Due to an apparent glitch in the radar we missed a great album last summer in the form of Obsidian’s self-released full length, Time Erodes. Fortunately this death metal juggernaut is playing Surrey tomorrow night on a crushing lineup supporting God Said Kill with Giants Arise and Slaughterhauser. That these frenetic four bands should play a show together is a historic occasion in itself, but Surrey metalheads should bow down and thank whatever dark gods they pray to that Peacock Bar and Grill (formerly Olympia Pizza) is hosting this apocalypse.
We caught up with Obsidian frontman Jason Campbell earlier this week for a quick Q&A ahead of the show, at which a portion of merch sales will go towards the Fort McMurray relief effort (more details on the band’s Facebook page.)
FWM: You mentioned that you’re preparing for the recording and release of a new album, tell us what Obsidian has been up to since the release last year of Time Erodes.
JC: We’ve been playing a ton of shows, writing our follow up album, recording the follow up album, and everything that’s involved it keeping this thing called Obsidian rolling forward!
Has the band’s ties to European cultures contributed to the music and/or lyrics?
I’m not sure if we have a European influence to the lyrics, though Stefan is from Germany & Aurélia is from France, it might come out in some of our music stylings…
Lyrically,Time Erodes examined several themes familiar to metal fans: hypocrisy, hatred, poverty, and ignorance to name a few. There is certainly no shortage of tragic events since then from which to draw inspiration for new lyric material; has any particular occurrence or issue affected the band’s songwriting?
Each one of us recently has had some personal hardships to overcome since we released Time Erodes, friends and family dying, getting cancer, friends losing their jobs, the Ft. Mac fire that seems to have affected everyone lately, so topics of the day or moment can really influence the lyrical themes as songs are being written and recorded.
We have a song called the Debt That All Men Pay, the concept is from the perspective of someone going through a painful death, then early this year I had a close friend give a speech for his company, he dropped to the floor in the middle of his speech, rushed him to the hospital and had to induce him into a coma, so the song took on a real meaning for me.
Bands sometimes choose to focus their booking strategy on playing in major cities, but as a result the fans in smaller, more distant locations miss out. What appeals to you about performing outside of the major urban centers?
Our attitude is, we’ll play nearly anywhere, with all the venues closing down in the Vancouver area, you can’t be choosy.
Time Erodes was a full-length album in excess of 40 minutes’ duration but you’re planning to release another recording this year – that’s an intensive workload for an independent band! – how does the band maintain its focus and get things done according to schedule?
We have studios we can use whenever we need to record, so we are only limited by our schedules and how many songs we can write for each album. The last album we had around 12-15 songs, we picked 10, this new album we had around 20 and we picked 12.
Extrapolating further, let’s discuss health. Obsidian granted permission for an excerpt of the song, “My War” to be included in an ad for the Canadian Men’s Health Association Don’t Change Much campaign. How did that come about? How health-conscious are band members and how important is health maintenance to a touring band?
Daniel our guitar player lifts a couple times a week, Stefan was going to the gym a couple times a week, Aurélia I think she works out a couple times a week. I haven’t for awhile, I was running 6-10km a day after work, plus working out, but I was having some ankle, feet and back issues that have put a hamper on that, I guess I need a personal trainer, haha.