Obscura's bassist is NOT a rock star...

Funk, trumpets and the job/band balance.

Linus Klausenitzer is very happy. The newly appointed bassist with Obscura is hanging out in the Relapse Records office in Philadelphia. So Linus, tell us what’s happening? “We’re starting the US headlining tour at the moment; the support bands are Abysmal Dawn, Last Chance To Reason and a local band [possibly Enfold Darkness].”

The new Obsucra album Omnivium seems to have some pretty bold folk and jazz elements; would you say these styles are strong influences on the songs?  “I can’t tell too much about that because I’m the new bass player and I didn’t record that album but what I can tell you is definitely jazz and flamenco were big influences; the complex song structures and harmonies were definitely a big influence.”

Too right. The album is a wild ride of conflicting styles yet it all seems to come together; especially with Steffen Kummerer’s distinctive lyrics. Do you ever feel the urge to come up with some yourself? “I don’t write lyrics myself and I think Steffen has done all Obscura lyrics completely so far but like I said, I wasn’t involved in the writing process for Omnivium so I don’t really know. I think Steffen is doing a great job; he has a lot of good ideas and he has a lot of experience in philosophy and in writing complex lyrics so that they fit to the music and I like it a lot.”
Do you see lyrics as having real depth or only as another harmony line? “I think lyrics are important because you can’t sing about the woods and the trees when you play such complex music.” I think Linus is suggesting that flower-power lyrics just wouldn’t fit in with the brutality of Obscura’s music. But having said that, there are some diverse musical styles on the new album. Do you think this will confuse people? “Yeah, it’s definitely complex but I think the thing that’s special about Obscura is you have some very complex parts, some very catchy melody parts and that’s what I really like about the music. Another good thing about complex music is it doesn’t get boring after three times of listening to it. You buy a pop album and you can’t be bothered with it but it’s good when you buy a CD and after half a year you can still find something more in the music.”

I ask how it’s been joining Obscura and his voice fills with warmth: “It was awesome. I really had a warm welcome. I did the European tour with Hate Eternal and Beneath The Massacre with Obscura, and an American tour with Devin Tonwnsend before I joined the band as a band member – these tours were really awesome; they were really nice to me even though I was a ‘second’ member [of Obsucra]. It was a real band atmosphere and perhaps that was one of the reasons they decided to add me as a permanent member. For me it was great; we had great rehearsals. I really like the guys and they gave me a really warm welcome.”

Have you had a chance to hear Hannes Grossman’s contribution to Blotted Science? “Yeah, I like it a lot. Ron [Jarzombek] is coming to a show on this tour so I’m really excited to hear the new album. I don’t have the new album yet but I heard previous stuff that Hannes showed me. Yeah, I like it a lot – it’s also very complex music. Hannes has done a great job and it’s really an interesting album. Very interesting harmonics- wise and especially rhythm-wise. It’s great what Alex [Webster] has done on bass too – it’s most definitely worth a listen to.”

I ask Linus about the almost orchestral/operatic moments on Omnivium –he sounds quite surprised; “You think so? Oh,OK…yeah…maybe…it was important for the band to explore more complex arrangements, perhaps that’s where eclectic music is an influence. Stefan also had to do a lot with the guitarist from my other band Noneuclid, and he’s a classical composer. He has done the Velocity solo on Omnivium, and he’s a big influence on Stefan and the other guys. Perhaps this is why you can hear this classical element?”

So do you enjoy playing different styles of music? “Of course, me personally I started studying bass in Lindsborg in Hamburg, Germany and I played not only metal but a lot of funk music. Personally I have a lot of experience in classical music; I had an education in music school when I was a kid, where I learnt trumpet and piano, and my father is a conductor.”

It sounds like you had quite a ‘classical’ education in music; what  turned you on to metal? “I started to listen to Iron Maiden when I was fifteen but I think it’s important to keep your eyes open for other styles and if you play an instrument it’s boring to always play the same style; if you want to create something new then you have to listen to other stuff because you need to get the influences and you need to know how the ideas get created.”

So what would you do if you didn’t play music? “I have a normal day job too. I’m a media/IT guy; I do websites and e-learning and stuff like that.” Holy crap! You mean you’re not a full time rock-star, jetting about the place? He laughs: “Yeah, I have to do a normal job. We get money when we’re on tour but it isn’t enough for the time when we aren’t touring so everybody has to do a little [work] beneath Obscura.”

Is it difficult to balance the two? “Of course. Everybody’s doing some different stuff; I work about 40 hours a week in an agency in my hometown. It’s certainly a lot to do when you have such a big band.  I have to spend a lot of free time on Obscura, and Christian [Muenzner] for example is giving guitar lessons twice a week and he has other bands like Spawn of Possession and he’s always busy. I am very happy when we’re on tour because I can find relaxing time when I sit on the bus for eight hours every day.”

So after the upcoming US tour, what’s the plan? “The next plan is to do a European headlining tour and maybe some other small tours, perhaps in some other continents where we haven’t been before.  We did an Asian tour one month ago so maybe we could do an Indian tour, or an Australian or South American tour? That would be great. After that we’re gonna start writing the new songs.”

So you haven’t started work on the new album yet? “We have some small ideas but no songs are completed yet.”

You must be looking forward to starting recording so you can put your own stamp on the next album? “I’m very excited to do that. I love complex music and I have a different style so I’m pretty interested to see how that will work out. I will play a six string bass so don’t worry! I’m pretty sure the classical influences will come through but who knows what will come out?”

So it's all looking pretty damned eciting for Linus. As we part company, he tells me that he loves MaF; he’s been a fan for the last six months or so.

Aw! We’re definitely touched by that. Love your work too, Linus.