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Rise Of Kronos's Tom Robinson: "We live in a world full of information. We are drowning in information. And it is not easy to know what is right and what is wrong"

Interview with Tom Robinson from Rise Of Kronos
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 11 May 2022, 12:16 PM

It is no secret that our modern world has advantages, we have a lot more to learn and known since we advance in a considerable rate. Nevertheless, we need to understand better what is going on, filter information and make what is better for us to know and use. The past is still teacher as well, as without a past there is no future. No doubt, this is a full blown conflict between what is now, and what will be or was. The German Rise Of Kronos, chose to reflect their wondering through ancient Greek Mythology, in order to try to comprehend our surroundings. Coming up with “Council Of Prediction”, Steinmetal had a good talk with Tom Robinson of the band about the experience, changing the band's name and the album.

Hello Tom, it is good to have you for this talk with Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing mate?

Thank you so much Lior for having me! Unfortunately, I suffered from Covid recently, but now I’m back on track and happy to have this talk with you!

I hear you, I had it too just a little while back

I have been through many bands changing their monikers, their identity, along with the ideas that carry their philosophy and of course their music. Nonetheless, each has a story that is always interesting to hear. After being Surface, what made you turn a page in your musical career and become this new existence called Rise Of Kronos? Was it a sort of enough is enough? A stream of bad luck maybe?

You know Marco (drums) and I started the band when we were 16, we haven’t thought about our band name really, we just wanted to make death and thrash metal. After being Surface for more than 10 years and having Tim and Jhonnie joining the band, we felt it was time for a change. Therefore, we discussed the band's name which last for almost one year. After all we wanted to keep the connection to our history and fans which lead us to the name Rise Of Kronos, the title of our second full length record.

You picked quite the time to change things in Surface, in order to become Rise Of Kronos, while the pandemic was one of its main stages, taking on the world with the second, third and even fourth waves. How did the course of the pandemic affect you personally, meaning your mental state, needless to say your motivation to do anything concerning music?

To be honest it wasn`t that easy all the time. Without touring and rehearsing it was quite hard to keep up with motivation, but after the first two or three months we started to have online meetings every week and set up what we call our online recording data base. We established a cloud solution where we saved our musical ideas. Everyone was able to work on each other’s idea from home. This is how we wrote Council Of Prediction mainly. This helped us to keep track.

Surging through the pandemic, and being as direct as possible, you issued your first album under the Rise Of Kronos moniker, “Council Of Prediction”. The background of the entire setting of the album is based on Greek Mythology and ancient Greek wisdom. Similar to the Roman Empire, upon its qualities, the Greek myths, legends and history have been equally compelling. What was the driving force within this theme that has been captivating you to the point of actually writing songs about it?

The diversity of possibilities gives us space to unfold our creativity. To write lyrics on a philosophical as well as a more death metal like base is what Greek mythology offers. Although we are big fans of myths and fantasy, and I even did a degree in Philosophy – so one could say we a penchant for this theme.

“Council Of Prediction”, as a title, and as an artwork, has its mystical factors, as if knowing what the future holds, as if looking towards the modern age with a grimace of a kind of “I told you so… but you didn’t want to listen” type. Is that the case behind this title, to poke the general public in the eye and to let it know that the current state of affairs was already predicted years ago? What is your take on that?

We like to leave room for interpretation and what you said is one possible one. We are always happy to hear your thoughts!

Looking at the artwork, I could notice a few icons of Greek heritage, yet there are other disfigured faces and twisted forms that were added. What can you tell about the imagery as a whole? What was the initial vision when it was created? What does it intend to portray?

The artwork was done by Jotham better known as Jokiargu and he created a scene where Kronos sat himself on the throne of Mount Olympus. At the same time, we can see a council happening in which Kronos decides about their fate and fortune. This was what we thought of, a trial of the gods and Jotham created this masterpiece for us.

Let’s talk about values, morals if you may. In your perspective, what is the mutual understanding while listening to “Council Of Prediction”? What does it offer to the listener in terms of how to view life as it is nowadays? Does it aim to shed light on a downward spiral road that mankind has been undertaking?

We have never been a political band, but we are political persons of course and I can’t deny that we want to make people think about what they see and what they have been told. They should review information, do research, and keep up with science. We live in a world full of information. We are drowning in information. And it is not easy to know what is right and what is wrong. Therefore, we need to learn how to deal with this massive input and how to build our knowledge based on data, studies, and experience. This doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with spirituality, but this is for sure: you can have your own opinion but not your own facts. This is one dimension of this record.

Fuming Death Metal, Rise Of Kronos has been treading the fields of modernity, yet while not forgetting the roots of the subgenre for a second. There are bits of Thrash Metal and modern based Hardcore as extra flavors to juice things up a little bit. How do you view the musical progress of the band? How can you compare between the early Surface and Rise Of Kronos, to what extent, musically, did you go?

I think we matured and developed a new view on how to write songs and how to create our own sound. This goes hand in hand with Tim's and Jhonnie's influences on the songwriting. But there are also the Surface vibes still raging through our songs.

The songwriting on “Council Of Prediction”, displays shreds of diversity, delivering the in-your -face kind of songs, but also indulging in different sorts of arrangements that store a few surprises. How would you say that you matured your songwriting in light of “Council Of Prediction”?

We are all included in the songwriting process. Furthermore, Tim’s part of the vocals has increased to nearly 50% on Council of Prediction. This helps us a lot in terms of diversity and gives us the freedom to arrange our songs. We managed to involve every personality in our music, which leads to some surprises and different styles.

Talking about the work on the album, how did you manage to maintain the flow of songwriting, rehearsing and recording, while the pandemic was at one of its toughest periods? How did you manage to keep the obstacles at bay and confront them head on?

The most important thing was communication. We had long chats and discussed new ideas via webcam. Although everyone had the possibility to work on our songs via cloud.

In order to draw attention, which is pretty understandable, you took the decision to have guest vocalists on three of the album’s songs, creating alternate vocal versions. Was the decision behind this venture mainly for attention or was it a wish long in place that needed fulfilling?

On one hand we like to draw some attention on our new album but on the other hand Britta, Lukas and Thomas are close friends. Britta is also our vocal teacher, and we were so excited to hear our songs sung by others. This was a great honor and pleasure!

There have been countless bands bringing on guest vocalists, and in Death Metal, you have plenty, and good ones indeed. You selected amazing guests for your songs, yet it would be good to know, how did you know which vocalist would fit the identity of each song?

As we wrote the songs for Council Of Prediction and talked about the idea of guests it was obvious which guest would fit which song. Somehow we just felt it that way, maybe some kind of enlightenment?

“Council Of Prediction” wasn’t your real debut, you have been through things as Surface. Nonetheless, as a new band, with a fresh mindset, you probably learned new tricks and traps in order to come up with the records. What can you tell that the experience taught you about your capabilities as a songwriter, and a musician?

One important thing is to not overthink what you wrote. Think about the arrangement and discuss it, but do not destroy it by hesitating. Let it go and go on. Write another song, come back, and release it. Sometimes the first idea is the best one. Of course, we learned a lot during recording with Eike Freese and Denny Meißner. Recording is always like a test in school, you must do your homework, but it is always exciting.

A song that I identified immediately that can take you forward is the devouring menace of “Boiled Alive”. A true nature Death and Thrash Metal experience, in a brutish sense that shows class, saluting both present and past. No wonder you also had a guest vocalist for that one as well. What can you tell about the venture towards this track? How do you appreciate the end result?

Thank you very much for the kind words regarding Boiled Alive. It is what one called a patchwork at its best. Jhonnie came up with this massive beginning riff, Tim wrote the verse riff, and I found an old demo which became the outro. Tim was on fire by the idea of the brazen bull and wrote the lyrics. At the end we are very happy how it turned out!

I am sure that Rise Of Kronos, other than being a fairly new entity, is also supposed to be a live unit. If that is the case, what is planned for the band in the coming year?

We have some great festivals coming up and are going on tour with our dear friends Debauchery and Blood God. Overall, we have 20 concerts for this year. We can’t wait for the shows!

Tom, many thanks for your time and effort for this conversation. It was good for me to get to know your new band, and the debut record. May you prosper. Cheers

Thank you so much Lior! It was a great pleasure to answer your interesting questions. Stay safe, live long and prosper! Cheers!


 



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