Beneath Oblivion - From Man To Dust 2011 + interview

One of the heaviest bands featured on this page - Beneath Oblivion, a doom metal band from Cincinnati, Ohio. ARCHIV HATE had the opportunity to interview Mr. Scott T. Simpson, the singer and rhythm guitar in Beneath Oblivion.

Q. Please introduce to yourself and tell us what you do in a band, and where you are from. 
My name Is Scotty T. Simpson and I am the screamer-singer and rhythm guitar in Beneath Oblivion, out of Cincinnati, Ohio USA.

Q. Story about the band name?
The name came from some lovelorn poem I wrote a long time ago. One of the lines read ‘to go beneath oblivion,’ and I’d been working on the band’s first demo around that same time. The name seemed to fit the music, sum up everything without saying too much, and be something that wasn’t going to pigeonhole a band that wants to evolve just a little bit as time goes on. I think it’s pretty safe to say that a lot of bands out there don’t put much thought into their names, almost as though they did it at the last minute. Then again, I don’t see a lot of people out there putting much thought into anything at all.

Q. Beneath Oblivion is what you do for the living?
To say we are doing BO for a living would be to say that we are making money from it, and that’s pretty far from the truth. Speaking just for me though, it takes priority over jobs, relationships, friendships, money, rent, sanity, etc., so I guess that kind of makes it like a living. I think of it more like having a child though. The reality is that we all have dayjobs and pour much of our life-savings into our gear and our touring vehicle, while trying to stay afloat with rent and bills in this failing economy we have over here.

Q. I know that Beneath Oblivion is your coping mechanism for depression, has it always been this way? What makes people to suffer from depression? Well, yes. It’s far too intense to not be emotionally invested while playing this kind of music. Perhaps even to listen to it, but I have a hard time listening objectively so I wouldn’t know. There are many other much less healthy outlets I could use to cope and I suppose that playing doom metal is better than taking Prozac or seeing a therapist. When I was younger it seemed to be more anger and depression, now that I’m older I think it’s about bitterness and resentment. I’m doing better now [laughs]. I don’t want everyone to think I’m someone who enjoys being depressed, nobody actually likes that and if they do it’s somewhat of a sad statement of their character; but it is the most inspiring emotion if you ask me, because that is where all of the sincerity is in art. Depression is a familiar entity to me and fortunately in time I learned that making the darkest and most emotionally devastating sounds could lead to the greatest catharsis of which I know.

Q. Beneath Oblivion have released 6 records. Can you share experience with your self-released records?
The self-released ones are the Melancholy Demo (2004) and Existence Without Purpose (2006). We also had a drone recording we did in 2005 called Hell’s Half Acre, but it’s nothing special other than it being something that never saw the light of day except for 20 or 30 CDR copies with a label printed on them, whereas the other two releases had some really cool DIY packaging to them that we glued together ourselves.

The Melancholy Demo was recorded in my basement with a friend of mine on drums and myself playing the rest of the instruments. It was tracked and mixed in 1 day, and burnt to a hundred CDRs with my contact information written on them, and then a day later I left to attend school for a semester in England, and ended up backpacking about 9 countries in continental Europe. Doom metal and melancholy rock were so much bigger in Europe at the time than in the states so it was no problem finding people to trade demos with in the record shops I went to. By the time I got home I had a few more songs half written and had people to jam with.

Existence Without Purpose was the first and only time Beneath Oblivion had ever recorded in a real recording studio. This place was super nice and slick, and should have been way out off our price range but the engineer/owner gave us quite a deal because he’d heard doom before, but said he’d never heard anything like what I was describing and didn’t want us to go to some other studio. It was a bonus that other bands we admired, including thrashcore legends, Hellnation, recorded there. It was then mixed and mastered by Doug White in New York, and released upon the world with the heaviest sound I’d ever heard. It was even a little too good sounding for what I was used to listening to at the time. This was also about the time when Nate Bidwell joined the band on drums, and we started touring a little bit regionally.

Q. 2 of them are splits (with Sin of Angels & Angel Eyes). What were the reason for these splits and why did you chose these artists? The Sin of Angels split 10” record came to us from our friend Reuben Little, who was the bassist in the now defunct band Ocean. We were on tour and stayed at his place in Portland, Maine, when he told us he wanted to put out a split between us and a Providence, RI band he was into, Sin of Angels. I heard that one of the guys was in the band Warhorse, so he didn’t get any argument from me. For those songs, Jay, Nate, and myself recorded in our practice space where we rented a room in a decrepit old mansion that had a caving in ceiling. At the end of practices we would have to wipe all of the asbestos and dry wall that had crumbled and fallen onto our amps while we were playing.

The Angel Eyes split was something we did as a precursor to the ‘FMtD’ record with a different mix and different master than the Billy Anderson version on the album. ‘Be My Destroyer,’ is easily my favorite, and one of the deepest songs we have, so it was an easy song choice. We’d been label mates with AE for a year or two on the Mylene Sheath, and always admired each other, so it’s something I’m glad was able to come together because they broke up shortly thereafter. We just played with their new band Ironborn, when we were in Chicago a couple months ago.

Q. Latest “From Man to Dust” is mastered by Billy Anderson (Acid King, Black Cobra, High on Fire, Lions of Tsavo, Melvins, Neurosis, OM, Sleep, Weedeater). Indeed. Billy Anderson did a great job mastering the album. Maybe next time we will have him play an even bigger role and mix, or perhaps even engineer the next record. He said he’d love to, but that’s at least a year from now and I can’t see that far down the line.

Q. What is the atmosphere of Beneath Oblivion gigs?
A lot of very stoned people.

Q. What about new material? Can you share more details?
There’s a lot of new material in the works, but I’d say there won’t be a new full-length record for about a year or so. Until then we will have a cassette release limited to 50 copies and a couple of split 7” or 10” records sometime in 2013. As far as the sound, I don’t want to tell you much because the sound is still very much evolving.

Q. Which bands are on your daily playlist?
Katatonia, Tiamat, the Gathering, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Skepticism, Nick Cave, Pallbearer, Yob, Agalloch, Magnolia Electric Co., Junius, Swans, Buzzov-en, Grief, Rwake, Sleep, Monarch, State Song, Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Silver Mt Zion, Dead Can Dance, Alice Cooper, Waylon Jennings, the Beatles.

Q. Anything more you would like to say to people?
Thank you very much for the interview and for the support Arturs! Thank you very much for the stickers you sent, as I hope the package you received from me is treating you well. Keith and I have been putting your stickers all over our gear. A big thanks to everyone else for checking out this doom metal band from ‘Middle America.’ Send me some Latvian bands to check out.

beneath oblivion & archiv hate
BENEATH OBLIVION interview at ARCHIV HATE interview magazine.

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