In a day and age when postmodern genres of rock seem to have gained the upper hand, a band like OCTOBER TIDE that chooses to sing in a somewhat „vintage” idiom – namely Doom Metal – has remained faithful to its style.
After many line-up changes and a dramatic „now we’re here, then we’re gone” type of history, the guys are back on the dark track with a new record coming up this spring. „Tunnel Of No Light” is every bit the sorrowful masterpiece we expected it to be and – mark our words – it will tear you apart.
Fred Norrman, the band’s guitarist and one of the early members of Katatonia, agreed to spend some precious time talking to Maximum Rock Magazine about such issues as the state of doom-metal, the new album and many, many more topics.
Check out the interview below.
As an old-fashioned doom-metal fan, I’ve noticed that this particular genre is not as „fashionable” nowadays as it used to be, say 10 years ago. People tend to veer towards more „postmodern” music, like indie, electro rock or alternative metal. Do you ever feel that you’re singing something outdated?
Nah, I don´t look at it that way. We´re really comfortable with what we´re doing and I don´t see OT as a pure doom metal band. We play too fast. Someone said “gloom-metal” would fit us better, and I agree. Basically, we´re – at least a little – doomy, but from the first album until today, we´ve taken different paths, which separate us from a normal doom band.
Do you think that doom-metal is still as strong today as it used to be back in 1995 when you started?
Perhaps it’s not as “fashionable” as it used to be, but I don´t really know. I had the feeling that there were tons of “Swallow the Sun” types of bands out there. But I´m a busy boy today and I must admit I haven’t “updated” myself on this subject
Talk to us about „Tunnel Of No Light”. How did the album come about, despite the turbulent destiny and history of October Tide?
It came out really great, and it’s perhaps the best OT album. I can´t even favor a song over the other on the album. I think we managed to create a record with 8 different tracks, but with a red line going through the whole material, unifying everything. On, let’s say, “Rain without End” there are songs that I can´t listen to.
I think you can safely say that your band is a cult band, in the sense that it is one of those acts that you do not see in the spotlight, but that manages to touch people deeply through its authentic music. Is this semi-underground status something that makes you feel frustrated sometimes?
No. I´m quite happy with how it is. It sometimes got a bit too much in Katatonia, and I guess it´s even “worse” today. I really don´t mind playing in a smaller band. However, I would like to get more gig offers
October Tide has been a „receptacle” band for many musicians who have passed through its line-up. Despite this, it has always kept its identity. How come?
Jonas and I “invented” the OT sound, so 50% of the old lineup is still in the band. I really believe in the new lineup, it feels really good. Everyone contributes with their “thing”, so I´m really looking forward to working on the next album.
Doom-metal invariably has a romantic element in it. Is there place for romance in this extremely un-sentimental 21st century reality?
I guess there’s a place for romance, even if the world is getting colder and colder. Deep inside people need romance in one way or another – especially the romance in doom-metal.
Why „Tunnel of no Light”? What does the metaphor stand for?
The whole album breathes darkness – the songs, the lyrics and the art. It´s like being in a pitch black tunnel. It can, of course, be interpreted in more than one way, but I will leave that for each and everyone to think of.
You’ve played almost all over the world. Which audiences get more into your music?
You Romanians seems to like us a lot. You’re very involved in the music. But when Katatonia played in Mexico for the first time, that´s something I´ll never forget.
2013 is going to be a rich year. Many good bands are releasing new records: Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Depeche Mode, HIM, Amorphis, October Tide etc. Is there any particular record that you’re looking forward to?
For now, I´m really looking forward to the new Ghost and Tormented albums. I was really impressed by the first Ghost album. It’s probably the best thing that happened to the metal world in the last 10 years. And as a huge fan of old-school death metal, I think Tormented is one of the best bands out there today.
Tell us which is the darkest, most hopeless, most painful song you’ve ever written? And the darkest, most hopeless, most painful song generally ever written by someone?
I really like how “Adoring Ashes” from the new album came out. Not much hope in that one. But generally……I don´t know.
A message for your fans in Romania, who are many and who wish to see you live!
We really had a blast last time we played Romania, which was also our first time. So, if you´re many, you can do it. Bring us to Romania again!