The soundtrack for the colossal devastation of the land…
The second EP from Portugal’s OCERCO appeared on 5 February 2016. Hard, heavy and with an impenetrably dark density to it, it’s a colossal piece of work. Here, mainstay Rui M. talks to MR’s Jason Guest about the EP, the writing and recording, the artwork and the death of Mother Earth at the hands of its inhabitants…
A Desolação (reviewed here) is the band’s second EP, what did you want to achieve with it?
OCERCO releases are all conceptual, they are part of a history we want to tell… so, the first EP (…o Homem esmorece, a Natureza Pervalece) talks about the relationship between the Earth and Humanity as it is today. In this second EP (A Devastação) the concept is the developing of that previous timeline, as it portrays the imaginary cataclysm that humanity delivered upon Earth… OCERCO (The Siege) is the siege Earth (as Mother Nature) will unleash upon Humanity, and the narration of that history.
In what way does it mark a progression for the band since your first EP?
The first change was that I, Rui M. composed all the music on this EP. On the previous EP I was on the “lead” guitar and for this second one I went back to play drums as well as recording the “lead” guitar tracks. Basically I’ve composed the whole new EP.
The second change was the final mastering of the EP, made by Sergio Prata Almeida at the Nirvana Studios (Lisbon) who gave the EP a much more professional and blasting sound.
Did you have an idea of how you wanted the EP to sound or did each of the tracks and the whole thing take shape as it was being developed?
I always had the idea of how it should sound, and as said above, the audio engineer made it happen at the Nirvana Studios, just like magic.
Is there a theme behind the three tracks? Where did inspiration come from?
Yes, the theme is always the same, the cataclysmic and destruction of the planet by humanity herself and the answer from Mother Nature. This is part of our inspiration as well the observation we do upon planet hearth.
How long were you working on the material?
1 year, between composing and recording.
The sound of the EP is colossal! It’s so bleak and ruthless? How did you achieve it?
It is meant to be colossal, because it is the soundtrack for the colossal devastation of the land… literally speaking. As it has no bass, the very low guitar makes the base of the sound along with the “lead” guitar higher, makes the dissonances and such musical power when gathered with the drum parts, the sound of rocks and volcanoes exploding…
Can you tell us about the artwork and how it relates to the music?
The artwork reflects de concept of the EP, the desolation it transmits by the ravished tree…
Who is the artist? And why did you choose to work with him/her?
The artist is Phil Robinson from Níðhöggr Studio, and all the work was supervised by Signal Rex.
How did you come to work with Signal Rex for the release of the EP? And do you plan to stay with them for future releases?
We had related projects which Signal Rex have released, and he decided to support us in this new project
Your first EP was limited to 100 copies. Do you think you will ever release them again so that they gain wider exposure?
No, because the line-up was different.
Can you give us some background on Ocerco? How did the band form? What inspired you to create music under this name?
I had a solo project were Daniel was helping me, called VRT139, after this we started a project with the former drummer were I was doing guitars, so Daniel came up with the name OCERCO…. the concept is brewed by me and Daniel, for years that it is embedded in us… we live in a nature-filled area of Portugal where the elements are strong, so that helped us a lot to develop OCERCO.
Are there any bands that have had a significant influence on Ocerco? If so, can you tell us how?
The whole planet has influence on OCERCO, I can’t point to specific things.
How does the band approach composition?
For this EP, I’ve composed everything, and then Daniel listens and adds the vocals in order to make the necessary changes in the end.
What does the act of making music mean to Ocerco?
It means the cathartic way of talking to the elements, to reveal the atrocities made to Mother Earth. It’s inside us… and it will never be revealed…
Music is a very powerful medium for conveying messages, secular and spiritual. Do you think that music – something intangible and abstract – is itself imbued with a power to provide an avenue into these unknown aspects of existence?
It’s the only way for us to convey those aspects…
Any plans for shows?
OCERCO has scheduled some shows for 2016… They are announced on our Facebook page.
What would be the ideal setting for an Ocerco performance?
In some place ravished by destruction and radiation winds, field with acid fogs that dissolve our bodies and souls…
What does the future hold for Ocerco?
Only the future knows and Mother Earth…
Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Do you have any closing words for our readers?
Thank you all…