The Band: Gateway
The Man: Robin van Oyen
Interview by Vpower
Gateway is the solo project of musician Robin van Oyen, from Belgium. He does everything, from the beginning to the end. Death/Doom Metal with a very oppresive atmosphere, you almost can touch it with your own fingers. He has released this Gateway in 2015 but has recently, afterwads, published another EP, called Sight of Malevolence. Non stop. I do stop to chat a little him.
Hello Robin, last July you released your debut album, “Gateway”. The first surprise is that it’s a one man-project. What is the reason for walking alone?
I always had the desire to express myself through music. More as a storyteller with cool concepts, not necessarily technical or professional. I never really found the right people that went with my ideas of creating music, so I started doing things myself. That's how Gateway was born.
Did you have any kind of cooperation from other musicians or it’s 100% your creature?
Please, tell us a little about your curriculum vitae?
Gateway is a Bruges based one-man death/ doom project infused with dreadful sludge and ancient medieval horror. I used alot of inspiration from my hometown and blended it together with my love for extreme metal.
In 2014 you released Aeternae, a demo with 3 songs. The track “Kha'laam” is also included in your new album. Is there an evolution between both releases or is basically the same approach?
Kha'laam was finished, so I re-recorded it with a few subtle guitar tweaks and a slightly different vocal delivery for the full-length. So yeah, its kinda the same thing with some polished edges.
Talking about the sound you melt in this “Gateway” , well, it’s difficult to express it with words and the best is to listen to it, but sometimes it is so thick, dark, rainy even… What were you trying to transmit?
A murky feeling of desolation and claustrophobia. I think low-ends are essential in this type of music but are often overlooked. I wanted to create a devastating wall of sound that sounds "right' without following any rules.
I truly think you got it. I like the drums work. I mean, for being a one man-band, the drums are very well defined and polished, usually they are programmed in this type of projects...
Programmed or not, if it works it works.
As a musician, which was the most difficult part when composing and recording “Gateway”?
Finishing ideas. It's easy to come up with crushing riffs and grooves, but hard to put the pieces together.
I think the cover art is very interesting. It reminds me of some old painting from past centuries, for example Rembrandt’s “The Anatomy lessons”. What did you seek with it?
It should add to the atmosphere and overall Medieval concept of the album. When opened, the front cover shows the full engraving of a man on a torture rack.
What are you main musical influences?
Old school doom, death and sludge metal (early 90's) and all kinds of stuff from the Dark Ages, where my hometown Bruges was an important part of.
Before the Gateway project, what were you doing in the Metal scene? Did you share band with other guys?
Gateway is my first real "band", before that I was mostly jamming stoner rock with some friends
You have in mind to continue as a solo artist or this was just a challenge, something you wanted to try and now you will go back to a traditional band formation?
Well, with the right motivation and ambition everything is possible, especially in this day and age. Gateway was born as a solo project, a full band will eventually be formed in the (near) future.
Looking at the future, what is your idea for the next work, you will do the Doom Death Metal thing or anything can be expected?
Sure, keeping the doom/ death flag high. I actually got another instrumental solo thing going on with Cyclopean Space Apparatus (https://cyclopeanspaceapparatus.bandcamp.com/ ), but that's more of an experimental sideproject where alternate ideas take place.
Is the Belgium Metal scene the best environment for a project like yours or you don’t care about it?
Well I don't. We do have some great artists in all different genres around here, but as far as Belgian death/ doom goes I'm part of a small minority with Gateway. So it's not the ideal place to gain a huge audience here.
Are you going to tour around with some session musicians?
Yes, that's the plan for next year. I'm meeting up with some like-minded people to see whats possible.
Thank you for your time and congratulations for your work, Robin.
Thanks for the interview and interest!