Cyphonism, a combination of different backgrounds
On May 13th German band Cyphonism released their latest album "Cosmic Voidance" on Black Sunset. As we already did a review on the album (which you can read here) it was time to ask some questions to the band. Read and get some background information on Cyphonism and their new album.
Please give us an introduction of yourself so we know who is answering the questions.
Hi, I'm Pat. I'm on vocal duty with Cyphonism.
Before we dive into the new album please give a brief history lesson of Cyphonism.
Well, I'll try to keep it short. In 2011 the band was formed in Wolfsburg. 2014 Cyphonism released their first EP. After a couple line up changes, Aljoscha joining, other members leaving, I joined in 2015. Initially just to do vocals for a few shows but the chemistry was there right away. When I joined, a bunch of music was already written for the first full-length album "Obsidian Nothingness". We finished that up and released the record in May 2016. And here we are. 6 years later finally releasing our second album. It took a while. The pandemic didn't help and delayed things a bit for sure. But in general we wanted to take our time - not setting a deadline - so we can work and get it just right.
What was the initial goal to form the band? Just friends make their favorite music? Becoming rich and infamous?
Just making heavy music I guess. I wasn't there when the band was formed but since I joined it was always about making the music we want to hear ourselves. Slammy, riffy and atmospheric. We also wanted to stand out as a small band. With a professional attitude - from songwriting to the production all the way to programming lights and making sure our stage show is up to par.
What were the biggest struggles in the beginning? All have a musical education? Knew which direction the songs had to go?
None of us have real musical education. Sure we all had a guitar or vocal teacher at some point but we didn't study music. For a musical direction it was pretty clear. But with every release and lineup change the music got a little more modern and refined. We didn't have a drummer for the past 6 years or so. That was the biggest struggle for sure. Getting gigs was pretty hard and if we got them we had to hire a drummer which is quite expensive. Especially for a local band. But we pulled through and we are happy to have Levin on board now. He's a machine!
What were the bands you listened to yourself before the band? Can we find influences from them back into the songs? Is it hard to not copy their styles?
Aljoscha and Julian have a more classic death metal background. From Cannibal Corpse all the way to Aborted and Meshuggah. Me on the other hand, I'm coming more from a black metal and doom background. All things atmospheric basically. With this release I feel like we did a great job of combining all that and wrote songs that really reflect that. It was apparent on "Obsidian Nothingness" but we really dialed it in with this one.
It took 5 years before the debut album came out. What are the reasons it took those years? And eventually released it by yourself?
The first iteration of the band had only the name in common with what it became with the first album. The drummer, guitarist and vocalist / bassist of this first iteration started a side project which became their main focus. After some time and the recording of the first Cyphonism EP we mutually decided to split into two bands because of different ambitions and musical direction. We could have changed our name but we searched for a long time to find a single-word name with a meaning so we kept it. With no drummer left and no place to rehearse at first we had to invent ourselves from scratch, combine new influences and refine our sound. As we all have stable full time jobs we do one thing at a time, so searching for a mixing engineer (Aljoscha Sieg - Pitchback Studios) and finding a label - which did not yield any results we would have been happy with - took also a great deal of our time. But no regrets at all, it worked out in the end and everyone was happier than before probably.
Can you recall the response on "Obsidian Nothingness"? What was the most negative and positive feedback?
The response was mostly positive. I can't recall the best and worst feedback since we don't read too much into it. We write the music we enjoy and want to release. If some people don't like it that's fine but we don't compromise on that. What we didn't expect though - the song that most people seem to really enjoy was 'Dwelling In Deep Trenches', which is almost 10 minutes long. That was definitely the odd ball on that record and we thought it was just too long for a death metal record and people would enjoy the shorter songs more. But being the first song written for the new iteration of the band made it very pure and honest and building it up to a greater climax in the end clicked well with all folks we asked live.
And after the release, was it easy to get on stage? And what were the mentionable gigs you have done? Also remember the feeling when you were on stage for the first time?
Gigs were sparse as we didn't have a permanent drummer at that time. But we made each show count for sure. Hometown shows are always great. We love seeing friends and family at these shows. Our local scene is small but very dedicated and it's always a blast to play for them. A highlight was playing Poland with 'Dwelling In Deep Trenches' already written, which came out of the blue and we had a great host and played as headliner of the evening. People were really hyped to see us, which was unexpected to say the least.
Next month you are going to release "Cosmic Voidance". What can we expect? How much will it differ from the debut?
You can expect a more refined record. The songs are shorter and more to the point. The atmosphere is denser and the songs are heavier. It is definitely the best work we did to date. But you have to listen for yourself.
The artwork is mentioned as conceptual so is it right that the album is a concept? What is the story behind the title and tracks?
The artwork is based on the lyrics of our first single 'A Goddess Defaced'. But it also reflects the general overarching themes of this album. The songs don't follow a strict story but they all touch the same concepts and ideas. This record deals with cosmic beings, their relations as well betrayal and the untimely death of those beings.
What improvements did you make during the years to record the album in a smooth way? Lot of home recordings?
We work from our home studios a lot. We recorded all the tracks at our own studios except for the drums. We had our good friend - Julian Dietrich of Cypecore and Into Coffin - record the drums at Marburg Records. All the mixing and mastering was done by our guitar player Aljoscha at his own Studio - Konstrukted Audio. That gave us the freedom to have it sound just the right way and take all the time we need to revisit every detail.
A good way to promote the album is on stage. So how excited are you to do it on the Analepsy tour? And what do you expect?
Sadly we are not supporting Analepsy on the whole tour. That would have been the icing on the cake. We are playing two hometown shows. One in Wolfsburg (19th May) and one in Brunswick (22nd May) as we are split up between those two cities. And sharing the stage with Analepsy is for sure a fitting way to send this record out into the world, but we are also happy to see our friends in Maximize Bestiality as we had overlapping bands with those dudes at one time.
Beside the band you should have a 'normal' life, can you tell us what keeps you occupied? Work? Hobbies? Fascination?
We all have a normal 9-5 job which gives us the financial stability to explore our musical ideas and not rely on the classic 2-year album cycle. We can take our time and find inspiration and create music that we think is unique. For hobbies - we all do different things really. I am big into bouldering and sports climbing. Julian is a Mountain-Bike geek and Aljoscha is really diving into music production, but we all share a passion for gaming as well.
Before we go, do you want to share something with us?
We hope to see new faces and meet new and exciting people. We want to share our music with as many people as we can and are grateful for everyone giving us a chance to do so. Thank you for having us and giving us a place to share our vision and music.
If you want to be up to date with what we do, have a look at our socials, streaming services, website or MDD’s / Black Sunset’s website.
Thank you for your time and all the best!