This week we’re featuring the Canadian death metal trio Obvurt in Meet The Band. Their debut EP is The Beginning. It features guest guitarist Michael Angelo Batio. Vocalist/guitarist Philippe Drouin introduces us to his band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Obvurt.
Philippe Drouin: I first wrote guitars and vocals when recovering from a shoulder surgery back in 2018-2019. When songs were ready to record, I found that band name and asked my friends Olivier Pinard and Samuel Santiago to complete the lineup. After two rehearsals, The Beginning was ready to record.
Describe the songwriting process for The Beginning.
I began to write guitar riffs in 2018 with one hand, when I was recovering from surgery (left shoulder), using my right hand on the fretboard only. Back then, I had no picking hand available. I was writing for fun and to progress in the path of learning a new instrument. One day I began to write my story on a blank sheet. In 2017, I had a surgery to try to fix my old picking hand (right hand). I wasn’t able to play guitar at all for a month or two. During that moment, I began to learn how to do vocals. Back in 2018, I first wrote my story and had the idea to mix it with previous riffs I did. Pretty much all of The Beginning was written with one hand; fretboard hand and vocals.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
When me and Sam were driving to the studio, I had a headache and felt very sick. I needed medication. We stopped at a drugstore. I live in Quebec and we were in Montreal at the moment. I didn’t have an account registered there and the girl didn’t want to give me my prescription. I wasn’t able to talk at all because I was sick, Sam talked for me and she finally gave me some.
How would you characterize its style/sound?
It’s definitely death metal, without fast picking riffs. Because, as mentioned before, I wrote 95 percent of the album with only my fretboard hand on the guitar. I use influences from everywhere to create music. No particular sound wanted. If it sounds good to me after playing it, maybe it is not bad at all. This is the sound of life and death together.
What lyrical topics do you cover?
The main theme targets life, death, a story to tell. Lyrics are mostly positive. It is about perseverance, resilience and hopes. Chase your dream, no matter what it would cost and no matter how hard it is. Use a hard situation for your advantage. Every day we can make changes, influence in a good way our mind state. Everything is about “the willingness.” You want something, go and get it, because no one will do it for you. It is all about the attitude. Are you willing to do it? As the quote says, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
How did Michael Angelo Batio’s guest appearance come about?
I had guitar lessons with Michael when I started to play left handed (three years ago). During rehearsal, Sam had an idea to change a rhythm section in one song. When
driving back to Quebec after jam sessions, I had an idea and I asked Michael. He is also appearing in the video of “Obverted.”
How did you come to sign with Brutal Mind?
It happened when I pre-ordered Disavowed by Revocation Of The Fallen released by Brutal Mind in 2020. After I listened to it, I said to myself, why shouldn’t I send my stuff to them and see what will happen?
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
Spread the story! This EP should encourage anyone to stick out on their dream. No matter the roadblocks that will hit or how tough it would be, as Michael John Bobak said, “All Progress take place outside the comfort zone,” with a strong mentality. You shouldn’t be scared to make changes. The sky is the limit.
How did the pandemic affect the band?
We can’t do or plan a release show because of that pandemic.
How did it affect you personally?
To be honest, it doesn’t affect me personally, but affects all my touring friends. I can’t wait to see or play a live show!
Do you have plans to play shows/tour when things open back up?
Sure thing, and it will happen one day. It’s on the list.
How did you get started in music?
I started to play guitar when I was 15 years old. I have a university bachelor’s degree in music and jazz. Following my car accident where I almost died I had to relearn to play guitar as a left hander following an osteophyte on my right hand.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Slayer, Death, Misery Index, Dying Fetus, Suffocation and they still are.
What was the first metal concert you attended?
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
It’s always J.S. Bach and Paganini. I am listening to Pat Metheny and Joe Bonamassa, Michael Angelo, Jason Becker’s last effort.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Thank you for reading this interview!
(interview published April 3, 2021)
Listen To Obvurt – The Beginning EP