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Necronomicon's Rob Tremblay: "People now learn in weeks what it had taken years to develop and by doing so, they don't understand the full meaning of what is music, they do it because it's how things are done nowadays."

Interview with Rob Tremblay from Necronomicon
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 22 October 2019, 10:52 PM

Just following an instinct, when an inspiration flows in one's veins, there is something going on that might develop into wonders. There is not always good coming from unnatural process of creation, or forcing at will. When it comes to the Canadian Necronomicon, and their new album "UNUS", it is all about the experience and the quality. Steinmetal had a chat with the band's veteran, Rob Tremblay, about the new album, musical development, philosophy, what is going on in the scene today and more…

Greetings Rob, it is a pleasure having you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how are things on your end sir?

Good, pretty busy but it's normal we the new album.

Pretty much like cloak work, Necronomicon created yet another chapter in their long blackened mystic journey with the release of “UNUS”. If I would compare this album title to your previous ones, I would say that it is bound to be one of the most enigmatic. What is the meaning of this title? And what is the source of inspiration to name the album with such as special title?

"Unus" means ''One'' in Latin but also ''Alone'' or ''By yourself'', as for the inspiration, I simply keep going with the progression of where the band is going. I added a little bit of personal stuff in there though, at the same time I don't try to talk about my life specifically but more how and why things happen a certain way and also the big picture of why things are the way they are.

Lyrically, “UNUS” continues its predecessor, “Advent Of The Human God”. Where does this album takes the listener with its philosophy? Is there a surprising turn of events that would engulf the listener with a tight grip?

Well beside "Cursed MMXIX", those lyrics are really old style Lovecraftians, I stick to the band's concept pretty much. I do have to admit that this album is a little …. darker in a way.

I have always felt the strong connection to literature when it comes to Necronomicon, the fine relation of the darker hinges of mysterious realms to be aligned with stimulating music. However, within the mysticism, has it ever crossed your mind to come forward with a message to society regarding its current state or the fear of a dystopian future through the songs?

Interesting that you say that because it is already there. The way I write lyrics is open to interpretation, it is not something that is strictly "occultism''. Maybe for some people it doesn't seem like it, but I take time to see the different way to say things so it mean 1, 2 , 3 or 4 different things. It all depend on at which state the person stand as for personal evolution and understanding of the meaning of life and the universe.

Musically, at least from what I can tell, “UNUS” displays Necronomicon’s constant efforts to find the perfect cohesion between Death Metal and Black Metal, in order to create a celestial theatrical scenery. Do you think that “UNUS” may as well be a step forward in the band’s musical development, or rather maintaining the ongoing direction with a few twists and turns?

To be honest, I don't really make an effort to ''try '' doing that, it just happens. For me when I add those elements of Black or Death or even the orchestral parts, it's just because it's the way I hear it in my head. I don't sit down practice for hours building songs, it all appear in my head out of nowhere, I take my guitar and play it, that's how it's been since day one. As for the step forward, it's hard to say but for me I just do what I have to do and don't ask myself too much, if it feels right its where we are going and that's it.

With a countless line of extreme Metal bands sounding complex, mixing up methods of Black and Death Metal, and of course, sharing a polished production, what do you think is Necronomicon’s edge? What makes Necronomicon special to rise up for the challenge?

I don't see it like a challenge. If people want to do complex music find by me, that's not what I'm about. I don't feel the need to prove anything, I play music, if others want to do stuff that sound like mathematics it's their choice. There is no challenge here, I don't feel any pressure what so ever I simply do what I have to do, nothing more nothing less.

What would you say are the chief musical elements that were provided with a stronger attention on “UNUS” in contrast to your previous work?  

Its intensity, its emotions, its darkness maybe but from another point of view it's the production. The focus of that album is at the same time rawer and more refined in many aspects. But at the end its the listener that decides, some will like it, others won't.

How would you describe the songwriting on “UNUS”? Would you say that things changed ever since you recruited the two new band members two years ago? Though you have been the band’s main man for over three decades, have you been allowing musicians, most which came and went, to take part in the songwriting and song arrangements?

No, no one else is writing any music or do any arrangements but me. I used to not like that, I literally hated that back in the days but I guess I got used to it and it became something natural.

Going general for a bit. Ever since the evolution of Metal music in the 00s, especially with the rise of plenty of technical / progressive Metal bands, I feel that the souls, or even the hearts of the songs have been slowly fading away in favor of technical playing abilities. Do you believe that when it comes to the song versus technical, both are cancelling each other out or it is possible to find the same cohesion that you did between Black and Death Metal? If it is not possible, which one of the elements do you identify with?

I personally think that these days' people have access to techniques and stuff like that is more easily than before, where musicians like me who come from a shitty background had to learn the hard way if you parents weren't rich. So since everyone is pretty much in the same boat now they play the challenge game, who's the craziest and more technical. People now learn in weeks what it had taken years to develop and by doing so, they don't understand the full meaning of what is music, they do it because it's how things are done nowadays. It becomes sterile and emotionless, there is no soul at all. In short, less is more.

Listening to the album, which I am sure that you did or probably still making time for yourself for sessions with it, which of the album’s songs captivated you the most? That one track that is no less than meaningful and actually makes you think. Please elaborate on your pick

I mostly look at the album as one big image. Well ''Cursed MMXIX'' makes me laugh a lot to be honest since it's a song that totally ''don't fit '' in a way because it's a remake of a song on our first 1991 demo. "Paradise Lost" is really a personal song, probably the most personal song I ever wrote, but I think my favorite is "Vox Draconis", it's the groove in it that really make a difference for me, groove is so important because there so much feeling and it goes with everything that lives, it's not too fast or too slow.  I'm saying that but again I see the album as a whole.

As mentioned, within the tracklist of “UNUS” there is a solid gift for the die-hard fans with a re-recording of one of your early demos of the early 90s, “Cursed”. Why was this track chosen in particular? How do you feel about this new updated version of the song?

It was chosen because we thought it was the song that ''aged'' the best from that demo. OK, yes it totally looks like a dog in the middle of a bowling alley, but I think in a way we still hear the kind of groove we had going back in the days. We actually really enjoyed playing it in studio, to be honest, it was a lot of fun and also it a way to celebrate or 30 years by adding one from the start on the latest release.

The album’s sound production makes it easy to comprehend, as if touched by a velvet glove only to be later struck by an iron fist, yet not too hard. Who assisted you to engineer the album to make is sound elegant? What drives you in this sound pattern to continue to maintain this sound format for Necronomicon?

We recorded the album at ''Silver Wings'' studio in Montreal, the guy there, Jonathan Levasseur, is amazing and really knows what he is doing, really there's no fucking around there. As for the mix that's a different story. We decided to move away from the previous method of mixing that was more traditional and decided to go with a more modern approach. We needed someone who had the knowledge and experience to do so and there was one name always coming back in the picture, ''Logan Mader''. We feel blessed to been able to work with someone like that, someone of top of is art and in perfect control of what he is doing.

Recently, you received a certificate of honor due to your over three decades' career. Looking back through the years, have you ever imagined of getting such an award? Did it shock you when you received the news about it? Do you think that Metal music is general should be better regarded when it comes to life’s achievement of veteran musicians, other known institutions such as Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame for instance?

I heard rumors that there was something going on but I thought it was kind of a joke going around until I came face with the fact that it wasn't. Seeing that thing was really stunning and jaw dropping since it's actually a big engraved Metal plaque. Yes, Metal should be seen as something that changed a lot in our world. Metal musicians are, for the most part, more dedicated to their art and less driven by fame and money, even if it happens they usually stay grounded and are more in touch with what's happening in a human level. We are still the marginal and the misunderstood after all, this time we are still the beasts.

Did you have a chance to play some of the new tracks live? If you did, how were the fans reactions to the new material?

Yes, we did twice already and the reactions were totally amazing, looks like people are digging the new stuff a lot. So I'm really hyped for the next tour.

Taking a gaze into the unknown, where do you see Necronomicon going in the coming future? Let’s call it your so-called five years plan? Do you see the band going bigger, even though it has been over three decades?

Well for sure we will have another album out by then. Bigger is a different idea because I do what I have to do and make things roll with what I have. Of course everyone wants to have more success and all that but it's not something that is present in my mind at the moment.

How do you intend to support “UNUS” in the coming year? Will you be heading to Europe anytime soon?

Well first we hit the road from October 22nd to November 24th with Belphegor and Suffocation in USA. As for EU we started to look for next years but nothing solid yet can be announced, we are open to proposition of course.

Rob, I wish to thank you for the interview, certainly you put out a strong point in extreme Metal with “UNUS”. Nothing but the best, cheers sir.

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