. Greetings from the snowy and Frosty night! Lets start with the latest activities of the Dark Fortress?
Well, last weekend we just played two gigs as support for Dissection in Munich. It was strange, because on the first day the audience went crazy and was really incredible, but on day 2 people were very calm. Besides several gigs the last weeks, we are just right in the song writing process for the next album. Four songs are already completed so far, and eight lyrics are written. Maybe we can start with the recordings for the next album in August or September 2005.
2. May you give some info about the history of Dark Fortress? Excepting the earlier releases and the line up changes, a bit more about the aim of Dark Fortress, inspirations from the ancient days…?
The band was already found in 1994 by Asvargr (guitars). He was fascinated by the Black Metal of the early nineties, especially from Scandinavia. So the aim was to create music with the same kind of dark atmosphere and spirit. Azathoth (vocals), who is the only original member besides Asvargr now, Charon (drums) and Njord (Bass) completed the first line-up. Together they recorded a demo tape in 1996 called “The Rebirth of the Dark Age”. After a while a second guitarist and a keyboarder joined the band. In 1997 the Mini CD “Towards Immortality” was recorded. It is a bit to complicated to mention all changes in line-up. So, well, due to several problems in finding a proper record company, the debut album “Tales from Eternal Dusk” was recorded in 2000 on the band’s own risk. The line-up was: Asvargr (guitars), Azathoth (vocals), Paymon (keyboards), Charon (drums) and Crom (guitars and bass). Short after the recordings Charon and Crom left the band: Charon got massive problems with his knee, thus he had a hard time in playing all the blasts and double bass attacks. Crom left the band because of personal reasons with Azathoth. Meanwhile they are good friends again, but within the band context, they had serious problems.
So in the very beginning of 2001 Seraph (drums) and me joined Dark Fortress. Draug (bass) joined the band already a couple of months before. Just around this point of time we signed a contract with the American Record Label Red Stream for the release of “Tales…” and a second album.
You could say that “Tales…” was influenced a lot by bands like Dissection and Unanimated, and also Satyricon etc…
Due to the fact, that three new members joined the band after “Tales…”, it was a logical consequence that several things changed. Our second album “Profane Genocidal Creations” was intended to be more dark and raw. In retro perspective, we think that one can maybe hear, that “Profane…” was the “first” album for the new line-up and we had to grow together. So we are not totally satisfied with this record, to be honest.
3. Lets talk about the Latest Dark Fortress act “Stab Wounds“. How are the reactions so far? Are supporters of Fortress seem to be content about the album?
Oh yeah, especially WE are very content with “Stab Wounds”. It is the first time in the history of the band. We are really convinced that we made a very big step forward and I think that we are establishing our own sound. We don’t want to be compared to band X or band Y anymore, because we have our own ideas.
The reactions of the fans and the press prove that. We got lots of fantastic reviews in many mags or internet zines so far, and we also have the impression, that people prefer the “newer” songs live as well.
4. You have worked with Travis Smith for the artwork of “Stab Wounds“. How came?
Well, Azathoth contacted Travis via Email, because he is a big fan of Travis’ works. So he told him about the lyrical concept and what we want to express with our music. After a while Travis sent us five different drafts for a cover, and we chose the one for “Stab Wounds”, because it really visualizes the feeling of the music, at least in my opinion. I think it looks fantastic and is far away from any clichés!
5. You have been working with Red Stream, are you content with them? It seems Americans are content with the Dark Fortress…And as far as I heard “Stab Wounds” will be released in a strictly limited 2-LP Vinyl version in December 2004 by the new German label IMPERIUM PRODUCTIONS and distributed by CENTURY MEDIA. Did you thought that working with a German label would be better, especially in terms of “promotion” in your own land etc?
That was surely a reason to change the label. I think Red Stream is a small, but honest record company. But we were not totally happy with them, because they really did very little promotion especially for “Profane…” and you really had problems to buy this record in Germany, because the distribution was really bad. Maybe it was better in the US. It is great to have fans in foreign countries, but if you don’t have fans in your own country, it is a shitty situation… So we signed a contract with Black Attakk, who did much more promotion and have a good distribution as well. But we are getting very angry about them, because of several reasons… They are fucking liars!
Well, so far… I think it is great that Imperium Productions are going to release “Stab Wounds” on Vinyl, because it will be very exquisite. Therefore, I think that the man behind Imperium Productions is really very idealistic, and you hardly find these kind of people within the music business. Century Media is of course a great partner for distribution.
6. I know you are working on a new material. Are there any changes in the general song-structure of Dark Fortress for the coming album? Be it in lyrical aspect or the musical?
We will not totally break up with our style, of course, but you can not expect something like “Stab Wounds 2”. Lyrically “Stab Wounds” had a basic subject and the next album will have another basic subject. It will probably be entitled “Séance” and deal with stories about spirits / ghosts, the forth dimension in general. It is going to be very dark and gloomy stuff. The music is probably going to be even more dark and somehow more mean. You can expect some surprises, that’s for sure! I think, the new songs are very original so far, and the rehearsal recordings kill!
7. It is generally usual to ask bands about their fave bands/songs etc.Yet I want to ask whether is there a band which you find really disgusting? Do you have any names for us?
Oh, there are bands that really disgust me, but well, I don’t think it is a good style, to run down other musicians in interviews. I mean, ok there are some shit bands around, that I even cannot accept as musicians, but that’s another story…
8. What have been listening to lately? Meantime, what do you think about the new Dark Throne album “Sardonic Wrath”?
I did not listen to many music recently. The new Dark Throne Album is quite good, but it did not totally blow me away. I still love the last Satyricon album, it is fantastic!
9. I know I m turning into a boring bastard but still want to ask ,what do you think about the new Mayhem? You must be heard of ; Attila returnes Mayhem. What do you think about it?
Oh no, that are really news for me! I think Attila was the reason, why I bought myself “De Mysteriies…”, because his voice is so incredible sick! Well anyway, I kind of like the last outputs of Mayhem. I am even one of the few persons as it seems, that really like “Grand Declaration of War”. I can understand if someone hates it, but it is really unique and I like the atmosphere.
10. Do you have some recommends for me from the Germany, some new bands whom you find successful at spreading the black metal pest? Some new names?
There are not many brilliant bands in Germany, but they do exist: Check out “Secrets of the Moon”, even though they are definitely not “new”, I think they are especially live very very good. Another still quite unknown band I like is “Farsot”, and I recently discovered “Catharsis”, and I liked there music as well. I mean it is very subjective, which bands are worth to mention, so the question is not quite fair…
11. Is a new gig planned for Dark Fortress recently? On the other hand, how exactly you feel when you play live in front of the supporters, in front of the crowd? Have you ever thought that ,besides its positive sides, live shows may harm the ideas of the listener? Lets say, you weren’t that good at the stage in some night, then what would be listeners opinion who used to listen your album a lot, but has destroyed thoughts on you after seeing you live? Have you ever thought of this kind of aspects of playing live?
Our label promised us to send us on tour in February, but they just promised and nothing happened. So there are no gigs in the near future.
Sometimes I hate the attendant circumstances of playing live, like hanging around the whole day in a cold and fucked upped hall, driving for hours in a little car, getting bad food and not enough sleep. But well, you have to do sacrifices. I love standing on stage, it is great, at least if you have the impression that the audience feels the spirit of your music. I don’t want to seem to be arrogant, but I think that we are really a good live band now, because we are playing together since almost 4 years in this line-up now and we really fit together. So I don’t worry that somebody could be disappointed. Well ok, it depends on the location. Of course it is not so cool, to perform a black metal show on an open – air, while the sun is burning, because it really does not support the feeling of the music. And when the sound is really bad, it can destroy the feeling as well. When this happens, we are of course not happy with such a situation. But anyway, I think we already gained lots of fans because they were impressed by our live-show.
12. What is the importance of the lyrical depiction style in the Dark Fortress? Do you use the lyrics as strong weapon or wrote them just to put on the booklet? On the other hand, I want to learn that with which themes you dance with while composing the lyrics? Are more profanation originated lyrics being employed or are there some other resources from which you drink from before flirting with the words?
The lyrics are important. Azathoth is writing all lyrics again (an external person wrote the lyrics for “Profane…”), and they have nothing to do with nonsense, cliché- or fantasy-stuff. The lyrics for Stab Wounds are very personal and deal with very negative emotions. The lyrics are like an emotional journey, describing the emotions of a person that finally decides to commit suicide.
13. Do you any words for your enemies?
It is just very interesting to observe, that there are more and more people that spread false rumours about our band. Sometimes these rumours are just harmless and somehow funny (a new rumour is, that we paid 1000 Euros to play with Dissection, what is absolutely ridiculous! There are probably others that would do that… We do not pay to play!), but sometimes they really annoy me. If concerts get cancelled, because some idiots claim that we are a Nazi band, I really could puke!
14. Ok. for now, thanks a lot for your help for Frost Agilest words of wisdom are thy own…
Thanks for the interview,I hope you like it!
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