Stefan Hetrich. Ultimate Darkness (2005)
founded 1992, gothic music
Band members (1992-2005)
Tommy Herrmann - guitars
Stephan Zandt - drumms
Tom Gilcher - guitars
Martin Motnik - bass
Armin Dorfler - keyboards
Stefan Hertrich - vocal
There is a banal question for the first. Why did you leave the band about 1,5 years ago? What did you force to make your comeback?
- It?s no banal question at all :-) Well, after 10 years and about 10 albums in the metal music world I simply needed a break in order to focus on other musical directions, for example my favour for dark ethnic music. I made an album called "Shiva in Exile" (soundtrack music with dark electronics and oriental/african/indian vocals), it was a great experience. The reason why I started with Darkseed again was the big heart of our fans who often said that they miss a new Darkseed album and with that the deep lyrics. I understood that music isn't just entertainment but that some fans even get solace in their problematic life by listening to our music. No matter how many people feel supported by us, even a handful is enough to continue with this stuff. That?s the purpose of Darkseed. Being dark, but giving light...
Where was the level of working on new album process when you got back to the band? Was it difficult to become keen on creation for you?
- Tommy had finished two songs when I rejoined the band, but that was all. I?d say that my "comeback" was a completely new beginning in all concerns. I was very keen on songwriting again, and the whole album production was a real pleasure and full of idealism, even if it was hard work since we record our CDs in our own studio without any external producer.
Too many famous bands are trying to find "new sound" and following to "fashion trends" nowadays. It has led some bands to loss their original style. How you manage to add to your music new elements and to adhere to your own style?
- It?s maybe a matter of age. The older you get and the longer you are into this business, the more you establish your own musical personality and don't listen that much to other influences. That?s maybe the reason why we always sound like Darkseed, even if our albums are VERY different (Astral Adventures was VERY soft, Ultimate Darkness is our hardest album, but both defenitely is Darkseed). Trying to find "new sound" isn't that bad, every band should do what it wants to do, but it?s simply not our way. Our way is being Darkseed and making our small fanbase happy. We even don't care about making our album versatile. Many songs have a smiliar structure, but it doesn't matter. If people like it, why not :-) Sure, big magazines sometimes complain, and I even understand that, but our fans don't need any extraordinary songs. They want emotions and idealism, and they get it!
What are the differences between "Ultimate Darkness" and band's previous releases?
- We invested more time in songwriting (catchy melodies) and also more time for making good vocal lines. We wanted 100% emotions and parts that sounded boring were kicked out without mercy :-) We have some very hard songs on the new output, even deathmetal riffs and growls. I am sure the new album will rock on stage!
There is a very interesting cover (snakes, solar eclipse, etc). What do you mean by that? How this cover reflects lyrics?
- Hm, the most important thing is: the snakes are temptation, the eclipse is "ultimate darkness" caused by that temptation :-) Snakes are a symbol for temptation since a long time of human history, and the solar eclipse symbolizes the album title "Ultimate Darkness" which is caused by this temptation. This temptation is: media, laziness, luxury, leading to a loss of values in our society, and the darkness that is created with that is for example the lack of orientation for young people, the shallow thinking of our society, our unrespectful behaviour towards nature and animals etc.
What do you think - Is it really important to understand the significations of the symbols before using them in a musical (or any other) sphere?
- Yes, when you use symbols you of course should understand them! You should understand everything you say, also in lyrics.
They say that a crisis was brewing on heavy & gothic music fields - do you agree with this opinion? What are your favorite bands? What are your favorite new releases?
- I don't see any crisis, more people than ever before listen to metal music, mainly now caused by bands like Nightwish and Within Temptation or Evanescence who even run on MTV very often! Metal is very popular now, even if it?s the commercial side of metal, but I have no problem with that. My fave bands are good old gothic metal bands or gothic wave bands, but also non-metal bands but oriental dark music and movie soundtracks.
What was the reason for composing music for video games? How many projects like this you had?
- Game music is usually also a sort of "dark music" and therefore we thought we also should try to work in this genre. We wrote 3 complete soundtracks as well as several tracks for other games too, and even one Darkseed song is featured in a game called "The Fall". The song is also called "The Fall" and is included on "Ultimate Darkness".
What do you like more: to play in video games or to compose the music for it?
- Hm, playing is nicer :-) I also do other things in gaming business, like translation and game testing. Yeah, game testing is a really cool part time job! But writing soundtracks for games rocks too. Unfortunately the magic of playing games gets lost once you work too much in that business.
Are you a venturesome person?
- Hm... good question. I guess I have much energy and much idealism in all things I do, but I never dare risks. I try to see everything realistic, or even euphoric, but never rely on the fact that everything might work or be successful.
Do Darkseed have a plan to make a tour supporting new release? The next question is really important for your Russian fans - can we hope to see Darkseed in Russia someday?
- Our live activities will start in the middle of march, unfortunately Germany only so far :-( We can't organize any concerts in foreign countries but must have a local organizer there who likes Darkseed. So if anybody is out there in Russia, feel free to contact us and we will see what we can do! I never was in Russia and really would like to see the country, cause without playing there I won't ever visit it I guess, because I don't travel often as private person.
"Shiva In Exile" debut release of your personal project takes Just Plain Folks Music Award... Was it unexpected for you? What nan you tell about "Shiva in exile"? Do you have a plan to make a continuation of "Ethnic"?
- Absolutely unexpected, and therefore I was very happy! The whole project was just a fun project, the budget was much below every other budget I had for a CD, and only 2000 copies were pressed (1000 international, 1000 Russia over IronD). I am very proud that I won the award "best world/new age album 2004", maybe because they heard the idealism I had when I did this CD! I will defenitely consider doing another album in the dark ethno direction this year, maybe a "small release" will become concrete soon! You will know about it as soon as possible on either www.darkseed.com or our Russian Darkseed fanpage [leech=http://darkseedband.narod.ru/]<!--dle_leech_begin--><!--dle_leech_begin-->[url=https://www.metalcat.org/engine/go.php?url=aHR0cDovL21ldGFsY2F0b3JnL2VuZ2luZS9nby5waHA%2FdXJsPWFIUjBjRG92TDJSaGNtdHpaV1ZrWW1GdVpDNXVZWEp2WkM1eWRRJTNEJTNE]<!--dle_leech_begin--><!--dle_leech_end-->
As I can see you take a great interest in ethnical music. What do you like in ethnical music? How did you find your way to ethnical culture/music?
- I adore oriental music, because many passages are VERY dark and gothic like, it?s just a fresh way to express gothic feelings! And the society behind this music usually has more values and moral than we have, these cultures are not driven by money and capitalism, that?s simply fantastic. My favour for oriental music came up during the TV reports of the first Iraq war, I guess it was 1990?
As I know Christian Bystron from Megaherz takes part in "Ethnic" project. Can you tell about cooperation with him?
- You are well informed :-) We both formed Betray my Secrets in 1999 which is a mix of Death/Gothic and Ethnic music. We released one album in 1999, but don't have any time to write another album at the moment. It was a great experience to work with my long year friend Christian who just lives some villages away from me! His work for Shiva in Exile was limited to mixing and adding some loops since Shiva in Exile only was a very small solo-project. One day we?ll work together again on a project, I am sure!
And the last question. Is it really important for musician to have a possibility "to be in contact" with the fans (gigs, official forum, chat etc)? Have it effect for creative process?
- Oh yes! The main reason why I do music is getting to know people. I am not talking about beautiful girls etc., I am talking about interesting people who have to tell something, even families, old people, weak people, rich people, poor people etc. It?s fantastic, they come from all over the world, from countries I would never see, even from political unstable countries where we usually never have contacts to. I often use problems of fans for my lyrics, they often tell me their problems over email and then I try to write songs about it. Feel free to visit our forum, we discuss there about EVERYTHING! www.darkseed.com! Also our Russian fanpage has a forum (if you wanna talk in Russian), the webmaster usually drops fan questions to me and then translates my answers back to Russian! [leech=http://darkseedband.narod.ru/]<!--dle_leech_begin--><!--dle_leech_begin-->[url=https://www.metalcat.org/engine/go.php?url=aHR0cDovL21ldGFsY2F0b3JnL2VuZ2luZS9nby5waHA%2FdXJsPWFIUjBjRG92TDJSaGNtdHpaV1ZrWW1GdVpDNXVZWEp2WkM1eWRRJTNEJTNE]<!--dle_leech_begin--><!--dle_leech_end-->