Supporting Epica’s European Tour.
Firstly, apologies for not being able to get down to Nottingham’s Rock City early enough to conduct a face-to-face interview with you guys – I was very much looking forward to meeting with you in person. Sadly, the day job got in the way, but all was not lost as I managed to catch your entire set, which was great. Never have I witnessed a crowd so content with listening to a new band! Many here in the UK are probably only just discovering you on the strength of your new album ‘The Banished Heart’ which I can only describe as a masterpiece.
If I may, I’m going to ask ten questions, If you could answer them briefly, to keep it short and sweet, I’d very much appreciate it. I’d like to add this into my live review. I know you are busy touring the UK and Europe with Epica, so I can appreciate your time is precious which leads me onto my first question.
1. Were you invited to join this tour, or did you apply?
[Cammie] We were invited by Epica to join them on the UK leg of this tour. It came as a bit of a surprise but we were happy to join as we have a strong following in the UK as well.
2. Have you toured the UK much since the bands conception? If so, what is it about the UK you like and how do we fare compared to other countries?
[Cammie] Our first time through some of the UK was last year with Enslaved and Ne Obliviscaris. It went well and was great, so we were not hesitant to gig here again.
3. The band are primarily from Houston, Texas. How are you received in America, compared with Europe and the rest of the world?
[Cammie] We have a strong following in the US, but find the push and promotion for what we do stronger here in the UK and Europe. While there are a collection of fans for OOS all over the world, we continue to push forward to grow and spread our music.
4. It would appear the band enjoy playing the odd cover song. You’ve performed a version of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ – why did you choose this song? You’ve also recorded a version of ’Nights in White Satin’, which appeared on your second album ‘Winter’. Why this song, by the Moody Blues? Performing covers is a great way to connect with people, who may not know who you are, yet tells them who you admire musically, would you agree? If not, why do you enjoy performing covers of other artists music?
[Cammie] I agree, doing cover songs is a great way to simultaneously show people who our influences are while connecting with them over songs different from what the band will create originally. It’s also our way of giving respect to those musicians and those songs that have played such pivotal roles in our musical development.
5. I’ve listened to all three studio albums and the latest ’The Banished Heart’ clearly stands out as being the most polished. I love the brutal honesty you’ve given us. However, is it hard to re-live those sad times or do you embellish each song every time you perform them, knowing you’re creating something truly wonderful from a dark period in life?
[Cammie] I find the more I perform each song the more meaningful it becomes as it changes from my singular experience to something I am sharing with those who relate to it from the crowd. I hope that by having created something so raw and real that it will find a purpose among those that need its catharsis.
6. My favourite track, off the latest album is ‘The Decay of Disregard’ that guitar riff is AMAZING. LOVE IT. Thankfully, you played it live last night (thank you): my question is, to anyone who wants to answer (please state who) which is your favourite track to perform live and to listen too, off the new album? Is there any chance of last nights set list as well please?
[Cammie] The most difficult, and my favorite song to perform, is No Color No Light. For me, the greatest gift of performing is the connection with the crowd. During this song I can often see teary eyes, or solemn faces and I know that we are all sharing in a moment of loss and hurt. When the song is finished there is this big sigh of relief we all share.
Set List: 1.Fleeting Vigilance 2.A Path to Broken Stars 3.Howl of the Rougarou 4.The Decay of Disregard 5.No Color No Light
7. I would have loved to have met Dobber, as I’ve read he is largely responsible for the bands sound and is a massive contributor, creatively within this band, so my question to him is, what lead him onto his musical path? Who inspired him to start writing music? Who influenced his sound? If any?
I grew up surrounded by music. My dad listened to old country, Motown, and doowop music from the 50’s-80’s respectively. My brother and sister were kids of the 70’s and that’s where the NWOBHM and blues music came from in my life. As a child I would be kind of cut loose with the radio and MTV which led me to seeing David Gilmour solo on Comfortably Numb at some live concert around 1986-87, which would make me 8 or 9 years old at that time.
Combine that with Franz Liszt and Wagner music from the Looney Tunes world and you arrive roughly to me now. Somewhat.
8. A question for Cammie Gilbert, how did you discover your voice? Were you always destined to be a singer? Does it come naturally, or do you have to work hard at it?
[Cammie] I suppose I came out of the womb singing. My parents met when my father was a church choir director and my mother was in the church choir. Having been labeled a very loud baby, always chirping and carrying on, I don’t remember a time before I sang. As I’ve come to this arena of performing and touring I’ve had to be more mindful of caring for my voice, but I try not to stress too much over being too technical or sounding perfect with a performance; for me that is time to show more emotion.
9. In your Facebook Biography, Dobber states; “We’d love to be heard by a wider audience and I know the audience for this kind of music exists all over the globe, but they’re hard to reach sometimes,” My question is, has this new album achieved what it is you was hoping for? From what I’ve read, from other music sites, who’ve reviewed the new album, they’re all giving it 10/10. Must feel good right, knowing people get what it is you’re saying?
[Cammie] Absolutely, it gives us hope to know the work and dedication that went into this album has affirmed OOS into the hearts and minds of more listeners. There was such a deep understanding of the depth of this album that certainly made us feel understood both musically and mentally. Refreshing to say the least.
Incidentally, Dom Lawson’s write up makes you sound very intellectual. Would you say that’s a true reflection of the band? Would you consider yourselves as being intelligent? In my opinion, It sure takes a great amount of talent, to produce the music you do. It’s probably a good thing we never met! Haha!
[Cammie] Thank you for the compliment. Intelligence can be a tricky thing to measure; I’d say we consider ourselves hard working. We work very hard and are always striving to get better and grow as individuals. We don’t like becoming stagnant in any way, whether that be with our music or our lives.
10. Where do you go from here? Having been through troubled times and still managed to come out of the other side, producing an amazing album (some are saying the album of 2018) regardless. Do you now purposely seek out trouble and strife, to help fuel your creative juices? Or will your next album take a new direction? Is life better, or is the world so messed up, there’s still plenty more you want to say. Honesty appears to have worked for you, will you continue being so honest?
[Cammie] Haha, there is no need to seek out any trouble or strife. Guaranteed it will always find a way to penetrate ones life. We found our stride within the process and internal searching of this latest album and we only aim to dig deeper and go heavier moving forward.
I look forward to reading your answers and I thank you for your time, in advance. Enjoy the rest of the tour, with Epica.
Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)