» Obsidian C. - Keep Of Kalessin
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Interview conducted June 06 2008
Interview published July 26 2008

I was first introduced to Keep Of Kalessin when they opened for Dimmu Borgir on the Invaluable Darkness tour. Something about them live really caught my attention. Once I realized band has been around for over a decade, I immediately requested a copy of the talented quartet's new release Kolossus and an interview with founding member Obsidian C. Join us as we discuss their first US tour, opinions on downloading, and a basic history of the band.

MettleMaiden: Hello Obsidian, thank you for your time. First I want to say that my first experience for Keep Of Kalessin was at the Dimmu Borgir show at Bogarts in Cincinnati. There was something about your music that caught my attention, which is why I asked for an interview. I usually do not like Black Metal, but your live set was very entertaining.

  • Obsidian: Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the show. We had fun ourselves.

MettleMaiden: So how has the US tour been so far?

  • Obsidian: It has been amazing, Dimmu Borgir have been wonderful. We have the same fans as them, so we have been getting a great response. There have been so many people at all the shows. It's wonderful for our first US tour.

MettleMaiden: So this is your first US tour, that was going to be my next question. Wow, your first US tour and you are with Dimmu Borgir, it doesn't get any better than that!

  • Obsidian: .. and with Behemoth as well, that was a good bill, for us.

MettleMaiden: Yes, that was quite a package; a really good show. I actually saw Dimmu twice on the Invaluable Darkness tour, the second time we saw two religious characters walk on stage for the first Dimmu song, I understand that that was actually you guys.

  • Obsidian: Yes, we were the papal vicars.

MettleMaiden: Was that you?

  • Obsidian: Yes, and Wizziac, too.

MettleMaiden: I thought so, those characters carrying incense in their miters really added to the prologue of the show, on the second half of the Invaluable Darkness tour. Concerning your new album, Kolossus; how have the reviews for it been? Personally, I just received it two days ago, but I love it.

  • Obsidian: We have not received a lot of reviews yet, but as far as I know the reviews have been favorable. A couple of nine out of tens, you know. But, I think they have been very favorable compared to Armada because that was a more Black Metal album. There's so much more diversity on Kolossus.

MettleMaiden: I noticed that it has been compared to Immortal, but I think it is way better than anything they have done!

  • Obsidian: Well, thank you very much.

MettleMaiden: I agree that there's a lot more to the new album than what a traditional Black Metal would have. I am curious though, what is your opinion of downloading? You know people do it, like it or not, it's going to happen. I know people tell me that they will download an album, before it is released, but still buy it when it comes out.

  • Obsidian: Actually, all the people that say they are still buying the album, really are not, in my experience. The problem with that, is that bands like us don't earn a lot of money doing this, and fans want us to tour their country; but, if our label says it isn't selling there, then we can't tour. We have people tell us that we have a lot of fans in the US, but when the label says "you only sold 80 albums there" we can't tour. I mean it's the reviewers screwing everything up. After they review the CD they upload it, before it comes out, and I don't know why. It is not like they are earning anything by doing this. Why would you do that to people who have been working their asses off to create the music?

MettleMaiden: Yes, I know. I've met some people who brag about how they pay their rent by selling promos, it really aggravates me to hear that they abuse the privilege of receiving promos in that manner.

  • Obsidian: I really hope that people that like the music buy the album. It's so important you can't just take away albums, and the families who rely on that; we need all the money, it's not like we have normal jobs, I mean it's not like I can have a job and say "hey boss, I need all this time off so I can be touring". Plus, you have to have the time to write the album, record, and edit it, this is a normal day job.

MettleMaiden: People need to understand all the work that goes into a successful band. We certainly don't upload CDs just for that reason, it takes away from the artist. We do what we can to support the bands. We are always going to shows, but unfortunately we do not get a lot of metal tours here in Cincinnati. You're right, though, if the album isn't selling there why would the band tour there. Thankfully, when your CD comes out, it will include a DVD to make the purchase more mandatory.

  • Obsidian: Yes, that is true. It is a lot of work to tour in the US, as well.

MettleMaiden: Yes, I can imagine with the work visas and everything else you have to go through just to get into this country!

  • Obsidian: Plus, all the cities where we play, and they are so spread out there, that we spent a lot of time just driving! Gas is so expensive, and the label does not always assist with this. But, we do not get all the tours here either.

MettleMaiden: I've been told stories by some American bands being held up coming back into the country from Canada by customs!

  • Obsidian: Yes, we have been held up by customs before also. I received a package from a well established company which had CDs and DVDs as well, and I had to give customs the documents showing that is what is was, and then they let me go.

MettleMaiden: I wonder if there is a band that hasn't had an issue with customs! Moving on I wanted to ask about the name Keep Of Kalessin, I know it is from the Earthsea books, I was just curious why you chose it?

  • Obsidian: I was just reading the book and it was a great story about dragons. Kalessin was a collective of different dragons from the book and very powerful, he is the arch-dragon, so I decided on Keep Of Kalessin

So you named the band after a dragon's lair. Speaking of names, how did everyone decide on their stage names?

  • Obsidian: Thebon and Vyl just used shortened versions of their real names, Obsidian means black rock and sounds powerful like the dragon. Wizziac is because of the Wizards in the Earthsea books, it is a science fiction fantasy book.

MettleMaiden: Well, I really love sci-fi fantasy so now I have to read this. Let's go a little into the bands history, you formed the original band in 1994 which became Keep Of Kalessin in 1997? Correct?

  • Obsidian: That sounds right, we have gone through several line-up changes over the years and broke up in 2000.

MettleMaiden: But you kept it going, even during the five year break-up, you played with Satyricon.

  • Obsidian: Yes, that was with Frost on drums, who played on the Reclaim EP, that lineup was onlly for the EP though. I wanted to continue and needed drummer, so I called Vyl again and said "would you like to go back to the band?" and he said he would like to play with me again. Vyl and I have always had this great chemistry, so we started to search for a new lineup. We found Thebon who was in another band called Subliritum, and we knew Wizziac from another band. When we recorded Armada and Thebon came in to do the vocals, I knew that he had such potential that I wanted him to form our own vocal, to develope a whole different style of vocals. I think that made a lot of difference in Armada.

MettleMaiden: So do you think this is the best line-up you've had?

  • Obsidian: Absolutely, everything is so cool with us. We are always hanging out when we're not playing. I am very happy with everyone.

MettleMaiden: Well, I glad everything is working out. Thank you for taking your time with a new fan. I look forward to your future releases and hopefully seeing you live again soon!

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