Interview with Draconian

Categories: Interviews
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Published on: July 19, 2011

Draconian’s latest A Rose For The Apocalypse has just landed on the public at large. These gothic doom metallers have struck another cord with listeners. Alternative Matter got the chance to talk with the guitarist, Daniel Arvidsson, about the new release and more.

Congrats on releasing such a convincing album as A Rose For The Apocalypse. How’s the feedback coming along so far?

Thank you! So far the feedback has been really amazing. Actually I think we´ve never had so many people enjoying any of our albums before.
And the reviews from different zines all over the world has been really overwhelming. So we are very pleased with the whole situation and the atmosphere in the band is better than ever right now.

What I really like about the album is you manage to come up with some very stirring music with a rich atmosphere within the traditional boundaries of doom/death metal. It may not be the most original approach, but it yields some very strong results. What are your own views on this?

Yes, Johan, who writes most of our music, always manages to create these tunes with such a deep feeling to them. Along with Anders brilliant lyrics, together it creates this atmosphere that has become the trademark of Draconian’s music.

Albums like The Arcane Rainfall and Turning Season Within are very strong albums. Did you feel any pressure to surpass those records while writing A Rose For The Apocalypse?

I don’t think so really. We have always been about making the music that comes to our mind. Always trying to not feel any pressure to outshine any previous albums or so. I think it would be very bad for a band when they find themselves in that situation when they feel that pressure. I´ve seen it so many times with other bands and the results never have a good outcome.

How did the creative and recording process go for A Rose For The Apocalypse compared to the sessions which led to the previous albums?

Well the recording process kind of differs cause of the fact that we used three different studios this time. The drums where recorded at Studio Mega, The guitars and bass were recorded in our own studio and the vocals at Fascination street. And I think it was good way of working cause it made us feel so less stressed about the whole thing and could work in harmony with all pieces in the process. The writing process was kind of the same as it has been before except for maybe the lyrics which this time was made in a very late state, even some during the actual recording of the vocals.

The lyrics and themes touched on your new album are heavy-handed to say at least. To which extent do they reflect the thoughts and feelings of the band and your individual outlook on life?

I can only speak for myself in this matter. And I can very much relate to the lyrics. We are killing ourselves as a species and also the planet we are living on. We can´t go on like we do forever, and I think everyone needs to stop and asking ourselves what the fuck it is we are doing.

How does Draconian carry their distinctive studio sound to a live show, is this a difficult process?

Yes it´s very difficult indeed to be able to do that. But we don’t try so hard to try to achieve that sound as well. I don’t think a band should try to sound too much in their live shows as they do on their records. When I personally go to see a band perform live I don’t want them to sound as they do on their records. I want the true live feeling and I want to hear the songs in a different way. Otherwise I might as well sit at home watching their videos on youtube or whatever.

The thing about Draconian is that we aren’t a band that has been playing a lot of live shows during the years, for many different kind of reasons, which is very unfortunate, both for us and the fans. But hopefully from now on, with the big exposure of the new album and all things will change in that matter and people will be able to see us perform live much more than earlier.

Over the years doom/death metal evolved into gothic metal and now it’s labelled female-fronted metal with bands like Within Temptation, Nightwish and Epica having considerable commercial success. What is your take on that and where does Draconian fit in all this?

I don’t think so much it´s the genre itself that has changed cause there are still so many doom/death bands out there, maybe even more than ever, and there are some truly great ones. I think it´s more about these bands that you mention that has changed their sound and moved on to something totally different kind of music. I guess they have been trying to find a more successful and mainstream way with their music, trying to become successful you know.

When it comes to Draconian I don’t think it´s right to compare us with any of those bands. Ok our sound has changed quite a bit during the years, but I think it´s more about how we have changed as musicians and individuals and we have always kept this dark, doomy atmosphere on our albums. We have never been about trying to be more successful as band. Of course we would love to be able to live by our music, but it´s never anything thats been on our minds when writing our stuff.

A Rose For The Apocalypse to me is one of our darkest albums in many ways and I think the people who listens to it and likes does it just for that reason. It touches them in a so different way than the music of Within Temptation and other mentioned bands does. And it´s one among many things that differs us from the others.

Internet and downloading have changed the music industry forever. Most major labels are gone and social media and other sites give bands almost unprecedented freedom to release their music as they see fit. What is your take on this and what are the (positive) effects for a band like Draconian?

Personally I think it´s both for good and bad i guess. It´s great that so many bands nowadays can reach out to such a big audience without the help from a label, which could fuck them up and steal all they’re money.
It is so easy now for small bands to be able to put out their music and they have chance which we who grew up in the 80´s and 90´s never had.
But at the same time it all has kind of lost it´s charm. Ok, it was hard before, but at the same time it was kind of fun to have that struggle. Put out demo tapes and send it around to hundreds of different labels trying to get a positive answer from anyone, never giving up you know and keep on playing till your fingers bled in the rehearsal studio.

Because of the fact that it is so easy to release your music nowadays there are so many fucking bands out there and such a small amount of them that has any chance to make something of themselves. The whole feeling about having your first copy of your own music printed on a cd was such a good feeling, but now anyone can do that so it´s like they have nothing to struggle for anymore.

For Draconian’s matter I think it´s kinda good, we have found ourselves reaching out to so many different parts of the world, getting mails from fans from countries we never even had heard of before, loving our music. And that is such a great feeling for us. Of course we maybe don’t sell as many CDs as before because it´s a dying thing. But on the other hand I think our fans are such great music lovers that most of them are still true to the industry and will still buy our stuff rather than just downloading it.

What are the records you’re really looking forward to this year and why?

One of the album I was mostly looking forward to this year was the new Morbid Angel album. And shit was I disappointed. It was so far from my expectations that I cant even listen to it. The new Opeth album of course is something I look forward to. Otherwise an album I can really speak highly about (which is already released) is the new Primordial album Redemption At the Puritans Hand. Such a fucking great album, this band always manage to outdo themselves on every album and the new is a great proof that they deserve more credit than they receive.

Time for the final question. What’s next for Draconian and when we can we expect you guys here in the Netherlands?

We have a kinda slow summer ahead of us with no gigs in July. Next up for us in August are two gigs, one at the Brutal Assault festival in Prague and after that we take on Transylvania. We have some gigs throughout the fall and we are working on plans for a tour in Europe sometime in the winter. Hopefully The Netherlands will be at least one stop during that tour. In the meantime you can see us kinda nearby at the Metal female voices in Belgium in October.

Any final thoughts or remarks?

Thank you for this interview!! To all people in The Netherlands, Enjoy the new album and have a look out for us and join us next time we will come and visit The Netherlands!! And don´t forget to buy me a beer or two then, Cheers!!!

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