Since An Cath (The Battle) has been released I have actually been doing a lot of promotional work and basically replying to emails etc. I have also started into writing the first Full Dratna album. The first 3 Dratna EP’s are all about Dratna finding its feet, I think its taken the EP’s for Dratna to find its musical direction, but all done in a small amount of time, Dratna has only been active for 13 months.
2.Recently you have released a new ep, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
This time round my writing has become more atmospheric, I think the song ‘Shadow of the Mountain’ is the best song I have written to date. The music feels more mature and I have started to develop my own sound.
The first EP ‘Clíodhna’ was very much a trial and error EP. Before the release of ‘Clíodhna’ I hadn’t played the guitar in about 15 years (you can really tell). So the songs feel a little less developed. The sound is very raw and there are a lot of things I would do differently If I was to record that EP again.
Altar is a much more refined EP with much heavier drums and riffs. The production also went up a notch too, taking away the rawness and adding more Keys.
I wanted the new EP to land somewhere in the middle production wise, but a little more rawness added. Song-wise it follows a much less predictive pattern and has more of a flow. The Keys also seem to integrate with the music in a more melodic way. I like the direction the sound is taking me.
3.During the last couple of years you have put out 3 releases, do you spend a great amount of time writing and creating music?
Actually no, when it comes to writing I write quite quickly, I run my own business so I have to make time to record. When it comes to recording I ‘blast it out’ If something sounds good I record it and build from there. It becomes a bit obsessive a at times and I have to get it finished rather than sit-in on it for months at a time.
With the other EPs ‘Clíodhna & Altar’ I stopped writing after their release. Since ‘An Cath (The Battle)’ has been released I have continued to play and write so I think there is a change a happening, possibly due to the fact that an album will require much more work than an EP, strike while the iron is hot sorta thing.
4.A lot of your lyrics deal with Irish Paganism and Mythology, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this subject?
This was purely down to me wanting to learn more about my Irish history. It’s like the way the Norwegian Black Metal scene was inspired by anti christian views and their old gods, paganism. So I wanted to explore my own religious and historical connections. Ireland is very similar to the Scandinavian regions in that Christianity wiped out those beliefs. So it’s great to learn about your own culture and keep it alive.
5.What are some of the other lyrical topics and subjects you have also explored so far with your music?
‘Altar’ basically explored the division and hurt that organised religion has caused in Ireland, with its scandals and abuse. It has done real damage in Ireland and is suffering due to its poor reputation. It was just a topic I had to get off my chest.
‘An Cath (The Battle)’ is about Nature & man. Where I live in Ireland I am surrounded by mountains, forests, the sea and lots of green land. It’s really an inspiring place to live. Who doesn’t like walking in a forest and being close to nature? Black Metal and forests just go together. When I’m stuck on a song/riff I walk in the forest and it helps unjam the blockage.
6.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name ‘Dratna'?
Dratna is my name in ‘Ogham’ an old medieval Irish language.
7.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new ep cover?
The main photo is taken from the forest close to where I live. The sheep on the front is a visual representation of the EP theme (man & nature) the Sheep staring down the man. The logo is the Ogham spelling of Dratna.
8.With this project you record everything by yourself, are you open to working with other musicians or do you prefer to work solo?
I’m always open to working with other people, however I spend most of my time running my own business, so when I get time to record its easier if I’m not relying on anyone, I record from my home office, its super efficient. Solo just suits me at this point in my life.
9.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
I had received a bit of interest after I released the first EP ‘Clíodhna’. But nothing concrete. So no I’m not really looking anymore, if there’s a label out there I’m sure our paths will cross, It would be really helpful if someone else was to take care of distribution etc that part takes up a lot of time. It’s like running another business in itself.
10.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal?
I get messages and people buying my music from all over the world, the fanbase isn’t huge but its growing and that’s cool. Within the black metal community some people really dig what I do and others don’t. Thats the nature of the beast, you can’t please everyone and I don’t try to either. I do this for me, if other people like it that’s awesome. If it makes someone bang their head even better. I get a lot of messages of respect from other musicians in bands, they seem to understand the difficulty of one man band projects even if the music is not to their taste.
11.When can we expect a full length and also where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?
Within the year I would expect to see a full length and I’m just going to keep writing and recording. This project has already went much further than I ever expected. I think in the future I would like to collaborate with some of the other Irish bands, that would be cool.
12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
This year I have been heavily influenced by bands like: (black metal) Gehenna, Sargeist, Agalloch, Havukruunu, Craft , Sojourner. Non-Black metal The Eagles, Tom Petty, Ghost (controversial) , ZZ Top, The Cure, Men at Work oh and an Icelandic alternative/pop-band Retro Stefson. I listen to everything, there’s a music for every ill. I’m not afraid to say I listen to non Black metal bands, give me an 80’s pop band any day of the week! I’m a sucker for nostalgia.
13.What are some of your non musical interests?
Walking my dog through the forest, and I love classic 80 & 90’s cars.
14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Yes these words form Fenriz have stuck with me since the beginning of Dratna.
Describing Black metal as “Individualism above all”. Dratna is individualism - Its not about being the blackest of black metal bands or the most extreme(its all been done already), its just just about the music and enjoying creating it.