OBSCURE SPHINX

OBSCURE SPHINX is one of these bands that I think I know of but in reality have no idea what they are about. So I thought I’d better interview them to get to know more. Anders Ekdahl ©2016

Nowadays there are so many different sub-genres to metal that I get lost in em all. Your metal is being describerd as post. Post what? What differes your metal from other band’s?
-That’s difficult for me too… but at the same time sometime you need those tags to identify similar bands if you want to explore more of what you like the most. That way a post black metal is different to post hard core… though some people would find it difficult to differentiate Oathbreaker from Converge in certain songs… We are somewhere between just metal – with the riff/ groove part of our music, then post rock with the more spacious part, post black with the faster, dissonant and darker side… but yet overall it’s pretty slow so sludge, and super sad so doom… right? For me it could be shortened to dark groove as to explain the music – make it as sad as possible but catchy at the same time. How do we differ? Show me another band like that with female vocals (both screamed and singed) and low pitch 8 string guitars, with so many different music styles sticking together pretty well.

How does this new album fit in with the previous albums you’ve released? What is different this time around.
-I guess it’s a bit simpler, heavier and more depressive. It also sound so much better. We ware able to expand our territories – like adding a bit of black metal, or a piano to it without being fake. And still when you hear this album you have no doubt who plays.

Do you feel that you have to follow in the footsteps of the last album for a new when it comes to lyrics and art work for everything so that those that bought the previous record will recognize your sound?
-Yes and no. We have a certain style that we like and it always comes out from us those 5 individuals. That’s just how we play. At the same time people like it. We want to progress and change but not totally because that way we could just start another band.. But we have a lot of artistic freedom, no record company or fanclub forces us to do certain things, we love to expand and teach people, not eat our own tail because it works for everybody beside us. Makes sense?

When you’ve released a new album and you go out and play live and people know your songs, how weird is that? That people know what you have written on your own?
-That’s the best feeling in the world. You know, whenever I compose something I imagine myself banging my head to it but I also see the faces it the front row of the concert and if I can imagine their positive reaction, that means this part of music is worth it. This is like telling the future and it’s so exciting because it happens to be true every time. You just have to wait a few months/ years for it to happen. These are the best moments when you can enjoy that together. Like, look here is the riff that I wrote for both of us, cool isn’t it?

Do you feel like you are a part of a greater community because you play in a band?
-I feel that we have many followers and sometimes that even surprises me – like if somebody want’s yor autograph on the street or gym 😀 but being humble I don’t feel like the whole world knows us, it’s still too early for that. Though I feel that many people count on our art – and these are big shoes to fill in.

How hard/easy is it to come up with new songs that that still are you but doesn’t sound like anything you’ve already written?
-That’s very hard. We have some skill limits you know, we are not John Petrucci for fucks sake 😀 but it all comes down to challenging yourself – I always look for perfect, not only good. We had some songs that are good and those didn’t make it to the album. Or even out of the recording software on your computer… Having fresh influences also helps – I try to listen to different bands and imagine our band going into new directions. It also helps to invite improvisation and randomness to your music, sometimes best ideas happen by accident.
What influences/inspires you today? Where do you draw inspiration from? Is it important to have some sort of message?
-Musically – I use Spotify for the main music source and besides having my fav albums there I try to find new bands/ music for inspiration. Sometimes not only metal but jazz, film music, etc. In terms of lyrics, we do not do preaching – this album is not about singing how war is bad, or dragons good. It’s more about inner wars, don’t know if there really is a message there, more of a ‘hey that’s how I feel, I know that sometimes you feel the same” kind of message. Knowing that somebody is going through some downs in their lives is also comforting – like I’m not he only one. You don’t have to give out some shitty advices like ‘be strong’ or ‘you will be ok.’ that’s cliché. Our lives are fucked, but feeling we are fucked together, makes me feel a little bit better

We hear about what state the record industry is in. Then we hear that cd sales are increasing. As a band that releases records do you notice the state the industry is in?
-Well I didn’t hear about the CD sale increase… Maybe that’s somehow prompted by the record companies… Like how come Adelle sold 20 mln records? Come on was that added to every Christmas tree? The industry is changing and it makes super impossible for bands like us to break though to a wider audience… The record companies want you to be famous and sell tons of CD’s before they sign you.. The booking agencies want you to be super famous and fill every venue in every city, then they can make you an offer. But how are you supposed to achieve that? Even with a great band musically…

What is your opinion on digital verses physical?
-Physical is more for collective purposes and digi is more convenient on the go – because these days most of the time you listen to music from you phone. It’s ok, I get it – I do the same. But people have to remember that being a professional musician is not a charity and bands have to earn somehow. So if you don’t need the CD, just attend a show or pay for the damn Spotify premium or do something that really supports the band. Just like you are ok with downloading movies but you still attend the cinema.

What lies in the future?
-Frankly I don’t know, the progress is slow for us right now. We want to keep it up, but achieving bigger audience is so hard these days. We would like to visit every European country and play a show, but we will not play for a beer and a sleepover in somebodies livingroom floor. We have families to feed and guitar amps to fix. We invest a lot but have so many obstacles these days. One thing is that we will not surrender because the ultimate satisfaction is just to play this damn music and release CD’s.

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