Darkane Throws Down the Gauntlet
November 11, 2005 at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ I had the priviledge of being one of the first to interview Darkane. My interview with Darkane was with Klas Ideberg, one of Darkane's amazing guitarists. Klas was very kind, eager, and appreciative of being able to do the interview with me. During the interview we talked Darkane's new album, "Layers of Lies", how Darkane came to be, and the theory that In Flames will never be able to play any of Darkane's songs.
After the interview, Klas was very kind to me and took me to get my "Expanding Senses" booklet signed by the whole band. Also, I was with one of my best friend's who loves Strapping Young Lad who Darkane was touring with, along with Fear Factory as the headliner. My friend had mentioned that it would be an amazing idea if Strapping Young Lad were to sign his bong and if we were to smoke with them, I mentioned this and a few hours later, my friend was living his dream, all thanks to this amazing Swede.
At this time, I'd like to also thank Strapping Young Lad for sharing their booze with me and direct everyone's attention to the following interview, enjoy!
Savagebutcher: How has the tour been so far?
Klas: Very good. Most of the people are here before we start the show, so that's a very good. For us, being the opening band, it's been very good. It's gone very well. We've been sharing a bus the Strapping Young Lad guys, until today; we're on the Soilwork bus.
Savagebutcher: This being your first time in the America are you enjoying the country and how are the crowds here different from the ones in Europe?
Klas: We are enjoying the country for sure! We've only made it over here before on the Milwaukee Metal Fest. Since this is the first real tour, of course we are enjoying the tour! The crowds have been awesome to us, compared to Europe, they're wilder here. Moshing is pretty rare in Europe, it's more like people shouting and banging their heads, so it's a little bit different, but very cool.
Savagebutcher: Being from Sweden and many bands being labeled as having the "Gothenburg sound", could explain what the "Gothenburg sound" really is?
Klas: Well, for starters, we're not from Gothenburg. The Gothenburg sound started, I think, with the melodic death metal stuff. Now, the Gothenburg sound is like In Flames and stuff. I think it's a mixture of melody and aggression.
Savagebutcher: What do you think of other Swedish bands?
Klas: I love The Haunted, Soilwork is really good. We love Meshuggah, At the Gates. I'm not a big fan of In Flames, but the Clayman album is alright. There are a lot of good bands.
Savagebutcher: Why do think metal is so popular in Sweden?
Klas: If you consider all the genres of music in Sweden, metal is still pretty small. Now it's getting bigger; it's getting bigger and bigger all the time. Now it's bigger than it ever was, there was a period in the 80s where hard rock was really popular. Now, metal is really popular. I actually think bands like Hammerfall, In Flames, and Meshuggah stepped it up a couple notches when it comes to quality. The metal scene became a little more common in media and is on the up rise. I don't know why, I actually think Hammerfall is a big reason for that. I don't like Hammerfall at all, but they kind of made metal seem ok again. Everyone spit at metal during the 90s, now it's so much better.
Savagebutcher: How has the metal scene changed from when you were growing up?
Klas: Well, it's been changed from being a hard rock scene in the 80s-90s, then more like a hardcore scene, and then the only metal that was popular was like Machine Head, Metallica, Slayer, and Iron Maiden. Now, there's so many bands coming up from Gothenburg and stuff that's gaining a lot of popularity in Sweden. That's the difference, going from very soft rock to the more extreme stuff that's very popular now.
Savagebutcher: How did you get into metal?
Klas: When I heard Kiss' "Destroyer", I was sold. Later, when I bought "Balls to the Walls", from Accept, I was definitely sold. I think that was in '83. Then, when Metallica came, I was like "Oh dear God!"
Savagebutcher: Darkane released their 4th album, "Layer of Lies", in July, what were some difficulties recording, coming up with the material, producing, and mixing your own album?
Klas: When it came to the songs we had a few difficulties because, first of all, I had a bad back. I had a split disk so I couldn't do any songs for 6 months or so, which was when we were supposed to do a new album. Then, I was fixed; then Peter (Wildoer, drummer) got fucked up and had a lot of problems with his wrists and he couldn't play for six months. At that time, I started writing my songs and started working on songs together with the rest of the band. I think they were done in August last year; we recorded the album which took a long time because we did it ourselves in our spare time. We all have day jobs, fortunately I work as a sound engineer, Peter and Andreas (Sydow, vocals) has a lot of knowledge as well. Jorgen does all the "fixing" jobs, everyone has something do. It took a lot of time since we did it ourselves and it took of hard work, but I think it turned out very well. We are all very proud of the album.
Savagebutcher: Why did you choose to produce and mix your own album?
Klas: Well, from the start we asked Daniel Bergstrand, who produced our old albums. He couldn't do it because he was busy with In Flames and a couple other bands. So, we decided to do it ourselves since we sort of had our own studio at the time. When we decided to do it ourselves, we bought a lot of stuff so it was more professional. The last time on "Expanding Senses", it was 50% us. All the guitars, bass, choirs were us, the drums and vocals were done in Daniel's studio.
Savagebutcher: You used the same producer for all of your releases except this one, what's the reason you did this, but then chose to produce yourselves?
Klas: Sure we like Daniel Bergstand's productions. He's a great producer, especially when it comes to drums and vocals. When it comes to guitars, he's weak, they sound to muddy in his productions, which I don't like. We wanted a dryer album were you can every note on the rhythm guitar. We wanted an album were you can hear everything and that's why we wanted to do it ourselves. I actually wanted to do it myself to get the experience, I had already done a couple albums with other bands. This is the first we had done everything by ourselves.
Savagebutcher: How was the switch from recording the last 3 albums in Dug Out Studios, to the band's own, Not Quite Studios?
Klas: Well, the big difference is that we had a lot of time. We had unlimited time to do it, the record company wasn't like "Ok, when's the album ready?!" During the end, it was very stressful because we had a deadline and thought "Ok, we have 5 months to do it, no problem", we actually over did it by 2 weeks. Peter and I were working 24/7 mixing, I did most of the mixing, Peter did the pre-mixing. We finished the mixing on the morning we were supposed to do the mastering of the album. I had to get a car, drive half an hour to Gothenburg and leave the master tapes to Peter. So, it was a lot of work, but fun.
Savagebutcher: Having started the band from Agretator, then forming Darkane and having a vocalist change from Lawerence Mackroy, for the first album, how do you feel the band has evolved musically and personally?
Klas: Musically, with the "Rusted Angel" album that was all written by Christopher (Malmstrom, guitar), and Peter Lawerence was sort of a paid vocalist. He did a very good job though. He didn't want to spend that much time with band, so we got Andreas instead. Vocal styles differ definitely, Andreas has a more mature voice, and the production is different in the beginning, it was more straightforward death/thrash metal. If you take "Insanity" (2001, 2nd album), there was very complicated stuff going on with the guitars and drums. All the arrangements on the songs were very difficult as well; on "Expanding Senses" (2002, 3rd album) we wanted to do a heavier album. I think we want a more aggressive sound and this is the most mature album. Personally, I think we're all better friends; we're a tightly knit band. We all respect each other more than the beginning. We don't have any problems fortunately; we all know our places and don't scream at each other.
Savagebutcher: Darkane is described as thrash/death metal; do you think this label fits the band?
Klas: Sure, definitely. We still have a lot of death metal influences in the music. I think mostly it's more thrashy now compared to "Rusted Angel", which was more death metal compared to thrash metal. I don't know if the other guys are going to agree with me, then "Insanity" was kind of a mix of progressive stuff. Now, I think it's a good description of the music, along with a lot of melodic influences as well. I don't care what people think, as long as people aren't like "They're from In Flames, they sound like In Flames". We don't have the "Gothenburg sound".
Savagebutcher: Darkane's musicianship is always complemented and described as technical, what are your thoughts about this?
Klas: We are a pretty technical band, that's for sure. It's not shown on stage though because we're pretty wild on stage. We don't care if we play a few notes wrong; we have to put on a good show, that's really important for us. So what, if you play a few wrong notes, who cares, nobody hears that, even it does sound good. We all screw up sometimes.
Savagebutcher: There seems to be a fan rivalry between Darkane and In Flames, could you explain this?
Klas: It's probably because we used the same producer, come from the same country, have melodic choruses, and I think that's pretty much it. Those three things are so different, In Flames and Darkane are so different. Maybe the production of "Expanding Senses" is like the production on In Flames albums, which I can agree on. That wasn't our intention, which was another reason we did the album ourselves, we didn't want the "Bergstrand sound". Comparing us to In Flames is pretty lame because we're faster than In Flames and much more technical. In fact, I don't think In Flames would be able to play our songs because it's so technical. Of course, they're good guys, but it's so different, I don't know why they compare us to In Flames!
Savagebutcher: What are the bands plans after the tour?
Klas: Well, we're going to have some time off and there are some talks of a Europe/Australia/Japan tour in May, nothing definite yet though. Then, of course, we have to come back to the states. We HAVE to!
Savagebutcher: What is some advice you could give to people trying to get into the business and aspiring musicians?
Klas: Stay true to what you're doing. Don't sell yourself. You can listen to people knowledgeable in the music world, but you should never change your music style/direction to what they say. You have to be true to yourself and what you do, because if you do what other people say, you won't be happy with it. You have to keep on practicing, go out and play and play live as much as you can.
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