Novembers Doom | Interview with Paul Kuhr

Despite a frequently changing line-up, Chicago’s Novembers Doom has evolved into one of the most interesting and impressive doom outfits of today during the last two decades.
Boasting guest appearances from Anneke Van Giersbergen (AGUA DE ANNIQUE, THE GATHERING), violinist Rachel Barton Pine (EARTHEN GRAVE) and the omnipresent Dan Swanö (NIGHTINGALE, EDGE OF SANITY, BLOODBATH), the new album “Aphotic”, which was released on May 10 via The End Records, features the band’s most refined and varied songwriting yet over eight outstanding tracks.
Vocalist and lyricist Paul Kuhr, took some time to discuss the falling outs, their career and the laudable new record.

[Novembers Doom]

After more than 20 years as a band you’ve always managed to progress and stay relevant in such demanding musical scene, despite all the line-reshuffles and record label instability. What’s the secret?

“The secret is I've always managed to surround myself with musicians who share and understand the overall vision of what Novembers Doom is. It's not been easy by any means, and when bringing in new people, there's always a transition period. It's never smooth, but the potential can be seen, and it's worth the long road, because you know the final outcome will be something better then the previous. It actually helps keep us fresh, and keeps the fire lit under us after twenty-plus years.”

Yet the band’s line up has changed again for the new record “Apothic”. With the recent entrance of bassist Mike Feldman to replace their long-time member and producer Chris Wisco, do you view the current Novembers Doom line-up as one of your strongest and most talented formations to date?

“Since day one, there has been no better line-up in Novembers Doom then right now at this moment. Many bands say that, to drown any negativity they might get from fans, or to just kid themselves, but I can honestly, with 100% sincerity and honesty, say we have never been better. This is the line-up I wish we had all along. As far as Chris Wisco, he's a great bassist. It wasn't a talent based decision. Chris is the 6th member of this band. He records every album with us, helps produce, adds input, and in a live situation, he makes us sound as good as we do. Just because he's not on stage, he's very much in the band, and immensely important.”

Musically, their new record “Apothic” sees the band adhere to their melancholic and poignant death-doom style, yet I’ve also noticed that there’s a presence of more melody, progressive overtones and acoustic guitars in the new songs. The track “What Could Have Been” for instance, incorporates guitars, piano and violins in an entirely acoustic structure.
For this new record, did you felt a need to push Novembers Doom in new directions or it was something that just happened naturally?

“We push ourselves to do something new with every single release we've recorded, so if you listen, no two releases are exactly alike. It's something we really push for. For ‘Aphotic’, I think we were able to remove some of the filter we put on ourselves over the years. Any changes we want to make, it's gradual over time, so the change isn't drastic to the listener. This time, we weren't as conscience of that, and just wrote in a natural progression. 
When the music would come in from Larry and Vito for the rest of the band to work on, so much more made it through out "filter" this time, and we achieved what I believe to be our best offering so far. The current line-up also has made all the difference in this as well. 
Many times throughout the years, the "filter" was there because we may have had people in the band that couldn't bring to the table what was needed, so we had to filter the music to the abilities of the line-up. Now, there are no more limitations, and we now have full ability to make anything work the way we want. ‘Aphotic’ is a very natural place for us, and I'm happy to be there right now.”

David Alexandre

Read full interview here.