Oblivionized: Band Of The Day

By on 30 March 2015

Oblivionized

Storming out of the UK grindcore underground, London three-piece Oblivionized are likely going to be raising a lot more eyebrows from now on than they have done since their inception in 2008. Finally releasing a full-length album after a few years of demos, splits and other small releases is the crystallisation of all the potential the band has shown through both those releases and their incendiary live shows, where heads are often scratched and new terms involving the words “jazzy”, “proggy”, “crusty” and “fucking awesome” are frequently created. ‘Live Is A Struggle, Give Up’ will seriously screw with your head in many ways, as the new track we have for you clearly hints at, so we went for a chat with all three band members to try to understand what makes Oblivionized tick.

Words: José Carlos Santos

WHO ARE THEY: Oblivionized
WHERE ARE THEY FROM: London
FOR FANS OF: Pig Destroyer, Discordance Axis, Cephalic Carnage
LATEST RELEASE: ‘Life Is A Struggle, Give Up’ (2015)
WEBSITE: Facebook and Bandcamp

Little history lesson to start off – since a lot of people might be having their first contact with Oblivionized through this first album, could you tell us a bit more about the formation of the band and these first years that led to ‘Life Is A Struggle, Give Up’?
Zac Broughton (vocals): “It’s a long story, do you remember 2008? I do, I lived in Weymouth, I used to just write and record music at home with a drum machine, at the time I’d quit all my bands and was uninterested in live music. My old band mate Geoff visited, we started playing really tech riffs over the drum machine at 300bpm, we wanted to make something inhuman, loads of bands say they are misanthropic but very few actually make music that sounds inhuman. We wrote a three-song demo and I posted five copies to small labels for feedback, I did no bio and no info as there was none, I just wrote my phone number on the CDr in marker pen, put the CDr in a white envelope and sent it… A month passed and Geoff came to visit me and we recorded a new track, the next week I got a text message it read “Hi I like your demo would like to talk call back -Shane.” I wondered who it was, I called up and it was Shane Embury… my mind blew up, I’m not going to bang on about it as it’s a very small part of our past but he gave us bunch of advice and we hung out and demoed to him for a number of months, I don’t think the band would have gone past the demo if it wasn’t for Shane getting involved. The rest of the band’s history from then to now is what you’d expect from a DIY band, we’ve had ups and downs, lost members, gained members, we’ve had vans explode, people go mental, fist fights, toured with some awesome bands and recorded a number of EPs and split releases. The biggest change was when Will joined, before Will we were a five piece, but the band was dying as we had a drummer filling in to get us through some gigs and I have no idea what happened to our bassist! It was 2012 and I went to see The Dillinger Escape Plan. I met this kid, it turned out we went to the same university and lived in the same town so we got the train home together and hung out, he was cool, he had a Converge hoodie and a double bass pedal so I grabbed Geoff’s guitar had a jam with him. I didn’t think he’d drum for Oblivionized as he couldn’t even blast, a few months later Will, Sammy, Geoff and myself recreated the band and started gigging harder then ever, somehow we lost Geoff after the first gig making me the only original member, but it’s been around a hundred shows as a three-piece now and I feel like this is what the band was always supposed to be.”

Sammy Urwin (guitars, vocals): “We’d heard of his drumming via some videos he had sent us and we thought that his style of drumming more suited the direction we were wanting to move in. If you compare the music we make as a three-piece now to the first EP we recorded you’ll notice our sound has changed a lot, but I think we have finally found the sound that we want, which made it a lot easier to write a consistent sounding record.”

Will Brundsen (drums): “They asked me if I would be interested in joining the band as they wanted to change the musical direction and add new elements to its sound, especially with the drums, this being groove, dynamics, fills, more intricate double bass rhythms and sporadic blasting. We spoke very openly about out musical influences and what we would like to express with our instruments. I wasn’t very into blastbeats when I first joined the band, but I have reignited my love for them.”

As you’ve mentioned, you’ve had plenty of activity and lots of smaller releases, what made you finally want to record a full-length album? Has anything changed in your motivations or goals, and in the way you face the band?
Will: “It was mainly as we had written enough material at the time. It has, as that’s the natural process of evolution as a musician after you have written your first record together. I want the next record to be even more extreme and see how much further we can push the idea of a three piece making as much noise as possible, along with pushing to create further rhythmic, riff driven and harmonic chaos.”

Zac: “Yeah, I remember we were writing for another split release when we wrote ‘You’re Spineless’, but there was just something about it, so we started working on an album instead.”

Sammy: “For Oblivionized, releasing an album has always been one of the biggest goals. The three of us hold highly the idea of releasing an albums worth of music to document us as a band. We also saw it as a challenge to release a consistent body of work, where every track on it we are proud of. From a personal point of view I really wanted to do album because it’s something tangible I can look back on in years to come.”

How was the writing for the album? Did you feel somehow a little bit more responsibility or pressure because the songs would be for an album rather than for a 7″ or something like that?
Sammy: “A little bit, yeah, but I would say I would feel that more now following up ‘Life Is A Struggle…’ We wrote/recorded those 7” releases shortly after becoming a three-piece, so even though I do like those releases I do very much think we were still finding our newer sound. Whereas with the songs on the album, particularly the last ones we wrote, I think we have really found our feet and know exactly what we wanted from our music.”

Zac: “The writing was quite organic; we just got into a rehearsal space and wrote. As far as pressure, personally not at all. An album or any recording should be an honest representation of what the band is at that time, so as long as you put everything you are into it you’ll have something honest at the end, and that’s what we have, no triggers, no click tracks, just three bros going at it.”

Are people often surprised by your technical ability once you start playing? Do you think people are too used to grind bands being sloppy and/or not being able to dazzle with technicality as well as with the usual savagery and intensity?
Will: “Some guy said once to me that we were what would happen if grindcore went to music college, so I kind of agree with those terms personally, as in terms of musically nurture I come from a more classical, progressive and jazz background. It’s nice when someone compliments you on your technical ability, as we don’t really think about it when we are writing, we just express ourselves via our instruments. It does happen all the time, which is really nice to get that response as it’s completely unexpected. As for the second part of the question, yes I do, there are a lot of ‘pub grind’ bands in the UK that are so sloppy and don’t have any technical ability as they haven’t worked for it. I think too many bands in the UK too are too safe, especially in a scene like UK grindcore. But there are great ones, such as The Afternoon Gentlemen, Razoreater, Let It Die, Horse Bastard, Meadows, Human Cull, Atomck, The Day Man Lost, Famine, War Wolf, The Atrocity Exhibit and Evisorax.”

Zac: “I tend not to take the things people say too seriously, as nice as it is to hear I perform for a different reason. We do get complimented often… but that’s because most bands are shit when you really watch them though, aren’t they? A majority of bands come on stage expecting gratitude, expecting movement, relying more on their stature then ability. We played with Deicide once and they fucking sucked, seriously sucked as musicians and performers, it had nothing. Yet, grown men were crying and kids were moshing as that is what was expected. People don’t come to our gigs with expectations.”

Sammy: “I think my favourite quote I’ve heard after one of our shows was “sounds like jazz with distortion”. In all honesty I just think we’re a weird band. I don’t mean that in a negative way but no matter what show we play on, we’re the band that doesn’t quite fit. Which for me I think is a good thing as it helps us stand out and hopefully makes people remember us after the show. We play with hardcore, death metal and grind bands and we’re always the slightly odd one out.”

How do you prepare your live shows, do you have any little personal rituals or superstitions or something that you like to do before stepping on stage? And do you need to intensify rehearsals before shows, or do you rehearse regularly anyway?
Zac: “All three of us join hands at the wrist, which as you know creates a triangle, the triangle is very important here, as obviously the aliens crawl out of the triangle and then we begin the ritual. It’s a very simple affair, I won’t bore you with the details but needless to say after we are ready to rock… We genuinely do nothing, we just set up and I nod at Sammy and Will awkwardly or say something I find funny to the audience like “Hi we’re Slayer from the ’80s” and then we just play.”

Sammy: “There’s nothing I have to do before performing… other than maybe a quick prayer to Satan. We usually do try and practise quite regularly, however this year all three of us have quite a lot keeping us busy so we tend to practise more intensely leading up to a tour or a show. At the moment we’re playing in support of the album, which at this point we know really well, so we just need a few run-throughs before we play just to keep it fresh in our minds.”

Will: “I do stretches, sometimes smoke a Jimi Hendrix cigarette; I always practice with a metronome for 30 minutes and loosen up. We don’t rehearse enough and I fucking hate the fact we don’t, it’s embarrassing and unprofessional. But I make sure I practice the set weeks in advance before one offs and tours, as obviously being the drummer in the band my role is crucial, as the tempo linchpin in the sonic sea of rhythmic chaos.”

Your DIY ethics are frequently mentioned whenever someone talks about Oblivionized, is it important for you to keep the band working like this? Is it an important part of your personality as musicians?
Zac: “If we had money, or some kind of support, we’d have done things differently. I think people use the term DIY wrong and for the wrong reasons. Yeah, sure, we’ve handmade most our releases, artwork, booked all our own tours, pressed our own records and CDs, but that is out of necessity and it is not easy because we are a fucking weird band, but we chose to do this and I love doing it. I don’t like to think of it so much as DIY, to me it’s more like, no one will do it for you.”

Sammy: “If we don’t show commitment and enthusiasm for this band and work hard ourselves, why should anyone else care about us? We’re happy to stay DIY but we would never shy away from opportunities that would expose our music to more people.”

Tell us a bit more about the general themes you wanted to express when you wrote the lyrics to this record.
Zac: “Oblivionized is all about taking your negative emotion and using it to grow, I could explain what each track is about but that’d take away from what you can get out of it. Look, maybe you’re reading this now and you’re depressed and negative and filled with tears. I can’t fix that, but you can. It’s so easy to give up on yourself but it’s really sad when you do. At times life is a struggle so fuck life, give up on life, give up on what you are told life is, and what expectations people have forced on you, give up on everything and just be you. The other day a mate said we are all going to be dead in twenty years anyway, I reckon it’ll be way faster then that as the bees are dying, there are like three “secret” wars happening as we speak, nuclear weapons exist, the ice caps are going to melt and not just flood us with water but also methane gas. I was at a gig the other day and a guy told me America has guns in space! So fuck it, fuck it all off. Why would you care what people think about you? That’s usually the only thing holding you back, why would I be afraid of failure when that’s all the future has to offer. People sit around reading about all this shit and worrying, but you can’t do anything to change it, so just do what you want. So with that in mind, why would I work a job I hate because that’s what’s expected of me? I’ll just do whatever I can to make music, because that’s what makes me happy and being happy is all I care about, Satan.”

How do you see the future of Oblivionized, can you imagine the band growing in stature, doing bigger tours and releasing more albums, perhaps?
Will: “Still writing music that pushes the boundaries of heavy music and makes people question there own morality and the extremity of modern metal. I would just like the band to be recognized for having its own identity, push the boundaries of music and its consistent musical evolution.”

Zac: “We will keep moving forward.”

‘Life Is A Struggle, Give Up’ is due to be released on April 6th via Secret Law Records and is available to pre-order here

You can find Oblivionized on Facebook

About Kez Whelan

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