Profile: Michael Kadnar and Lulu Black of This Is Oblivion

This Is Oblivion
Image courtesy of Sarah Adler

This Is Oblivion are on the eve of releasing their self-titled debut and if dark, moody, captivating, and heavy as lead (not talking pig squeals and pinch harmonics here) are considered a good time, run and don’t walk to get your copy now. The duo of Michael Kadnar and Lulu Black have on their hands a debut release that winds effortlessly through doomy dirges, dark folk, industrial tinges, and whip smart lyrics with extremely engrossing and catchy song craft. No doubt comparisons have, and will, be made to Chelsea Wolfe but that’s only a small piece of the pie. The album is “an exploration of the cyclical nature of connection” which is heard throughout as the songs play out like draining seasons or the feeling of meeting new friends or the nature of losing someone close. I said before this album is engrossing and that’s putting it lightly, it tugs at the deep recesses of the brain and soul and not only creates a connection but begs for further exploration. Just ahead of the album’s release we posed our set of Profile questions to pull back the curtain a little and gain more knowledge of this project so read on to see how it went down and be sure to grab a copy via the links contained within.

How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?

Lulu: I started playing violin at the age of 3 but I didn’t start writing my own music until I hit my 20’s. I have a few personal benchmarks I haven’t achieved yet, but for me, success is as simple as creating what you set out to create with vulnerability and integrity, and having that creation resonate with other people on an emotional level.

Michael: I started playing music in elementary school, but got my first official drum set in middle school. I’ve joined some of my favorite bands (The Number 12 Looks Like You, So Hideous, and Downfall of Gaia) and toured with my favorite band (The Dillinger Escape Plan). So I’m pretty satisfied with what I’ve achieved. Now I am searching to create exactly what I want to. 

What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny/embarrassing story.)

M: Don’t have any stories like that, but the funniest story was when we got a fancy hotel somewhere in Germany, and a label manager and I had to split the room. The town was DEAD, and everyone in the band went to sleep early (like responsible humans). So the label manager and I drank everything in the mini fridge and smoked outside in the snow flurries while listening to 80’s hair metal. The next day was … tough. 

What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?

L: Good thing – more female fronted bands in a very male-dominated genre. Bad thing – fuckin Nazis.

M: Really proud of all the LGBTQIA bands and fans for raising awareness and being visible. Sick of all the Fascists. 

It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?

L: The climate change crisis has been in the forefront of my mind since I started writing music. The knowledge that we have a limited amount of time not only to live individually but as a species, and feeling basically helpless in that knowledge, while bearing the drive to create something worthwhile, yet knowing that what we create might not even be remembered or preserved beyond our lifetime makes me want to simultaneously lie down on the ground and wait for the moss to take me, or write faster, do everything I can to help as fast as I can.

M: Workers rights. We don’t have these topics in our lyrics, but we have donated some of our record label proceeds to numerous foundations like ACLU, Ali Forney Foundation and SWOP (Sex work IS work). 

What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?

L: I still consider myself a goth more than a metalhead. My parents were never the most supportive when it came to things like my self expression or individuality, but I’m very happy with the influence that heavier and darker music has had on me.

M: My older sister took me to my first concert, and of all shows it was Korn, Disturbed and Trust Company. Ahhhh, the good ol’ days. That’s where it all started. Also, my older brother pre-ordered the Fragile by Nine Inch Nails on CD and had a copy sent to my house. That album (still) is a huge influence for me. 

What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?

M: I think having more unique questions (like this interview) and finding new angles to explore is very important. There are so many bands and so many sub genres, but how many bands out there go to the gym together or play street hockey on weekends or have a book club? 

What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.

L: For starters, we’d like to tour. We’ve already started writing again.

M: No cults for us please. We would love to own some chickens and live off the land a little more. We both enjoy fitness and cooking. I run Silent Pendulum Records, a mostly vinyl record label that has been growing into a full time commitment. It definitely started as a hobby, and now has grown into something so much more. This is Oblivion will also be released under my label. 

When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently?

L: Darkher – “The Buried Storm” and Gesaffelstein – “Conspiracy Pt 2” lately when I’m at the gym.

M: Anything Hans Zimmer, Mark Guiliana or Tigran Hamasyan. 

What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?

M: The album comes out this week and the vinyl and soft merchandise should be arriving soon. We did a pretty sick black tea collaboration with Old Growth Alchemy. We are writing again and considering some collaborations later this year. And we will have our debut performance sometime this summer or fall in Brooklyn.

Summarize your band in exactly one word.

THICCC.

Many thanks to Michael and Lulu for their time!


This Is Oblivion will be available May 6 on Silent Pendulum Records. For more information on This Is Oblivion, visit their Instagram page.

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