Silver Tiger Photography & Media had the absolute pleasure to speak with the classically trained violinist TIM CHARLES from metal NE OBLIVISCARIS

STM’s Casper and Tim chatted about their album Citadel and their upcoming tour.

Welcome and thank you very much for having a yarn to us, you music is so intensely complex that I am loathe to try and fit it into a genre. I tried to describe it as best as I could with the review. “Progressive Death Metal “would probably seem to fit but how would you characterise the sound with what you have achieved?

I guess for us it is pretty hard to categorise, we view ourselves as a progressive band with the approach that we take to the music and we have a very open minded and experimental approach to how we write metal. But then really how we bring that out can sound like anything really, whether it be death metal or black metal or progressive or melodic or acoustic or new age or all this sort of stuff but I guess the signature of our sound is probably the breadth of what we encompass within the one song and in the one album      

The inclusion of the violin is just a masterstroke but I have to ask, which came first? The metal or the violin?

Well for the band it was the metal but for me it was the violin…… 

I thought that might be the case 

I been learning classical violin since I was 6, so that’s 26 years now I have been playing the violin. I was studying at the time here in Melbourne and I was a huge metal fan but for me the violin was a separate endeavour I loved playing the violin and was pursuing a career as a classical violinist and on the weekends I would go out and attend heavy metal shows and then by some good fortune I managed to  meet our singer Xenoyr, way back in 2003,and he had a cool idea, he was starting up a new band at the time which was Ne Obliviscaris and he thought it would be really cool to have a violinist in the band. So I came along and then it was the slow process of “well how do we make this work?” It definitely took a few years for me to get to the stage where I am now, where I sort of feel like I can make it work in the band. But yeah definitely something that I feel very fortunate to have found a band of musicians who are open minded and who basically let me do my own thing because it is quite unusual for most metal bands. 

Most Certainly and do you think the violin is part of what sets you out from the pack and is part of why the band is so popular?

 Well…. I would say yes (laughing) with a totally clear bias (being the violinist) for me the violin is not the easiest instrument to make work in metal there aren’t a lot of heavy metal violinists around, there are only about a handful of bands that I know that have actually full time violinists. Most violinists are taught in a really structured classical way and to make it work in metal you really have to break out of that. So that was one of the challenges for me and it is great that people have been connecting with what I have been doing with the band. I think it does get to the point of difference but I think there is lots of great elements about the band. We are very fortunate to have a lot of talented members who all bring something to the picture. We are much more powerful and effective together than any one of us by ourselves.

I think Pyrrhic was the best track off the album as a teaser, did you feel the anticipation building after that teaser release?

Yeah, well we were blown away by the responses we had gotten for all of the advanced material that we released we put up the album stream last week which gave people an early opportunity to hear the record and the response, it’s been fantastic, we are really excited about what’s to come. 

I have to ask about Painters in Tempest what is the story behind such a brilliant three part piece. 

When we were writing this, the first thing that was written was the first 6 or 7 minutes of part II which is movement 1. And that was originally supposed to be Painters of the Tempest was going to be a 7 min song. From there we had an idea for taking the song in a new direction and starting with a new movement so we went ahead with what became Movement 2 and then went forward with movement 3 and then we started working backwards and I composed part 1 to deliberately set the table for what was to come and then Benji and I wrote part 3 to work as a kind of epilogue for the whole thing. From a conceptual perspective it is an anti-war song so ‘Wyrmholes’ is the inception and ‘Reveries from the Stained Glass Womb’ which is part 3 is the epilogue of an unknown future and then the big bit in the middle ‘Triptych Lux’ kind of holds them all together.

The Signing with Seasons of Mist, what has been the best element of that so far?

I think what every band wants is their music to be heard and I think signing to seasons of mist gave us an opportunity to make sure our music was heard by a lot more people this time around.  That’s is really the battle that a lot of bands are fighting, there are a million bands all across the world saying “listen to me listen to me” as much as the new modern age makes it much easier to your music out there, when you have the help of a big label, with big offices in Europe and the US it obviously makes a difference to getting Citadel heard by as many people as possible. So we are definitely excited to be working with them and them showing faith and belief that we can do something special moving forward. 

Is there anything in particular you find exciting about the international exposure now? The opportunities to tour? Or is it just the amount of people that are hearing your music all over the world? Is there a particular aspect that you find most satisfying to yourself?

I think all of it is incredible, when you think back to where a band starts, in a rehearsal room oblivious to the outside world just creating music for yourself so just for one of your friends to like what you were doing in the early days, gives you a huge buzz. Then you start branching out to the people in your home town pub and your home country. It has literally blown us away to hear people are listening to our music literally all across the world. It continually blows my mind at how many countries that we have fans, for me the most fun part is performing live, so wherever people are listening to our music there is an opportunity to play there. A lot of people don’t get the opportunity to tour around the world, so I am excited to possibly be travelling to places that I wouldn’t have gone to under normal circumstances.

The artwork for the album is just amazing, what was the inspiration behind it? 

All our artwork for Ne Obliviscaris is done by our vocalist Xenoyr and in my opinion he is just incredible. We are really fortunate, not only does he do all the vocals but he does all the lyrics and the artwork and all of those things are important. And the reason why we love him doing the artwork so much is that he is able to capture what our music is about in that visual perspective.

Thank you very much for your time Tim. We can’t wait to catch you live on the 21st November!!

Thank you very much for your time and look forward to meeting you soon.