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Constantin (Kamera Obskur)

Interview with Constantin from Kamera Obskur
by Morgan Djevelbjörn at 15 April 2011, 9:06 AM

KAMERA OBSKUR just released their debut album "Bildfänger" which received a warm welcome by our crew, so an interview with them was inevitable. Let's see what their bassist and programmer Constantin had to say.

How did KAMERA OBSKUR emerge? What was the idea that gave birth to it?

The basic idea of creating such kind of music was not particularily planned but more or less was reason for and result of the end of my former musical engagement in Lunar Aurora. There were quite a lot of ideas and images that never have been worked on and some that never were even considered appropriate. So, I then started to work on those ideas since 2007 and it took me quite a time to achieve some results as on the one hand I was not at all experienced in this way of work, i.e. a one-man-show and on the other hand I did not have a clear image in mind of what I really wanted to do. I just wanted to widen the possibilities of musical craftsmanship and it took a while until the direction got a bit clearer.Even when I first presented some ideas to Marcel to ask him to assist me with guitar work, the whole stuff still was quite fuzzy and awkwardish so we did not start real work until 2009 or so. Still then much of the arabesque that so much contributes to the whole image of Kamera Obskur was left open to be formed by the personal vein of all the participants so the "idea" behind all this was just finished when the album was finished. And still it has nothing whatsover to say about a certain "style" that Kamera Obskur has got, consists of or manifests.

How do you feel about experimental music, is it a need or something that someone does after a lot of strategic thinking?

When you refer to experimental music in a general term, it´s a bit difficult to say, like, let´s say, talking about painting in general. I can only guess that much of musical stimulus is a need on a very basic level, so you want to create music, you need a ground glass, an emulsion or something to express yourself and this can be everything and depends on your life circumstances as well as on your creative potential and possibilities and so on. I read once about all the ideas, all the talents that due to conditions of life never find expression but I forgot where this was and I think, that does not have much to do with your question, does it? What I wanted to say is that the basics of implementation, be it creativity or talent or even both, not only has something to do with what you want to do, but what you are able to do - and what you are not. Then, when it comes to music, if you make it experimental or somehow else might be strategic then. Still, in my case I´d say it was more lack of strategy: I did not want (and I think I would not have been able to either) to keep on a certain track, accept limitations or even look ahead to the result. I think that´s how "experiments" start and even sometimes end: you don´t have a concept of the result and you are very well keen on onything that might come along, maybe even leadig you completely of the track…

Tell us about the instruments-sounds that flow inside "Bildfnger".

I hope I get this questions right when I refer to technical details. Besides of Marcel who uses Fender guitars and as far as I know Electro Harmonix effects among others I can only tell on my behalf: the whole album was created or outlined on Logic, using its Plug Ins and some more Synths like Pro-53 or Morphology. Of course the real instruments were rerecorded properly by a friend of mine and a very ambitious collector of special recording technology and a very thorough and skilled engineer. I used an old Framus bass guitar on this album, a Hollywood Star I think from the 60s - I thought this would give the music a nice low-fi touch…

Would you consider having english lyrics in a future album?

I would not consider it, no, but I also would not exclude the idea. I tried in other occasions but it´s always so, that if the sound or the "mood" of the single words does not very well fit to the content, it´s mostly better to stick to your own language. It simply gives you more possibilities of variation.

I can clearly hear a lot of mystery haunting the album's songs. Is this what KAMERA OBSKUR want to create?

Actually not. At least not exclusively. What you call mystery most likely comes through the synthesizers and of course when it comes to them, I did want to create something gloomy or eerie - without aiming on the rest of the music. Moreover I think that there are as well some very buoyant elements and if we would have had different circumstances in recording that stuff, it would have had those elements more distinct. I thought about surf sounds and metal-parodies but well, it didn´t work…

As I read, you arethe mastermind behind KAMERA OBSKUR. It's quite rare to see the bass player being the main man and also the composer.

I am the composer, yes, so I am not only the bass player. I just recorded only the bass on my own because all the other members are much better on their instruments than I am on them of course. My composing work thus consisted merely of programmed drum patterns and some very basic guitars to show Marcel the rough idea of what he should turn into something real. So the composing part then maybe was as much as you´d await from a bass player while lots of arranging and pimping work was done by the respective musicians.

Which bands or artists do you consider as the most influential and inspiring for you?

It´s usually hard to say what you think is inspiring and what really finds its way into the music. Of course I sometimes hear a tune, a track, a rhythm or a mere effect that arouses my attention like: well, there´s something created by this or that that suits you well, let´s see if you can´t create something similiar with your means. Normally it does not work, the result often is even stupid. Because of this, much other music stays nothing more than inspiring to me but not to my music. I think, you´d like to hear some bands´ names now, but I refuse to name any because although it´s a cliche, I have to say that there´s so much and many that I cannot possibly name only a part of them without feeling reduced and even less do I want to filter this stuff to music that might have found its way into my music in this or another way, simply because I can never say for sure. Ah, well, one thing I can say for sure: the soundtrack of the video game "Silent Hill" often gave me enough creeps to motivate me trying some weirdo stuff. And Benjamin Biolay but I´m not speaking French.

Since not every fan speaks German, What does the band choose to say lyricwise?

I have chosen topics in the lyrics that somehow affect many levels of being. They are about fear from one´s own unconsciousness (Morgen Grauen) or at least the way one deals with it and with some thoughts that sometimes suddenly emerge from wherever (Rest im Glas). They´re about naivity and rationality (Sternenzerstörer and Ballade der verlorenen Kindheit) being allegories for childhood and the Prestent or vice versa, about skeletons in the closet (Leichen im Keller) that everyone has and about humbleness and arrogance (Ende des Weges), the one sometimes leading to the other and at least one of them having no destination. It´s not that all this is all-time present in my life or that I´m trying to focus anyone´s attention to these topics, it´s just that I think that all of that stuff I write about is something that every one stumbles upon some day and mostly all of these topics create really serious existentialistic problems as soon as they really break free. It´s nothing very mystical there, I assume.

What are the plans of the band when it comes to discography?

I have no plans regarding this, really. I wanted to make this album, I wanted to try all that I tried and not much more. Of course I will furthermore make music but some of the main ambitions like gathering certain persons, implementing certain ideas and so forth, are no longer my main motivation. I think I will continue in a somewhat similar vein with the same name but maybe I find other people to try other ideas or I´ll stick to the same persons or whatever. I really don´t know, I´ll be as surprised as anyone else, I think.

Say the fist word that comes to mind when you hear the word: Humanity


Thank you very much for you time Constantin!

Thanks for the conversation. Maybe the one or the other will find aid in these lines to get access to the music of Kamera Obskur.


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Edited 18 August 2022

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