-Obsolete began as my (Dan Rivera-singer/songwriter/guitarist) solo project back in 2009. I was writing acoustic songs at the time as therapy after my divorce. After a year or so I decided to experiment with adding drums, bass, distorted guitars, and more layering. I was very pleased with the result, so I formed a live band and started playing shows. People seemed to dig it.
2.You have an ep coming out in April, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
-I describe our sound as “dark progressive rock.” Think Katatonia meets A Perfect Circle, with some Anathema and Damnation-era Opeth thrown into the mix. It's got a heavy sound at times, then the lighter acoustic moments and brooding, almost doomy parts. Lots of diversity, if I do say so myself.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
-Three of the four songs are me personally working through the emotions following my divorce. I was married young and divorced at only 26, so I took it very hard at the time. These songs are me looking back and processing some of the various emotions I felt. “Barren” is just about the concept of loss in general. I wrote it about a fictional person who had lost someone who he loved but had never taken the initiative to express how he truly felt. Now he feels regret but realizes that he needs to move on and live his life.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Obsolete'?
-Though at first glance one might think it's just depressive or self-loathing, “Obsolete” is actually about the concept of impermanence. All things, living or inanimate, will eventually pass away. Cherish each moment but don't hold on too tightly, or become obsolete.
5.Originally the band started out as a solo project, what was the decision behind forming a full line up?
-As mentioned above, I really dug the sounds I was making once I added drums and electric guitars to my songs. I love to play live in general, and though I can record everything myself in my makeshift home studio, I have yet to master playing drums, guitar, bass, and singing all at the same time. But I'll get it one day man, I'm still practicing. Haha. In all seriousness, I really wanted to take the band to the stage and progress to the next level beyond just writing and recording on my own.
6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
-We played with X-Factor 1 at Screamin' Willies here in Columbus a few years ago, that was an awesome show. It was a bigger stage with better sound than the gigs we usually get, so it was great to hear us sounding so good and so BIG, and to be able to move about more on a larger stage. It was a crowd who hadn't heard us before and the response was really incredible. As far as our stage performance, we tend to be pretty high energy, particularly Lloyd (guitar), Dan (djembe) and me. We get really into the songs, and every set list is designed to flow, sometimes moving from one song right into another without the need to talk excessively each time. We let the music do the talking.
7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
-Yes. We're currently setting up a short Ohio tour in July, hopefully hitting Dayton, Cincinnati, and Cleveland. It's in the works, details will be announced as soon as everything is booked. It's about time for another Columbus show as well, especially now that spring is here. I have a feeling you'll be hearing about that soon...
8.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
-I've recently been giving thought to a record label, and will likely be sending “Riven” out for submission to labels like Peaceville, for one. As a small business owner/operator, I don't have nearly as much time to promote the music myself as I'd like, so a label that would actually do some work for us would be great, not to mention if they gave us the opportunity to actually tour.
9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of progressive metal?
-Our reach has still been relatively small, unfortunately, but the response we've gotten thus far has been positive, both nationally and internationally. But we get all kinds of course; some people love it and say we have an original sound and so much talent, etc., etc., and some have said that we're awful and generic and that I sound like a Serj Tankian ripoff, which to me is just hilarious. Don't get me wrong, I like SOAD, but that's one reference I'll never understand.
10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
-A natural evolution of our sound will definitely happen. “From the Beginning,” our most recent tune, shows a bit of that progression compared to our other songs, but still carries a similar vibe. I like to experiment and progress, as any artist should, but I like our current sound and don't plan on making any huge musical shifts any time soon. Honestly, when I really like a band, I hate it when they do that. So I intend to be consistent while still growing as an artist.
11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
-Definitely Katatonia, Anathema, Opeth, A Perfect Circle and Tool. Maynard James Keenan is by far my biggest influence vocally, though I learned a lot about harmonies from listening closely to Jonas Renske (Katatonia) and hearing the interesting things he does there. I love Florence + the Machine and have learned about creative songwriting by paying attention to Flo's techniques. Favorite band currently is Ne Obliviscaris, which are nowhere near Obsolete's sound, but they're making some of the most incredible music I've heard in a very long time. It's like melodic death/black metal with some seriously progressive elements, clean vocals, violins, etc. Epic as shit. I can't even describe them, just listen and prepare to have your mind blown.
12.What are some of your non musical interests?
-I remodel houses for a living, so I like building things. We're all beer snobs, so Belgian beers and various craft beers are a thing. Jason (former drummer) is a homebrewer. Rich has his own home studio and tinkers around with audio engineering, though I guess that's still musically-related. Steve and Lloyd are ride and fix motorcycles. Fine cigars and whiskey.
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
-Let it be known: Obsolete is not a metal band. I don't necessarily mind being labeled as such, but some of the feedback we've received at times has been misdirected. I think people get the wrong idea because we have distorted guitars and heavy drumming at times, so of course we must be a metal band. To me, this is rock music. There are going to be acoustic guitars and soft singing. This is the music I passionately desire to create, and if that's what comes out of me forever then that's what I'll keep writing. To anyone who likes our music and has taken the time to listen, check out our website, come to a show, or maybe even buy some merchandise, I thank you a thousand times over. That means more than anything.