1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?
The actual recordings for the new album „Du wilde Liebe sei“ were finished in spring 2020 and mix and master were ready in late summer 2020. And as the pandemic started to peak again in autumn we took some extra time to elborate comprising editions for the album, that is, we spend a lot of time in the mountains and forests here in Tyrol and documented these hikes photographically. Theses photographs resulted in the comprehensive artbook-edition of the new album. Then, we decided to postpone the album and to release it in early summer of 2021, which also marks our 25th anniversary, according to the way we feel this album coming to all new fruition just like nature does every spring and summer…
Due to the fact that this year will be difficult too when it comes to concerts we have already started to work on new music, actually. It seems that quite a lot gathered over the course of the last seven years that is ready to
appear – and of course if feels good to have many ideas available.
2.You have a new album coming out in June, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
As I perceive it personally this is an album that is a natural development of central characeristics such as dynamics, intense organic energy and mystic natural atmosphere – and I have felt that coming for many, many years. Just as our purely acoustic record „In Luft geritzt“ back in 2008 that I wanted to do since I recorded acoustic guitars for our demo tapte in 1997 it was clear to me since 2002 when I had started to experiment with percussive elements that the new album relies on that I wanted to do an album that has both an organic, hypnotic and vitally pulsating fundament consisting of various percussion and bass as well as an uplifting layer of yearning violins, acoustic guitars and vocals. And as some kind of link between the earthy fundament and the atmospheric upper layer I intended to incorporate very palpable-sounding electric guitars that are based on a special level of distortion that gets across an exhilarating blend of – let’s call it - sonic fog and sparkles of light, which I came to appreciate during the last years.
3.This is also your first full length since 2014, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time frame?
After the release of our eigth studio album „Freiheit“ in 2014 we wanted to reunite with our artistic roots consciously. That’s why we communicated that this album might be the last studio album for quite some time. And that’s how things turned out as we all know now seven years later (laughs). In 2014 after 18 years, many studio and live albums, countless concerts and numerous tours throughout Europe in we really felt the urge to reexamine in silence what our initial motivation and joy was to start the band in 1996 and to begin to express ourselves artistically. Moreover we wanted to see which significance artistic expression still had for us. And we did not have to wait long for already back in 2015 new music started to come into existence naturally, that is, intuitively; just the way it has always been with Dornenreich. That showed us quite clearly that artistic expression is deeply interwoven with our way to live and perceive as human beings. To make oneself aware of such coherences can be very inspiring and invigorating for it is quite a challenge to keep up truly dedicated artistic work over 25 years and more so in times like these that have to cope with the – let’s put it that way – digital shift. At least that’s what I experienced.
4.You refer to your music as 'black arcane rock', can you tell us a little bit more about this term?
To begin with it – without any doubt – is a very difficult venture to come up with three words at a max that one puts out there to summarize the work of years (laughs)…However, we wanted to come up with something on our own because people have made up the most adventurous and often quite misleading descriptions in the case of a band like Dornenreich which tends to burst genre boundaries with each and every release.
Besides, we think that this very album sounds like no other album out there. So, we really wanted to do justice to that by labelling it anew as ‚black arcane rock‘. As we perceive it the album has its atmospheric and emotional roots in Black Metal, it is mysterious and arcane in its spiritual depth and it might speak to a lot of different people that have a certain preference for ‚rock music‘ and when speaking of ‚rock music‘ we think of its core as powerful heart- and handmade expression.
5.The band started out playing melodic black metal but has gotten more neo-folk influenced over the years, can you tell us a little bit more about going into this musical direction?
We have always been into hand- and heartmade music on ‚natural‘ acoustic instruments. So, as I have mentioned above there are many acoustic guitars on our demo-tape (1997) and we already had a cello playing on our second studio album (1999). I am a classically trained guitar player and our violionst is a studied violin teacher who has a wide backround in classical music an jazz. So, to us it has always felt natural to work with acoustic instruments as a basis. Acoustic instruments tend to be very honest when it comes to one’s skills as player and to the quality of a song. Whenever the energy, harmony and melody works on acoustic instruments it would work as a metal song as well in all probability. And that’s what we often do: we are working with our music continuously. For instance we elaborate special live arrangements and there are songs that are acoustic ones on the record that we play as metal songs live and vice versa. The acoustic core of our music is the pure well of vital and passionate energy that we try our best to stay in touch with.
6.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music and also how would you describe your progress as songwriters over the years?
This ninth album is a conceptual album that explores the facets, assumptions and misunderstandings of and all around love in the scope of its ten songs. And it does not only cover the relational aspects of love among human beings but also tries to unveil this comprising theme as a special quality to be, to exist – on the most personal level of the single human individual. But don’t get that wrong: this album is far from being a purely romantic affair. There is a lot of darkness and pain that the listener has to face too when joining us on this intense journey for there are countless misunderstandings and entanglements on the vast plains of love.
Regarding our progress as songwriters over the years I would say that I personally like the fact that this new album offers everything from adventurously crafted and quite complex epic tracks as well as very short energetic songs that start immediately. And in spite of the fact that every single song has its very own atmosphere and character the entirety of the album is characterized by a hypnotic flow that – in my perception – relies on the continuous rhythmic structure of the album. The pulse is always there from song 1 to song 9 – be it massive or subtle - whereas the last and tenth song roams freely.
7.You have also had some philosophical lyrics on previous albums, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic?
From the start in the mid-nineties Dornenreich has always been focused on existential contents for we have always experienced artistic expression – and Black Metal in particular – as elemental and profound involvement with the mysteries and qualities of life, of nature, of perception. The human condition in synopsis with the cycles and conditions of nature is – I dare to state – something that we have to face as an individual as well as society as a whole sooner or later.
8.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
We intended to have black/white aesthetics in combination with a lush dark red relying on a photograph at an early stage. And as we share a certain understandig of artistic expression and its aesthetics with Markus Stock our accomplished producer (Empyrium, The Vision Bleak, Sun Of The Sleepless a.o.) it was a great oppportunity to collaborate with him in an additional field. Markus also is a personal friend of mine and that’s why I knew that he is into nature photography early on. I am convinced of his eye, his special talent when it comes to capture atmospheres. The way the distinct „D“ of our logo, the album title and the overall atmosphere of the picture conflate to a very energetic and suggestive whole in this case is something that I am deeply satisfied with.
9.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Whenever we enter a stage we let ourselves be taken on an intense journey by the music. We react to oneother, to the location and to the energy among us and the audience. We really intend to live through the music together with our audience and we dedicate ourselves to this very moment totally. There’s is no click-track, there is just pure will to express, energy – and a lot of sweat (laughs).
Obviously the two shows (metal as well as acoustic) that are documentet on our live dvd (‚Nachtreisen‘) hold a special place in my heart but actually I enjoy every single opportunity to live through the music in a live context together with our audience because there is a tremendous exchange of mutual passion and energy happening every time. And of course I will enjoy it even more – and more consciously, too – when we will be able to reenter the stage for the first time after the pandemic paralysis at this year’s Prophecy Fest in the cave of Balve in September.
10.The band has been around since 1996, what is it that motivates you to keep going after 2 and a half decades?
A profound urge to get in touch with the essence of life in an artistic and deeply human way. It means so much to me to see songs take shape and feel the emotion gathered in there in the most vital and intense way, in a way that gets in touch with other people’s hearts and minds in the end.
11.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your newer music by fans of black metal and neo-folk?
What I really think highly of is the fact that the intensity and integrity of our expression seems to get through to people all over the world regardless of whether they understand the lyrics in the first place or not. The depth in the music speaks and – as a fan of music myself – I dare to say that this depth is rare these days, it is precious and one should stick to it whenever one comes across such a rare gem. At least that’s what I do whenever I discover an artist that is here for reasons I can relate to emotionally (and intellectually) that I have pointed out above.
12.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
At the moment all I know is that we carry a lot of new music, visions, ideas with us and that I hope that it won’t take another seven years until all that comes to fruition. We will remain faithful to our hearts and minds – and we will stay as vivid and passionate as possible. And that means that we will stay unpredictable in the most exciting way one could wish from an artist as I perceive it.
13.What are you currently listening to nowadays?
Whatever touches me in one way or another … Here is a tiny list of some of the music that is on heavy rotation here at the moment. How comprising an entire list would be you can imagine:
Djerv, Aldous Harding, Kampfar, Oehl, Suspiria (OST 2018; Thom Yorke), Faber, Midsommar (OST 2019; Bobby Krlic), Dodheimsgard, Kvelertak, Misfits, Madder Mortem, Kerstin Blodig, Omnia, The Doors, Hexvessel, Primordial, Type o Negative
14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Actually, I would like to thank you for your detailed and interesting questions – and to all of you out there:
If you are into thrilling, multi-faceted and atmospheric music that is hand- and heartmade and if you want to discover an album that sounds like no other recording out there – give our new album ‚Du Wilde Liebe Sei‘ a listen!