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intervju

28. 11. 2016  INTERVJU: Oathbreaker 
There wasn't any way of dealing with this except for going forward.

Oathbreaker, belgijski kolektiv, ki je s svojim tretjim albumom Rheia postal eden izmed bolj zaželenih bendov na koncertnih odrih, se bo 5. 12. 2016 ustavil tudi v ljubljanski Gali Hali. Ujeta v vrtinec potovanj, koncertnih prizorišč in neštetih intervjujev, si je vokalistka Caro Tanghe vseeno vzela čas za intervju z ekipo Profanity portala.

»Hi, Aleksander, I'll call you in a minute,« je Caro zapisala v chat. »I'm just finishing a sandwich.« Intervju, ki je pred vami, je v angleščini. Brez dodatkov in popravkov. Je takšen kot njihov zadnji album: pristen. Mogoče pa tudi za odtenek bolj duhovit.

(S Caro se je Jovo pogovarjal o sendvičih, ameriški turneji, novem albumu in Twin Peaksu.)

 

J: Hey, Caro! How are you?

C: I'm OK, how are you?

J: Not too bad, considering I'm doing this interview with you which is a great pleasure so a big thank you for taking your time for this chat. I'm sure you must be bored with all the interviews …

C: Well, a bit (laughs). It's not too bad. I just had a short interview before this one, but it's ok! 

J: Great! I don't want to keep your here for too long so I'm just going to jump to the first question, maybe the most important question of the day: was the sandwich OK?

C: The sandwich was great! (laughs)

J: You want to tell me more about the it?

C: Hmm, it was a hummus sandwich with bell peppers, a little bit of cherry tomatoes so I'm really happy. It made my day.

J: You obviously have a great taste! But now on to the serious questions: you just got back from the States and currently you are in France, pretty much at the beginning of your European tour. But first, what was the American tour like; you were playing with Skeletonwitch, Iron Reagan and other bands in the time period of 30 days or even more?

C: Yeah, we were in the States for 35 days and we played 29 shows, so we had a few days off. But it was great, I had a really great time. People were really excited to see us … I mean, at first I thought it would be a weird, uhm, kind of a weird package because Skeletonwitch is different from us, and Iron Reagan is very different … But it turned out really well; people were really into it. We were kind of the weird band on the bill but it was really good for us. People were really surprised! There were a lot of people that have never heard about us and we managed to convince them, and also a lot of familiar faces came out and a lot of people who already had Rheia also showed up … It was amazing, it was the best American tour that we've done so far. I'm still really excited!

J: This was, if I'm not mistaken, at the same time the first promotional tour for your new record Rheia. The tour being behind you, can you say that playing new material was more than just OK?

C: Oh yeah, definitely! Obviously, we had two different sets in the States because some cities are more responsive to the new material than others so we tried to make two different sets: one that has only new songs and another one that incorporates a few older songs. But mainly we played new songs and the response was great. Even in the cities that we felt weren't that open [towards new material], everyone was super excited. I'm super excited that everyone loved what we were doing so … Yeah, it was great.

J: After 35 days abroad, you just went straight ahead and took a new tour upon yourselves. How does it feel to be back in Europe and, more importantly, on a headlining tour where you are more in charge?

C: It's super fun to be able to play a bit longer (laughs). That's one thing. Because we have been able to play only 35 minutes or so [on the American tour]. On this tour, like you said, we're more in charge; we can play up to an hour. The audience comes to see us so that's a very different approach but it's also a bit more nerve-wrecking (laughs) because when there's no people, that's because of you. So you can't pass the blame on other bands that it hasn't been a good night (laughs). But so far, the European tour has been fun. I'm really excited about being able to play the new record so close to home. We've toured Europe so many times so we're looking forward to seeing all these familiar faces and be able to play Rheia to them. They have known us for a long period of time, mostly from other records, and it's cool to see how we do with Rheia. It's exciting to see the difference.

J: You are currently in Europe touring with Wife, with James Kelly, former Altar of Plagues member …

C: Gilles and I are both huge fans of WIFE. I was aware of Altar of Plagues but I got into them after their split-up, but I'm a huge fan of WIFE. It also really important for us to make an interesting line-up. What he does with his solo project, as a solo artist, we knew that that would make an evening really interesting. And I don't how his project will be received; in some cities, it's going to be really good for him and in some cities, it is going to be different … But I think that it's really important for our audience to open their eyes, their ears and minds to something like WIFE.

J: Something more unusual and different?

C: Yeah, but it's also cool for us to have such a different act on the bill. We just did that »metal« tour, you know, in the States, and it was a night after night of hard music, in your face riffs, all the time loud and hard. And it's so cool to have something different, I am really excited to see him play every night. It's really intense so it's a perfect match, actually. People just need to see that (laughs).

J: James Kelly and his project WIFE were well-received when they played in Ljubljana, so this combination is going to work at least in our city (laughs). This year, as we all know, you released your third album Rheia, which is, like the critics say, an exceptional record. However, you also released a really great documentary on the band itself and the recording of the album. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in the documentary you stated that Oathbreaker started out as a side project that no one really »cared about« … What changed?

C: No, it's almost right (laughs). Oathbreaker was not a musical side project, but it was more of a side project to our lives. It's not like we had all those other bands and this was a side thing. Our attitude was more »oh, we have this band so we can jam a bit«, and sometimes we wrote a song, but we weren't fully committed to it. That's more how it was. I think we started being more committed when we got signed with Deathwish, because something like that gives you, I don't know, confidence. »Dude, Deathwish is signing with us, maybe we should fucking play more, write more and take this shit more seriously in general.« That's how it was, yeah.  

J: Rheia is getting great reviews, by smaller and bigger magazines and webzines alike. Do you even care about the reviews? You did something meaningful – or in the reviewers' words, something so game-changing - out of something that was on side tracks; how does that make you feel?

C: I don't know, it's hard. I get this question a lot, and I never know what to say. Of course you care. Everyone saying that they don't care, that's bullshit. Of course you read it and of course it makes you feel good when it's a good review. But in the first place, you write this music for yourself, you know? Like, you write because you have something inside that needs to get out. And when that gets recognition, it's just amazing. It's really cool to see how people react and how they understand what is in there and what we were trying to do. That's the most important thing. But I don't know if the reviews change anything. It's cool to have, and it's cool to feel appreciated, but the most important thing for us is still just playing and going from city to city. It's not as if a guy writing something behind his computer in a room is going to fill up a room. It's the band. And it's one thing to have the Internet and the reviews, but you have to see the response live. To me, that's still the most important thing. To be able to play and to have good response, that's what really makes me happy. Reviews are important, just not as important.

J: You mentioned that, first and foremost, you write the music for yourselves. Would you say that Rheia is your most intimate work?

C: Definitely!

J: And how does it feel to play something so personal in front of an audience?

C: Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's not. It really depends on the night, the vibe … I think I can say that for all the band members. You have to go through this ritual of performing every night, and sometimes it goes really smooth and it's very easy to do while sometimes it's harder, you are facing different difficulties, things that go wrong … There's always something, but that's what makes it fucking interesting, you know.

When it comes to Rheia, I think that I underestimated it a bit. I wrote this lyrics from the heart, they're very open and out there. I think that in the earlier records, it was like that as well but it was more hidden behind nice words and not as out in the open. I mean, we start the set every night with the intro to Rheia and doing that live is very uncomfortable (laughs). It's uncomfortable for me, but it's also very uncomfortable for the audience. And I kind of like it, because it's so straightforward and very in people's faces. They don't expect it and it's so awkward but it becomes so awkward that it shifts back to being comfortably awkward, do you know what I mean? (laughs)

J: Your drummer Ivo left the band soon after recording the album. Was finding a new replacement for him difficult? How did you deal with his absence?

C: It's never fun when someone decides to stop. He decided it but we all talked about it for a year. He had a medical problem with his foot, and he was just unable to play the blast beats. So even on the record, half of the drums – the fast parts – were played by our new drummer Wim and slower parts were played by Ivo. But it was still a hard decision. We played as the four-piece for years and we're super close. We went through so many things, so a decision like that is never an easy one.

For the last couple of shows, due to Ivo being unable to play, we already had Wim as a replacement drummer, and he plays together with Gilles in Wiegedood. Basically, we knew him really well, he's a good friend of ours. He's the only guy I know that can play things like this easily. So yeah, he joined us, played the faster songs in the studio, and then it was only a matter of time to see when Ivo was going to make the decision. We left it completely to him: if he wanted to tour when he got better, he could do that. But he decided he couldn't anymore. There wasn't any way of dealing with this except for going forward. We're still good friends and we talk every day, and it's a sad thing, but we have to go on, you know?

J: You mentioned Wim being in Wiegedood, and you're all more or less connected with other bands (for example, Lennart is also playing in Amenra). With Oathbreaker becoming more serious band with more obligations and more extensive tours, how do you deal with your other musical projects?

C: It's so hard and it's so difficult (laughs). We have a really big calendar and we try to make things work, and sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. We are really happy that Amenra are currently writing new material so they're not really playing and we have more time (laughs). We'll see what their new record brings. With Wim in the band, it's easy for us to switch between Wiegedood and Oathbreaker, so him and Gilles are on the road all the time. They don't stop anymore (laughs). But as long as we can all combine this, as long as we talk it through … We make it work.

J: When you were recording Rheia, how much material got used on the record and how much of it is waiting for your new album, if you already have any plans?

C: It's really early to tell (laughs). I don't know. We are always well-prepared so everything was ready when we started recording. We made pre-productions and everything was set in stone in advance. So I don't think there is any extra material left. But we're not thinking about new album yet. We do have a new thing and we might do something with it; it's a cover but we'll see what we're going to do with it. Maybe next year. Currently, I just want to focus on Rheia and on the idea of not having to write anything (laughs).

J: Before we go, what is your favourite record of 2016? And you cannot say Rheia (laughs).

C: No, I'd never say that. But it's a hard one! Can I say WIFE?

J: You can. But you have time until December 5th to come up with your favourite record!

C: That's cool (laughs), but for now, I'll stick with Wife.

J: And now the last question: I saw a picture you guys posted on Instagram. Who is the most excited for the new season of Twin Peaks?

C: Oh, man. Gilles was really losing it when we were at the location of Twin Peaks, he was crying and he still talks about it every day so I guess Gilles (laughs).

J: Well, that's everything. Thank you for your time and have a great tour!

C: I'm sure we will! Thank you so much for the questions and for making it fun, it doesn't happen that often (laughs).

 

Avtor: Jovo
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