Obscura Nova is a Greek EBM/Industrial band which was formed in 2009 by Mike (Viktor- vocals), Markus (guitars), and Makis (Exile- Synths & Programming). in 2012 they released the EP ‘New Darkness’ by FM Records, and in April 2016 they self-released their first full-length album ‘Inverted Soul’.
To what degree is it difficult for three people of different musical backgrounds to cooperate, who additionally – if we’re not wrong- live in two different cities?
Makis: Generally, so far we haven’t really faced considerable difficulties regarding our cooperation. On the contrary, we believe that our different musical backgrounds have affected us positively in the creation of the distinctive sound of Obscura Nova. To be more specific, Mike perhaps won’t pay attention to a detail I might find important— or the other way round. This continuous interaction between us is the driving force of our creativity. The fact that one of us lives permanently in Crete —the other two live in Athens— is perhaps the main problem. This is because we can’t communicate in real time, a fact that makes our cooperation and our possible participation in live shows more difficult. However, the problem with the distance doesn’t have too much of a negative effect on our future plans.
How do you see the Dark/Gothic Industrial/EBM local scene? By extension, how is Obscura Nova accepted so far?
Mike: For sure, the local scene is followed by a respectable number of fans, who prove their loyalty in various events. In no way though is the Greek audience as big as that of other European countries. Considering acceptance, even though it has been a long time since we did a live show people’s acceptance is revealed online. For example, the video from our last album ‘Flesheating Lovers’ (‘Inverted Soul’) had more views than we had expected. Another thing that gives the sense that our efforts are worthwhile is that we have been included in the book of Nikos Drivas ‘Return of the Bats…’.
Are you aware of any resonance abroad, and if so, are there any plans of participation in live shows?
Markus: Taking a look at the statistics from various internet sources (Bandcamp, Youtube, etc.) as well as from our official website, we have noticed that there are a lot of visitors from abroad, such as from Japan and the USA. Of course it is not that easy to be a part of a big live event somewhere abroad. But we sure aim to achieve that and we hope to in the future.
From the formation of the band (2009) to the ‘New Darkness’ EP (2013), and until the full-length ‘Inverted Soul’ (2016), two long time periods came in between. What were the difficulties you came across, and what kind of positive or negative experiences have you gained?
Makis: It is true that there was a time when Obscura Nova needed to slow down. This occurred due to external facts and obligations each one of us had. Take notice that this project happened in order to musically express our creativity, while the three of us had to face the problems of our daily life. Even so, after seven years we have managed to be active during what is a difficult time for everyone.
Those who have seen you live have witnessed the energy and dynamic of your music. Do you believe that this energy breaks out with your new album?
Markus: In our work together, be it a live show or a recording, the energy is always high because we really love what we do. The new album is not an exception. I hope that all this energy and love for our music is successfully communicated to the people who listen to us.
Judging from the ‘New Darkness’ EP which is more gothic/industrial, in the new album the electro/techno elements, as well as a retro atmosphere from cult sci-fi movies, are dominant. The vocals are also clearer. Is this part of experimentation or does ‘Inverted Soul’ shape your musical identity?
Mike: We believe that with the new album we present a much more dynamic character in contrast to previous works. I believe that we have managed to give it a strict dance style. We are sure that the new LP mirrors the future of Obscura Nova, inspired by the musical influences we’ve had in the last years. Besides, from the beginning of making the album there was a great need for experimentation – as you have noticed- and this was the important element of our new work, which has led us automatically to this result, not only regarding the vocals, but the album as a whole as well.
How do you operate as a band? Collectively or do you join individual inspiration and work?
Makis: First we create some track-frames, which are filtered by each one of us and in the end we choose the best idea on which we work separately. When this procedure is done, we start the guitar and vocals recording, and then we make the final additions, corrections and completion of production.
Now that the new album has been released, and listening to it once more, is there something you would change, add or delete?
Mike: Every time I listen to our tracks there is always something I would like to be different, but this is usually such a small detail that I have already forgotten it by the next track. So, generally, I wouldn’t change anything. I am sure that Makis will agree that we would like to add one or two more tracks, since we had ideas, but time was short due to the release.
There are two cover-songs in the new album: one from Sisters of Mercy (‘Alice’) and one from Headleaders (‘I’m Living Like A Fool’). Sticking with the second one, how an ‘80s punk song can be covered in an EBM way? Is there a story behind it?
Mike: Actually EBM is an evolution of the ‘70s/ ‘80s post-punk scene. If you notice, most post-punk songs have a certain arrangement which resembles a lot the arrangement of the current EBM songs, the only difference being the electro instrumentation. Having this in mind, we decided to do these covers. In particular, for the Headleaders’ cover, a long time ago someone suggested to participate in a collection of covers of Greek post-punk bands. Having some ideas which we liked more, we decided to choose ‘I’m Living Like A Fool’ because of the English lyrics.
You live in a country facing a lot of difficulties connected with a, generally speaking, global situation. Are you influenced as artists, and, if so, does this reflect on your work?
Makis: The problems are many and visible to everyone, speaking mainly about Europe of which we are part. We experience them daily. However, this doesn’t affect our creativity. In the end, Obscura Nova was created in order to help us escape the daily routine and its problems.
Could you in a way predict the dynamic of the music genre you represent, and how do you see your sound evolve?
Makis: I can’t distinguish a specific sound evolution in the genre, since all the musicians are influenced by many kinds of music and the internet is an endless ‘bookstore’ of inspiration. There is certainly a turn to the old-school sound with better production, modern equipment and, as I said before, new inspiration. Regarding the evolution of our sound, although no one can have a clear image, we are probably walking towards a more strict and minimal style.
Are you currently working, or did you in the past, on other projects?
Makis: Yes, I participate in two more projects, one of which is quite mainstream. Mike, on the other hand, is experimenting on his own project which has to do with the minimal synth sound, and is also part of a group which deals with the extreme sound. Markus doesn’t have any other projects, but he is in charge of the social media of Obscura Nova.
What are your plans regarding live shows, following releases, etc.?
Markus: We aim to give two live shows in Athens in this winter, and maybe one in Crete. After that we will see what comes up. Although ‘Inverted Soul’ is just released, there will be a new single early this winter for sure.
Would you like to make for us a verbal mixtape, noting songs which might have influenced ‘Inverted Soul’?
Markus: We didn’t have clear and specific influences. For the new album we didn’t add anything from favorite bands. Our sound derives from personal experimentation. Besides, each one of us has a different taste in music, so a mixtape would be quite miscellaneous due to the variety in the kind of the songs.
 A collective work about the Greek dark alternative music scene.
Photo credits: 3fklik
Makis Gevros – Mary Kalaitzidou