Interview with Philippe Drouin; Guitarist & vocalist of Obvurt
Interview by Kira Levine
We had a chat with Obvurt frontman Philippe to discuss the band’s conception, their forthcoming EP, and more.
Hello! Thank you so much for taking the time do this interview, hope that you’re keeping safe and well. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi, I’m Philippe, Guitarist and singer for Obvurt. I started to play the guitar when I was 15. I have a university bachelor’s degree in Music and Jazz. Following my car accident where I almost died, I had to relearn to play guitar as left-hander following an osteopathy on my right hand. This is the context of how the project Obvurt started.
How did you start creating music?
Covering bands like Slayer, Death, Misery Index, gave me some inspiration to do more. I have started my degree that same year, and everything came along naturally, like any bands. The music school I was studying have a studio, so we’ve used it to record demos with my first band.
Where you given any advice from others at the beginning of your career?
From 2017 three words: practice, practice, practice. Since being a left-handed guitarist for the past 4 years now, I’ve followed the advice of teacher and friend Michael Angelo Batio. He’s a genius and such a great life coach… I’ve listened to him, when I have a question, I raise my hand, and apply what I have learnt.
Do you have any words of wisdom for those wanting to create their own band?
Go ahead!!! Have fun!!! Play and compose music. When the music comes from the heart it will be performed with passion. No matter the type it could be, or how difficult it could be.
How would you describe your sound to those who haven’t heard your music yet?
This is the sound of death, pain, hope and perseverance all together. I could call it new/old death metal, composed with the brain right side, maybe… with many classical music influences has been added during the composing process. One hand death metal, while re-learning to play the guitar. There are no consecutive notes, except on the lead of the last song that I’ve added at the end of “Obverted”.
You sadly injured your right wrist back in 2016, but have amazingly learned to be a left-handed guitarist since. How long did it take for you to relearn to play?
It is hard to measure everything, three years later with two surgeries. I could say 5,000 hours of practicing and the EP creation. It was like my second job. But you know, you have to be dedicated and 100% focused.
Would you say that this experience had a great impact on Obvurt’s output, in terms of inspiration (lyrically or musically)?
Obvurt would never have existed, If I didn’t start to play as a left-hander. All of this came out from that car accident, 2016 November 26th, this day changed my life and guitarist career plan. Lyrics speaks about it, Most of the lyrics are positive, the negative turned to something positive. This EP could influence anyone who listens to it that there is always a positive on a backside of any situation. While recovering from my left shoulder surgery, I was playing with one hand, the right hand on the neck. And it gives some special touch to the music. There are no repeated notes expect on the last one… that song started from picking exercises.
The Beginning tracklisting
1. Prelude Dm
3. The First Light
5. Scars of War
6. The End
Talk a little bit about the songwriting process for Obvurt’s upcoming EP, The Beginning. Are the writing duties handled by one person, or shared?
Most of the songs has been composed with one hand while I was recovering. Could not move my left hand, I gave Samuel and Oliver the freedom to write their own bassline and drum parts. The drum and bass sound great and it’s just perfect.
Guitarist Michael Angelo Batio makes a guest appearance on track four, Obverted. How did this collaboration come about?
I’m still taking lesson with Michael Angelo Batio. He helped me to be a better guitarist, I’m so grateful to him. During the travel between Montreal and Quebec, the idea to have Angelo play a guitar solo came in my mind when some drum lines changed. Michael helped on the video part as well, the clip is available on Obvurt’s YouTube channel.
The band is currently signed to Brutal Mind. How important would you say being with a record label is in the present day?
It means a lot to me. It takes teamwork… when you start something, it is harder to get visibility, there are so many bands now. So it is hard to make a choice.
Would you like to talk about any other music groups or projects you have been a part of, or even contributed to?
My first band called Unbreakable Hatred and second one called Vitiated. I was dedicated to these bands just before I had that accident, which caused life to change so fast!
What gear was used on The Beginning?
I play with ENGL Invader 100 and 150 plugged in stereo with 2 Vader cabinets. I used Dean guitars now. I found custom 550 lefty that was very close to my L.T.D Jeff Hanneman right-handed I was playing before. Olivier uses Spector bass and Darkglass Electronics. Finally, Samuel uses Sonor drums and Meinl cymbals.
Jon Zig is responsible for the artwork and layout for The Beginning. Did the band know him previously or was he contacted because they knew of his previous work?
He did the illustration for my previous band. When it was time to do artwork for Obvurt, he was the first person that came up in my mind. He is the best. There are so many details and this is very SICK. The image illustrates death, anomalies in my right hand, and a new hand.
Would Obvurt ever consider playing live with in future, when it becomes safe to do so?
Of course, yes that’s the plan, Oliver is busy with Cryptosys and Cattle Decapitation so maybe a show with the 2 bands… why not?
Are there any hobbies or interests you have outside of music that you would like to speak about?
Can you describe current the death metal scene in Quebec, Montreal? Would you say much has changed about it in recent years?
It’s very good, to be honest. Lots of new local bands, and many international ones are doing shows here.
Can you name any up-and-coming Canadian bands that people might not necessarily know about, but should?
Who are your favourite well-known musical artists and why?
So many to name here. I can’t answer this one. I would say every music has its moment, depending on my mood and feelings…
What genres do you like listening to other than metal, if any?
I listen to classical music a lot, sometime jazz guitarists, rock, orchestral music.
What does the rest of 2021 look like for Obvurt?
So many events to come, right now the album release on March 31. Then, a guitar and vocal play-through of “Scars of War”. It’s time to complete the writing of the first full length.
Visit our website www.obvurt.com for the latest updates.
Thanks again and all the best on your release of The Beginning! Do you have anything else you want to add?
I hope that listeners will enjoy hearing this album as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Philippe Drouin – guitars, vocals
Olivier Pinard – bass
Samuel Santiago – drums
You can grab a pre-ordered copy of ‘The Beginning’ through Obvurt’s label Brutal Mind here!