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donderdag 04 november 2010
OCTOBER TIDE: A Ravishing Resurrection!

Interview with drummer Robin Bergh of October Tide by Vera in October 2010

What do October Tide and Winterfylleth have in common, except their mutual excellent label Candlelight Records? They both released an amazing album this year and their name refers to the month October, in a broader respect the gloomy mystic melancholy of autumn drawing near. October Tide gathered eternal respect for two albums they made in the late nineties. It was a side project of Katatonia members Jonas Renkse and guitarist Fred Norrman. When Katatonia got a second start, we heard nothing anymore from October Tide. Until now. Fred Norrman is the only remaining member, but ‘A Thin Shell’ is an amazing third album. We talked with drummer Robin Bergh about this remarkable resurrection.

Well, October Tide is back and that’s quite a surprise. When did the guys start thinking about this resurrection?
I think it was one and a half year ago, something like that. Fred asked me if I wanted to play the drums. He had a few songs ready and he wanted to rehearse them and record them. The material turned out quite well, so we started to record some of the songs. We did not have any contract at that time. But the response was pretty good, so we got a deal with Candlelight pretty fast. I think there was no huge plan behind October Tide, it just turned out that way.

October Tide made two albums in the nineties: ‘Rain Without End’ (1997) and ‘Grey Dawn’ (1999), but when Katatonia started again, it was too busy to keep active with two bands…
Yes, I know when Fred started October Tide up again, he asked Jonas (Renkse – vocalist Katatonia) to join, but Jonas was quite busy with Katatonia and also with Bloodbath. He did not have the energy for another project.

How did you meet Tobias Netzell, the singer?
That is a quite interesting story. Me and Fredrik went to the studio to record those songs, we did not have an idea for the vocals. It was actually Jonas Kjellgren, our producer who also plays in Scar Symmetry who recommended Tobias from In Mourning. We started to listen to In Mourning and those vocals were really good, so we contacted him and asked him if he was interested in doing the vocals. That’s how we met him.

And now you are with two members of In Mourning…
Exactly. It was quite natural, because Pierre (Stam – Vera), the new bass player, he had been writing some of the lyrics for ‘A Thin Shell’ as well. It was really good to have him on board all the way.

That was something I had in mind to ask as well: who wrote the lyrics and – since they are quite dark – what are the main topics?
I am the drummer, so I might be the wrong guy for this question (laughs), but I’ll give it a try. Tobias and Pierre have written the lyrics. On some songs it is Tobias, other songs it is both and maybe one song, it is just Pierre. The lyrics are quite moody, as you say. Some are about depression or about being dragged down by other people. All about sad, negative feelings, I would say, but I really like them a lot. I would like to leave it up to the listener to interpret the lyrics.

Congratulations on the album! It is really amazing. It is a kind of prolongation of the first two albums but with a contemporary production…
Thank you! The production is very good if you compare it to the early or mid nineties, but we tried to get the sound of that nineties again a little bit. We tried to get much space or room or air in the sound. I think if you listen carefully to the album with headphones, you get the feeling that everything is recorded in a large room. It is not a fat production, but rather light.

More breathing and organic…

In which studio did you record the album?
I am not sure how it is called now, but it is in the Abyss Studios, which are actually two studios. We did the drums in the Abyss and then we did the vocals and guitars in the smaller studio next door. But it is the same studio where Peter Tägtgren works.

When October Tide was rejuvenated again, you put one song on line for the audience, called ‘Blackness Devours’. Can you tell something about the reactions?
We had no idea what people would think about the whole thing. October Tide back from the grave… nobody had heard anything for about ten or eleven years. Also because the older albums were so much appreciated, we thought it might be risky to bring this together again. People could be disappointed and Jonas is not in the band anymore. These days you have so many bands. So we expected people to be a little bit sceptic. But we put ‘Blackness Devours’ on line – which is not even the best track on the album, it is a good one – and the reactions were really good. We got so many mails and even the ones who were sceptic, got convinced soon. Also the reviews are surprisingly positive. We are extremely glad for that, because we just wanted to do this for fun. We wanted to record a few tracks and see what happens. Since it turned out so well, we started thinking about playing live and that’s why we went looking for additional members. Now we have done one show and there’s a lot more coming up. It is not official yet, but there’s going to be a bunch of shows this winter.

That’s great news for you too, because October Tide never played live in the past and I could find out that October Tide played at Hell’s Pleasure Fest in Germany with a session bass player…
Exactly. It was good, it was really fun, although I was a bit nervous. I guess we all were quite nervous, but the audience was great and the festival was perfect for us. It was a rather small festival with very dedicated fans of that kind of music. We had a really good time.

And soon you will go to Bucharest (Romania)…
Indeed, I look forward to that. We play there with Saturnus on the 7th of November and we are negotiating about a couple shows more and I think we are going to play in the Netherlands as well.

Where do you live exactly in Sweden?
I live in Stockholm and the others live on the countryside. I am the guy who has to travel when we have rehearsals.

And do you still have much contact with the guys from Katatonia?
Yes, of course, they are really good friends. It started off when I played with Amaran. We did a Scandinavian tour together. We were opening up for Katatonia and we got along really well. Since then we never lost contact, I almost talk daily to the guys and I have also been a drum technician for Katatonia on several shows and I am going to be that in November for them as well.

I see you have special drum sticks…
Yes, they are called B-sticks from Denmark. It was quite funny. I always used that brand, but I could not find them in Sweden anymore, so I contacted them. They offered me an endorsement deal, that was cool.

Nowadays in Finland you have comparable bands like Swallow The Sun, Barren Earth and Ghost Brigade. Do you know them?
Yes, Swallow The Sun is really good, Ghost Brigade too. I should check out Barren Earth, I haven’t heard them that much. Some of the people compare us with Swallow The Sun, but we don’t have the clean vocals. That is a difference and when we wrote the songs we tried to go back to the nineties when everything was quite simple and easy. No complex drumming or rhythms. Just big heavy riffs and brutal vocals, some dynamics to the music and some beautiful melodies on that. We try to keep it clean, simple and easy. I think we are not as complex as Swallow The Sun.

There have been re-releases of the first albums, isn’t it?
There has been a reissue of ‘Rain Without End’, but I don’t think there will be one for the second album ‘Grey Dawn’.

Who did the artwork?
It was actually me and Travis Smith. I was happy to work with him, because I cannot draw the simplest things on a paper. Me and pens are not going along together. Me and drumsticks love each other, but not the pen (laughs). I had a couple ideas that I wrote to him in an e-mail. I asked him to do something and a couple of days later he send this drawing. It was so much fun to work with him, because he understood exactly what I wanted. He just did it. I am really happy how it turned out, not only the front cover, but also the booklet and the casing and everything.

How did you decide to sign with Candlelight?
When we had the vocals and the rough mix of a couple of the songs, not all of them, we sent them to a couple of record labels. We had positive answers from more than one label, but we decided to go with Candlelight.

The band is ready to hit the road and hope to find some interesting offers soon. In our areas they will play in Arnhem (NL) in January. Keep checking their sites!

Geplaatst door Vera op donderdag 04 november 2010 - 23:04:30
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