In Somnis is a young doom band from Belgium, who have just recorded and released their first album through NULLL Records. "The Memory You've Become" holds nine diverse and dynamic tracks, holding approx 45 minutes of music. Speaking to me, is Soporifer, In Somnis drummer.
Greetings Soporifer, how are you and the band doing?
"I personally am relieved that the recording process and mastering is finally finished. We had to wait a long time for our first release and I am glad we finally did the job. We are proud for being able to put something out to the world and are in general quite excited about it."
As this is your first release and you're still relatively unknown, I'd like to ask you, to give a bit of background and history information about In Somnis.
"In Somnis' history goes back to 1997. Moribundus (vocals) and D. Vermeersch (guitars) had set the first steps in music some time before. Shortly after the name was set, I joined in (drums). From that time we're the three members that are still in. Until 2000 the band had a lot of line-up problems. Looking back now, 2000 was a critical point. Moribundus and me were the only ones left and we both had serious doubts about the future of In Somnis. In 2000 D. Vermeersch and Mab (flute), who left before, joined back in on guitar and flute respectively and the band became truly active again. A year after we had our first live performance. In 2002 Johan (guitars) and ArgiŽl (keys) joined the band. Recently, S. joined in as the first bass player in 5 years. For further details, I suggest our website."
Next to you, some of your members have chosen to be known by nicknames. Is there any relation behind the meanings of the names themselves or with the bandname?
"Mab asked me to speak on her behalf. She took her nick from the film 'Merlin' related to the Arthur legend. In the film, Mab is said to be the creator of the wise Merlin. The character is on the dark side but actually fights for her ideals and happiness and is misunderstood a lot. Our flutist feels very related to the complex character that is depicted there.
ArgiŽl doesn't feel it is necessary to explain the nick. I guess she just likes the name.
Concerning myself, 'Soporifer' means 'Carrier of the dream' and has a clear relation to In Somnis, as both Latin words sopor and somnus can be translated as 'dream'. One could say that drumparts are carriers for our music, which is why I thought the name fitted well. The nick is a good help in escaping the everyday boring life.
I could pass the question on to Moribundus concerning his nick."
[Moribundus] "It's more then a nickname for me. On stage, at rehearsels, every moment I'm occupied with In Somnis I am Moribundus."
Why has the name In Somnis been chosen?
"Both the language (Latin) and the meaning fitted just well. Escapism, again, comes in here. Enter your dreams and leave the world behind."
Stijn, the main man behind a lot of Belgian doom, has become a member of In Somnis and the album was partially recorded at the Templa Libitina and is released on his label. How did both parties got attached to each other?
"Stijn had seen on deathmetal.be that we were still searching for a bass player. I felt honoured that he asked me to join In Somnis, as I had noticed the attention he had already drawn with his own projects. At the same time, he asked us to release our debut. At first we hesitated, as we have had enough line-up problems already, but clearly this was unnecessary. It is nice to have such a dedicated musician in our lines."
How did the recording of the album develop?
"Like hell! We succeeded in fucking things up time after time. All chaos it was. Therefore, I'm glad that it's over. Certainly, we have to do things better next time."
In Somnis is known as a doom band. When listening to the tracks of the album, I can hear a variety of non-doom or even non-metal influences in the songwriting. Which different inspirational sources did the band use?
"Bah, this question is difficult. I honestly do not know where it all comes from. It's in our mind or in hearts, I guess. All I can say is that the seven band members have a broad range of backgrounds. As Moribundus has a greater deal in our material, I've passed it on to him."
[Moribundus] "Except for Haggard, I can't account for major influences, at least none that have a name. I like to compose what I like to hear and most of the time the basic melody hasn't any link to metal at all. If the rest of the band likes the first ideas, we start to build up towards a full piece: an In Somnis piece. Being it doom or metal is in fact not that important to me but most of the time we end up in somewhere in the neighbourhood of those."
One of the trademarks of In Somnis is without a doubt, the extensive and exceptionally well use of the flute. How did this instrument enter into your music?
"Mab has been active very shortly on keyboards in the band before she left. When she re-entered the band, she didn't want to do the keys anymore and as the flute is her main intrument we thought that it was an interesting challenge. Reactions are mostly very positive about it. Violin, cello and keyboard parts are popular and have been applied a lot in the metal genre. While using a flute has been done before (Shape of Despair, Empyrium) not all the possibilities of this instrument have been used and the use of flute is still an element of originality, which gets a lot of our attention. People have referred to the flute with terms as 'pagan', 'oriental' and 'eerie'."
Lyrically, the songs are about lost love and Weltschmerz. Is there a general concept behind the whole album?
"Indeed and no. In my opinion, the most interesting lyrics are those from "Lost In Dreams", "Galatea", "A Godess Reborn" and "My Siren". I really dig the way Moribundus uses elements of myths and legends to evoke the misery."
One of the most pleasant surprises (both lyrically as musically) is "Heer Halewyn". Could you give more background information about this song?
"Heer Halewyn features dutch lyrics from the 14th Century by an anonymous songwriter. Heer Halewyn (Sir Halewyn) is a legendary serial killer. With nice songs he seduces beautiful women in order to kill them afterwards. A princess who goes out to look for him, is the first one who can resist his tongue and is brave and clever enough to kill him. She returns with his cut-off head to the castle. Musically, there is no link to the music of the original song. Our version of this legend stands apart from all of our other pieces too."
Based on the presented lyrics, some people have made a comparison between In Somnis and My Dying Bride. How has the band reacted to this?
"The feelings are mixed about it. Off course, we're glad when the lyrics are compared to those of Aaron Stainthorpe or when In Somnis is compared to MDB in general, but we don't see clear links with the lyrics. Musically, I think it is difficult not to be influenced by MDB if you're a death/doom metal band. Still, I'm proud to say that we stand apart from them. I can understand that some people feel MDB sets the law for doom metal. Still, since the extensive use of flute, why not compare In Somnis with Empyrium, Shape Of Despair or even Tenhi for once?"
What's your view upon the Belgian doomscene and the doom metal scene as a whole?
"They're both rising, which I can only be glad with. My only critics about scenes is that some people in the scene expect you to like them just because of the music you share. In practice, however, a scene is a world on his own, thus containing both people I like and dislike. Luckily, the last ones are not that big in numbers.
As far as I can know, the doom scene has always been a relatively small scene. Both the variety and the laid-back attitude of many people in the scene adds to the fact that doom has not gone over the top as happened to the black metal and death metal scene. The death and black scene have had a nice revival peak in Belgium in the last two years, producing very good bands and setting Belgium on the metal maps again. Recently the attention is somewhat redirected in two different ways: to doom and to pagan."
Which albums are 'glued' into your CD-player nowadays?
"In no order: Cirrha Niva - Liaison de la Morte,† Evoken - Embrace the Emptiness, November's Doom - Amid's It's Hallowed Mirth, Skepticism - Lead & Aether, Until Death Overtakes Me - Deep Dark Red, Dolorian - s/t, Shape of Despair
†- Shades of Ö, Avrigus - The Secret Kingdom, Hollenthon - Domus Mundi, Edge of Sanity - Crimson II, PantheÔst - O Solitude, Type O Negative -† Life Is Killing Me, Long Winter's Stare - The Tears of Odin's Fallen, Earthcorpse - The Taste of Sin, Elend - Winds Devouring Men and your own Solicide - Der Untergang des Abendlandes as well."
The next live appearance of In Somnis will be at the Doomed Legions Fest. This appearance will be the first opportunity to promote the new album. How does the band look forward to this gig, with the Belgian doom/death masters, Insanity Reigns Supreme and the - at this point - fairly unknown doom/death band Endor?
(note: The DLF is organized by Soporifer and me. The initial idea came from me, wanting to see a Belgian doom/death gig. After contacting Soporifer about In Somnis playing and In Somnis wanting to play, Soporifer joined the organization to help out.)
"I think the tension in the band will be high on the gig. We are very glad to be put on a 'doom' bill. So far, we have merely been put on black metal and death metal gigs. Nothing wrong with the bands or organisators, but the audience at these gigs has a big lack of interest most of the time. I really dig that we can play before Insanity Reigns Supreme (finally they're back with a new release!) and I like the co-operation we've set up with them. I can only hope that we can convince a lot of people to come over. NULLL Records will put out the "From The NULLL Void"-compilation by then. It will feature "Galatea" from our forthcoming debut and will probably have an input from Insanity Reigns Supreme and Endor as well. 50 of those will be given for free to the first 50 paying visitors."
The last words are yours:
"- DON'T PANIC.
- Further In Somnis information: http://www.in-somnis.tk . There already two tracks put on-line, which you can reach from our site.
- At last, thanks for the interview, Lawrence, and thanks for all the other staff at doom-metal.com. Great work! Dream on!"
Visit the In Somnis bandpage.