Seeming Emptiness has been around since 2005, though it wasn’t until 2014 that the German project would release its first full length. The solo work of Kevin M., Seeming Emptiness incorporates elements of post rock and doom into sweeping arrangements that pull the listener into a bleak, dreary world. Compared to its debut `Conversion´, sophomore effort `Heavy Rain´ moves further into the heavier doom side of the spectrum, with soaring leads expanding over top of a denser base. Set to release on May 28th via Rain Without End Records, we’re excited to have the opportunity to give you a chance to listen to a full stream of the album.
Instrumental material of this type can be hard to pull off well, as a lot of bands that started off on the post rock side of the spectrum seem to have issues knowing when to cap their material or avoid too much repetition. But Seeming Emptiness does a fantastic job at keeping the listener engaged throughout, letting natural ebbs and flows in the instrumentation drive each track forward. Though there are still plenty of the sweeping melodies and booming climaxes one would expect from post rock, but cuts like the title track incorporate the type of bleak, somber melodies and crushing intensity of death/doom.
`Heavy Rain´ never wavers from its ability to tell a complete story without the need for vocals, and it has moments that will be appeal to fans of everything from prog rock to death/doom. The haunting instrumentation and regular switchovers from moodier arrangements to more energetic, rock driven pieces keep things feeling fresh from one song to the next. Check out the full album below and lose yourself in the somber tranquility and thick atmosphere Seeming Emptiness has to offer. We also had the chance to ask Kevin M. some questions about the project and his writing process, which you can read as you listen.
Transcending Obscurity (Chris Dahlberg): Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. For those that may be hearing Seeming Emptiness for the first time, give us some background. I understand you’ve been working on material since 2005, but what’s your musical background and did you play in any bands prior to this?
Seeming Emptiness (Kevin M.): I think I must have been 14 or so, when I had my first sequencer software. At this point I still had no idea how to play guitar, but it was a great start for my later programming of drums. After learning to play the guitar for a year or two, I began writing my own material and decided to start a project. I was already deep into the darker music in these days and listened a lot to bands like Katatonia, Opeth, Anathema, My Dying Bride and many, many more. Especially these bands gave me a lot of inspiration for my following works. So Seeming Emptiness was born. Between 2005 and 2009 a few songs arose, which you can still find on YouTube and my Soundcloud channel. From there, the collection of ideas for `Conversion´ started……
From 2006 until 2012 I played guitar in a German death/doom band called Arbor Ira. That was also the first time for me to hit the stage. It was a great time and we´re still good friends. Currently I´m also playing guitar in a doom band called HIAM. We are still working on our first record, although the band has already existed for ten years,haha. …but we had a few nice concerts and the honour to share the stage with bands like Mourning Beloveth, Ophis, Amenra, Black Shape Of Nexus, Longing For Dawn and Mournful Congregation. Nice memories.
TO: How long did it take for the songs on ‘Heavy Rain’ to come together? How does your writing process generally work and what kind of fine tuning does a song from in its development from an initial riff or melody to a finished song?
Seeming Emptiness: I already had the first ideas for `Heavy Rain´ before the release of `Conversion´, around autumn 2014. After releasing the debut, I had a good flow in writing and gave myself a lot of time for the music. So all of the eight songs were written in circa 14 months. Usually my first riff for a song is also the most important. When I have a part, I’m trying to connect it with other collected ideas and start to program some easy drums to it. So slowly a song grows part by part until finally a song structure exists. After that, the real work begins. All the details on the drums, like breaks and variations,have to be worked out to support the guitar work as good as possible. Solos and lead guitars emerge and in the end, mostly a few synths find place in the song.
TO: Going along with the previous question, how did you approach writing ‘Heavy Rain’ differently from ‘Conversion’ and how do you feel your style has progressed from that album to this one?
Seeming Emptiness: The process of writing was nearly the same on both albums,but the ideas on `Conversion´ were collected over a much longer time. On `Heavy Rain´ I decided to move a bit away from post rock and go back to my musical roots, the doom/death. The album should be harder, darker and the song lengths should stay under the ten minute mark. It’s also a bit more technical. In the end I would say that the style on `Heavy Rain´ is some kind of doomy post metal. Post rock elements are still there to find, but not as much as on `Conversion´. As far as content differences between the albums, `Conversion´ was about more personal things, while `Heavy Rain´ describes global problems.
TO: I hear a lot of melodic doom and post rock elements on this album, and there are plenty of bands I’m sure you could name as influences. But are there any influences on your material that aren’t music related, such as films or authors?
Seeming Emptiness: I would say that the most of my influences came from other bands, but one really inspiring universe which always fascinated me is the video game series Silent Hill. The unique kind of darkness the games creates definitely supported me in writing my music. I also love the soundtracks by Akira Yamaoka. Maybe the connoisseur can hear that, hehe.
TO: Your Bandcamp states “no lyrics needed”, and I would have to agree as each of these eight songs has an engaging narrative that lets the listener form their own storyline. Some instrumental bands and projects seem to have issues making this work though. What does it take to write a good instrumental piece and let the instrumentation do the talking?
Seeming Emptiness: Hmm, I think like in every other song, it’s very important not to bore. Different moods, beats and tempo variations can help you to handle that. Also each melody should really mesmerise the listener. Every part must have something special. Either you create atmosphere or you rock…..or both, hehe.
TO: ‘Heavy Rain’ stands out to me as an entire body of work, but my go to songs on repeat listens have been the melodic death/doom of the title track and softer, sweeping melodies on Red Glowing Night. Are there any particular songs you’ve found yourself particularly fond of as the album came together?
Seeming Emptiness: I tried to bring a lot of variety into the album and so the songs are partly really different, but if I had to choose one favourite, I would probably pick Obscure Pulse. But actually I like each one of them and they all have the same importance for me.
TO: The artwork was created by Katell Anna Vivier, and it depicts a cityscape that almost has a dystopian feel to it. How does the art tie in to the record, and did you give her an idea to work with or send her the music and let her create freely from that?
Seeming Emptiness: Oh yes, she did such an amazing job with the artwork. I’m really happy to have her on board. I just gave her a few ideas and the music and she started to create her own, great vision while listening to the songs. So it’s a really customized artwork and definitely a reason to get the digipack version! Thank you,Katell!!!
I think the artwork fits very well into the concept,because it shows a cityscape in decay; isolated , faceless figures; pouring rain and a dark, gray sky. Things that could be real in the dystopian vision the album tells about.
TO: Previously you released an album on Fluttery Records, but this time around you’re working with Rain Without End Records. What made them the right label for putting out ‘Heavy Rain’?
Seeming Emptiness: I think, because of the change of style to more doom/death and the increase of heaviness, the album fits much better to RWE Records than Fluttery Records. Fluttery Records is more designed for post rock and ambient music. `Conversion´ was already a heavier act in their rooster I would say. So it´s mostly because of the style. It was also great to work with Fluttery Records. They are really nice people and I was very thankful to release my first album there. But now it´s even better. I feel in good hands in the RWE rooster,which also contains a few other bands I really like.
TO: The material on ‘Heavy Rain’ has a very cinematic quality to it. Have you thought of doing any kind of video work for your music? If you were able to use one of your songs in a film, is there a particular piece you’d choose and what type of film would you put it in?
Seeming Emptiness: A professional video would be awesome, but it´s not really important for me to get one. A few people already created great picture/videos for my songs, which helped me a lot to spread my music. I especially have to thank the `Where Death Is Most Alive´ channel on YouTube. Also `The Circle Pit´ and a few others did great video jobs for me. Thanks to each one! I never heard music like that in a film and I don’t know in which kind of film it really could fit, but it would be amazing to hear my music a dark, apocalyptic movie, hehe.
TO: Germany has produced a lot of great bands playing atmospheric, melancholic material over the years within the rock/metal spectrum. What is it about your country and environment that could inspire this?
Seeming Emptiness: Hmm, it’s hard to say what people moves to play that style of music. Germany itself does not give us so many reasons to join the dark side of music. Maybe it´s the relatively long winter, hehe. There are also a lot of legends and really terrifying stuff , which happened during dark ages in some parts of the country. Maybe a few bands are inspired by that. But personally I think the love of melancholic music is inborn somehow, no matter where you live. You have it or not.
TO: Would you ever want to play this material in a live setting, or do you wish to keep Seeming Emptiness as a studio project?
Seeming Emptiness: Yes, I really would love to perform the songs live and I´m already in contact with a few musicians to get this started someday.
TO: Is there anything else you’d like to say about ‘Heavy Rain’ or Seeming Emptiness?
Seeming Emptiness: Hmm,…maybe it sounds really stupid ,but …. Care about your environment and prevent the course of events on `Heavy Rain´. Thank you very much for the interest!