Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Darkest Era Interview
1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?
This album was actually recorded over a year ago, in February 2013. Since then we’ve had a couple of lineup changes, we have an all new rhythm section now in Cameron Ahslund-Glass on drums and Daniel O’Toole on bass. We’ve spent the last year basically playing shows, festivals and going on a UK tour in the autumn, whilst securing a new deal with Cruz Del Sur to release the album next month.
2.You have a new album coming out on June, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical direction of the new recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
I would describe it as the natural step in our musical evolution. It is darker, more visceral, yet more sorrowful in places. I think the songs are more focussed than in the past, there is less meandering in the arrangements. Some of the material pushes the boundaries of our sphere of influence, and other songs are the most straight up heavy metal we’ve done. The band was on the verge of ruination during the conception of the album and as always this has seeped into the tones and themes; it’s a pretty good document of where the band was at that point.
3.I have seen the band labeled as folk metal but I feel that you have a sound that is a little bit closer to being true metal, do you feel you stand out in your musical genre?
Labelling us has always been a problem. We often say we have folk influences but that doesn’t make us folk metal. We incorporate an atmosphere and a certain aesthetic of folk, and there is some musical lineage but really we’re no more folk metal than Solstice are for example. True metal probably isn’t 100% accurate either as our sound is a lot broader than the confines of this subgenre, although there are absolutely lots of true metal influences there. We’re a heavy metal band, let’s say.
4.Your lyrics cover Celtic Mythology, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic?
Actually this has been misconstrued slightly. We had a couple of songs written about Celtic Mythology on our demos and first album, plus some aspects of our artwork and aesthetic reference mythology but in general most of our songs don’t, there are no songs on the new record related to mythology for example. I have always had an interest in the topic though, since I was about 16 really. It’s not an area that is really taught in schools so when I discovered books on the subject, and also Irish bands who were influenced by it, I found it fascinating. The stories, characters and themes tend to lend themselves very well to heavy metal lyric writing as well! Since the last album we’ve been writing about other things, but I guess still retaining the kind of imagery and atmosphere of mythological writings.
5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
There have been many, but most recently we played Ragnarok Festival in Germany in front of a couple of thousand people, which was our biggest ever show. We played with Primordial for their DVD recording which was quite an occasion. We’ve also played with Slough Feg, who are one of our favourite bands so that was a special show for us. In 2012 we did a UK tour with Alestorm, many of the shows were in pretty large venues that sold out in advance so there were some memorable nights there. A sold out Islington Academy in London being one. Our stage performance I would say is totally complementary to our music. We are energetic and people often say that you can tell we really mean what we do. We don’t go through the motions, there is passion and purpose in every note; it can be quite intense from our point of view.
6.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?
Yes we will be playing a number of special one off launch shows over the summer before embarking on a headline tour of the UK in the autumn, details of which we will be announcing soon. Beyond that we will be returning to Europe but it’s too early to say when just yet. We are very eager to hit the road with this record.
7.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of metal?
Very positive, and our fanbase is steadily growing. Since our first demos, which we recorded while still in school, we received a lot of interest from the European metal underground. So from the beginning, although our sound was very formative, we had interest from many far flung places which was very encouraging. Our first album was very well received and ended up on quite a few end of year lists. Metal fans seem to find our material to be the kind of stuff that reveals it’s true quality after repeated listens, when they’ve had time to get their head around what we do.
8.Are any of the band members involved with any other musical projects these days?
Yes we all have several different projects brewing at the minute. Most have not surfaced yet but there is some fairly eclectic stuff being worked on by some of us. Some of it will be of interest to Darkest Era fans for sure so we’ll keep people informed when these side projects come to fruition.
9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
I think we will push the boundaries of our sphere of influence even more and open our sound up. We have a fairly clear idea now of what we want Darkest Era to be and our latest album is the perfect step towards that. The main thing is to move forward, we aren’t interested in staying still creatively. ‘Severance’ isn’t even out yet but there is a collective subconscious feeling among us that the next album is what each of us have been working towards since we starting playing.
10.What are some of the band s or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
I think as we progress we’re looking outward less and less for musical influence and looking more inward. We’re still into the same bands that got us into heavy metal in the first place; Iron Maiden, Bathory, Thin Lizzy, Dio, along with a ton of others. I would still list these bands as influences. In terms of current musical tastes, personally the current crop of heavy metal bands (many associated with Cruz Del Sur) such as Argus, Atlantean Kodex, Slough Feg are occupying my decks quite a bit. Actually myself and Sarah have been listening to a lot of a band called Skalmold lately as well. I approach new music with caution as there is so much stuff out there you have to be choosy, there aren’t enough hours in the day otherwise. But having said that my morning til night playlist could be as diverse as Destroyer 666, Heavy Load, Tom Waits, Blind Guardian, Depeche Mode, Fleetwood Mac. The other guys in the band have a taste as broad as that too or even moreso.
11.What are some of your non musical interests?
The usual shit; books, film, travel, craft beer and quality wine appreciation. Mostly it’s just stuff to colour in the gaps between music and heavy metal. I like to think I’m a not-so-stereotypical metalhead with many different cultural interests and pastimes.. but I pretty much get out of bed each morning with my fist already raised and ready to rock J
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Check us out at darkestera.net and facebook.com/darkestera Never yield, never compromise, vae victis!