SYBREED'S THOMAS 'DROP' BETRISEY RETURNS WITH HIS NEW PROJECT!
Above: Obsydians art by Erik Kirchner
Above: Obsydians art by Erik Kirchner
Since Future-Rocker discovered Sybreed, we've been a fan of everything former bandleader Thomas 'Drop' Betrisey puts his hand to. Whether it's his production side-projects, or his crushing Celldweller remixes, or appearing onstage with veteran cyber-black metallers Samael, everything he touches is notable for its mark of quality.
This week finally saw the release of the first song from Thomas's oft-talked about new project, OBSYDIANS. As he mentioned in Future-Rocker last year, where we revealed the three vocalists that will be featured on the project ( click on this link ), the Obsydians sound will be closer in spirit to Sybreed's great masterpiece 'Antares', and is therefore ideal for easing his die-hard fans through this transition period. However, Obsydians must currently defer to the main priority in Thomas' life, namely his job as bassist for veteran Swiss band Samael.
Luckily, Drop made time in his busy schedule to chat with Future-Rocker about how this all fits together, so let's start with Samael...
Future-Rocker: Hegemony was your first album with Samael. A while back you told Future-Rocker that they were a big influence on you as a young metal-head. Describe entering the studio with the band for the first time.
Thomas: Yeah, Samael has been a huge influence for me in my teenage years, and I still think there is no other band out there that sound similar to them. In the case of "Hegemony" the album was already recorded when I joined the band, so I just basically learned the songs for the live shows.
The album reminds me of Samael from the late 90s, only heavier. Do you know if this evolved spontaneously in the studio, and as a fan, what’s your opinion of what came out of the recording sessions?
I know they wanted a more "live" approach of the songs, with a bit of experimenting too. I think almost all the songs on the album are shaped for live shows, we are already playing three new songs, and they work perfectly.
How do they craft the songs? Does Vorph ( Samael's vocalist and leader ) do all the song-writing, or do the other members contribute too?
It's Xy, Vorph's brother who takes care of all the music, Vorph writes the lyrics. As I said before, the album was already recorded when I came in, so I didn't add anything. I do play bass during the live shows with some of my grooves, but I don't think this changes much for the listener, hehe.
Is there a difference between how Samael records an album, and how you would approach the process with your own band?
Actually not that much. Xy is writing all the music so he basically records the demos using DI's that he can reamp afterwards during the mixing process. DI means "direct injection" - you record it in parallel of your amp signal, but it’s only the sound of the instrument coming straight from it. With it you just route this clean signal into the amp, as if the dude was in the studio. It’s easier to work through the internet like this.
I know he records some of the music during the last step before the mix, but I also know that he uses a lot of these demo DI's. Samael has a drum machine so all the fills and stuff don't change much.
For my projects, for example, I record demos with a drum-machine, and after the demo is finished, Kevin ( Obsydians’ drummer ) records it with his own style. So I can't re-use my demos, I need to record again following his new fills and grooves. Nevertheless, I do reamp the DI's of the "lead" guitars, and all the melodies behind, etc, which are often coming from the demos.
It looks like Samael will shortly be busy doing the summer festival circuit.
Yeah, the album was released in October, and got a pretty good response. We are touring for it at the moment, only shows here and there. We also have this project called W.A.R. in which Samael’s members plays the first two albums, and Xy is back on drums for this. It’s very old school, very true, hahaha.
So where will Obsydians fit in?
Obsydians is a studio project that is not making any live appearances for the moment. I want to focus on single songs at first. Everything sounds very promising.
We've just seen the lyric video for Obsydians' debut single False Light Constructs...it's very much like classic Sybreed, but with something new added. Have you completed working with all three vocalists now, or just Jon Howard so far?
All of the three songs are fully recorded, the vocals are done, and I just need to make some more arrangements and mix and send these to ( much sought-after metal producer ) Jens Bogren for the mastering.
So they'll be released as three singles over time, or will there be a completed EP or album when all the tracks are finished?
We’ll release them one after another with a lyric video, as well as on our Bandcamp page. The other streaming platform such as Spotify, Apple, Deezer etc will come shortly after the lyric video. There is absolutely no album, nor EP planned. We are currently working on a 4th song with a cool guest..!
I would think Klayton's label, ( electronic rock label FIXT ), would be a good home for these songs. Or maybe something more traditional, like Nuclear Blast? Have you got a label yet?
We’d like to stay on our own, social media, streaming platform, Bandcamp. We don’t want to be affiliated to a label for now.
Seeing as how good the new Obsydians track is, we can’t wait to hear the others!
Thanks ! Glad you like it :)