Occult Black Metal Zine – Entrevista Agosto 2014
1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
S - We started playing back in 2003, but I was the only one left from those early days. I formed the band together with our original vocalist, Vena Hemiazygos. We shared a fondness for dark music in general, and focused mainly on classic Black Metal during the first few years. A demo called “Death – Queen Of the Graveyard” was recorded at the time, when the band was still called Ekhidna, but it was never released in a physical format. Due to the constant line-up changes, there was never enough stability in the band for us to invest in such a release, or even to try and play some gigs. We were also pretty inexperienced back then, and were just attempting to figure out how we could handle everything in view of our limited technical know-how. Some stability was achieved when Nazgul and Koja Mutilator both joined as drummer and bassist, respectively. We rehearsed regularly at the time - in fact, we never stopped rehearsing, even later on, when the line-up was reduced to just two elements - and we also wrote a few tracks which are still very meaningful to us. We then decided to change the band's name, since there was another outfit in Portugal with the same name, who were growing in popularity. We called ourselves Tetraplegic God. After a short while, our vocalist left the band due to musical incompatibilities - she didn't see eye to eye with the rest of us regarding the evolution in our sound, which left behind our more classic Black Metal influences. So we changed our name yet again, for the last time, and became Dawn of Ruin. In 2006/07, Conde Satan joined as vocalist, and played in our first concert, in 2008. Soon after, we were once again left without both our bassist and our vocalist.
2.Recently you have released a demo, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
S - I’d say it’s a sort of mid-paced to fast extreme metal, quite aggressive in places but consistently featuring melodic, often melancholic undertones. It’s heavy, dark, sorrowful and furious, sometimes all at once. I guess it’s safe to call it Black Metal, though it’s pretty easy to find creeping influences from other styles, so it’s not easy - even for us - to define our sound. We’ll let the listeners decide for themselves.
As for the actual production of the demo, it was made in a completely “Do It Yourself” approach. All the material was recorded, edited and mixed by us with our own means, and the occasional help from fellow musicians from other bands in our circle.
3.The band has been around as 'Dawn of Ruin' since 2007 but waited till 2014 to release a demo, can you tell us a little bit more about the 7 year delay?
S - We've had lots of line-up changes during that period, it was only around 2010-2011 that we really became a full-on working band with dedicated musicians. It was a question of all the parts starting to come together in a more coherent way. Sometimes it takes a while to get the right people together, that share artistic, aesthetic and creative values to an extent that they are able to work and produce something together. This was only made possible after the band's line up stabilized. Before that, there were a lot of people trying out for some time, and then abandoning the band to pursue other interests.
After our line-up stabilized with Prometheus and Carpathian Wolf - both of whom had previously played with Nazgul in a band called Obscurii Lunae - and later with Niggurath, who came to handle the bass, we dug up all the tracks we'd written up until then, and started rehearsing them and adapting the arrangements to make better use of our full line-up. Five of those songs came from the band's more Black Metal-influenced days, while the other six incorporated elements from different styles. That process took a while - approximately two years. Between 2012 and 2014, we played a few gigs - some in the Lisbon area, one in Covilhã (mid-east Portugal), and one in Beja (in the south). Simultaneously, we recorded the four tracks that feature in the demo. Three of those tracks are from the band's early stages, while the other one (“Morte Vermelha”) was the first track to be created with our revamped line-up. We felt it was important to record the early tracks, but we also wished to showcase our more current sound. And, of course, we wanted the new members to get a proper listen of all song they'd been working on. The last four years have certainly been the most active period in the band, by far. Recently, Niggurath had to leave the country, thus leaving the band as well. The bassist spot is already taken by new member Loki.
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and and subjects the band explores with the music?
S - I haven’t written any lyrics for a long time, CW takes care of that now! But when I did write, I tried to make them fit the general feel of the music: despondent, gloomy and horror-inspired, but never too aggressive or “gory”.
C.W. - Some of the older songs had fantasy/mythology based lyrics written by the band's original vocalist which were not really my thing. I like both themes and I explore them thoroughly through other mediums but I felt that I needed something more visceral and human. “Ekhidna” is one the few songs that kept its original lyrics because they were written by Shadow and I like his style.
Things change quite a bit after that and the lyrics take a much more personal and introspective stance. Delirious musings on death, the meaning of life and Man's minuscule, pathetic and useless role in the Cosmos.
5.The band was originally known as Ekhidna and then Tetraplegic God, what was the decision behind the name changes and also the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Dawn Of Ruin'?
S - Ekhidna was a single-word band name, which isn’t that common, and we quite liked the mythological reference. Later, we changed the name to Tetraplegic God (the title of one of our songs) so as to avoid any possible confusion with another Portuguese band called Echidna. In 2007, we discussed the matter with added seriousness and took our time to choose a name that properly reflected that empty, cold feeling that stems from our songs. We also liked the visual implications of the name. So Dawn of Ruin it was, and has been ever since.
6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
S - Our last show in Beja, a Warm-Up for the Santa Maria Metal Fest, was special since it was the last time we shared the stage with our bassist Niggurath, who has been part of Dawn of Ruin for the last 4 years. Unfortunately, she had to travel abroad for professional reasons, but her stay with us will remain in the sound of the demo “Poço da Infâmia”, as the bass tracks were recorded by her.
As far as stage performance goes, we have no particular scenic concerns. We all have different ways of visually conveying our music to the audience, and for most of us it doesn’t really involve moving around a lot, and engaging in direct interaction. If we feel comfortable just standing there and playing, that’s what we’ll do, and it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re less committed to our music and the audience. We’ll still be able to deliver what we’re trying to communicate, be it intellectually or emotionally. Our vocalist, CW, does tend to express himself more noticeably on stage. It’s very natural for him, as his own visual interpretation of our art. Basically, each band member is free to choose his own approach when it comes to the stage.
On a strictly musical note, we try to focus on dynamics when choosing songs for a setlist, and it has worked well so far, in my opinion.
7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
S - Nothing too specific as of yet, since we’re too busy now preparing to record additional material that wasn't included in the demo. As for future shows, we are always on the lookout for the occasional live show during this next recording stage. Regarding touring, if we could get past the scheduling/logistic nightmares, it’d be great, of course, but probably not in the foreseeable future
8.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
S - We’ve contacted some labels, and I’d certainly like to have that kind of backing, but we’ll keep on recording regardless, as independent artists, until such an opportunity comes along.
The Internet and the development of digital audio has brought the opportunity for small bands like us to record and distribute our music without the need of a recording contract, so for now we will continue to explore that path.
9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black, death and thrash metal?
S - We’re not that well-known, it’s mostly people from the Portuguese scene who support our work, but we’ve been trying hard to promote the demo abroad as well. I guess this interview is a result of those efforts!
10.Are any of the band members involved with any other musical projects these days?
S - CW also sings in Derrame. Nazgul has two other bands, Undersave and Corman. Loki plays in Inner Blast and GreatesTits. And I have this on-and-off project called The Dead of Night.
11.When can we expect a full length album and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
S - We’ll soon start recording the rest of our “back catalogue”, so we can then work with fresh ideas and leave the past behind us. We’re still unsure as to the format of the release, but there have been talks regarding a split-CD with two other bands, which would feature some of those tracks. Musically, it's pretty safe to say things will change a bit. "Morte Vermelha" is a good indication of where things will go from now on, with its more complex and melodic arrangements. Dawn of Ruin's music is drifting more into the kind of sound found on this last track from the demo, with each song having different moments and intensities. From introspection to explosion, from melancholy to fury. We'll just keep on digging deeper into our musical nightmares and doing our best to bring them to the light.
12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
S - I’d say the most direct influences stem from Black Metal, in its broadest definition. Since we’re not really canonical on that matter, it’s easy to detect traces of most metal styles amidst our riffs. But I think the general atmosphere of the songs, which is what really matters after all, is akin to that expected of a Black Metal band.
We’ve been told that there are some similarities between our sound and that of Rotting Christ. We’re all quite fond of their work, but I don’t think the comparison is all that accurate.
C.W. - We all have very different tastes in music, Metal being the common link. Black Metal surely had an influence in our sound and I think that will never change even though we are always trying to add new things.
Honestly, I haven't listened to a lot of new bands lately. Due to lack of time, patience or just plain laziness.
N - I’m not really interested in following tons of bands and always keeping up with new releases. I keep on listening to the stuff I’ve always enjoyed, such as Dismember, Primordial, Bathory, Rotting Christ and other music styles. However, I was recently introduced to two bands I really liked: Aggressive Mutilator, a Swedish Black Metal band in the vein of Kill, and Auromuro, a Crust/Blackmetal band from Valencia, Spain.
13.What are some of your non musical interests?
S - Writing, reading, sightseeing… Lots more, but these are the ones I can still find some time to pursue.
P - Speaking in broad disciplines, I am a man of what some might consider ancient interests, with philosophy, psychology and history probably being the major ones. I read a lot and am always up for an interesting conversation about the big and small matters of the human existence.
N - When I’m not busy with music-related activities, my main interest is Philosophy, since I work as a teacher.
14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
S - Thanks so much for the interview and for reviewing our material! The underground metal scene relies on its close-knit network for spreading the word regarding lesser known bands and projects. So kudos to you.
And in case this interview piques the interest of some of your readers, they’re most welcome to visit our FB (https://www.facebook.com/DawnOfRuinPT) or get in touch with us via email@example.com. They can also listen to the demo on our BandCamp, at https://dawnofruin.bandcamp.com/releases.
All the best for OccultBlackMetalZine! Cheers!