The origins of DROWNED date back deep into the 90s, particularly in 1992 when the band was formed by Tlmnn (guitar), Kolja (drums), Bernd (guitar) and Hirosh (vocals). It all happened in Berlin and their first recording was demo in 1993. Even Mors Dalos Ra from Necros Christos joined DROWNED as a session vocalist on "Viscera Terrae" in 2005. Till now the only original member is only Tlmnn which keeps the original spirit of DROWNED. He has taken next two members G.ST and T.E., both also members of Essenz band. After many demos, forming the pillars of the entire discography, they finally have released new "Idola Specus" full-length which stunned me by incredible strength, so I tried to contact the band and fortunately it worked out great. Questions were answered by guitarist Tlmnn.
Hell-o, you're already quite old band, 22 years ... were there periods when the band did not work or you're still fully active? You have respectable amount of demos...are you lovers of this media format?
Cassettes are tied to the tapetrading scene of the 80s and 90s, so there is a certain feeling of nostalgia attached to them, but I don't really care about formats. They all contain music, don't they. Yet vinyl is still a category of its own, if executed properly. We did demos in order to be heard, not because we're tape fanatics.
Drowned had a few periods of inactivity during the band's history, but is in full swing since about 2012.
Do you still remember the period around 1992 when you formed Drowned? What intention you put a band together with and changed something in that way to this day? Which period of your lineup do you consider as best?
When Drowned formed in 1992, we were just a bunch of teenagers trying to create dark Death Metal. We were inspired by the rising Death Metal scene back then, and we still are.
Things are going very well now, I'd say that the current line-up is definitely the most effective one. The members are not scattered between different cities, as it used to be during the time around "Viscera Terrae". Writing, rehearsing and playing live is much more easy now.
Do you perceive some development of Drowned till your last recording? Do you think you have somehow moved on, learned to play better as musicians? Do you think you have also developed yourselves in the composition? Do you find any development important to you?
Development is important in everything. If we wouldn't have the feeling that we are moving on, we could call the band quits. There is no use in copying yourself or merely repeat things that you've already done.
Which Drowned´s recording do you consider as best and why?
I don't rank our recordings. As a band you're always excited about your latest release. "Idola Specus" contains songs that span a period of six years. It took a long time to manifest, and a lot of creative and personal effort.
Was the debut something you wanted for a long time, or simply you have only gained more stuff than ever? Do you think now you will record albums more often?
It's always been the purpose of the band to record a full-length album, Drowned just never had a fully working line-up for most of the time. Luckily this has changed. For the first time we are able to continuously write songs, rehearse and play live. I suppose we'll return to the studio in less than 20 years, heh.
I would say your most powerful weapon is strong atmosphere, feelings of darkness, madness, horror, death ... Is the atmosphere most important to you? Was the induction achievement of the atmosphere of the old tomb and curses essential for you from the beginning?
Death Metal is essentially an atmosphere.
Your band is also often associated with Necros Christos, what do you think of it? Do you think you have enough musical relatives due to some conjoint members? What do you think about this band? Where can you see the main difference between Necros Christos and Drowned?
Even though we've shared members for a certain period of time, Drowned and Necros Christos are two different bands. I have played bass in Necros Christos for about 7 years, but didn't write any songs. Mors Dalso Ra in turn contributed session vocals on "Viscera Terrae" and later also joined Drowned live on vocals & bass, but he didn't write music for Drowned either. Both bands have a strong focus on atmosphere and common influences, but that's about where similarities end. I don't think that both bands could be confused.
What responses have you got to 'Idola Specus'? Were there also some critical words and if so, what specifically? For me personally it is one of the most valuable and best recordings of this year...
Well, thank you very much! Reactions have mostly been very positive. Some people however can't stop rating it against "Viscera Terrae" which is understandable, but ultimately a bit pointless, because it's a different beast.
Could you a little introduce lyrical side of new Drowned CD? What subjects are you most often engaged in and where do you draw inspiration? Are you supporters of occult teachings and the kingdom of death? How much do you take your lyrics seriously? What do you think about bands who write lyrics like Metal cliché to music, like something inferior?
It depends on who is doing what and how. We just do what we have to do, and of course we are taking it seriously. As for the lyrical content of the album, I don't think that me talking about it will do anything for anybody. We wrote these lyrics to be consumed by the listener, along with the music, not to dissect them in interviews.
What are the weekdays of Drowned members? Are you radical metalheads who still wears only black things, leather jackets and boots or even walking in civil clothes? Do you meet as a group outside rehearsal room on some actions full of alcohol, metal and the like?
Well, we're not teenagers anymore. There is life outside metal.
What does metal music mean to you? Try to mention bands you was growing up on and your all time faves, also the bands which impressed you in these days. Are you ever watching the current Metal scene? Would you say in the 80s and 90s that many of the 'metal' bands become totally mainstream issue?
Bands that impressed me back then and that continue to inspire me to this day are Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Celtic Frost, Voivod, Carnage, Grotesque, Mercyful Fate, early At the Gates, Nihilist/Entombed, Darkthrone, Unholy, Cirith Ungol, Slayer, early Mekong Delta, Coroner, Bathory, 1st Samael, Master's Hammer ...
Besides that, I'm also influenced by a lot of non-metal music, even if those influences may not be very obvious. A band like Popul Vuh gives me the same amount of inspiration as Black Sabbath.
As for mainstream in metal: Metal has always been a musical style that feeds on a vivid underground scene and musical passion. Which doesn't mean that all metal is good, or that bands don't become meaningless during the course of their career. Of course there are also many "underground" bands which are totally generic, meaningless crap, but there are many excellent bands as well; you just have to dig them up.
Personally, I like the fact you do not use too much fast rhythms to achieve extremity, rather you prefer medium and slow sepulchral ones. I think this is a good way to achieve something atmospheric, ritual and scary in music. On the first listen your music may seem chamber, but after a closer examination there emerges a real depth and complexity, art... How would you define your style?
To me it's important that the music has a certain flow and variability. I don't aim at certain tempos when I write a song; one riff leads to the next one, whatever sounds good. Most of the material on "Idola Specus" is a bit slower than the bulk on "Viscera Terrae", but it was just the way the music was heading.
Your new album is fairly fresh, maybe it is too early for this question, but how does it look with some new material? What are you currently working on the most?
There are lots of ideas. We'll start working on new songs pretty soon.
Ok, that would be all from me, if I forgot something essential, you have the space. Fans will certainly be interested in some information about your merchandise and the like. Thank you for this interview and wish Drowned deep inspiration in the future, thanks again.
As for merch, please refer to our label Sepulchral Voice Records; everything's available from their online store: http://www.sepulchralvoice.de/
Tlmnn 17.11.2014 Mortuary