About Me

Interview with Lake Of Tears

“Ominous”, the new album of Lake Of Tears, was released on February 19th, by AFM Records. Daniel Brennare reveals to us that this release is different from all the previous ones and tells us why this has an even more special meaning for him. Do you want to know why this album is different? Read the interview. 

M.I. -  Hi there, Daniel. Thanks so much for taking your time for answer these questions. How do you do?

Yeah, I’m great, thank you! And thank you for doing it! 

M.I. -  My pleasure! “Ominous” is the name of the album that was released this month, on the 19th. Can you tell us why did you choose that name and what’s the meaning behind it?

It’s a long story. “Ominous” is a very suitable name for how I felt, for this record. If I go a little deeper, this record, for me, is based on my illness. 

M.I. -  Between “Illwill” and this one ten years went on. What happened? I also know that you had health problems.

Yeah! That’s a big part of it, of what happened, because I really haven’t felt that good. But also, I think the most important part for taking such a long time is because, when I got the idea, even this is hard, to be inspired to write music, comes from big feelings. Sometimes they are happy, very hard, deep and sincere. So, when I started this one, for a couple of years, I decided not to rush it. I would let all this take the time that it needs. Both my illness, the record and everything. I didn’t rush it. 

M.I. -  Since you’re the only member that has been in the band ever since its formation, was it difficult to write the lyrics? Was it therapeutical for you?

Well, I must say it was not difficult to write it, because I was alone in the band and always wrote everything, from the beginning. So, to write it was not a problem. Of course, it took some time. So, that process was not really different from before. What was different was that, at first, when I didn’t have a band anymore, it was quite a shock. I didn’t know actually how to do this, how to go further, but I found a nice way. I really must say, I enjoyed it. In all this darkness, I really enjoyed doing this. And that’s because I think it was very therapeutical for me to find this idea. To be inspired by this idea, it was like a light in the dark. Because this was in my mind constantly and, instead of having all these depressive thoughts constantly, at least I had something to focus on. If it wasn’t for the illness, it would have been a very amazing experience, I can say.

M.I. -  I hear some David Bowie influence, like Ziggy Stardust era and gothic rock with post-punk tunes, especially Sisters Of Mercy and Pink Floyd are a huge influence here. How did you create the music? What kind of instruments did you use, especially keyboards?

Like I’ve always done. It can come from many things, the ideas. The basic is, of course, my illness and depression, those kinds of emotions. I try to put them into notes and words. But otherwise, as you mention, there are many influences through my life, for making music. But I would say, it’s a natural process. I hear something, maybe in my head and then I wait for it to come back. I never record the stuff the first time I hear them, because I wait until they come back, because, for me, that means that must have something important. I don’t know… you can call it message, or something. 
It’s on the computer side. Not much is done with instruments. I must say, the strings, that’s something I started with, two years ago. Somehow, I got into this orchestral part. I just found the violin so fascinating. So, of course, there are actually six solo strings and orchestral strings behind. There are many strings in here and, of course, different kind of synthetic sounds and also, the usual piano and organ. Some cinematic stuff, as you mostly hear in movies, nowadays. 

M.I. -  This record tells a story and it’s mind blowing. Care to tell us more, please?

Thank you! That means a lot to me to hear people say that. It means a lot! As I already mentioned before, for me, it’s a way out of depression, or let me say, it’s from the inside. When I think of this record, I can see myself inside of some kind of bubble or illness or depression and I wanted to tell a story from inside there. I know that this is quite challenging, both to do, because this kind of emotions, for so many years, they don’t come at the exact moment, they come a little here, there and all over the place. So, it’s very difficult to write these, in a linear way, with music, these kinds of feelings, because it would be like very high sound or thirty minutes of just nothing. 
On top of that story, I made up a story of the cosmonaut, going to the end of the world, where he meets the Ominous brothers and tries to balance these two stories together. You can say there’s a layer, that is like the cosmonaut and it’s also connected with the pictures in the booklet. I don’t know if you have seen them. But this is to make these kinds of emotions, into a more linear and more understandable direct way, I think. And of course, there’s also many other small stories in here, but that’s the main story. 

M.I. -  This story is also connected with sounds, words and visions. What do they represent? For example, the world you’ve created for the character. Where does it take place and the meaning behind it?

The centre piece of the story, on this story of the Ominous brothers, that are on the cover, that was a very early idea, for this record. So, I knew they were in the centre. The first one, the Ominous One, the first brother, is the symbol for the leukaemia, the illness. So, I try to make that song a bit more aggressive, but more from his perspective and the second brother, Ominous Two, is the symbol for depression. So, I try to make him more sneaky, you know? Sneaky into your mind, and when I get weaker, he gets stronger all the time. That’s like the base, for my story. 
The other songs, before that, are mostly about going to a place… the first song is actually mostly meant to give you a certain rhythm in the body and also to take you to this place, far out in the universe, because I thought: “Maybe I could write about how I feel, when I’m in my living room!”. But it didn’t sound so interesting to me. So, I wanted to take the story to another place. So, that’s the first song. Then the other songs, on the record, you can say they are small moments of this decade, that I’ve been experiencing and I’ve tried to make them into understandable things.

M.I. -  This album is so amazing and unique, that even Christian Silver and his team made magic with you, at Studiomega, in Sweden, from a doomy to a more futuristic sound. How do you feel about it and was this record a long-term project, that you had? 

Yes! It’s been almost eight to ten years, I think, for this record, in the making. There are quite some advanced mathematics and stuff in here, because I find all this fascinating. But I have such a long time, so many evenings, when I discuss it with friends and with it myself. Now, when it’s over, it’s a bit empty, of course, but I’m glad that I feel a bit empty, because the more empty you feel, the more important things, you can fill yourself with.

M.I. -  There are lots of diversities, both lyrically and musically speaking. What were your main influences, while writing this material?

If it takes like physical influences, or from bands and so, I would like to think that there were actually not so many new influences from bands. I think, from when I started to play the guitar until now, of course the bands I’ve listened to, are automatically coming into my music, as you have been mentioning them before: Pink Floyd, Sisters Of Mercy, Metallica. What can I say? A lot of bands, of course, but I think for this one, I haven’t actually played so much guitar. I don’t play so much guitar at home, any more. So, I think for this one, I try to be open to new kinds of influences. And I must say, Schopenhauer. He’s really a favourite of mine. A favourite philosopher. His thoughts have been a big influence and also maybe shady people, like Nikola Tesla. I try to learn about old people, like Socrates, Plato, Pitagoras, these people. Those are more influential for me, right now, than other bands. I think the other bands are, of course, influential, but I don’t think about them anymore, because they are already inside my body. I already heard their songs so many times. I try to expand myself to get new influences.

M.I. -  Vladimir Chebakov is the responsible for the cover. And you’ve said on your Facebook page, that to get deeper into the art of Vladimir, we should buy the big booklet. Why only there?

It’s the same. The CD and the Vinyl have the same booklet, but the CD is very small. If you buy the Vinyl, you get the big booklet. I think he’s done a fantastic work, with the pictures. So, that’s why I said that, because I want people to see how good drawings he has done. So, I think that’s better, because, when I look at the CD booklet, it’s very small and it’s nice to have the big pictures.  

M.I. -  “In Gloom” is a bonus track and is very different from the previous ones. Why did you write this song and decide to include it? What’s the meaning of it?

First I must say, it’s a bonus track, because it’s not part of the story. The story ends with the song number 8: “Cosmic Sailor”. That’s why there’s a bonus track. I don’t know why I wrote it. I think one day I just got an idea, for a violin and I put some bass on, did some drums and I almost, immediately, felt that this was a good song. I thought it had something very simple, but at the same time, deep in some kind of way, at least for me. So, I didn’t have the stomach to exclude it from the record. Also, the guys in the studio, said directly the first time, when they heard it: “This must be on the record!”. So, I decided: “Yeah, ok! It must be there, but I will put it as a bonus track!”. 

M.I. -  Between “At The Destination” and “In Wait And In Worries”, what was the most difficult video to produce? Will there be another one?

Actually, AFM had contacted me to make the videos, so, I just gave them the ideas, for how to do it. I think it was a guy, who knows this stuff, so actually, it didn’t take such a long time. It took about a week or two to make it. So, I don’t think it was difficult for him. He sent me some stuff and I changed some stuff. I’m happy that he did it, but if I would have it my way, I would prefer not to have a video, because this is not a record that I wanted to divide into videos. But I totally understand that today, in this world of marketing, you have to have something like that, because it gives attention to the record and to the band.
There will be no more videos, since the record was already released. Sadly, because it is quite fun to watch these videos. I can imagine, if I would have listened to another band, making those, it’s almost like a TV series. You want to watch the next episode.

M.I. -  From your personal perspective, what song means the most for you?

I cannot say. They all mean very much to me. Yeah! I think I may be will shed some tears, when the record comes out, because they are very personal to me. Every part and every sentence, means very, very much to me, because I thought about it for so many years, like from the beginning to the end. 

M.I. -  Despite “Ominous” having a personal meaning to you, do you think that this album can help and reach people with the same or similar health problems as you?

I really think so! Why I think so? It’s based on my previous records and also on old e-mails and stuff, that I get from people. Because I think already from the beginning, even though my earlier records didn’t mean anything like this. I noticed quite early, that there was something in the music I made, that was helping, I cannot say, a lot of people, because Lake Of Tears is not a big band. But some people, at least I hope, this record is more meant for it. It’s mostly meant to help myself, of course. But I think, and I already heard actually from some people that has helped them. I heard from a Russian guy, who I can call him a friend now, because he was so sincere. He and his mother got Covid and was sick for several weeks. Actually, he and his mother were singing these songs together, after a while, because he got an early version of it. So, I know it already has been helpful for some people. And I really hope that it can help more, because it has helped me. 

M.I. -  You have 30 years of career. Have you accomplished everything, musically speaking? Do you have any plans, that you can share with us, please?

Yeah! In all this sadness, I have found some new things. And I think now, I’m more inspired to write music, than I have been in a very long time. Because I’ve learned there’s so much more stuff to do. Maybe not inside the Metal or Rock genre, so much. Of course, I think I will always write something Metal or Rock, also. But as I said, in orchestral music, especially now for me, I think there’s a whole new world in there. So, I feel very inspired. And actually now, I feel good to be alive. There have been many years, that I thought life was not a funny place to be. But now, I feel like: “Oh! I have to be like 90 years old, to be able to do all the things, that can be done!”. 
Yes! I will do some more orchestral work. I already started and I think the first one, will be based on old Lake Of Tears songs, because that’s where I started and are familiar to me. And then of course, I’ll be writing some more other things after that. I also have a project with a friend, Vesa. Vesa (Kenttäkumpu) played the bass on “Ominous” and Christian (Silver) the drums. I have a project with him. We have some songs, it’s already on YouTube, I think. 3-4 songs. I think we will make a couple of songs, now this year, even before the summer. 3-4 songs. Eventually, we will make it into a record, hopefully. That’s that. Then I have some other ideas, but they are not very clear in my head yet. When I think about it, from the last song on “Ominous”, this “Cosmic Sailor” guy, that is going through the universe, I think that can be more stuff happening. I think I would like myself to know where he’s going.

M.I. -  Thanks so much once again for taking your time to talk with us. Any final words for Metal Imperium, please?

Thank you very much. It’s quite more inspiring, to discuss it than I thought it would be. What I would like to share? Of course. I would like to thank everybody, who has been supportive in any way, during all this time, I’ve been playing music. I think this is the greatest reward a person can have. To write something or to do some kind of art and then get people that like it. So, of course, that’s my final words. A BIG THANK YOU!!!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Raquel Miranda