From Lower Saxony cometh EREMIT, spreading a sludge/doom hybrid we’re soon to find is not as rare in Germany as most would’ve expected. Instead of spewing bile-drenched hymns of misanthropy and addiction (though there may be something of allegory within), this trio envelops the listener in a world of its own creation, and its recently-released EP, Desert Of Ghouls. Wander…
BENEATH A CRUSHING WEIGHT
Interview with Moritz Fabian [Guitars/Vocals] of EREMIT
Interview By: Lord Randall
Rebel Extravaganza: Germany. Known for thrash, black and folk metal, but doom?
Moritz Fabian: I think this is always dependent on the perspective from where you´re looking on the scene. Marco [Baecker, drums] is coming from black metal. Kalle [Pascal Sommer, guitars] and I came from death and later moved more towards doom metal so, to be honest, I have no clue about German folk metal bands [Laughter]. But I can tell you about the flourishing doom death and sludge scene here. Grim Van Doom, Earthbong, Hexer, BeerBeerBongWizard, Medicine Noose, Minenfeld, Baerus, Kilometer 94 …too many to count. [These are] all mostly new and amazing bands which are somewhat operating within the style of death, doom and sludge. And besides that, there is definitely Ahab to be mentioned as an absolute massive band in the doom scene coming from Germany.
RX: When you first began EREMIT, did you have a sharp focus as to where you wanted to be musically, or did what would become Carrier Of Weight develop as the result of the three of you coming together and letting what happened happen?
MF: It started with Marco and Kalle jamming for over a year. They did cover some songs and wrote one song in this period. It was more like a little project back then. Kalle and I are close friends for 15 years now, and when I moved back to our hometown, Osnabrück, he asked me to join this project thing he had going with Marco. Kalle and I were in bands together before I left town to study, and we were both very much into heavy doom at the time (and still are obviously). In the beginning I thought more of a nasty sludge band. Shortly after, Kalle suggested we should add Lee on Bass. So, we then started to rehearse more frequently as a four piece. In this period we wrote Carrier Of Weight and, while we were searching for a band name, Marco came up with “Hermit – Something”, I forgot the second word. I liked the “hermit” part, but the German word sounded more accurate, more fitting. We decided to go with EREMIT then. Shortly before we entered the Tonmeisterei Studio in Oldeburg (which I knew personally, as I recorded there with my other currently in-active doom two-piece, Dragged, before) to record Carrier Of Weight, we as a band decided to go forward without Lee. So we´ve recorded the album as a three piece with two guitars and drums, and have been moving forward like this ever since. [Laughs] Okay, so this was rather a whole band history lesson.
RX: How did you come into contact with Kunal [Choksi, owner of Transcending Obscurity Records]? He’s truly one of the most passionate “business” type people you could ever meet when it comes to metal.
MF: I am a huge music fan. I am listening to a lot of music. I am buying physical records. I am watching labels, what they are releasing, watching bands, where they are releasing. That was always a nice search and treasure hunt for new bands and labels to discover, purely out of the music listener’s perspective. But this gave me a pretty good overview of the label scene in metal, once I actually searched for a label myself. I got to know Transcending Obscurity Records through the first Jupiterian record they released. Then, when we had our record finished and had a cover painting by infamous Mariusz Lewandowski to accompany it, we searched for a label who might be interested in putting this album out. Kunal was one of the few who was seriously interested, and we then decided to go with TOR. [We have] been there ever since.
RX: I sense a bit of early Ramesses in especially ‘Beheading The Innumerous’, some The Abominable Iron Sloth as well. You still manage to make it your own, though, so congratulations. I’ve had conversations with my guitar teacher that it’s actually harder to play slow than fast and keep in time, because like the triangle player in an orchestra, you may only have one job, but when it’s your time to do it you’d better be there and on time or it throws the whole thing off. Agreed?
MF: I didn’t know Ramesses or The Abominable Iron Sloth to be honest. Just checked them both out and liked what I heard so far. And I get what you mean regarding ‘Beheading The Innumerous’. I am already excited about our coming second full length, as it will be different to what people think it will be…
To your actual question: I´d probably agree, but with caution. I never really played fast metal stuff. I am actually not able to [Laughter], so I can´t really compare. Also, I am probably somewhat of a stereotype of an “anti-musician”. For a few years I had lessons playing bass, but that’s it. I am not about tabs, or specific speeds, bpm, playing with a metronome, or writing songs in digital programs and discuss ideas in such a way with my band mates
RX: Give a look into the lyrical inspiration behind ‘City Of Rash-il-num’, if you would?
MF: Before going into detail what ‘City Of Râsh-il-nûm’ is about, I probably should clarify that EREMIT is a concept band of sorts. This story starts with a hermit traveling a seemingly endless ocean all by himself. Along the first record we are following this hermit on a strange, painful and wearisome journey where he ends up finding land after a lifetime on sea. The second song on the new EP of ours, ‘City Of Râsh-il-nûm’, is a huge jump forward where we are following the hermit along as he discovers a hidden city within a desert. How he came there will be unveiled in our upcoming full length record, at the end of 2020.
RX: What is doom to you in a personal sense? Is it a longing for death, or more the idolization of it as an almost-physical being? A spiritual concept, or a celebration and admitting of the inevitable end we are all bound to at the start of our breath? An ending or a doorway?
MF: That’s a good question. For me, personally, doom is an artistic form to focus on a very physical aspect of life. And this aspect is like a towering, dark, horrid wall. An artefact that I see and find, within and surround me. The size of this mythological, spiritual realm that is underlying and towering all our creation under the banner EREMIT will be tangible with the second pamphlet we will release alongside our second full length record. Currently this pamphlet is about 150 pages thick.
RX: How has this current pandemic situation changed your recording setup, if it has at all? How vital do you feel it is to keep that visceral “real” feeling in music, especially death metal? Do you see it as more difficult to get into that headspace to record or rehearse when there may be no one else in the room to exchange that energy with?
MF: When the lock-down started we didn’t rehearse for some time, but eventually picked up rehearsing again. As I said before, we are a very organic band. We’ve recorded every record live so far, and that’s how our music needs to be. We also write riffs and ideas at home, and bring them into the rehearsal space, but the real form of the songs is always shaped by us three playing these songs together. So the COVID-19 situation enabled us to work even harder and more focused on EREMIT’s third, as we lost two international tours, several festival and also single shows. Which is a huge bummer, but we made the best out of it.
RX: It’s changing labels too, having to factor in something that we’ve never run into in the history of rock and roll. That the band you’re signing may not be able to tour for the foreseeable future, regardless of how bad they may want to.
MF: Yes. The situation is affecting everyone, and everyone is affected differently. A bonding thought is that we´re all together in this. All bands lost their tours, and live plans. From early on I said that we probably will be seeing a lot of records dropping in 2021 as bands are now forced “to stay home”. I just hope most of the bands can continue to exist and create the art they love to create.
RX: Plans for the remainder of the year?
MF: For sure. EREMIT is a very vibrant band and there are always plans. In September we will record EREMIT #3. At the end of the year we will release EREMIT #2. Those are the two big milestones. Besides that, we have many other plans, but we won´t spoil anything at this point. All Swords Burn!