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Lacrimas Profundere's Oliver Nikolas Schmid: "…when was the last time you reviewed a band, you read “Billy Idol” and “Cradle Of Filth” in one sentence?"

Interview with Oliver Nikolas Schmid from Lacrimas Profundere
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 08 October 2022, 9:51 PM

Every creation out there can be related as art, and that is an interesting say. Why? Because everything is in the eye of the beholder, every person with a different perception of the thing being looked at, or listened to. Now, if this piece of art is unique, maybe a mix of several elements or simply out of this world, so to speak, it will be sought. The German Metallers, Lacrimas Profundere, as it seems, never stop in their tracks, only continue to amaze. Following the release of their darkest offering, "How to Shroud Yourself with Night", there is a lot to talk about and to listen. Steinmetal had an amazing conversation with the charming creator, Oliver Nikolas Schmid, and he had quite a story to tell.

Hello Oliver, it is amazing to have you for this conversation with Metal Temple online Magazine, how are things going on your end sir?

Hey Lior, very good thanx a lot.

It has been quite the eventful couple of years with what went on with the world. After everything shut down with the rise of Covid, no one could truly predict what would happen. Gladly, that is behind us. I wonder, in particular to the vast restrictions, and along with the inability to perform live, how did the band survive that period?

For us creators and performers of music, it has hit hard in the field, but it gave us the freedom to breathe and experiment. The pandemic kind of stopped our lives from one day to the next and that helped to fall into a melancholic mood even more, laughs. After our tour in November 2019 with our friends in The 69 Eyes we wanted to reap the benefits of this work and we booked our own headliner tour for March 2020. But as we all know, it did not happen. No touring means more time for demos. No pressure of release dates, or confirmed touring dates, but also you miss the adventure and almost the smell of the clubs. What we have learned was, it's not where your body is at, it's where your mind is. We were in different countries, but we were all on the same page with Julian during demoing.

Honestly, and I am glad that now I have a great incentive to continue heeding your call, it was my first time listening to Lacrimas Profundere. Maybe bits and pieces over the years, but never really closing myself with an album. "How to Shroud Yourself with Night", your new album, was recently released. What have been the reactions by your fanbase, or perhaps new listeners?

Overwhelming. I didn’t expect such a great response to be honest. You know this album was the hardest to write and every single tone is on point. I'm really touched when I hear sentences like this: "An album that reveals more details and secrets with each listen. Brave, sad, angry and yet beautiful!” So, when something works out the way you dreamed it, it is nice, especially since we walked a thin line on many things. When I think back to the time in the studio, the many decisions that were made and the risks that we took, I have the feeling that the courage has been rewarded. Descriptions I heard like “a mixture of HIM and MetalCore”, “Dimmu Borgir meets The Cure”, or even “Gothic Powermetal” make me proud and when was the last time you reviewed a band, you read “Billy Idol” and “Cradle Of Filth” in one sentence? So, short answer, we‘re all very satisfied and love the album more with every spin and no one would change a thing.

I must admit that the chosen title hit the spot, as if I am to find myself a sort of spiritual manual of how to close myself with the warmth, or rather cold, or the night. It is also kind of mysterious, as in the dark, a lot of things happen, unseen, out of sight but lurking. How can you explain this title? What do you make of it?

When my brother Christopher, our former singer, came up with it, I was just blown away. Getting shrouded by the night is a very dark idea and it also went very well with my song demos, which for the most part in the beginning were very Paradise Lost doomy driven. I would explain the title as when darkness surrounds you for a long time, it becomes kind of a trait of you, it is no longer the unknown but part of who you are. When one sees the night as beauty, fear also vanishes.

At times, and truth be told I also have them from time to time, there is that wish to simply fade away, look at everything without physically being. In a way, the toughness of dealing with things that are hard to take in, or simply not wishing to find resolution. In your view, what is being questioned within "How to Shroud Yourself with Night"?

The desire to simply disappear, to be invisible and not have to deal with yourself and the outside world anymore.

What is so special in the nothingness that is being described through the songs? What makes it enchanting, perhaps even engulfing and embracing?

There is nothing enchanting in this album, it is about despair, darkness and hopelessness and about the feeling of disappearing so far into it until you have completely dissolved into this nothingness, into this night.

Taking a point of view of what is melancholic, sorrowful, and virtually depressing, would you say that through "How to Shroud Yourself with Night'' there is the hand that leads out of the nothingness and out to the light?

No, there is no hand to help you into the light, only a fist to beat you back into the darkness.

Bahrull Marta understood the vision of the record, portraying a form of obscurity that fits rightfully to the concept of being lost, or simply out there within really being there, a physical form as if in several places at the same time. What do you make of this piece of artistry?

The music deals with shadows, darkness and mystical objects which combine the unique power of nothingness. This guy had the perfect pictures for this mood and it's great I found out about him by scrolling through the internet.

I believe that an album such as "How to Shroud Yourself with Night" opened up the labelling of what is referred as Dark Metal, and I might even add Gothic Metal to the mix. There is an exploration going on, a form of soul searching in a musical form. It is chart breaking my friend, simply that. I ponder though, mainly since a lot of artists like that playing it safe stuff, what made you break away on this album?

You know, I was only concerned with the question: "What do I want to leave behind if this should be our last album?" No labelling, no boundaries, no fear. So, I was forced to give up my routine and that I desperately want to write an album that sounds like the last one. My task was to allow change, to give new and old influences more space. You can still like „Dio“ even if you wear an „Abbath“ shirt. laughs! If you approach everything is with too much logic, the core of the art is lost. I opened myself up to all influences and, above all, involved Julian more. This guy just has incredible vocal power. First, you think Dani Filth is standing next to you, then you go out for a beer and then think, now Ville Valo is back from the supermarket for the week's shopping and then suddenly you notice Billy Idol or Matt Heafy. But it's always the same guy who is standing there in the singing booth. Great job what Julian has delivered there.

Within "How to Shroud Yourself with Night" there is a variety of influences, crossing between Metal, Rock and even Hardcore, in its modernized form. What musical spirits made an impact on you while writing the songs? To where did your exploratory journey lead you?

We took what we envision modern music to be and made a hybrid of who we were, who we are, and who we want to be. Is GothCore already born? If not, some of the tracks could be the blueprint. I love to read all the descriptions these days, like HIM meets Meralcore, Dimmu Borgir meets The Cure, Gothic Power Metal. where it leads to? Imagine holidays and in one room you have paradise lost in the hotel next to The Doors. All in all it seems we‘ve created a very multi-layered album.

One of the chief aspects of "How to Shroud Yourself with Night" is that every song is highly different than the other. There are unifying elements, but those are very few. This is a cause effect of burning minds, and quite the songwriting process. What can you tell about how these songs were made? How did you challenge yourself into creating something that is uncanny?

When I begin writing songs it kind of opens the gates of hell to my inner self – it’s always a hard process to write songs for me, because if a melody is good, but does not break my heart into pieces I will not use it. It needs to touch me so deep, to pull me down on my knees, to land on the album and this is always a hard process for my inner self.

This time the pressure came on top and hindered me. It really robbed me of some sleep. Finally, we were back on track and there it was, the daily question: is today the day to write something special? However, you can't force it and you end up in perfectionism and overthinking things. Every artist has to fight this battle. As one becomes more successful, success becomes a predator, I almost got eaten by it. In a way, every album decides on the continued existence of a band. Can we tie in with the last sales figures? Does the label extend the contract? Do we get good concert offers? All these questions are circling in the mind of every artist out there and I think people are not really aware that with every record that is not heard, bought or streamed, a band dies.

The previous question leads me to try to understand how were you able to find the proper cohesion between the lyrics and music. Since every song is different channelling several vibes, and the lyrical end is gloomy, how was it done?

First of all, the music was written. It always started with guitars. I have a big family and a very modest home. So, I had to clear my recording room for child no. 3, and the only place for me to rest was in the bathroom in front of the tub. So, I locked myself in there and crouched in front of the toilet with my iPad and guitar. I hope this information will not be my downfall in your review, laughs! Some months after I started the writing process, I already had a lot of song ideas ready that would have been a safe bet and I wouldn't have risked scaring away even one buyer. But I didn't want an album that wouldn't surprise anyone, that wouldn't completely live up to expectations and wouldn't bother anyone. My idea of the record was the exact opposite, it should surprise, it should disturb, it should thrill. Because it's fucking art and art is brave! That was the path and my brother Christopher and Julian who did the lyrics understand the music so well. We inspire each other.

Another element that made an impact on the entire album is the performance of your vocalist, Julian Larre. The lad joined the band in 2018, no doubt a rising starlet. On this record it was like listening to an actor singing, in several forms of attitude and approach. I am sure that it wasn’t that easy, but for me it sounds like he was born for it. What is your take on Larre’s performance? Have we heard nothing yet from this guy?

Yeah. It all started during the sessions for the „Bleeding The Stars“ album back in 2018. There, I heard what Julian can do with his voice. I was amazed because he can simply sing anything. High, deep, harsh, guttural. This opportunity gave me the freedom to write it as it was in my head, without thinking about whether the singer can handle it or not.

We are closing in on the 30th anniversary of Lacrimas Profundere, quite the occasion, and a career milestone for sure. Looking back, after all this time, album after album, finding new influences and musical aspects to develop your music, what have you learned from all this? What has been keeping you motivated?

You know, we’ve released 13 albums so far and all of them are underrated! All in all I‘m not satisfied with the success of every release because our former support bands park with the nightliner at the festivals, we’re still driving form show to show in our small van. But I don’t give a shit in my age now. I‘m too old for this fight. You can’t force success and it seems that we were simply never in the right place at the right time or probably too drunk, or already in the fast food restaurant around the corner, when there were any lucrative offers, laughs. So, what do I want to achieve?  Nothing, because I can say I always did the best I could give in that moment and this is what I also teach my children, if you gave your best, it doesn’t matter if it works out every time. There is so much pressure all around. You only have one beautiful life,

Looming in on the songs, and it was tough for me to pick, I will start with the opening Doom / Death fuelled, “Wall Of Gloom”. If there is a sheer expression of pain, I believe that I found it. Such an intensity, whether on the mighty riffs, or the vocal front, there is so much to comprehend here. What is your take on this song?

I remembered how I started this band out of the love for UK doomers Paradise Lost. I thought back to the time when I first discovered them and thought about the days we toured together and met at festivals. So the first riffs of „Wall Of Gloom“ were written. This track is something like an homage to the band and our beginnings and then one becomes the other.

Serving as the hooking hitter, a mixture of Gothic Rock / Hard Rock, there is the smoothie “An Invisible Beginning”. It struck me how different it is from my previous pick. A new entity entirely. Whether a little extreme or Sister Of Mercy and Deathstars, it is all there, swinging. What can you tell about the creation of this track? It felt to me as if you were toying with the idea at first.

You are so right. It „swings“. You know, I‘m the THE CULT and Hard Rock guy and it fills me with pride, that this 80th Goth Rocker became Julian's favorite of the whole album. It’s something like a heavy version of „The Cult“. It creates attention.

This album is a rollercoaster of feelings with these rockers on one and the dark doomers on the other hand. It is building a bridge between Lacrimas and the future. We just let ourselves drift and I can proudly say that we didn't do things because they were easy - but because they were difficult. The album is like enjoying the rain. There are people that feel the rain and others only get wet. This record is for the feelers out there!

After making a successful headlining tour earlier on, prior to Covid, what are your plans going forward for the support of the record?

We just came back from a 12-date headliner tour in Germany and Austria. We had so many great bands and friends with us like Infected Rain or Parasite Inc.! Fun times, stressful times, lots of work, laughter, pleasant and unpleasant surprises, joy, sweat, friendship and all the wonderful chaos that comes with touring. Now it’s time for us to switch the tour mode off for a while and take care of wounds. laughs!

Oliver, I wish to thank you for time for this chat. You challenged me kind sir with this album, and I am glad. Furthermore, you got yourself a new fan. All the best

Thanks so much for the great questions and your kind words. I‘m 51 years old now but I feel like a free spirit full of creative energy. So, this album means for me to expect the unexpected and it’s so nice that you spent your time to dive also as deep to understand the beauty in this piece of art. Thanks a lot for the interview, stay healthy and heavy, yours Oliver Nikolas


 



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