Germ's Tim Yatras Gearing Up To Infect The World With "Loss"
Band Photo: Germ (?)
Australian one-man band Germ is the creation of Tim Yatras, also known for his work with the now defunct-acts Austere and Grey Waters. A genre like depressive black metal is already about as underground as it gets, and would be considered completely bizarre to the average person who hasn't been exposed to extreme metal, but Germ takes things a step farther and dives head first into a fully avant-garde sound.
Germ was covered in the genre-blending and trend ignoring edition of our "Unearthing the Metal Underground" column earlier this year after the release of the "Wish" album. Now the project is set to release a follow-up EP titled "Loss" (review coming soon), which explores themes of betrayal and desperation while melding black metal with electronic elements, clean singing, and even a dash of pop. To see what the man behind the band had to say about the new EP, check out interview below.
xFiruath: For our readers who are unfamiliar with your work, can you give me a rundown of how Germ came to be and what the project has done so far?
Tim: Germ started as an idea way back in around 2003 when I was still a teenager. Basically I just wanted to combine elements of some different genres which I loved, and see what happened. Over the years I made a few recordings, including a demo in 2006 which was never released, but eventually the debut album, “Wish,” was released in March of this year, followed by the new EP, “Loss” in October. Both the album and EP are made up of songs recorded between 2009 - now.
xFiruath: Germ’s combination of sounds is quite different from what is found in many other metal-based bands. How would you describe the music to someone who hadn’t heard it before and how do you usually go about writing new music?
Tim: I don't really know how I'd describe the sound. I guess a depressive black metal base with classical, electronic and poppy elements over the top would be reasonably close. As for composing, I'll usually just write on my own at home, and record the songs roughly onto my computer, before heading into the studio to record the material properly, and maybe assign some new sounds to the midi data I did at home, or whatever.
xFiruath: Is Germ a one-man project only at this point or was anyone else involved with “Loss?”
Tim: Germ is, and will always be, a one man project. I'll always write the music and lyrics, come up with the concepts, and play most of the instruments. Having said that, however, there are a couple of people I worked with on both “Wish” and “Loss,” namely Lord Tim and James Page. These two guys are both fantastic musicians and producers and contribute a lot to the overall sound of Germ.
xFiruath: Although the themes and overall direction have changed, there are quite a few stylistic similarities between “Loss” and “Wish.” How are the two connected for you, and when did you write the songs for “Loss?”
Tim: “Loss” is a bit of a weird one. A lot of the material was actually recorded at the same time as “Wish,” while some was recorded during the sessions for the aborted Grey Waters album, and the track “So Lonely, Dead Lonely,” I actually wrote the first half of that song for Austere, then tried to rework it for Grey Waters, and then finally recorded it again early this year in the version which you hear on “Loss.”
xFiruath: The title is fairly obvious, but what specifically do the lyrics deal with on the EP?
Tim: I guess just things like, of course, loss, betrayal, questioning love, depression, addiction, desperation.
xFiruath: Your harsh vocals are very distinctive and are quite different from many other extreme metal acts. Do you apply any effects to them in the studio, and is there anything special you do to keep your voice from going out?
Tim: Nothing I do to keep my voice from going out. I mean, I only sing a few times a year, as I don't perform live, so it's pretty easy to just go in and scream for a while once in a blue moon. As for effects, there's really only delay, and a lot of reverb. I've actually been asked this question a few times in the past, but there's nothing "tricky" going on, just screaming into a microphone with a couple of effects.
xFiruath: What’s happening in your local metal scene, and will Germ be playing any live shows in the future?
Tim: I actually have almost no idea about the Australian metal scene. Lord Tim, who co-produces, plays lead guitar and does some orchestration for Germ, has a band called LORD, and they have a new album coming out later in the year, which is really good if you're into the more traditional metal side of things, but with some added elements that keep it interesting. Apart from that I heard some new Drowning the Light tracks from an upcoming release, not sure if it's an EP or full length, but they sounded very good, and quite different from what people may expect. As far as playing live with Germ, honestly I don't see this happening at this point, maybe things will change in the future, but for now Germ remains a studio only project.
xFiruath: Are you currently active with any other projects besides Germ?
Tim: Yes, I am. There's a "supergroup" of sorts, which I'm going to do some vocals for, but I can't say much more about that at the moment, as it's only in the very early stages. Also, I've started to work with some friends on a new band, which will present possibly the bleakest material I've ever done, but in a style most people would never expect. Again, it's only in the early stages, and more will be revealed in the coming months.
xFiruath: What bands and albums are you most enjoying this year, or what are you most looking forward to that’s coming out soon?
Tim: Shit, I need to think what I have bought this year... The two that come to mind as being great albums are the new ones from Sigur Ros and Silversun Pickups. I also picked up the latest Burzum album, my first since “Hlidskjalf,” and I know it got some bad reviews, but I enjoyed it. I guess I'll go back and check the last few I've missed now. As for albums I'm looking forward to, I know it's already out, but I'm looking forward to listening to the new one from Mono.
Anything else you’d like to discuss?
Tim: I'll just take this opportunity to say thanks for the interview, and keep an eye on Facebook for updates on Germ, as well as any announcements regarding new projects!
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