Dark Age interview (02/2008)
|With:||André Schumann [Drums]|
|Conducted by:||White Winter Sun (e-mail)|
- Hi, thank you for allowing this interview, it's a great pleasure to do it with you! So, please introduce yourself and your music to the people that may not be familiar with Dark Age.
Hi Vincent, here is André the drummer of the band. Dark Age is a modern melodic death metal band from Hamburg/Germany. We started the band as young pupils about 13 years ago. The core of the band (Eike (vocals, guitar), Martin (keys) Jörn (lead guitar) and me) sticks together since the recording of our first album in 1998. Our home base is Hamburg/Germany. Including Minus Exitus we released 5 albums, 1 CD with re-recorded demos and a double DVD. Our music originally started heavily influenced by black, doom and death metal and developed to something more modern and broad up to now.
- Your new album, entitled "Minus Exitus", will be out on February 22. Can you tell us who writes and contributes to the music? Also, can you explain the title of the album?
Of course our guitarists write the main part of the music. When they come up with some riffs we try to arrange those to songs together with drums in the rehearsal room. After that we usually add keyboards and bass. This time we also tried different procedures. E.g. some demos were arranged directly in the studio by Eike and Jörn (e.g. "Exit wounds") or completely written by one person (like "The Dying Art Of Recreation" by Jörn) and I came up with my drumming ideas on that. Most of the vocal lines are created in the studio when the instrumental recordings of a songs are finished. Unlike the music that is put together by the whole band the lyrics are completely in Eike's hands.
The lyrical concept behind the title is a double negation: Minus times minus is plus and minus death (exitus) means life. I find two interpretations to this title: First, you can turn negativity into something positive. For us our music is like a therapy: we take our negative emotions and convert them into positive energy. My second interpretation of the title can be described as follows: Only by being aware of your mortality you will probably take the time to enjoy your life. Most people live in the future or even in the past but not in the present. They repress death and live with anankastia. The awareness that this day could be your last day may let you act different. So Minus Exitus (=life) can also mean that most people are already dead in their daily lives.
- What were your favourite times when recording this album? Any difficult moments or funny stories ?
Like with the last album we wanted to give the production again into Eike's hands. I think it is very cool that we can work very intimately in the studio while creating the music without the "disturbance" of an extern person. This family feeling is very good captured on the studio report on our bonus DVD - there is a total different atmosphere than in the typical studio reports of other bands. Eike moved with his studio and we were the first band really recording in it. It turned out that the studio had sound isolation problems and neighbors did complain about the noise. Solving the sound isolation problems lasted over four weeks. So we were not able to finish the recordings before the studio was entered by other bands that booked it. The only thing we could do was to always record a little bit whenever the studio was not occupied for a few days. Concerning funny stories: yes, we had a good time in the studio but the real funny things happen when we are on tour and drunken (this is also documented on the bonus DVD). In the studio we normally work very disciplined and we all sleep at our own homes since the studio is in Hamburg.
- Sadly, Thorsten Eggert had to leave the band in late 2006. "Minus Exitus" is the first album with your new bass player, Alex Henke. How is it going with the new Dark Age line-up ?
Unfortunately, we could not go on with Torsten because he didn't show enough commitment. But we divorced as friends and we wish him all the best for his future. Alex integrated very well in the band. He is not only an excellent bassist and shows a great stage performance he also does a lot of other work for the band what really helps us a lot. We know him and his band Philiae (post industrial rock) already since years. So we are still a band of 5 friends.
- Only four dates are mentioned on your website (one for the "Minus Exitus" release party and the other three for festivals). Do you plan a European Tour or something like that to promote the new album ? Any venues/countries you would like to play in the future?
We are definitely working on more dates. We like to go on a European tour as a support for a bigger act. We also dream of touring in Japan for the first time. Our shows in France were always very special thanks to the great audience. I don not want to promise too much because it is not concrete yet but we plan a little tour in France in May.
- Since your debut you have done more than 120 concerts all over Europe. You also released your first DVD recently (2006), entitled "Live, So Far...". This DVD is a whole Dark Age concert filmed on the "10 years Dark Age Anniversary Gig" in Hamburg/Germany on the 3rd of September 2005. It also contains a huge bonus with uncut history of Dark Age from 1995 to 2005, unseen live performances, studio diaries from all recordings, raging backstage parties, ... Was it a good experience or was it really annoying to have cameras shooting rehearsals and asking you annoying questions... like me actually?
I like this question! Unfortunately the promotion and marketing for the DVD was not very successful so only a few people took notice of it. I'm glad that you did!
The DVD was a nice experience but it was much more work than expected. Viewing all this old tapes and making a history out of it was of course cool but very, very time intensive. All the footage material was mainly shot by ourselves or by our friends. For the concert we had real professional cameras and a team of students and friends. For me it was a good experience to play on a big stage and being filmed.
- "Live, So Far…" contains songs from every album of the band. Do you prefer playing particular songs/albums on stage or do you pick songs from both albums like on the DVD?
We always play songs from all our 5 albums if the time allows it. Of course the focus is mostly on the newer material. With the time we found out which songs work good live and these are the ones we play. When we write songs nowadays we also always think about the live implementation.
- What bands have inspired you the most? And do you have any favourite artists these days?
I think this depends on which band member you ask. We are all really open minded in the music we listen to and everybody has his own preferences. Concerning the sound an the development of the band, I think the following bands influenced us during our career:
Katatonia, Hypocrisy, Samael, Dissection, Paradise Lost, Metallica, Machine Head, In Flames, Soilwork, Yngwie Malmsteen.
- What are your thoughts on the "Gothenburg" and "Metalcore" genre of today? Are there any newer artists that capture your imagination?
Again, here everybody would answer different. Concerning In Flames: I'm more a fan of their earlier albums, Jester Race is my favorite. In Metalcore, I like e.g. Killswitch Engage and Heaven Shall Burn. My real favorites are mostly bands that escaped the typical guidelines of Scandinavian black and death metal like Arcturus, Borknagar, Opeth or Katatonia. I also really love Nevermore, Machine Head, Metallica and the greatest hits of Korn.
- In this beginning of 2008, what can we wish for Dark Age ?
We wish us that a lot of people worldwide will take notice of "Minus Exitus" and like it. And we hope that our tour plans that I described above will become reality and that we will play some cool bigger festivals.
- Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Do you have any last words for our readers/your fans or to close out this interview?
Yes, you could imagine what: "Hey readers of the metal storm webzine: Try out our new album "Minus Exitus" and give it some repeats to get the hooks! We have a new website online: www.dark-age.eu. Please check it for tour dates and come to our shows if we play in your region. If you do not have the opportunity you can see us playing live on our DVD."
Finally, I want to thank you for this interview and I wish you all the best for your webzine!
Many thanks to André, Dark Age and Jérôme of Underclass
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