Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Interview with Oskar Terramortis | This is Gothic Rock - Necromanteion (2013)



I want to thank Juan Francisco Camacho from La Letra Capital for this interview, where you can read the answer to a lot of things people have asked me, regarding the book, my radio shows and other projects. But especially you can find some new information about This Is Gothic Rock The Book. I hope you enjoy it :)

Who is Oskar Terramortis? And who is behind the nickname?

Oskar Terramortis:  Hello Juan Francisco. Oskar Terramortis is basically a music junkie. The style doesn't matter too much, as long as it contains guitars. And if it sounds like old school, it's just perfect for my taste. I'm the kind of guy who goes to a record store and feels like in Disneyland. I haven't smoked or drank heavily in two years, and I spend that money buying records now, and trying to recover the 5000 cds I had in my collection back in 2001. For bad luck in life I lost the collection. The music is really important in my life, I will always say it's more than a hobby, it's a way of life, that many people in my life never understood. And talking more properly about me, I consider myself a freelance music journalist, after being in the writing press media for more than 10 years, and in very important magazines that I won't name here, and a couple of websites that I won't name here, either. After the bad experience on how the press media works with record labels I decided to leave that world. There's too much shit behind it, and the success of many bands that I consider shit bands, are successfull because there's money and a lot of magazine covers on it. Pure marketing. So I decided to be a freelancer – everything is much easier without a boss who says “you have to re-write that review, or take off this part of the interview, because the record label is paying us”. Fuck that shit. If a band is a shitty band, I will say it. I'm lucky that 95% of the cds I received is material I really enjoy. I don't want to sound like an inflated ego person, but Oskar Terramortis is me after 23 years, so I don't see any difference between my real name and the nickname – we are the same person. Also, everyone knows me as Oskar Terramortis. That's what I say, this is a way of life. I only use my real name for legal stuff.

Recently you have been especially active (in a reneissance way) in differenct projects: This is Gothic Rock, Hellmade in Finland, Oskar Terramortis , different radio shows (Necromateion etc), organizing concerts and events. What happened to the DJ that we knew?

Oskar Terramortis:  Well, right now I'm involved in all these projects i never imagned. I'm writing 2 books at the same time, and basically the time is my enemy. I had to make sacrifices and stop making This Is Gothic Rock radio show because of the lack of time. Actually, Necromanteion Radio Show is Necromanteion/This Is Gothic Rock. I also almost stopped making radio shows completely, but as far as I know there's a lot of people who are following my radio shows. Being humble because I will say this: some band members told me that I am the most influential Dj of this decade. I received a lot of emails asking me to make radio shows again when I had a 3-month break. To be a resident DJ on the most important online gothic radio station worldwide means a lot to me. So I can say I'm not the regular DJ you meet, right now I think I'm considered like an international DJ, because of all these activities. It's not the same to be a DJ in a pub or a disco. Last time I was a club DJ was almost 2 years ago. So there's a lot of big changes with another kind of repercussion.

Also, you have been doing all these different kinds of projects (even though they seem similar, they are not) that have quality and their own entity. Do you know that you have destroyed the proverb “don't bite off more than you can chew”? Which of these activities fill you up the most?

Oskar Terramortis:   I started with this in the same moment I decided to not spend every weekend getting drunk in Madrid. I stopped hanging out, I got bored of night life, after 15 years of swimming in the Madrilian night life. No more tajadas parties. Gothic nights were over for me, and I refuged myself doing sports and dedicating more time to travel and meet new people, band members, and that's when I decided to create oskarterramortis.com. It was basically gothic/post punk place. But after a few months I created thisisgothicrock.com, so the primigenium website changed its policy to work with music outside goth/post punk. 8 months ago I started with Hellmade In Finland, which is my latest project, and it's gaining attention very fast. When I started these projects I never expected the success would be like this, because in the beginning they were only supporting sites for my radio shows. Then I decided to make review of the cds bands were sending me for the radio shows. At the same time, almost, came the idea to make a compilation of the bands of the new millennium. Quality? I really don't know if they are quality sites, but I can tell you that there are 100% honest opinions there, without any ass-licking. I don't get money from record labels to make a good review or interviews. And that will be my policy. All these projects have one common nominator: music, my kind of drug. But i really enjoy making the radio shows.

Focusing in the current dark scene, you always talk about first, second and third wave. How do you define each of them?

Oskar Terramortis:   For me it's very important to separate the 3 schools, because they are very different. It's still funny for me that no one talks openly about a third wave. When I started to talk about the 3rd wave, a lot of people started to ask me “what is the third wave, we never heard about it, why are you saying there is a third wave?” etc. But let's start from the beginning. 

The first wave of goth as we know it, I can define it like the creating time, where all the bands we know as classics, created their own styles. The scene started to emerge, and it was a period when all these bands sounded very different from each other. For me there's 5 bands that really inspired me: Bauhaus, Christian Death, The Cult, Sisters Of Mercy and Fields Of The Nephilim. But of course, it's a very personal selection. 

The second wave is probably my favorite, because I lived it, almost in real time. I can define it as the experimenting age. Gothic rock became heavier, the bands played even better than the 80's bands, and these bands fusioned the sounds of the bands of the 80's, taking the best ingredients of those bands - Garden of Delight, The Wake, Dronning Maud Land, Love Like Blood and Dreadful Shadows, Nosfetaru, to name a few. They are a perfect example of the second wave. 

Now this third wave has 2 parts: when the bands of the second wave started to experiment with samplers, many of these bands stared to change a lot. You can see back in 1999 how many bands of the second wave sounded totally different than how they sounded in the early 90's. These bands began to sound more poppy, more electronic and the rest just disappeared from the map. And then comes a new generation of bands who want to sound like the band from the 90's who already changed, and they start to sound very alternative. Then suddenly appeared a band called Elusive from Norway, and NFD from the UK, that are for me the bands who really started the third wave with some old school touch. The rest is part of the current history since 2009 we have had an explosion of old school bands that we can say are from the third wave. The alternative bands approach metal sounds more and more.

Actually it looks like we are living in a new Golden Age, also in terms of quantity and quality. Do you agree?

Oskar Terramortis:  As I said before, we are living a new explosion of bands, newcomers since 2009, and I'm really happy to live this in real time, too. I think this new decade is giving us really good bands that are making history. We can find names like Angels Of Liberty, Ulterior, Merciful Nuns, The Eden House, Soror Dolorosa, that have a real legion of fans out there. The important thing in this new decade, is that these bands came with very honest proposals and they sound very different from each other. In my opinion this new school will be better than the second wave. If you see bands like Silent Scream, who plays very old school post punk without any romantic feeling, or Come With Reverse, who has one of the best singers I've ever seen in my life with one of the best low register voices, or bands like Salvation AMP, which is another promising band, or Yavanci, which has the best EP of the year, all these bands are younger bands who play really good and they will be names to remember.

As far as I know, you are giving the final shape to an encyclopedic book about gothic music. After Mick Mercer (with more or less luck) nobody has had the balls to make compilation book of this scene, because it's too wide. What motivated you to so this? Are you satisfied with the results you have at this point?

Oskar Terramortis:  To be honest, I didn't know the books of Mick Mercer. I read his old blog many years ago, but I didn't know he wrote books about the scene. In Spain nobody has seen those books at the libraries (no spanish translation). A few months ago I had in my hand for the first time a book by Mick Mercer, that my friend Antti Lautala from Silent Scream borrowed me. I only read about 4 pages, and looked at the layout a bit. This Is Gothic Rock The Book will be totally different in concept, because this is not an investigation book, or one man opinion book. This Is Gothic Rock has more than one opinion, and the bands themselves sent me their own information. A few months ago someone told me that some guy was posting on facebook that I was a wannabe Mick Mercer, trying to insult me in some way. I'm not trying to copy anyone's work, also because I didn't get any inspiration from Mick Mercer's books. Actually it was an  anthopologist who inspired me to write this book. I saw a documentary film back in 2006 called Metal: A Headbanger's Journey by Sam Dunn. For me this guy made more than excellent work with his movie, that I just imagined this kind of idea with the new wave of goth/post punk. But of course, I don't have any budget to make a film, so I decided to write a book. At this point I'm satisfied with the material, but very disappointed with a lot of bands and people who said they will be part of the book, and after 1,5 years, I'm still waiting for the information I requested. As I said before, I'm not the kind of guy who licks anyone's ass. So, if they don't want to be part of my book, fine. I'm not Zillo magazine, and many band members and managers don't take my work seriously.

Let's continue talking about the book, how has it been received among bands and public? We can read some previews of the material online, don't you think that if people can read the material online the book will lose attention commercially speaking, and also regarding the final result?

Oskar Terramortis:  The truth is, I don't give a shit if the book will be commercially bad seller. I'm doing this for myself and the loyal fans of this music. I decided to post some interviews online in advance, because thisisgothicrock.com works as a real time media. Right now we have almost 80,000 pageviews, and that's something I never expected. It's a blog site without illegal downloads, it's a place to read, with public, real stats in real time. The acceptance of the bands and people is really fantastic. It's really nice to receive an email from a band I've never heard of, saying that they want to be part of this project and that they want to send me their music. I'm not receving any kind of money for making this, and I think that when the bands sends me their cds, it's the best prize. Remember, I'm a music junkie.

What are you trying to contribute with This Is Gothic Rock Book that has not been contributed before? These days, there is a lot of information available on the internet about all these things, or any kind of things.

Oskar Terramortis:  Well, if you see it from that point of view, I will save the readers hundreds of hours of searching for information online, and I think this book will contribute to expose the current underground to this new generation of kids, and people of our age, who still read books, and I think the most important contribution is to help to make the third wave more solid. If people say “oh man, I discovered this band from This Is Gothic Rock the Book”, I will be very satisfied. By the way, I will not publish wikipedia information on this book, that was one of the rules I told the bands, NO wikipedia information. At the moment, I have very exclusive information from bands such as Garden Of Delight and Ikon. Ikon made an exclusive biography for this book. So if you see the same information online, it's because it was copied from This Is Gothic Rock.

Can you give us details about the book? Estimated date of release, is it only going to be in English or will there be a Spanish edition, will there be interviews, reviews or both....

Oskar Terramortis:  The plans have changed during the past months, also you know I moved to another country (Finland), and if it was in my hands, the book would already have been published. The big delay was because a lot of bands (more than 150 bands) didn't send the information I requested. But the deadline is June 1st, and the idea is to publish the book late this year. I know the first edition will be 100-300 copies, handnumbered with some kind of cd compilation with some of the best bands of the 3rd wave. This will be my way to make something special for the die-hard collectors. The first edition will be in English, and then I will see the possibilities to make another edition in Spanish, but that will take a long time. Everything is possible, but I don't want to confirm anything. And of course, it will have at least 30 interviews, different points of view, and the reviews will be more orientated to the people that are not deep into this new third wave.

How many bands wanted to be part of the book? Will you talk about the bands who did not send you the information, but who you consider to be important anyway? You will include only gothic rock, or will you inculde other styles that you consider should be part of it? Which ones?

Oskar Terramortis:  Really good question. I only will include material of the bands that I received, because hat was the original idea of this project. The only bands I want to really include without any kind of contact is Fields of The Nephilim and The Mission, Sisters Of Mercy and Killing Joke. They are big bands that are almost impossible to contact. This is when I say once again “I'm not Zillo magazine”. FOTN will play here in Finland in a few days. I tried to arrange a second interview with McCoy through the promotor of the gig, the managing company and the record label, with no answer from anyone. So these kind of things are things that can delay the publishing of the book. There are only 3 bands I rejected to publish, because of the attitude of the members: Miserylab, Opened Paradise (they are publicly not interested in being part of this, and people still believe I have an open war against them – I can't force bands to be part of this project) and another band I never even heard of, and I can't even remember the name, but it's a Swedish band whose manager approached me on facebook with threats and false accusations about talking shit about his band. All the bands are free to send their information before June 1st. And of course it's impossible to make a book about gothic rock bands only, because a lot of bands fusion gothic rock with post punk, or with alternative.

When the book is published, or you have in mind to write second, third etc. editions? Or will this project be closed with only one book?

Oskar Terramortis:  Of course there will be 2nd, 3rd, 4th editions, because I will update the book every 1,5 years, that's the idea. But time will tell. I will keep the fanzine spirit up with this project.

Even though your websites are very active and you update them frequently, your radio shows are still a little bit less frequent. Are you planning to start making them more frequently at some point?

Oskar Terramortis:  I don't have the time right now to make 3 radio shows every week. Necromateion was every Friday, and now there's only 2 episodes a month. And Esto Es Rock Gotico is a monthly show. I have to make 2-hour radio shows but editing them takes me about 4 hours. And my studies and family take a lot of time. So I will keep this rhythym for now.

Finally, the last question: How do you see the future of the scene?

Oskar Terramortis:  In one word: promising.