Bruce Smeath was pretty impressed with “The Weight Of Oceans”, the latest album by progressive death/doom ensemble In Mourning. He had a friendly chat with bassist Pierre Stam about the new album, personal influences and making a living as musician in these dire times…
How happy are you with “The Weight of Oceans”?
We are very happy with this album. Everything went our way with this recording, the production, the songs and the lyrical concept. I think the whole package is fitting really well together, so it feels great!
What do you hope people get from listening to “The Weight of Oceans”?
Well I hope that they will enjoy it of course. Hopefully they will experience a journey into the musical and lyrical world of the album.
I always say lyrics play a minor role in metal but what are the themes of the new album?
I think that lyrics can be and are important in all music genres, at least it gets important if you are interested in lyrics and reading. I have always read a lot of books and my fascination for written words and storytelling have always been a huge thing. So I always try to tell something with the lyrics and like to make lyrics with double messages and stuff like that. The lyrics on “The Weight Of Oceans” I wrote together with Björn, so that was a new experience and a really creative one! The concept this time is a story of a man with a great fear of the ocean, he gets convinced by a bunch of old sailors to head out on a journey on the ocean to conquer his fears. The whole album then tells this mythological story of his journey travelling the waves and encountering all kinds of adventurous things like giant sea-monsters, storms and deserted islands.
I don’t like to single out particular tracks but “Colossus” is truly magnificent. Did you know how good it was when you finished it?
We had a great feeling about the song, that’s why we put it as number one ont the album. I think that “Colossus” have a bit of all the best that In Mourning has to offer, it really sums up the feeling of the whole album. But I have other favourites too, I personally think that “Colossus”, “A Vow To Conquer The Ocean”, “From A Tidal Sleep” and “The Drowning Sun” stands out a bit from the others. But that is just my personal opinion of course.
What kind of promotion will you be doing for the new album? Any plans to come to the UK, he says hopefully?
We are trying to get out and play as much as we can, nothing in the UK is ready yet but hopefully we will be able to get there. We are just doing some festivals for the summer and we are hoping to get some kind of European tour this autumn if everything works out right. It’s kind of a tricky situation with everyone in the band having full-time day-jobs as well, and me and Tobias both quite recently became parents so there’s a lot of things that has to fit to make it happen. But we are all really eager to get out and play in Europe and other places as well. So hopefully there will be a bunch of gigs later this year.
Having loved your first two albums I have been so looking forward to this one. How does it compare with the first two? What’s similar and what’s different?
I think the new one is the natural step forward from the last one. It’s a little bit more mature and maybe a little less modern in the soundscapes and song structures. We are really satisfied with the production on this one, we got a much more dynamic and organic sound wich was exactly what we were looking for. Personally I am not a big fan of modern metal-productions, it often tends to sound so sterile and far away from how the instruments sound in reality so we tried to get a little more old-school sounding album without losing the sharpness and heaviness of the previous productions. I think it worked out bloody great!
Can you tell us a bit about the history and formation of In Mourning?
We started out as a more gothic oriented band in early 2000. We recorded five demos in seven years with different line-ups and instrumental settings. It took some time for us to find the direction that we wanted to go, and to find the right guys to do it. On our fifth demo “Grind Denial” we kind of found the right formula, and new that we were ready to take a step into a full album band. So on “Shrouded Divine” the line-up was complete and stable, the same five guys as today. We are still three of the founding members left from year 2000, me, Tobias and Christian, so the backbone has remained through the years.
What other bands do you like? Who has inspired you over the years?
That’s a tricky one. Personally I get my inspiration mainly from progressive rock and 70s hard rock music, some of my favourites are Pink Floyd, Marillion, ELP, Genesis, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and so on. The band overall has a really wide music taste, everything from Brutal metal like Cryptopsy, Despised Icon to pop music like The Beatles, Coldplay and U2, and also stuff like Mastodon and Cult of Luna gives us a lot of inspiration.
Although I might consider you one of the best metal bands around sometimes I forget that too many people are not as aware of you as they should be. What are you going to do about that?
Well I guess we are a slow growing band, we are progressing with every album and for each year there are more people coming to the shows we do and buying the albums etc. We will continue to do the things we believe in and try to get it across to as many people as possible. I also think our new label Spinefarm Records will be a great help for us to grow, and reach new audiences.
A lot of modern metal bands are actually not that interesting to watch live…its all about the music, man. What can I expect at an In Mourning show? Assuming I get to see you sometime!
Well the music should always come first. There are a lot of bands that try to bring on a spectacular show but play really crappy and don’t have the music to back the show up. But i think that at an In Mourning concert you can expect quite a tight and energetic band that love what we do, and we are not afraid to show that on stage. We really love playing in front of an audience and I think that it comes through to show in the performances.
How does a metal band make a living in these troubled times?
We don´t, hahaha.. For us it´s not a matter of making a living on the music, it´s a matter of making the music that we love and to be able to play together with good friends and have a laugh and a good time.
What’s coming up next for In Mourning?
The festival shows in the summer next. Then we will try to work on the possibilities of some more touring for the rest of the year. We will surely start trying out some new musical ideas too soon, and some discussions for a new lyrical concept have already started. So we have plenty of things to do.