DAMIEN THORNE

Lately I’ve rediscovered bands that I thought I’d forgotten all about. DAMIEM THORNE is one of these bands that I knew of back in the days. Anders Ekdahl ©2011

Damien Thorne has been in my conscious for many years but only as a marginal entity. What was it that prevented you from going big?
-Well, I think in the early years we were just too young and naive to sustain ourselves as a band. We didn’t know anything about how the music industry worked, and we had bad advice from the people around us. We thought that all we had to do was make great music, and the rest would just take care of itself. It’s not enough to be a good musician, you have to be a business man as well.

Having been around as long as you have and not really making it big, what kind of motivation drives you to carry on?
-It may sound cliché, but the music is the motivation. I still get excited when I strap on a guitar! I wouldn’t know what else to do with myself if I wasn’t playing or teaching music. And the other guys in the band are guys that I have known for 30 years, we are like brothers. We create music that we enjoy, we’re not worried about making it big.

In hindsight there are many things you’d probably would have done differently but what are your greatest achievements?
-I don’t really know what we would have done differently, we did everything we could do within our power. The one thing that I have always been proud of with Damien Thorne, is that we never sold out. We did what we wanted to do, and we didn’t let anyone change us, even if it did cost us some success. When we came out with the first record in 1985, we were teenage kids, with no money, and very little support from the record labels. Whatever promotion that record had, we did ourselves. And even with limited resources, that record is still popular today. We created something out of absolutely nothing, and we are still going strong today.

What era of your career has been the worst being a metal band? Did you have any plans on changing style just to get a taste of success?
-Changing anything just to be successful was never an option. I think the early nineties was a bad time for Damien Thorne, and metal in general. Grunge was becoming popular, and at least in the USA, metal was struggling to survive.

What was it that inspired you in the beginning? How has that changed with time? Is it still the same things that inspire you today?
-I have always been inspired by all types of music, it doesn’t have to be metal… it just has to be good. I still listen to the same bands today that I did 30 years ago. I just listen to a larger variety now.

Every band tries to define their sound. What are the characteristics that define your sound?
-I don’t know that you can work to define your sound, I think you have to be true to what you like, and play how you feel, and then your sound will come out of that. I think Damien Thorne’s sound was a direct reflection of our personalities. The Damien Thorne lineup that was together for the first 2 records had a very unique chemistry, and you can hear that in the music.

What kind of reactions have you had to your latest CD? How hard is it today to sell music on CD to a generation that is stuck in front of a computer screen?
-The latest CD is “End of the Game” which was released on CD in March 2011, and the vinyl copies were released November 2011, on Killer Metal Records out of Germany. So far, it has been very successful. We have already doubled the sales from the previous CD, and they are getting stronger again with the new release of the vinyl record. Yes, it is hard, however to sell CD’s to today’s generation. It’s too easy for people to get free downloads off the internet. And most people don’t want a CD anymore, they just want digital downloads for their iPod. As a band, you just have to find ways to adapt.

Is playing live still a big part of selling a band or has that scene to changed? How do you go about getting people interested in hearing your music?
-That’s a great question. Yes, playing live is always the best way to sell or promote a band. You have to do everything you can possibly do, interviews, magazine reviews, radio, and most importantly, get out and play. And try to play in a wide variety of places. Damien Thorne has never played in Sweden, but we would love to. Because we don’t have very much money, we can only visit Europe and other countries once a year or every 2 years. This year we were in Germany. Next year we will play a Festival in Denmark. Maybe we can visit Sweden as well…

If you play all your four albums back to back how do they fare in comparison?
-I think that they are all great albums, but they are very different. “Sign of the Jackal” is very heavy and aggressive. “Wrath of Darkness” is more progressive and complex, one of my favorites. “Haunted Mind” is heavy and powerful, has a more modern edge. And “End of the Game” I think is also a very powerful album, very old school metal. If you like bands like Black Sabbath, early Judas Priest, then you should like this album as well. I really don’t want to make 2 records that sound exactly alike, but then again, I don’t try to dictate what a recording is going to sound like. Whatever the band is feeling at the time, is what we write. People always come to me and say, “why doesn’t the new material sound like “The Sign of the Jackal”? And the only answer I have for them is, that we are 30 years older, we are not the same kids we were in 1985. Can I write an album that sounds like the first album? Sure, but why would I? I already wrote that record. Seriously, I’m very, very happy that people love that record, but just give the others a chance as well, I know they will like them too.

With only 4 albums to your name and a career spanning 28 years you gotta have so many avenues to explore. What would you like for Damien Thorne to bring with it?
-We just want to keep playing, and recording and hopefully release a new CD every year from now on. There are some great young bands out there right now, so hopefully the metal scene will continue to grow, and get stronger.

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