Photo by Catarina Rocha
(In February of this year Season of Mist released a mournful maelstrom of an album by the Portuguese atmospheric death/doom band Oak, and in the following interview Comrade Aleks discussed the accomplishment with Oak drummer Pedro Soares.)
Oak is a Portuguese duet founded in 2018 by drummer Pedro Soares and singing guitarist Guillermo Enriquez. The duet quickly recorded an impressive debut full-length Lone, with the four tracks included in the album sounding at the junction of atmospheric death-doom and funeral doom metal. The name of their new album, Disintegrate, corresponds to the name of the only, forty-five-minute, composition, which oddly enough was represented by two singles – four- and seven-minute excerpts — posted a couple of months before the release.
A one-track doom album is nothing new in itself, but Disintegrate is a brave and ingenious piece, and we made an attempt to dissect it together with Pedro.
Hi Pedro! How are you doing? Oak’s second album Disintegrate was released in February. Have you already settled everything and completed all promotional routines?
Hi, how are you, thank you, I hope you’re doing well too!
Many things have already been done, but there is always work to be done, including things that were not in the initial plans.
You didn’t hurry with Disintegrate this time. Did you think about abandoning the band when the quarantine was announced?
Finishing the project never crossed our minds. However, we don’t rush things and we will never make music just to fit a schedule. During the last years, some experiments were made and we only moved forward when we felt that we had the product that we really wanted to release.
How much did the Disintegrate material change through these years? How did you see this album in the beginning?
We experimented with different approaches, but once we decided on the path we wanted, everything unfolded very fluidly and organically. We were adding more layers of instruments as we went through the production and that was the main difference.
The first thing that every listener will notice is the difference in the structures of Disintegrate and your previous album Lone. How comfortable was it for you in recording this one colossal track?
In fact, the first album Lone was already intended to be just one track. We chose to segment it into four songs for strategic reasons. This time on Disintegrate we decided that we would communicate the album as a single track and just cut two excerpts to serve as singles. We embraced the single track concept without any constraints.
Do the albums also differ technically from each other? I mean… US-based Ulthar just released two albums at the same time and they used different settings for their instruments for each of recordings. So did you change your approach to recording when you decided which direction the album would take?
What changed was the density of the tracks because we added more layers of instruments. It has more guitars than Lone, it has more synths, and we invited our friend Lucas Ferrand, from Gaerea, to participate in the album, recording the bass.
I don’t remember if you invited someone from outside to record bass in Lone. Why did you do it this time?
On the Lone album we tried that everything that was recorded could be performed live by just two people. This time we put that idea aside and wrote the album without any barriers.
What was the first reaction of Ricardo Oliveira when you told him your intention to record one huge 45-minute long track?
Ricardo is already used to putting up with our crazy ideas and he knows the concept of this band from the beginning. As I said earlier, the first album was already recorded almost as a single trip. When we said that the second album would be one track, he wasn’t even surprised. It was all done calmly and organically.
Pedro, you play drums, Guilherme Henriques performs vocals and guitars, and you invited Lucas Ferrand to record bass for you. I know that it isn’t an easy thing but was Disintegrate recorded in one take at the studio? Did you try?
As this time we recorded more layers of instruments, it would be impossible to do it that way, despite being an idea that even seduced us. We’ve done something similar in the past. By the way, our first publication ever was a live session, recorded with Ricardo Oliveira, at Stonesound studios, of our song “Sculptures”.
Have you already performed the album live on stage? Will you play a mixed set with both “Disintegrate” and tracks from Lone?
We haven’t played the album live yet. Ideally a live show of ours at this stage would be just a trip through Disintegrate, but if necessary, we can play tracks from Lone, obviously.
As the album consists of the one single track and the lyrics are obviously following the same direction… What was your main idea behind it? Did you follow the single track concept because of the lyrical message too?
The entire album is about the same story and is an extensive description of a moment that we intended to perpetuate. The lyrics were developed following this same concept.
Season of Mist released two official videos for two excerpt-tracks from the album. It looks great, it’s good to see Oak in action. Was it your idea or a part of your deal with the label?
It was an idea that we worked on together. Both parties thought this was the best to do and in the end we really liked how things turned out.
What are your further plans for 2023?
We have some things planned but they can’t be revealed yet. Stay tuned.
And we will. Thanks for the interview Pedro. Do you have a few more words to our readers?
Dive in the spiral of fire that we have created, let your particles float in the cosmos and merge with the disintegrated giant that surrounds you.