Julian Larre (vocals), Oliver Nikolas Schmid (guitars), Ilker Ersin (bass) and Dominik Scholz (drums) from Lacrimas Profundere
LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE are a German band founded in 1993 focussing on Death Doom Metal, then developed to Gothic Metal and then changed more to the direction of Gothic-Rock also known as “Rock’n’Sad”. The line-up changed several times over the years and in 2018 vocalist Julian Larre joined the band. Their last album ‘Bleeding The Stars’ was his first album with LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE and his enormous range of vocals opened new horizons for the band. The band is currently promoting their new album ‘How To Shroud Yourself With Night’ that will be released on August 26thand afterwards LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE will tour in September.
Reflections of Darkness met LACRIMAS PROFUNDERERE at M’era Luna Festival in Hildesheim, where the band jumped in for MEGAHERZ who unfortunately had to cancel their show. On a sunny Saturday evening we set down to talk about the band’s upcoming album ‘How To Shroud Yourself With Night’ and how the ride had been since the release of their previous album ‘Bleeding the Stars’
Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Thank you for finding time for an interview. I guess, you are quite busy at the moment promoting your new album ‘How To Shroud Yourself With Night’?
Julian: Quite a lot. It’s really cray, because it’s not only making the music and the videos, it’s a whole promotion campaign that we need to push. I like being in contact as much as I can and we all like to be in touch with the people. There are lots of things we need to manage on our own, but it’s all exciting at the same time.
RoD: Your tour will start in Cologne on September 1st. How are you preparing for a tour that will take several weeks, with shows almost every night?
[Band is laughing and smiling.]
Oliver: We rented our favourite club Backstage in Munich for a day where we will rehearse the whole show.
Ilker: Yes, a real pre-production for the tour.
Julian: Yeah, it’s something people need to consider. I live in Helsinki, I mean everybody in the band has their own life and everybody lives pretty far from each other, it’s extremely hard for us to actually get together. That’s one of the reasons why we are able to enjoy ourselves so much while we are together on stage, because we don’t get to see each other that much. Okay, maybe this year a bit more, because we are touring quite a lot. I think everybody is a professional, everybody needs to know, what to do and so we don’t need to battle with that, when we meet. We get together, whenever we find the time. This time, we meet at BACKSTAGE and we’re gonna be there the whole day, setting up things, trying to get hold of our gear etc. We really wanna do something important for this tour. We will see, where the preparation goes in there, but we are incredibly excited.
Ilker: We are clearing all the music stuff before we meet, because he’s from Helsinki and for everybody else, there also some distances to be considered. The main point is, that we are always prepared and the day at the BACKSTAGE is only for the real pre-production. Somebody will be there, building up the stage, the sound-tech will be there and we will set up the lights. These are the most important things, everything else must have been done before.
Julian: When we meet we look into each other’s face like “Did you do your homework?”
[Everyone in the room laughs.]
Julian: And then it’s like “Fine!” and we can start with the lights.
Oliver: Our techs also work at Backstage in Munich, so the club is the first thing that comes to our mind, if we need pre-production.
RoD: What’s your favourite track on the new album?
Oliver: I wrote around 25 songs and demoed them more or less. Then I sent them to everybody and got a statement, afterwards we had like 15 songs for the studio. The five songs that are not released on ‘How To Shroud Yourself With Night’ are really cool, too. There’s a ballade among them and usually you need a ballade on every album, but I wanted to ‘How To Shroud Yourself With Night’ to be different from other releases. I didn’t want the standard approach; I already had written ‘Bleeding The Stars Part II’ more or less. The songs were ok, they didn’t touch me emotionally. Then I asked myself “And what am I going to do now?”, so I deep-sixed everything that sounded like ‘Bleeding The Stars’ and told myself “Hey! I take the other songs”. As a band we wanted to sound “harder” and in a way also more “evil”. No, “Harder” is wrong, more “evil” is the essence of it. Then Dominic, our drummer said “No! Everybody says that the ballade sounds so amazing.” and my reply was like “What do we want? The ballade is not cancelled, next year LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE will turn 30 years old and we will make this special EP.” We all like the remaining five songs, but not on this evil sounding album called ‘How To Shroud Yourself With Night’. We had 12 songs on the list for the album and we had to kick out those, that didn’t fit the albums mood.
Julian: This album you really have to see as a complete piece of art, so everything on it, needs to make kind of sense. One of the most important thing for let’s say LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE’s “New Generation” that has been pushing the band quite up is the load of variety. If you are listening through ‘Bleeding The Stars’ it’s pure variety, coming to the vocals, musically and the whole soundscape as such. ‘How To Shroud Yourself With Night’ offers even more variety, for example vocally I’m doing things I’ve never done in my life. It was really exciting to say “I’m gonna challenges myself! I’m not gonna do, what I already did!” and that makes so much sense for someone artistically. Many people were a bit worried about the album like “Is there something like Gothic on it?” and I was like “There are some tracks on the album, but we also have some that are more Doom”. Especially for me, the main door that we are opening with ‘How To Shroud Yourself With Night’ is that it allows us to play harder festivals and also Metal festivals and performing at places like Wacken Open Air. LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE has this massive back-catalogue but the massive setlist we had so far, did not allow us to aim for Metal Festivals. Now we know, which songs to put on the setlist to bring this sort of energy with them. Actually we now have more “musical weapons” to connect with people.
RoD: New audiences?
Lacrimas Profundere: Yes!
Oliver: But let’s get back to the question you asked. The whole album comes with my favourite songs, I could have lived with 8 songs, if it wasn’t for playtime and stuff. I really wanted to have only “favourite songs” on it. But I think ‘Curtain Of White Silence’ is the special one, because when we were working on it in the studio it sounded totally different from what it’s now.
Julian: Yeah! [laughs]
Oliver: But if you work on the vocals together for two weeks and you live together and cook together, then things start rolling and songs develop towards what they are supposed to be.
Julian: In my case it’s ‘Curtain Of White Silence’ definitely! Ilker what’s yours?
Ilker: Ah, I still have to working title on my mind, which was ‘Broken’.
Oliver: You mean ‘To Disappear In You’.
Ilker: Yes. You know, we always have working titles for the songs, to make sure that everybody is working on the same song. It’s always hard, if the lyrics are not finished because the main idea is already there but it’s not finished, yet. We could also call them No. 1, No. 2 etc. but for us the working title system proved to be the best.
Julian: It really works.
RoD: What kind of music were you listening to and influenced by, when you worked on the album?
Oliver: I came to our current soundscape by listening to PARADISE LOST, I thought of the times when we were touring together or met at festivals, reconnected etc. The idea to write a homage to this and this song became one of the first ones after I knew, that I didn’t want the ‘Bleeding The Stars Part II’ thing. The first riff I wrote for this song got me to the point of “That’s how it’s supposed to sound like!” and the song writing process was rolling.
Julian: There’s a lot of evolution on the album that is one of the most interesting things on this album. Everybody in the band has different musical tastes and backgrounds and the most interesting thing is the combination of all that. For example, Oliver came up with PARADISE LOST and I haven’t listened to them much, so I listened to the demo with my own perspective and felt like “Hey, that’s the evolution!” All of our different backgrounds and experiences combined, created the unique new sound for ‘How To Shroud Yourself With Night’.
Ilker: It made it a lot more interesting to write together because everybody brought it their own styles. If you have no given direction, it is totally different. If everybody was in Power Metal for example, we could already kind of foresee what is lying ahead.
Julian: Yeah, we were not in the same box and that’s why we don’t exactly the same and that makes it so interesting.
RoD: The albums lyrics deal with the desire to be invisible, to disappear and not have to deal with oneself and the outside world any more. Had the pandemic an influence on the lyrics or on the production of the album?
Oliver [exhales]: In summer 2020 we had already started a first try. Dominic was working on the drum sin one room of the studio and I was recording guitars in the second room. Afterwards we wanted to fly in Julian to work on the vocals, but there was no chance for him to come here. So, we were forced to take a break for approximately 8 months. Looking back, it was a good thing, because normally you are always under pressure, with release dates, interviews and a scheduled tour. This time, there was just nothing lying ahead. We could decide what we wanted to work on or postpone things and so we got the unique chance to arrange everything that had been recorded so far completely new und to sharpen the focus on the vocals and do something new if we liked to. Julian always says, that the album would have turned out completely differently without the pandemic. If the regular pressure would have been there, we would have been forced to work with a strict timetable, everything would have been scheduled to meet the release date late in 2020.
Julian: Yeah. You know, why this such a dark record? Because it actually feels like that this nee record kind of killed the one, we already had. When we worked on that one in the studio and talked, we were like “It’s not done…” Then we had this massive evolution that had to happen to get to this one point. I think, the pandemic and everything that is going on, not just the pandemic had an influence, not a direct one, it was more like on a subconscious level and as Oliver mentioned, and we had way more time to work on our album. It put the pressure away and we were like “Let’s keep on working until the album is the way that it’s supposed to feel like, for us.” and that’s how it turned out. We are very happy with the record.
RoD: You already answered my question, which was “What was written first, the lyrics or the music?”, so I think we can jump to the next question.
Oliver: I once tried to melodize lyrics and that was no fun. I think it’s an interesting approach, but not my cup of tea.
Ilker: Not everybody can be THE DOORS.
RoD: Now let’s talk about the songs and the work on it a bit in detail. How about ‘Wall Of Gloom’?
Oliver: Well, your shirt says everything (the interviewer is wearing a PARADISE LOST shirt). The main riff for the lead vocals sounds like PARADISE LOST, that’s how it started.
Julian: When it comes to the soundscape and the lyrics, the title says it by its own. Talking about the lyrics; when you are so lost and so desperate and feel like kind of being at your lowest point and at the same point it’s your only free door to actually realize, that actually something else is going on that there is something else that you might find, yeah this is it.
RoD: ‘A Cloak Woven Of Stars’ sounds a bit less gloomy.
Oliver: It can’t be helped, but I have to talk about PARADISE LOST once more. I head a story, but I don’t know if it’s true, but people say that ‘As I Die’ was planned to be a B-side and the record label intervened and said something like “This is the first single!” and the band was like “Well, if you say so…” and something similar happened to us with this song. It was a demo and thought it to be an ok song and back in summer 2020 when I was in the studio with Dominic, I was slower than him coming to the recording, I usually am. Then we were talking a bit and he said “I’m going to record drums for one more song now. Which one do we have left?” and I was like “Oh, this one sounded pretty cool.” And Dominic recorded it. It really feels special, if a song that you don’t have as a top song on your list develops so much and with everybody working on it and adding music and layers of sound the song grew larger and larger. If somebody had told me that day at the studio, that this song is going the first single from our new album, I would not have believed it. Aber that’s what happened, so this is kind of our ‘As I Die’.
RoD: ‘Nebula’ sounds a bit more familiar.
Oliver: For me the song is a real highlight. When I wrote it, I was in the same mood I was in, when I wrote ‘Mother Of Doom’ back in time. But the song turned out completely differently, when the vocals came into the game.
[Julian bursts into laughter.]
Oliver: Musically it still resembles ‘Mother Of Doom’ and now I’m contradicting myself coming to my statement that I didn’t want to write ‘Bleeding The Starts Part II’ but the vocals put the song on different level.
Julian: This one is pretty interesting, it developed so much. He gave me the demo and I was listening to it and I was like ‘Mother of Doom’ is already there, so let’s do something different with it. It still has the soul and the flavour of ‘Mother Of Doom’, but the soundscape is really big in this song.
Oliver: It would be really impudent, not to give credit to Benny Richter, who also produces CALIBAN; EMIL BULLS and more, he’s always doing the keyboards for us. Julian recorded the vocals only on the keyboards, because he felt so comfy with them [Julian nods and smiles] and we said “Well, if you feel best with only the keyboards, then let’s go ahead.” Then we listened to it, everything was turned off, except the keyboards and the vocals and it was incredible. There is happening so much, especially in this song. What Benny arranges, especially with the strings is out of this world.
RoD: That already answered my next question: “Which instrument the vocals have been orchestrated to?”
Julian [laughs]: We’re ahead of the curve!
RoD: Yes! So, what about ‘In A Lengthening Shadow’?
Oliver: A song a find really cool, a typical Goth Rock song. When I was interviewed by Rock Hard Magazine, somebody said something like “Ville Valo would have been proud of this song.” And I thought, I did everything right.
RoD: When I heard the intro, it reminded me of some old HIM stuff, I think it was a demo.
Oliver: I don’t have any HIM demos! (Everybody in the room is laughing) I’m more into THE CURE or THE SISTERS OF MERCY.
RoD: ‘The Curtain Of White Silence’ first let me think about winter, but the soundscape is nothing winter-like.
Oliver: That was a long and hard slog, but we made it. There are still so many parts, that are not on the track anymore, we had to sacrifice them, because the song kind of “communicated” with us and said “Hey!”, that was really magical somehow.
Julian: I remember, when we were in the studio, we were actually in a little room, working on the song and he was like “I did some riffs…” and I was like “I did some lyrics…”, then we started, changed this and that. It was one of the funniest writing nights we had in the studio and when we finally found the chorus for the song we were like “Hell, man this is it!”
Oliver: We were both playing acoustic guitars and I really, really hope, Julian still has the video, when we played the sequence again and again and again.
Oliver: Yeah! It was just magic!
Julian: Absolutely! We connected with that song so much!
RoD: ‘Unseen’ has an unexpected groove…
Julian: “The GROOVE MONSTER!”
Oliver: I’m so looking forward to performing this song live on stage with the band. We never played it live together so far, but we will at our day at BACKSTAGE. A few days ago, I played it on my E-guitar but without an amp and I was really flashed. It sounds like PANTERA going Goth.
Julian [laughs]: Yes, it does!
RoD: That kind of circling lead riff on ‘The Vastness Of Infinity’ is quite a catchy one.
Oliver: I already mentioned the things you have to consider about the playing time of an album and there are also Spotify and Co. who’d love to get only EP’s or even better only singles instead of complete albums, but this song had to be on the album. This song is so important because Julian had so many ideas for it. For me the song was okay and I was making up my mind, if it should be on the album or not. Then Julian came with the keyboards and after mixing them in, the song was almost a completely new one in my books.
Julian: That was really insane!
Oliver: Yes! When I listened to it, I knew, that it has to be on the album. I wanted an intro for it and one of Julian’s friends who is very good with keyboards made it for us.
Julian: Yeah, I didn’t play the keyboards, but I brought them into play, but I didn’t play them myself.
RoD: What can you tell me about Ilker’s favourite song ‘To Disappear In You’?
Oliver: Ilker always says, that it’s the catchiest song on the whole album and that for him it would have been our first single. My brother Christopher, who is still on board, also insisted that this song must be released as a single. Me and Julian were more like “Well, if you insist…” But Julian is not only and incredible singer, he is a real artist and I have to tell you about our videos and his special part in the video for this song. We shot four videos in one day and the fourth video is the fourth video, everybody is just tired, so is the cameraman and Julian worked really extremely hard for the videos. A bit later he came up with the idea, that he wanted something with water in the video for ‘To Disappear In You’ and I told him, that I think that it’s a cool idea and that he should go ahead. He only told me today, that he didn’t know how to put his idea into practice. He bought a pool!
Julian: Yes Sir!
Oliver: He wanted to set it up on the balcony, but it was already occupied by the furniture and some stuff. The only free space was the kitchen!
[Julian bursts into laughter.]
Oliver: So, he and a friend set up the pool in the kitchen, filled it with water and filmed the underwater scenes. You will see how much effort it was, if you see the whole video.
Julian: We were surrounded by power outlets for electricity and stuff, so it was that close that we would “disappear” [laughs], but it really looks great.
Ilker: It really does!
RoD: ‘An Invisible Beginning’ is a very versatile Rock song.
Julian: I really like this one. It has a bit more of that Finnish Influence, you might know. At the same time it’s very catchy and very dancy. For me, it’s a song that I really wanna have a great time with. For me it’s the perfect Goth Rock song.
Oliver: Usually I’m the most critical person in the band, but in the studio, nobody beats Julian. He’s so critical. When the first week in the studio was over and it was closed for the weekend, we stayed there and said: “Okay, let’s listen to what we recorded so far.” But Julian was like “Ugh, I don’t want to listen to it…” but finally we listened to this song and while he was listening you could see, how his spirits lifted. The song had captivated him.
RoD: The album’s title track is the closing track. Quite unusual, isn’t it?
Oliver: We were talking about THE DOORS earlier and somehow the chorus reminded me of them and I really liked it. But something was missing, the song did not open enough and so I asked Julian to record some vocal elements of his choice. He did some screams and growls and we mixed it into the song, but only very subtly. Then it sounded perfect. Well, my brother is still accusing me of having destroyed the DOORS part.
RoD: But now it sounds like LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE 2022, by adding the vocal effects, it sounds more like Doom.
RoD: But you also gave up old concepts and writing patterns?
Oliver: If you want to hear ‘Wild Child’, then put ‘Wild Child’ in the player, but don’t expect the band to write the song another 20 times and I really love ‘Wild Child’! But you have to say “I don’t care” if you want to self-actualize. Anyway, I think you can hardly reach the goal of writing according to the market needs. You can try, but it’s not my cup of tea.
Ilker: Plus, you will be always on delay. If you monitor the market now, it will take eight months until you release your record.
Oliver: Maybe we are in the sleeping car at the end of the rolling train, maybe we will be in the driver’s cab, usually we are somewhere close to the restaurant car. But if you are writing the songs for an album, you shouldn’t think about which market you want to hit and whom you want to reach, you have to do it for yourself. That’s what we did.
Oliver: It’s like Julian said “Now, it’s finished and now we are going to release it.” and then it’s up to the people to say “I like it” or “It doesn’t meet my expectations”.
RoD: Yeah, this album really needs to be discovered and requires several spins.
Oliver: Indeed! You can hear it over and over again and you will always find a new aspect or discover a new detail and that makes it interesting as a kind of long-term investment, it doesn’t get boring. You can accuse us of many things, but not of having not made enough effort for this record.
Julian: People might like the album or not. The work is there and I believe that challenges are very important. Challenging yourself as an artist; and there’s nothing wrong with challenging the audience as well. And with this society, with the internet, people anyway say, what they like or not. But that doesn’t mean, that you have to take every critic seriously. I think, we challenged ourselves, for example I did vocally things, I’ve never done before, and we have the really high notes, the screams and many more. I really love ‘How To Shroud Yourself With Night’ for the challenges and the variety and I think that variety in LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE is now one of the main assets.
Julian: We have nothing to prov. ‘Bleeding The Stars’ is there. So far, everybody really to enjoy ‘How To Shroud Yourself With Night’. We did, what we needed to do.
Oliver: That’s the great thing about the new album. Usually, you do an interview and they say something like “Song sounds like PARADISE LOST” or “Song sounds like HIM”, “Song is Modern Metal prone”. But this time, there is a bit of the abovementioned things, but then we elements like the DOORS element, the vocal effects, the strings and so many more.
RoD: You really have so many elements and layers of sound that might appeal to many fans of various genres.
Oliver: We are really incredible proud of this album as a band.
Julian: It feels like “The Dark Avengers”. You’re listening to tons of your favourite music styles from various artists and there is a lot of substance in there. We are incredibly proud of this record honestly. We felt like we needed to make it. And: We made it!
Oliver: We didn’t have the goal of selling 100,000 copies, we did it for us.
Julian: And our single ‘A Cloak Woven Of Stars’ has been in the top 20 of charts amongst the really big bands.
RoD: Thank you for your time! Have a safe trip home and see you in Munich.
Picture: SPV Promo pool, live pictures from M’era Luna by Daniela Vorndran