INTERVIEW: TAYLOR NORDBERG OF THE ABSENCE ON NEW ALBUM A GIFT FOR THE OBSESSED.
“The moment of completion is the exorcism. Getting the demons out. There’s nothing quite like hearing the finished product.”
SICK AND SOUND has the pleasure to introduce its readers to an exclusive interview our editor-in-chief Alessandra had with Taylor Nordberg of THE ABSENCE melodic death metal outfit from Tampa, Florida.
After eight years of silence, the band is back with a bashing new album A GIFT FOR THE OBSESSED out last March 23rd, 2018 via M-Theory Audio. We had an amazing opportunity to interview The Absence to get a deeper view on their sound and exploring thoroughly their fourth album in studio.
For our track by track review please check out: www.sickandsound.it/the-absence-a-gift-for-the-obsessed-il-momento-in-cui-larte-incontra-la-furia-dellossessione-e-genera-appagamento .
- Let’s talk about the soundscape you fit in, melodic death metal. What’s your approach to this soundscape and what influences have contributed to the music product you deliver?
Influences came from everywhere when writing this album, but for me personally it was Megadeth (specifically Rust/Countdown/Youthanasia, the melodic content on those albums are insane), At The Gates, Death, Arch Enemy, Queensryche, Judas Priest.
- If you could describe the unique sound you have crafted, what adjectives or words would you pick for its best representation and why?
I would have to say intense and schizophrenic. Intense because the album is that: very aggressive and makes you want to rage and push things over. Schizophrenic because it’s very dynamic, and covers different emotions throughout. I like to bounce between major and minor in my writing and it causes a stress or anxiety that I think people can relate to in the ups and downs of real life.
- A Gift For The Obsessed is your new full-length following up your previous Enemy Unbound dating back to 2010. What kind of progress has been taking place during those 8 years and what main sound differences or new features have been introduced since your last record?
The lineup has changed since then, which made a big positive change to the dynamic in the band, as well as new inputs on writing music. I think the new energy in the band inspired some great writing. The last 4 or 5 years have been pretty crazy for everyone in the band, though. Jeramie has been touring with Sepultura as tour manager/FOH engineer, as well as putting our music with his other band Necromancing The Stone, and touring playing drums with Venom Inc. Mike has been playing in Soulfly on the road and in the studio. Joey has been playing with Jasta and touring with Sanctuary. And I have been playing bass live with Soilwork, and we all have separate side projects at home and side jobs, so we are all pretty busy.
- A Gift For The Obsessed has been mixed and produced with the collaboration of David Castillo and Thomas “Plec” Johansson. What kind of experience did you gain by working with them and what main challenges have you faced while working on the record?
Working with David and Thomas was a pleasure! They had mixed/mastered our single “Septic Testament” which we released in 2016, and we loved how it turned out, so we definitely wanted them to do the whole record for us. Jeramie and I recorded/produced the album but David was instrumental throughout the whole process. For example, when we set up the drum mics, we did a test recording and sent it to David, who then told us “great, but try this and shift that” then BAM. Gold. The work and level of professionalism from those two is an epic combo.
- Let’s talk more about the origins of the title chosen. This was described as the integral point of satisfaction reached by the artist following a crafting labor. Jamie has defined this process as “exorcism through creation.” I would love to talk more about this idea.
“Exorcism through creation” is great, by the way. Jamie is a master of words. It describes making an album perfectly. It’s fun, and creative, and an incredible experience, but it can also be extremely strenuous on the mind, and you can go a bit crazy in the studio or practice room. The moment of completion, though, is the exorcism. Getting the demons out. There’s nothing quite like hearing the finished product. We knew there were fans waiting for a new album so it was as much of a “Gift” for them as it was for us.
- Let’s explore the lyrical themes chosen for your new record and their inspiration. What kind of message The Absence would love to spread to its audience after a long pause and with its bashing A Gift For The Obsessed?
Jamie writes incredible lyrics and this album was no exception. He deals with more real-life issues rather than dragons and gore, so each song is more like a poem to me. Some songs deal with ridding yourself of toxic people or situations while another is about space madness. We generally want to express a positive message to our fans and listeners because why send more hate into the brains of people? There’s plenty of that around as there is.
- Let’s talk about killer track You Can’t Bring Me Down. What’s the inspiration and mindset behind the choice of including a cover of Suicidal Tendencies in the record?
I’ve been a fan of Suicidal Tendencies since I was about 13, and I know the other guys are big fans as well. I think we were just listening to the song hanging out and someone said “dude we should just cover this”. And that’s kind of how it happened, haha! But in all seriousness, the title of the song really meant a lot to us as well because the band had a super strong and revitalized energy, and we weren’t about to let anything stop the train from rolling. So it was a bit of a statement for us as well as being a kick-ass tune. Then we had our buddy/vocal master Bjorn Strid (Soilwork/Night Flight Orchestra) sing with Jamie throughout the whole song and it turned out so killer.
- Titletrack A Gift for The Obsessed. No other best way to open such a fiery record. This is a showcase of your overall sound with top notch instrumental sections and harsh vocals. What can you tell us more about the song?
The title track is special for many reasons, but it is one of two songs tuned to B standard (the other being “Celestial Hysteria). It’s a fun song because it starts off very triumphant and positive and then you get kicked in the teeth with this speed beast of a riff. Jamie’s vocals rip through you until the chorus which is a kind of spacey/atmospheric chaos. It’s a cool journey the song takes you on.
- Septic Testament track seems to be another standout piece having a very hard and heavy shell with a rich texture and some seducing melody on the inside. I would love to discuss with you the songwriting process and idea behind the track which was out last 2016 and included in the present record.
“Septic Testament” was written at the same time as the rest of the album, but as soon as it came together with vocals and guitar melodies it was a no brainer to have that be the single. The bridge section to this song is really special. It has a cool dynamic to it, big fat grooves, and then lots of sassy guitar notes.
What thrilling anticipations are you willing to share with our readers on upcoming shows and projects? Thank you for your time and all the best for the promotion of your new record. We are longing for more music to be dropped by The Absence and support you into Europe!
Thank YOU for your time and interest in the band! We are planning to hit the road this summer and fall, into next year and beyond. I think we will finally play in Europe on this album cycle which we very much look forward to. Projects? More than you can count, but here’s a list to check out: Disevered (Jamie), Ribspreader (Jeramie and I), Necromancing The Stone (Jeramie), Dritt Skit (Jeramie and I), Goregäng (Jeramie and I).
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