DUNKELNACHT is one of these bands that might seem familiar yet hard to place. Read this interview to find out more. Anders Ekdahl © 2014
Where does the band name come from? Who are the fallen?
Heimdall : The name of the band has no particular meaning. It comes from french “Sombre nuit” (Night shade or Dark night) translate in german. But, this language has a more aggressive and identifiable phonetic. We release the 20th january 2014 our second full-length called “Revelatio” (WormHoleDeath Records). Till 2005, the band has known several line-up changes, but we built a hard core around around Alkhemohr (bass), Max Goemaere (drums), Frost (vocals) and myself (guitars). Only Alkhemohr and me remain members from the first album era.
When you start a band do you do so with a clear intention of where you want to go both artistically as well as musically or does that come with time?
Heimdall : When I started DunkelNacht it was a one-man-band, an ambient/melodic musical project, tinkering with guitars, synths, computers and drum machines. I already composed extreme music and yearned for blackened metal… I knew it would not stay in this form. I evolved artistically through meeting other musicians who took part in the band and I was able to play metal seriously. So, nothing is set in stone… everything comes with time, meetings, influences (music, literature, life…).
This would not be exciting if fate exists. Life is a series of coincidences, complex equations, experiences that characterize us. An artist is thriving on all these components.
How did the idea of DUNKELNACHT come together? How tough is it to get the right people together?
Heimdall : This idea came only in my mind in the 2005-2007 period. I played with former members tracks that would become “Atheist dezekration” (our first album). I considered seriously record the album. Finally, the current guitarist of this epoch has abandoned and Alkhemohr joined the band as bass guitarist in 2007. The original vocalist (Exp:/13) took part in the adventure too and we recorded the album as a trio.
During lives shows and touring, Exp:/13 gave up too. The latter was replaced by Déhà, a belgian live vocalist and we “hired” a lot of guests for second live guitar. After not having found the right people, Max, Alkhemohr and myself stabilize the line-up with Frost. We decided that I will be for the moment the only guitarist of the band, less humans, less problems… Everyone has its role : I compose the music, Alkhemohr writes the lyrics, Max performs and improves drumming, Frost burns the microphone.
In forming a band is it important that there is a strong local scene? How has the internet changed the feeling of community in being a local band playing local shows? Does it still feel that you are a product of your surrounding area?
Heimdall : In actual fact it depends on the project. An artist/band who would be only interested in a studio/recording development of his music does not need a local scene to broadcast. Recording techniques are more than ever at hand also. Since internet has grown up to be an integral part of our lives, the spreading of an artist remains greatly facilitated. Thus, the meaning of “local scene” becomes overused because internet is a window to the world now (Facebook, Soundcloud, Bandcamp…). However, this local scene remains important because it is a link in a national scene or musical style (formerly black metal was synonymous with Norway or Death metal was predominant in the U.S.). In addition, it can boost an area, so the organization of concerts, trade between musicians/artists …
I do not consider that we are a product of our local scene for reasons of “globalization” of metal music. We are not anymore in a system where local scene rhymes with exchanges of tapes, but in a global dynamic where anyone in the world can access to cultural resources from different backgrounds.
What cool bands are there in your region that you’d like to push for? Is competition a good or bad thing in your area?
Heimdall : In our area, I like Bliss of Flesh because their music sounds good to me, an evil black/death metal with melodic guitar riffs. I can also quote Alexor and his famous band Agressor, they kick ass. I like the old school death metal of Death Agony too, especially on stage. I personally do not think there is real competition between bands, at least I do not feel it. Every artist is different, each follows its way and it is the public who decides ultimately …
When you record your first songs do you do that as a sort of showcase just to make your name known or do you do that with a grander intent of becoming world famous?
Heimdall : It was just a way to celebrate the first full-length “Atheist dezekration”. The latter was a very hard labour and the showcase cames a few months after the release. We invinted the local press and organized interviews mainly with webzines and local radios. Indeed, it was a promotinal event too but first of all, an opportunity to gather all the actors of the local metal scene.
Is it important that the band has both a musical style that is its own as well as a graphic look that can easily be identified?
Heimdall : The visual identity of a metal band has always been important, whether at the logo or album artworks. Although the covers may vary from one album to another, because of the music or concept, the logo often remains a hallmark. Many bands have chosen to have several logos that each define an era. We chose to evolve ours with the music we produce. We kept the angular “DN” from the first album and have simplified, made it more efficient while maintaining our singularity. Nevertheless, we also took advantage to use a more readable alternative typography that allowed us to avoid technical and graphical issues. Dimmu Borgir, Immolation and others have already done.
What kind of reactions have you had to the band and its music so far? What is the furthest away response that you have had?
Heimdall : The first album “Atheist Dezekration” (M & O Music) was very well received by critics. This card has allowed us to be discovered by the extreme metal audience. We generated a lot of debate and strong reactions on metal music blogs against the anti-religious lyrics of this first opus. This is proof that our music has an interest ! We currently play a new setlist on stage mixing old and new songs from “Revelatio”. The audience is very receptive to the atmosphere and dynamism that we breathe on stage. This is the main goal ! A sincere entertainment with sincere musicians…
Do you agree that digital is killing the music scene as we know it now?
Heimdall : I cannot answer drastically yes or no to this question. I especially think that artists and record companies must adapt to changes in the market operated for ten years now. Although the mainstream suffers more from this mutation, specialized labels are not spared. Even if the metal audience remains a community of enthusiasts (such as jazz, blues music and many others…), the “kids” have grown up in the digital era and don’t buy compact discs or LP anymore… Although I’m not really materialistic, object often has a central role in art. It is the realization of a concept, the transition from abstract to concrete, the ability to see and touch… I am disappointed to see that this world is engulfed in this mass consumption, quantity over quality…
What future is there?
Heimdall : The future of DunkelNacht is to defend “Revelatio” album on stage obviously, compose new songs, spread our ideas and always become better musicians/artists. You can find official news at dunkelnacht.info. You can contact the band through the latter or via facebook in order to support us. A pre-sell of the “Revelatio” album and the merch (T-shirt, girlies…) are available. That’s all for now folks ! Thanks a lot for this interview.