Darkane - Interview
If you thought that melodic-death metal already offered everything that was possible in this genre than obviously you haven’t listened to Darkane yet. Brutal music at times even going into an extreme blast combined with almost jazz-like arrangements and the unlimited musicianship of the members creates a unique atmosphere almost unheard of in any kind of band out there. You will not sing their songs on the street and not because they are lame, but rather so complex you won’t be able to remember a full song until you listen to it at least a few times. And that’s better than good, enough of nice melodies, it’s time for some serious ass kicking. It seems that Christofer Malmstrom (guitar) has the same point of view, so without wasting any more of your precious time, here is what he had to say...
First off, congratulations on a great second album, "Insanity". It seems that the reactions are mostly positive? How does that make you feel?
Thank you. It feels really great. Most critics are very positive; there are some people that prefer our first album but most of them like "Insanity" better and of course that feels great.
This is your second album and some people might still not know Darkane. Could you give a brief history of the band?
We started in 1998. Before Darkane, for seven years, three of us (me, the drummer and bass player) had a band called Agretator which played very technical music. During those seven years we ran out of inspirations and Peter and I decided to start a new band. We formed Darkane, in summer of 1998 we recorded our first album "Rusted Angel" and now our second one "Insanity".
What happened within the band that Lawrence Mackrory left Darkane?
He has his own band called Forcefeed and he wanted to focus on that band. When we recorded "Rusted Angel" he told us that he wanted to be on the tour with "Rusted Angel" but we should look for another singer for the next album.
So we asked our friend Andreas Sydow if he wanted to try for Darkane so he did and it worked out pretty well for us and he’s permanent member of the band now.
Are you satisfied with War Music’s work and promotion? You added Century Media and Nuclear Blast to the list of your promoting labels.
Well, for "Rusted Angel" wasn’t that much but now since we also have Century Media and Nuclear Blast they do all the promotion and everything looks great.
It’s almost three years since your debut. What took you so long to release "Insanity"?
First of all, it was quite hard for us to find a good time to enter the studio because Daniel Bergstrand - our producer, has a lot of bands; he’s booked all the time. Then we started to deal with all the labels like Century Media and Nuclear Blast, and when all the papers were signed, we recorded "Insanity". We were ready to release it a long time ago but labels wanted to promote it quite hard and that took another few months.
Rusted Angel and Insanity sound great, is that why you’re sticking to Daniel Bergstrand’s Dug Out Production instead of using Abyss or Fredman like most of your peers do?
Yeah, most of the bands use Fredman, but we don’t want to be like most of them [laughs]. Of course Daniel Bergstrand produces a lot of bands too, but most of them are bands that we really like. Strapping Young Lad or Meshuggah are our biggest influences and that’s why we wanted to be with him. We also feel that Daniel is a part of Darkane sound, he has a lot of ideas and he’s not afraid of experimenting with vocals and things like that. And we totally trust him and his talent.
Ok, on both albums you use the additions of orchestra and choir. How did you come up with that idea?
We were on the tour in Europe with Marduk, also from Sweden, and they had a very cool intro, music from the movie Omen. We thought that was really cool, but we also thought that it would be even better if we wrote our own intro. So we tried that. We hired some musicians from a symphonic orchestra and asked few friends to sign in the choir. That was cool and quite an odd thing to do.
Do you write the notes for them? I bet they don’t listen to metal every day...
Peter and I wrote the intro and I wrote the outro. Both of us listen to classical music a lot, I studied classical music, jazz, music theory and things like that so it was quite natural for us to do since we’ve been into it for so long. Although it took us a few days to write that intro cause we never did anything that big before.
You are one of the songwriters in Darkane, how do you go about writing new material? Do you have a specific process that you go through?
Well, yeah you can say that. I write guitar riffs and Peter does the rhythm section and then once a week we get together and we put our ideas into a song. If he has a cool rhythm he will ask me to add a melody or I would ask for killer drum’s parts to my riffs. I think we work very well with each other and that’s basically the way we write our songs.
Are you 100% satisfied with this album or would you change something if you had a chance?
I’m 90% satisfied. You always find something that you could do better. The sound of this album is very big but it’s not as brutal as it was on "Rusted Angel". On "Rusted Angel" we recorded four rhythm guitars and on "Insanity" we recorded just two. Of course you can hear more what’s going on in guitars department much better on "Insanity" but it’s not that brutal any more. A like it but I think the sound could be a little more brutal.
I’m sure there’ll be a bonus tracks on the Japanese release. What is it going to be?
It will be the live version of the song Convicted from "Rusted Angel". It was recorded in our hometown when Lawrence was still singing with us.
How is the underground in Sweden, is everyone familiar with each other? Are you in contact with other metal bands, and bands who play different kinds of music?
We know In Flames, Soilwork, Meshuggah but it’s not really an underground [laughs]. We don’t hang out though, ‘cause we live far away from each other and only festivals, tours or things like that give us the opportunity to meet new bands. Although we live in this same town with Soilwork...
You guys have to be very good friend of Soilwork, so many side projects feature members of both bands (Terror 2000, Defaced).
Yeah, you can say we’re almost like brothers.
With US distribution by Century Media, any chance we'll see you guys on tour in the States? Does Darkane have any tour plans at the moment?
Yes, we have plans, but I don’t think Century Media has any right now [laughs]. I would really like to come to the States, it’s one of my biggest dreams but Century wants to know the album sales figures before they bring us over. I really hope someday they will but nothing is planned yet.
Whose face is on the cover of Insanity?
I don’t know who it is. It’s not one of us. [laughs]
What are your expectations for Darkane in the future?
I really hope to play as many live shows as possible. That’s what I really like. I’m more live person, I don’t like being in the studio. I just hope to record good CDs so people will like it and buy it so we can go on with what we do.
Are there any bizarre stories of the band you would like to share with us?
Well, there is one with our guitarist Klas... One night he was very drunk in the studio and he fell, broke his head and passed out. So, we got him into the hospital and the doctor wanted to shave his head because he had a really bad cut. So, Peter and the rest of the guys had to almost beg the doctor to save his hair ‘cause he plays in the band and it’s one of the most important things to him. Of course Klas woke up next day and had no idea what happened and where he was... Maybe it’s not that cool story anymore but for sure it was then! [laughs]
Your album has just been released but have you already written any new songs? If so, in what way do they differ from the "old" stuff if at all?
We don’t have any complete songs yet, only some ideas. The only thing I can say we won’t be less brutal and we won’t slow down. We’ll try to be as brutal as possible but still with melody...
What has been your favorite release so far this year?
I didn’t listen to too many new releases yet, but so far definitely Soilwork’s "Predator’s Portrait" and it’s not because we are good friend. [laughs] They are really good musicians and this album is just great.
How often do you practice on the guitar?
I did practice a lot when I was in school, instead of studying. [laughs] I used to practice 6-7 hours a day before I turned twenty but now it’s about hour or two a day.
What do you do for a living outside of Darkane?
I work in school but not as a teacher. [laughs] It’s more like a teacher’s help. All the guys outside the band have regular jobs. From music we get enough money to buy new guitars or stuff like that, that’s all.
Thanks for your time! Is there anything you would like to add?
I hope that all metalheads in the States will check out the "Insanity"... I just want to say that it takes a few tries until people understand this material. Yesterday I had interviews with European magazines and almost all of them told me that it took them almost 20 listens until they fully understood it. So, be patient... [laughs]
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