Obscura's newest tech-death masterpiece "Omnivium" (check out our review here).
A day before the tour started, I had the chance to chat up Obscura guitarist Christian Müenzner about the new run of shows, as well as the band's recent lineup change with the addition of new bassist Linus Klausenitzer. Christian also talked about the set list for the tour and how crisscrossing the U.S. is much different from a European run due to the long travel distances involved.
xFiruath: You are about to kick off your North American tour. Where are you guys headed this time around?
Christian: We’re doing the whole east coast and then the middle and west. We’ll hit Canada for Montreal. So pretty much we’re hitting all the major cities. Tomorrow I think we start in Wilmington for the first show, then we head to New York for the Metal Sucks fest and we go to Montreal. We’re pretty much running the whole continent, so it’s going to be exciting.
xFiruath: You had already come over here with Children of Bodom, but I understand this is actually your first headlining North American tour.
Christian: Yes, exactly. We did three tours before, once with Children of Bodom, once with Cannibal Corpse in 2009, and then The Black Dahlia Murder in 2010. We’re quite curious to see how many people we can draw on our own now and get our name out there.
xFiruath: Is it a big pain to get all the visas and the business aspects lined up to come over from Germany to the U.S. for a tour like this?
Christian: Yeah, but we’ve gotten a lot of help. We already had the visas from the Children of Bodom tour and they are good for a year so that’s why we made the decision to come back for the headlining tour this year so we don’t need to get all that stuff once again. So it definitely made sense to do another run now.
xFiruath: What can we look forward to on your set list for this tour?
Christian: There’s going to be a lot of unexpected stuff we didn’t get to do before. We’re even going to play a song from the very first Obscura record “Retribution,” which we haven’t done before. We’re going to play about 70 minutes of music so it will be very interesting and diverse. We’re pretty excited about it.
xFiruath: Will you do any covers or will it all be all original material?
Christian: On this tour, no covers because there’s so much material to cover on those three records. We’d rather play more of our own tunes for this headlining tour.
xFiruath: Who are you touring with and have you played with these bands before?
Christian: We’re touring with Abysmal Dawn, Last Chance to Reason, and Enfolding Darkness. We’ve done a couple of shows with Abysmal Dawn in 2009. They’re really cool guys, we got along with them really well and we like the music a lot so we’re happy to have them on the bill once again. I don’t know the people from the other bands but I visited Last Chance to Reason and was pretty impressed. I think this will be an interesting tour.
xFiruath: As a headlining band coming from another country, what’s it like to be on the road for so long for a month at a time and what’s a typical day like for you guys?
Christian: A typical day here in the states is very different from Europe because the distances are really huge. Whatever kind of tour it is, its lots of driving and you spend a lot of time in the car together. You have two different extremes, because first its eight hours or whatever where you can’t do anything just sitting in the car. But then you have very little time to get everything set up and are in a super rush.
xFiruath: Not too long ago you split with your old bassist Jeroen and brought on new member Linus Klausenitzer. What happened to cause the split and how did you meet your new bassist?
Christian: There were no personal reasons for the split. Jeroen had some decisions to make because he couldn’t join on us tour anymore for the next two years. We had a lot of plans because we wanted to get the band out there for the touring cycle and we didn’t want to take that long of a break. We wanted to keep touring, but you can’t always go with a session guy because maybe you get a good tour offer but then you can’t accept if you can’t find a replacement in a short time. The guy who is playing with us now is from another German band called Noneuclid, their guitar player actually did a guest solo on our new record and our producer plays in that band, so that’s where we know him Linus from. We definitely think that was the right decision to make, it feels more like a band now and it’s a lot more comfortable.
xFiruath: Is Linus still active with Noneuclid or is he solely with Obscura now, and will his other band interfere with touring?
Christian: He is still active with Noneuclid and they’ve had a record ready for a long time. I think they are one of the very best bands in Germany. They have trouble finding a label because some people find the music a bit hard to access. Everyone in this band is in another band as well which is why they don’t tour a lot. They do only special events in Germany like playing with a real orchestra, so they do big stuff but only very rarely so they are never on tour and it doesn’t collide with us, but the band is still active.
xFiruath: For fans who are familiar with your catalog and haven’t heard the new bassist before, do the songs sound different now as he puts his own twist on it, or do they still sound essentially the same?
Christian: He definitely puts his own twist on it. I think he’s at least as good as Jeroen was or maybe a little bit better in terms of control. I’m not a bass player, but that’s what I think. He is more like a heavy metal guy who studied jazz music at college so he’s very knowledgeable. He copies the very important parts, which you can’t really play differently in the song, but then he puts his own twist. That was important to us because we didn’t want to look for a clone. We wanted someone with their own identity. Anybody can learn and play the parts, but what’s important is what he brings to the music.
xFiruath: Your latest album is still fairly new, but once the tour is over what’s next for Obscura? Will you start writing new material or do more touring?
Christian: We always write, but we never know what’s going to end up on a new album. We’re already in the process of collecting stuff, but I think at least until next summer we are in the cycle of touring for “Omnivium.” We’re going to Europe in the spring, and for now we’ll collect ideas as they come up and file them away until we start on a new record.
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