The time for Ne Obliviscaris is now. They’ve been active for a decade, with an ever-growing legion of fans, but the buzz around their new album Citadel (and the success of a crowdfunding campaign to support a world tour) indicates that the band is about to break through to a new level. Their music is a progressive mix of metal and melody, death growls and violin, and Citadel captures it all in full-blown technicolor. We caught up with drummer Dan Presland a couple of weeks out from the album’s release (and an Australian tour with Beyond Creation) to talk about what it’s like to be on the verge of a new level.
The response to the advance stream of Citadel has been huge. It feels to me like the band is on the brink of ‘levelling up,’ if you know what I mean.
That’s a funny way to put it! It feels great. I’ve been inundated with positive feedback and positive responses. I’ve even had a couple of buddies say ‘Tempest’ is the best song they’ve ever heard, and I’m like “Whatever” and they say “No, really.” It’s kind of overwhelming in a sense. I didn’t expect there to be the hugely positive response that it has been, and hopefully that continues.
Is there anything you can do to prepare yourself mentally for ‘We could be touring this for quite a while…’?
I guess that for all of us this is what we’ve wanted to do for a long time, hopefully the opportunity is presenting itself and we’ll continue to ride that opportunity until it reaches its destination. I guess we’ve been ready for this for a long time.
What kind of preparation goes into making an album as well-formed and diverse as Citadel?
I guess you could call the preparation our ten years experience together, or eight years as this collective. It’s just getting into the jam room. Someone will bring an idea forward and if we like it we’ll continue with it or maybe try and change its direction at some point, or if we don’t like it we’ll just scrap it. It’s a pretty democratic process. We just get into a room and nut things out and take it from there.
Music this complex isn’t the kind of stuff you can bash out in an afternoon, right?
Surprisingly, there were some pretty long sessions where we pretty much did, like the second half of ‘Pyrrhic’, which is kind of that post-rock part. That was done in an afternoon at my house in a jam room, so sometimes you can!
In terms of the recording process, is there any cool musicianly, geeky stuff you can share with us?
A drum-nerdy thing I was really happy with, was that we actually put microphones on the top and bottom of the floor toms and it gave us a bit more headroom. There are a couple of moments where it’s just the floor toms flowing and we boosted the low end a little bit. If you’ve got speakers that can go quite low it really rumbles, and that came out really, really well. We’re very happy with that. So that was a particular moment for me in the recording process.
Where did you record?
It was at Pony Music studios in Hallam, which is where we did Portal of I. Geoff [Mison, Pony Music owner] is awesome. He’s a really big supporter of Ne O and he’s got quite a good selection of drum mics there.
You’re about to head out on tour of Australia with Beyond Creation, What are your touring plans?
Well at the moment we’re basically preparing. Their new album is killer, and I’m a real fan of their music so I can’t wait — hopefully it should be a really great show. After that we’ve got about six weeks off and then we head out to Soundwave. We’re focusing on booking our European tour at the moment. We’re just lining up the European festival season and seeing how we go there. It might be a bit of an extensive stay in Europe. We’re not sure yet, but it could be up to two or three months. We’ve only got a few things confirmed at the moment, but there are a couple more we’ll be announcing that I’m really excited about. And then maybe after that, start of 2016 we’ll be heading out to North America which will hopefully include Canada and South America, and somewhere in there we have to fit in Asia as well.
Citadel is released on November 7 via Season of Mist.