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Daniel Hakansson (Diablo Swing Orchestra)

Interview with Daniel Hakansson from Diablo Swing Orchestra
by Jorge "The Zarto" Zamudio at 26 November 2012, 9:36 AM

The experimenting orchestra, the scent of Avant Garde Metal is in the air enjoying the fluctuation of the sound waves. Charming isn’t it? What was also charming was the new album of DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA that once again were able to mass their talents into a pile of greatness named “Pandora's Piñata”, via Candlelight Records. Zarto talked with Daniel Hakansson, the band’s guitarist and vocalist, about the new album, some history and current music. 

First of all welcome to Metal Temple, it is a big honor to have an artist like yourself in our mag.

Thanks, it’s my pleasure!

Ok, please explain to all of us the story of DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA.

Our ancestors performed orchestral works in defiance of the ruling church at the time. The orchestra was forced to go into hiding, performing in secret, with the assistance of oppressed peasants during the era. After years of performing for the pleasure of these peasants, the story claims that the church put a bounty on the performers lives, and that this bounty was so high that the orchestra knew they would soon be captured, and thus chose to play a spectacular final show before becoming martyred to the church. We got letters back in 2003 and did some research to find each other and since that day we perform as Diablo Swing Orchestra.

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRAhas a really hard mix of many genres beyond the realms of Metal, how you’ve come to compose music like this, which obviously is not for everybody, but is such beautiful?

Thanks, glad to hear you like it. I think that the key is that we only include elements of music we like ourselves. There is not one person in the band that is that much into metal music but we can all appreciate the aggressive side of it so we try to include that as well. And since metal or rock is just another influence among others I guess we go about and compose our songs a little different than perhaps many other bands that we are compared to.

Talking about your music, you probably have your own favorites among the songs, if that’s the case which ones and why?

From the latest album I guess it can shift from day to day but I’m really happy with the lyrics to “Guerrilla Laments” and I also think that the string arrangements and electro ending to “Justice for St. Mary” turned our really good.

 “Pandora's Piñata” it’s like a step ahead of the two previous albums, but which was the inspiration for this new release?

I guess music-wise we have had the same influences as before, and that would be danceable rhythms above anything else. But we really try to push ourselves regarding the arrangements for the songs and everybody in the band were more involved in making the record instead of just playing their instruments. Another thing is that we worked a LOT herder on the pre-production and demos so that we wouldn’t get surprised in the studio since that happened on the first two albums.

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA is a band that always will get the attention of the listener, how you’ve managed the rise to the top, and what has been the most incredible thing that has happened to you along the years?

Well, we are constantly surprised how well we’re being received wherever we go to play. I especially remember the gigs in Bogota and Mexico City from the last tour since the crowd were really going insane and it was hard to actually hear yourself on stage.

What have you felt in your first coming to Latino America (especially to my country Colombia)?

We had such a blast playing there. And also since we were not allowed into Venezuela we were extra happy when making it to Colombia and get to play 2 awesome gigs. The crowds were amazing and we hope to be back asap to play again!

Lyrically there have been some songs that have marked me very deep (“Exit Strategy of a Wrecking Ball”or “A Rancid Romance”) which has been your inspirations for writing this kind of poems?

Thank you, I’m really glad you chose those two songs since I think that I’ve been really honest regarding my personal life in the lyrics. The matter discussed in them are the of course how love can turn really bad and into hatred. I guess if you write how you feel about such universal subjects there will be people picking up on it since so many go through the same thing.

How hard have you been working on DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA since the birth of the band? How much luck have you had since the release of your first album?

We’ve always worked really hard in periods since the start but there has never been any masterplan how big we should become or how many records we should sell. So the success we’ve had so far I guess is a mixture of hard work and a bit of luck as well.  But when we’ve travelled around meeting all the lovely people we do consider us to be quite fortunate.

How do you manage to put the kind of music that you make, with so many arrangements and stuff, live in front of an audience, is that have been hard to do?

We always rearrange the songs for live settings since we refuse to play with backing tracks.  But some of the songs will certainly be a bit of a challenge to perform with our setting but we like to think that we make up what we lose in harmonies and such with energy instead.

Which are your new plans for the moment, maybe a live album in the making or a DVD?

We just got some gigs confirmed in Russia in February and hope to add some Italian ones as well around the same time. We don’t have any plans for a live DVD but will shoot our forst video for the song “Black Box Messiah” in December.

Well, Thanks a lot for your time, for the last I want to say congratulations for your success and really hope you to continue in that way, I’m one of your Latino’s biggest fans, thanks for your music. Say the last words for our readers.

Thank you and I hope we can see you guys on tour soon again!


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