Interview with Till Oberboßel of Lucid Dreaming
Thank you very much. Well yes, it’s been four years since the release of the debut album. After that release and the reviews and interviews, it all started to look quiet from the outside I guess. Lucid Dreaming has no shows, no lineup changes and no scandals, so there weren’t many news to be shared. But I started working on the new songs at the end of 2013 and the recordings started in spring 2015 so I definitely had my share of work. But of course it all takes some time…
Limb Music had an option to release the second album too but unfortunately they weren’t interested when they heard the finished album. So I had to send out promo versions and try to get a deal with another label. I received several offers and STF’s was simply the best of them. I also met the label guys personally and after our meeting my gut knew this would be the right label to sign to. And so far I haven’t got much to complain about.
Was it difficult to re-recruit all the same voice actors again for Part II?
No, that wasn’t difficult at all. Five of the vocalists from the first album reappear and they all were happy to give their voices to Lucid Dreaming again. It would have been different if I had wanted to use all of the vocalists again – most notably of course because of the untimely passing of Thassilo Herbert, who voiced the character of the dwarf king Eiddileg. But as the story progressed, some characters didn’t appear again while new characters came into the picture. Therefore I needed new vocalists to portray thesse.
How has preliminary reception been for the new album?
So far I can’t complain. Reviews were mostly favourable and spoke of a good progression compared to the first album. They also said that the new album is a bit heavier and I can only agree with that. Looking back on the first album, I was dissatisfied with some rhythm guitar parts and found them somewhat boring. Therefore I deliberately tried to make the guitar parts for second album more interesting and I believe this added another touch of heaviness to the songs. Of course not everybody was pleased and some reviews were not that great. Some people even seem to hate the album but I can live with that. Personally, I’m very satisfied with the outcome.
Tell us about using the literature of Lloyd Alexander as your inspiration?
My love for the Chronicles of Prydain goes back a long way. I first received them as a Yule gift when I was a boy and I loved those books instantly. I’ve reread them several times since then and grown attached to the story and its characters more and more. Apparently these books are quite popular in the English speaking world but here in Germany they seem to be practically unknown.
When my love for concept albums and different vocalists portraying a story’s characters led to me tackling this task as well, I started to think about topics I could use for this project. Prydain came to mind quickly and I decided to use the first two books as an inspiration. And it all continued from there.
A lot of people thought that I created Lucid Dreaming especially to set Prydain to music but as you now know, it was the other way. The idea of creating a conceptual project came first, only then did I decide about the subject matter.
In my experience Disney films tends to…corrupt…some literature. Did you see The Black Cauldron movie and what was your impression of it, compared to the book?
I saw it once, some years ago. Lloyd Alexander once described it as enjoyable but having almost nothing to do with the books. I agree with this. It’s a nice movie for kids but it should be regarded as a separate work rather than a movie version of the books.
But as far as I know, Disney plans to create a series of big movies about the Chronicles. Let’s see what they make of this. I’m glad though that my adaptation was released earlier…so nobody can accuse me of just stealing from the movies, haha.
Are you ever concerned that the popularity of Lucid Dreaming might surpass that of your main band Elvenpath?
I believe Lucid Dreaming’s nature of being a studio project ensures that its level of popularity will always remain modest. Every month there’s this huge amount of releases – more than a hundred metal albums every month! To stand out and gain some popularity, you need to be a constant focus of attention. And as I said earlier, with Lucid Dreaming there are no shows and nothing else to tell except for the occasional studio update. This way you’re quickly pushed aside after an album release to make way for the hundreds of other bands/projects unleashed upon the world every month.
I try to promote Lucid Dreaming the best I can but competition is fierce. Even nowadays, people who have been aware of my musical activities in Elvenpath for years only start to realise that there’s another project in my world. So I guess my bandmates in Elvenpath have no reason to be jealous.
Have you toured and will you consider making LD more of a band, than a project?
There have been and will be no shows. This question comes up often but it’s near impossible to bring Lucid Dreaming to the stage. These are concept albums and should be performed in their entirety, and you can easily imagine the amount of planning and money to get everybody involved. Flights, accommodation, rehearsals…if some promoter is willing to pay me the same fee as Avantasia, we can talk about it, haha.
Seriously, it would be a once in a lifetime thing to do it this way but all the stress would probably cut my life short by approximately ten years. And I refuse to do a watered down version with only four vocalists or something like that. Lucid Dreaming was meant and will remain a studio project. Shows would certainly help the project being more popular, but it’s just not worth it. I’d much rather make a few more albums. Therefore there is no need to assemble a steady lineup or make Lucid Dreaming more of a band. While I am comfortable being in a band, I have this with Elvenpath and that’s enough for me.
What is the largest challenge running a multi-person project of this magnitude?
Above all, patience. The more people you get involved in this thing, the more people you have to wait for. Everybody is busy with their own bands, day jobs etc. and it will take a while until everybody can set some time aside for Lucid Dreaming. That’s a key factor why the albums take such a long time to create – very different to a band environment.
Then of course there are no shoulders to share the work and the financial burden. All the writing, arranging and paying for expenses comes from one person. It uses up a lot of resources but in the end one will have an album which truly satisfies that inner demon. At least for a while.
And keep in mind that the recordings are done in studios in various countries and even continents. Technology has made things a lot easier but still you have to bring it all together in the mix and make sure it sounds well balanced.
For our gear fans, tell us a bit about your gear and studio set-up!
Oh my, you’re talking to the wrong guy here. I’m horribly unskilled at sound engineering and always need to rely on other people to record in their studios. My strength lies in creating, not in engineering. Therefore I can only tell you about my guitar gear. For recording guitars, I use a Gibson Les Paul. Still the best guitar one can use in a studio. When performing live, I prefer my Ibanez though. My main amp is a Marshall TSL 100. I use it both live and in the studio but when recording, I will additionally use a Mesa Boogie Rectifier and a Hughes & Kettner Switchblade. The combination of these sounds is just wonderful and I have no need to look for anything different.
What is your favourite Metal/Rock Opera?
The first two Avantasia albums set the mark very high and are certainly among the best. I’m also a fan of Arjen Lucassen and almost everything he’s done. Especially Ayreon and Star One are fabulous. Other projects I really love are Soulspell and Dawnrider.
Will there be a Part III and what is next for Lucid Dreaming?
Yes there will! Actually I plan to start recording the third album this year. I will dedicate myself to Prydain once more…the second album deals with the book “Taran Wanderer” but there are so many lovely characters in it whom I didn’t want to leave out, I didn’t manage to cover it all. Therefore the story will be continued and completed on the third album. But don’t ask me yet when it will be released…the danger that time will prove me wrong is too great, haha.
I would like to create more Lucid Dreaming albums in the future and explore other lyrical topics too, but we’ll see about that when the time is right. It’s probably going to take a while.
Thank you for showing interest in Lucid Dreaming and for allowing me to present my music to your readers. Please look it up on www.facebook.com/luciddreamingmetal and lend an ear. Stay Metal!