This year I crossed the way of the Swedish Thrasher Darkane several times - on the No Mercy Festivals in March / April, then at the RockHard Festival and now on the Death Angel tour - this band is touring as much as possible. This time I took the chance to talk to Darkane drummer Peter Wildoer about the latest album, touring, future plans and other stuff.
What I first recognized when I saw your latest release is that the artwork is quite different. Usually metal bands don't use bright colors... How you came up with that?
Well, we wanted to do something different, of course, but then a few weeks later In Flames' new album came out and it was white. And Soilwork... They had white as well. We didn't knew that. You know, we just wanted to do something cool. We wanted to have white frames around the pictures. We thought it looks nice. The whole concept was about all those people built into walls. Built into different concrete blocks and stuff like that. It's an idea I had about 6 or 7 years ago. We weren't able to do it before. But now we had the time to make it come true and we wanted to have this white walls, kinda stereotype... We wanted to keep it very strict. Almost like a hospital. Like a mental asylum...
Like in a hospital where everything is sterile and cold...
Yeah, sterile and cold! Only the white, bright colors. And we wanted to keep that for the whole booklet. I'm still very happy with it.
And also carried it through the website.
Yeah and through the website! I think it goes well with the record. But with the new one we definitely will go back to the old logo, I guess, you know that. I don't know about the artwork of the new album yet. There is a photographer who is really good, but I think he's too expensive... We have to try to make a deal with him...
You started talking about the new album. So I guess, you'll already started writing new songs...
There are 10 songs already finished. We will do 2 more when we go home and then we'll choose 10 of then to end up on the at the record. Probably record all 12 songs and choose then...
Do I remember right, that last time you recorded the drums and guitar at your home studio. The rest and the mix you did somewhere else? Same way this time?
We were supposed to do the drums at Dug-Out Studio and the rest at our own studio. But then they were busy with In Flames. And then Daniel was doing a French band later on. And so he didn't had any time. We said it's okay and skipped that money, put it into our own studio. Now we recorded everything by our own. The album will have a more straight-forward production like The Gathering by Testament. It's going to be more... Guitar, drums, bass, vocals...
Perhaps this time drums and bass at your own studio and guitar and vocals somewhere else...
Who knows? *smiles*
The other way around...
Yeah! Know, Daniel is very good with drums. In my opinion he's the best.
I'm into drums and I listen also to some jazz drummers. But... So for me... People think like they have to have drums, but that they are not so important. For me drums are important...
...Coz everything else is build up on the drums.
So if the drum sound sucks...
It's normal. If you think that's a good production on the CD, then normally it's the drums which sound good. If it's a shitty production, then it's normally the drums which sounds shitty. We are... Well, I'm very picky about the drum sound. And I think it turns out very well at the Expending Senses album. Guitars should be more powerful...
It's a really big stereo feel to the whole album.
Sometimes I think they should be a little more up front...
Definitely! And that's what I think we got to do on the new record. And now we have... Actually we can spend as much time as we want. There is no deadline. Like with the last one. Okay, they - Nuclear Blast - want to release in April, but I don't know if it's going to be finished by then...
It would make sense, coz then it's in time for the festivals.
Exactly. That would be good. Release in April, then the festvals and touring after the summer, but... I think... The dream would be like doing the record, then the festivals, a tour during the summer in the States and then back for a European tour in fall.
Already talks about festivals yet?
No, they are working on it, our booking agent is. But there isn't something booked yet. I would love to play more festivals, it's the coolest thing. The people aren't there because of Darkane, they are there because of metal. We can reach a lot more people and... We played Wacken, that was cool. You know, everybody was complaining...
I haven't been at Wacken this year...
Everybody was complaining, coz we played the W.E.T. stage, the tent. "That's too small for you guys!" blablabla...
I haven't been to see any band at the W.E.T. stage the last couple of years...
A lot of people actually just saw the Darkane gig. Everybody said "You at least should have played the Party stage." Maybe Wacken will book us next year and put us on the Party stage or Black stage...
Perhaps some more festivals....
Yeah, when the record will be released in time... That would make it easier, for sure... It's going up, forward. It's getting better, so...
Have you recognized different reactions in different territories? That people react differently in different countries?
Holland is the best for us. I guess, coz we played there the most.
Holland is always quite good. The people in Holland are really into the music, really enthusiastic.
They are! They are a little more into the technical music, too.
When I go to see several shows on one tour and I see a show in Germany and another in Holland or Belgium, then Holland or Belgium are always the better ones!
Yeah. But... It's a bit weird, coz Germany is a big metal country. I think you have to get quite big here, to get the reputation...
Everybody is playing here.
That's the oath... ;-)
Also I would like to go to the South of Europe. We have a big fan base in Italy. We just played once there. Now we played the 2nd time in Milano. We would like to go to Spain. It would be cool. And it's getting better and better for Darkane. We are not the big, successful band yet, but...
If you want to go there first, you have to play there as a part of promotion. As long as the costs are covered, play. And later - perhaps next time - you start making money.
Right! We known for playing everywhere as long as the costs are covered!
That's the way you have to see this at this stage of your career. There are so many bands around...
Right, it's hard. For us, if the expenses are covered, fine! That's it.
As you said, you put the money in the recordings into your own studio and that gives you the freedom to record whenever and as long as you want.
Exactly! Now we have this situation.
...And save the money for other things.
Yeah. It'll be that way. I think it's a good way of working and if it turns out good with the studio, we probably will do other bands in future. But it's our rehearsal room, too. So...
Could be interesting... Could bring up possibilities...
Broaden our perspective and bring other things in.
Beside that you do another band. I won't say side-project, coz it's more like a second band.
That's the way to put it.
Second band sounds better.
Right! I do a lot of other kinds of bands. And I'm playing other kinds of music, too. Darkane is the kind of main band, of course.
But I think it's healthy for a band, coz you're not that fixed to one sound and feel more satisfied. To bring different stuff to the main band wouldn't work.
Keep it separated. To have the freedom.
Yeah, doesn't make sense to do mix a lot of different styles. Normally it... It's very progressive and cool, but normally it's a very little audience you reach then.
Many fans would turn away from the band then...
Exactly! We are happy with the sound of Darkane at the moment. And we continue in the same way, I think.
A little bit of melodic death metal stuff, but thrashier then the others.
Ja, I mean a lot of people compare us to In Flames or Soilwork or stuff like that.
They are a little... I won't say more straight forward, probably it's that... A little more straight.
Yeah, a little more straight. I would say we have a lot more faster elements, it's more thrash in our music then in theirs.
That's why I thought that you are a kind of connection between the death metal bands and the thrash band when you played the No Mercy Festivals.
We were the middle part. And I think it's cool, so... We like all kinds of that kind of music.
I think you have very different influences...
Yeah! We have very different influences. There will be a record release in a month with the band Electrocusion 250 where I play on. It's an instrumental album and... It's called Electric Cartoon Music From Hell. It's really crazy.
Which label will release it?
Through Liquid Note Records which is a new British label which is into instrumental guitar music and those kind of releases. This release is totally over the top. It's... Yeah, it's old Tom & Jerry movies mixed with jazz and metal kinda stuff.
Sounds like I have to listen to that one.
There are some bits on the Darkane site.
I listen to jazz sometimes, so... Coz the jazz drummers are usually very good.
Right, I saw Virgil Donati yesterday. That was really cool!
Years ago I saw Charlie Antolini - a Swiss drummer - and it was amazing.
He is amazing.
Also the first Overkill drummer - Rat Skates - is fantastic.
He was really good.
I remember that he was warming up with some stuff from Alphonse Mousson! Something many drummers can only dream of.
Yeah, since I do listen to a lot of different music and play all kinds of music and it's good to be able to do that. It's good for me. And also for the other guys, too, to do some other bands. But Darkane is the main band!
You should have a priority.
The priority is definitely Darkane, but I guess it's good for me to do some jazzy stuff, some fusion.
You learn a lot of stuff you can't obviously use in....
But somewhere it's hidden...
Yeah, it's hidden. I try to incorporate it in Darkane, but it's hard.
Actually I like bands where the drum sound is a little different... Like Nevermore. Van Williams is a great drummer. Not the typical metal drummer.
Right, it's a cool band. I like his playing a lot, too. He's not doing a lot fills and stuff. It's the power.
Right, the different style.
I think you can recognize him playing.
Definitely! I think as long as musicians are unique I tend to like them.
And as long as they are true to themselves, then it's okay. Not to try just to make money...
If we would do that we wouldn't sound like Darkane!
If it would be about the money the label would have told you to sound like Hammerfall...
Yeah, they sell a lot more then we do, so... Well, there are a few bands like Cannibal Corpse who sell a lot. But they have a very big fan base and they play very extreme music. You know, we are happy with the situation we are in. Even if we would like to tour more.
Sure. Many bands do have multi-media parts on their CDs. Is there anything planned for your coming album?
There was supposed to be some on the re-release of Rusted Angel. A video clip, but there were some censorship problems in Germany.
It's always Germany. ;-)
Yeah, always Germany. It had something to do with the adult-rating or anything. To sort out the censorship-thing would have take about 12 weeks. And we didn't had the time for it. So we hope on the new one it works. We are planning to do a video at the same time as the recordings and we hope the video is done, so that we can put it on the CD.
That's cool, coz not everybody is getting music TV and beside that it won't be played everywhere. So people have the chance to see it anyway.
And it's a chance for fans to see the band, even if you are not playing there.
Best example is Russia, coz almost no band can afford to tour there. But there are a lot of metal fans.
I would go there. Every band who's going to play there - it's the same with Israel, we played there - bands don't dare to play there.
About Israel and partly Russia... It's the political situation why people hesitate to go there.
Yeah, people don't want to go there. Actually our bass player is working there since January, of course there is a risk involved.
On the other hand... Years ago the airliner crashed near Amsterdam. It can always happen, everywhere.
You can walk across the street and be hit by a car. There is always a very small risk, but...
When Overkill played a couple of years ago in Moscow and St. Petersburg there was some incident. They have it on their DVD. The place they played started burning! And someone said to the band that the place is on fire! They were like "Yeah, we can see that!", but there was a fire somewhere at the venue and they had to stop their show. There is footage from that, you can see the place on fire.
You never know what will happen...
They said it been amazing to go there, to play there.
I can imagine.
I think that's what makes touring interesting, to go to different places, etc.
Traveling, seeing different places, cultures, meeting people...
Exactly! That's very cool. I like that part a lot!
Sure, writing and the waiting isn't the nicest part.
Definitely not! *laughs* I think you know, when you get around it's nice to see the different cultures, different kinds of metal kids. It's the fun thing about touring.
I guess you get a lot of emails from around the world...
We do get tons of emails! The world is shrank to nothing due to the internet. We get mails from Russia, but the most we get from America at the moment, coz we toured there.
But in America they are a lot into Nu metal. Even if through that they might expand their musical variety...
Yeah, but I think that bands like Slipknot sell a lot - more then a million of their first or second album - then on the next there were parts which sound like Morbid Angel and so it's opening for the harder bands, too. For example the new Metallica is also more extreme, I don't know if I like it.... But it can be opening for other metal bands.
It's hard, more straight forward and it didn't has the melodies they had in the past...
It doesn't sneak into your ear. Needs a few spins to get used to it.
Right, but I like when the mainstream, the more known bands get more extreme on the later albums, coz that opens people's minds to get into other bands.
Especially for people's minds at the record companies!
Yeah, exactly! Well, we all need the support. It's damn hard. You have to have a distribution and so.
In the States many bands couldn't tour or just did a handful of shows in the past decade. And that is changing now a little.
I think you need to play live to stay alive. But the main goal for us with the next CD is to tour the States.
It's time for you to try to get into that market.
First we have to sell records there. *laughs*
As a band from Sweden you won't forget Europe. Not like some American bands who make it big here, then in the States and forget about Europe.
No, that won't happen with us! We will play everywhere. As much touring as possible!
That's the way it is... Hope you can play some more places, some where you haven't been yet.
We would like to go to Australia. Our friends in Soilwork were there now and they said it was very cool.
Perhaps with a little help from the Metal Warriors....
It must be totally different... People don't see many bands there, coz touring is very expensive there. But we would love to do it. Soilwork did Japan and then went down to Australia, but still expensive.
Perhaps there is a chance for you in the future...
It opens up with Soilwork and In Flames and so we do have a chance.
Soilwork step up a little on the ladder, closer to where In Flames are already. And someone has to fill their spot...
Right, but... Darkane is far more aggressive, so...
The music of Soilwork isn't more aggressive, it's the vocals.
Yeah, and we have far more fast songs.
If they would have a more metal-type of singer they wouldn't even fit to In Flames.
Right. It's only the vocals.
Musically they are more heavy metal / power metal.
Yes, and Darkane is totally different in that way. More harder, more aggressive. That's the way we like it!
At the moment the thrash metal seems to come back, so perhaps the timing is right...
The 2nd wave of thrash metal comes over us!
Yeah! And I like that!
Then our time was over, but it was a nice chat with Peter. And I think that with the new album there will be another chance to talk. Meanwhile this should just be a kind of up-date on what's going on in the Darkane camp and I think it shows the person behind the music - at least a little. It was cool and I'm looking forward to see them again.