Interview: Darkest Horizon
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
My father got me into music, or more precisely the Beatles did, when he showed them to me. Listening to old Beatles vinyls were my first step into music. Without them I do not know what I would do today. Maybe something with writing (for I love writing poems as well as music). Or maybe I would be a sailor? I don't know because there has never been a second path to music.
I too was heavily influenced by my parents. As both of them played various instruments, I was intruduced to musicianship at an early age. As the lazy brat I was, I had a very rocky, on-again-off again relationship with instruments. Over the years my passion for music kept reemerging, so I started taking guitar lessons at the age of 14. Over the years I have expanded my horizon (*wink wink*) and now here I am.
I want to say, that if I hadn't gotten into music my path would solely be in the sciences, but both music and physics haven given me positive feedback loops, so I'm not sure if this would have been my fate... So, who knows where I would be now without music.
What do you like to do when your not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Personally I love to read, watch a good series, work out and visit parks and museums. I absolutely adore museums of natural history, I could get lost in them for days. All this is part of my personality and influences me day by day and step by step. So it definitely influences my creativity, too, but not in a closed-up way (like “I saw this, I have to write a song about it”). It is more like a general view onto life and telling the everyday tales I witness.
If I'm not working on new songs or playing music, I am pursuing my studies. This is as great of a passion to me as music is. Further, if I'm not riding the bike or go for a walk, I'm either playing video games or telling terrible puns.
How long has your band been around?
This now is the eleventh year.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are based out of Frankfurt, Germany. To be honest I don't know how that influences our music... We have another mother tongue than english, that's for sure, and metal music is not that popular in Germany as one might think (according to the amount of festivals that take place here). But I guess there are a lot of other places with the same situation.
What might be special about Frankfurt is that it is the centre of capital in Germany. On the other hand the bigger creative scenes are in Berlin, so that's a pretty big difference for a band, if you are from Frankfurt or Berlin. But would we sound different if we were from Berlin? Who knows...
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
When I joined the band the name was already given. For me it means a great deal of my adult life, friendship and making our own way in this more than scattered and confused world.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Oh, that's hard to tell... There have been a lot of great shows (and some very horrible, too, of course). Mainly Maelstrom festival (in Sri Lanka), our shows with Wintersun and the summer time festivals were amazing, just to pick a few. Every show has something special, so I do not want to leave anybody out. And as far as worst shows go... well, there has been quite everything from shows being canceled whilst our Intro started the show, locations without any of the needed equipment, cut-off playtime due to horrific organisation... quite a list, but so is life.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
Hmm... I do not have a particular favorite venue but for example Metalfest on Loreley (Germany) is a beautiful setting. Also Metaldays in Slovenia, a beautiful landscape, pure nature and an ice-cold river... what else can you ask for?
Where I would want to play? Madison Square Garden. Sold out. Twice. That would be amazing... If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
Definitely Wintersun for we played with them and it was a hell of a time (in the positive sense). Than of course Rammstein, because I would not want to miss the opportunity to set foot on that stage! And maybe Two Steps From Hell with their live orchestra for I always wanted to play a show with live orchestra.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Enjoy the trip because you are going to spend a lot of time working yourself up in this world. And later on you will see how much fun these times were, even if they were full of work and sweat. Best days. And make youself clear what you want to achieve! There is no bigger pain in the ass than starting a band and one member just wants to chill, the other just wants to practice when his girlfriend allows it and you are burning up writing songs and holding this melting pot together... Worst situation! Clear the air and get rid of members that are not 100% into what you do. It will save you a lot of time and energy.
Keep the passion and the fun alive! This is what has gotten you into this, it is what will keep you there. Having said that, as everything in life, a succesful project is always coupled with work, so don't back away from the responsibility and be the reliable one! And if something is not working, point to it and try to resolve it. And yes, that sometimes means kicking out someone or even leaving yourself.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Just do what you think is right!
When you start in a band and grow with it you sometimes hesitate to make unpopular decisions because everything is new and unknown. And years later you realize that your way actually could have worked, you just had had to start it. But fortunately nowadays I don't hestitate anymore.
My advice: “Read the answer above”. This was something I had to learn over many years, but it holds true for most parts of life.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
For me personally it is our last single “Conquer and Command”. All of our songs have a background story (or a deep story at all) but this song is special. I wrote the lyrics when my grandfather died and Chris wrote the music around them. So this was my way to say goodbye and therefore it is the most personal song.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
*laughs* Mostly the ones we love to play are the least requested and the other way around. I love playing all our songs live but Ad Astra always was one of my favorites. It is our “party song” and most of the time we end our show with it, so it is one last chance to get everything out, headbang and end the show with the last note. This is actually the only song that we love playing as much as it is requested. So, exceptions prove the rule.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Generally the songs are written by Chris (keyboards) and we add our “metallic” instruments to it. My inspiration is to take the musical story Chris created and keep working on it with my personal touch, giving it a new stage, a new dimension. I love how different minds and personalities float together and create something new. It is a beautiful process.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
We do not really have a message or something like that. It is more like stories we tell, some longer (as an album) and some shorter (as a single or and EP). Whatever story or tale comes to our mind will be worked on.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Oh yes, every band is like a marriage or like living with roommates. There have to be disagreements. Some years ago they escalated (thrown beer bottles in the rehearsel room and that sort of stuff) but we grew older, maybe wiser (but only maybe) and nowadays we sit down, talk about any differences or problems and try to solve them together. This is way more effective (and healthy) than it justed to be. But hey, we were young and we were loud... would we have joined a metal band otherwise?
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
Currently we use these silent times to write new singles and to prepare ourselves for the time when venues reopen. Our line-up has changed last year and we changed our workflow as well as our possibilities, so we still improve everything we do. We try to get as much out of us as we can. So stay with us, follow us on Bandcamp or Instagram, because there will be new songs regularly and we will keep you updated about everything we do!