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Darkane's Christofer Malmström: "It’s important for us that our fans still recognize us and don’t think we’ve gone soft or anything like that. Bands that do that always seems to disappoint their fans"

Interview with Christofer Malmström from Darkane
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 07 August 2022, 10:30 PM

Consequences, consequences, there are plenty of examples throughout history where people never did really care about what would happen if, and this is referred to life changing events. Returning from the cold with their brand new album, “Inhuman Spirits”, the Swedish Melodic Death / Thrash Metallers, Darkane, left no doubt about their musical heritage or their knack to blast through brainwaves. Channeling aggression, along with a pure sense of Swedish melody, Darkane delivered a mighty proof that they still have it. Steinmetal had a good talk with the veteran Christofer Malmström about the new album, the return and more…

Hello Christofer, it is a great honor to have you for this interview with Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

Hello! Thank you! The honor is mine. I’m doing pretty good. Happy about the release of Inhuman Spirits and the summer vacation.

It was one of these cases, like a thunder out of nowhere, and here you, Darkane, as if you never really left. It has been nearly a decade since your last studio album, and let’s face it, I can’t remember what really happened back then after "The Sinister Supremacy". Please enlighten me, was it life that struck you or simply you got busy with other things in music?

We toured a little and played a few festivals after the release of The Sinister supremacy, and we also started to write for the new album in 2014 but yes, life struck us. Peter had to study for 3.5 years and the overall motivation wasn’t there. Years passed way too fast. In 2019 we did a few shows in the UK and festivals in Italy, Holland and Sweden. By that time the music was written for the new album, but our focuses were pointing in other direction. Finally, one year ago we got together to work on the recording.

If the band was in fact still in session, so to speak, was there any live activity whatsoever?

Yes, we played a few shows every year up until the pandemic.

As if a sign of liberation, out of this wretched pandemic, you worked on your new album. Tell me, did the pandemic have a number on you, in particular motivation wise? Did it have an influence, or effect, on the chemistry of Darkane, as this lineup has been running for quite a while?

I don’t think it affected us as a band that much. I know most of us were eager to get out on the road again but the decision to finally start recording didn’t have anything with the pandemic to do. It was more of a convenient time to start as the stars where aligned.

I wonder, what prompted you to get back into writing new material? What really instigated this urge to create again? Was it an event or just a thought that it might be a good idea to return with something fresh?

The plan was never to have this gap between the releases and I would say half of the album was written quite soon after the release of The Sinister Supremacy, like in 2014-2015. Of course, we wanted to return with something fresh but we didn’t know it would take so long.

Returning to the scene, as if you never left, you came down guns blazing with your seventh album, “Inhuman Spirits”. From what it appears, it is dark and grim out there on the cover of the record. What can you tell about the album’s title? Who are these spirits that are being referred to?

It’s as always up for interpretation by the listener but I think Jörgen has said that it’s about the egocentric thinking in the political world. Everybody wants as much as possible, and it doesn’t matter what the cost will be to others.

There is a measure of brutality to the tracklist, whether to wake up someone from deep slumber, like wake up and smell the rotten egg, or this is your way to unleash your anger upon the world? Is this your expressive manner of being pissed off? What do you wish to pass in overall to the listeners on “Inhuman Spirits”?

I mean, we are a hard-hitting metal band and we aim to deliver the music as brutal as possible. That’s what feels good for us and that’s what we’ll keep on doing. We’re not pissed on anybody, but this is how we play our metal. It’s who we are.

There is another matter in regards to the spirituality or symbolism going on “Inhuman Spirits”, and that is fear. Would you say that there is also an expression of fear looming within the lines of the songs?

Everybody has levels of fear within themselves and it’s an interesting topic to explore. Since our lyrics contains a lot of dark elements fear is always going to be present.

In your view, what are the morals that are being conveyed through “Inhuman Spirits”? Other than stating issues, which are understandable of course, do you also offer a shred of solution?

I don’t think so. All members in Darkane contributed with lyrics on the album and we didn’t agree on certain topics or themes to write about beforehand. We all have different styles, and some may only write about the dark not offering any solutions while others might do.


The entanglement of the melodic versions of Death and Thrash Metal has been the pounding, bleeding, heart of Darkane. Nevertheless, I believe that “Inhuman Spirits” takes the band into a more high level technical scale, producing an enticing musical experience that is a joint meetup of past and present. How do you find the progress of Darkane through this album?

I think we still have our inner tornadoes that needs to be exposed when playing our music. The energy is still there but the musicianship has developed, and the songs have better structures now than before. At least in my opinion. There will always be traces of our past in our music since we want to stick to our style but try to do it better with every album. It’s important for us that our fans still recognize us and don’t think we’ve gone soft or anything like that. Bands that do that always seems to disappoint their fans.

There is no artist out there that doesn’t do his/her best in order to write the best material possible. In light of the high attention to details on “Inhuman Spirits”, what can you tell about the songwriting process? In your view, what was done differently this time?

Peter and I usually write a lot of the music together, but he had to study and work at the same time during the years that Inhuman Spirits were written, so I wrote a bunch of songs by myself. But there are also songs that we did together. Then Klas and Lawrence wrote one song each as well. The songs were written the same way as we always have done it. The music first and the lyrics right before the recording. When I write music, I always arrange the guitars and bass the way I want it. I may program the drums as well for the preproduction, but then Peter plays the drums in his own style which may differ a lot from what I came up with in the beginning, and that’s awesome since he plays better and comes up with cooler ideas than ever right now.

What were the prime influences that led you to get everything out of your system musically? From what I could feel while listening as if you wanted to fill the gap of all these years, as if you wanted to shock your listeners of something that is mighty, larger than life

That’s cool to hear. I don’t know, I have so many different sources of inspiration. For example, we toured with Soilwork in Europe in 2014 and they played the song Spectrum of eternity from the album The living infinite, and I loved the intensity in that song so when I got back home, I wrote the song Inhuman Spirits. But that’s just one example. I am still influenced by bands such as Death, Strapping Young Lad, Testament, Dark Angel, Entombed and other old school stuff. Just trying to make it sound a little more modern these days. Meshuggah is of course also a great influence even though we don’t play in their style.

Due to the pandemic, did you stumble upon difficulties in order to work on the song, rehearse, and let’s even tread the recording field while we are at it?

No I don´t think so. We have a large rehearsal space, and it wasn’t a problem to get together and rehearse or record.

What can you tell about the relationship between the music and the lyrics? How were you able to find that cohesion between the two factors, especially due to the complexion of the music?

Well, the music was written long before the lyrics which was written right before the recording. Peter arranged the vocals on most songs (except two that Lawrence wrote and arranged directly). He was prerecording the vocals while the rest of us were tracking guitars and bass and then we sent it to Lawrence who polished the vocal arrangements and put his melodies and his own touch to it. I’d say it turned out really good.

Your vocalist, Lawrence Mackrory, who already proved himself to be one hell of an engineer, produced the album. The end result is massive, it attributed a wall of sound to Darkane that made it relevant soundwise, and robust in the same breath. How do you find the band’s sound on the record in contrast to your past?

I think it sounds very good. The sound is up to date and with loud volume you can really feel the energy from the music.

Now, with seven albums under your belt, along with the vast experience that you gained throughout the years, would you say that “Inhuman Spirits” taught you a thing or two that you didn’t know or simply did pay much attention to in the past?

I would say that we realized that the albums don’t need to be that long. Previous albums had more songs and a play time of almost an hour. It’s more important to choose the best songs and keep it shorter, especially when you release the album on LP as well.

Finding that narrow pathway between musical intensity and a hooking form of songwriting, there is the hitter “Mansion Of Torture”. Destroying everything with a crushing main riff, and an overall structure that is definite, only to reach the gripping atmosphere of a chorus that is a winner. What is your appreciation of this song? How do you find its impact on the entire record?

I’m very proud of it. I think the riffs turned out great and then Peter did his things on the drums and Lawrence arranged some really good vocals on it. I remember when I had written it in the summer of 2017. I downloaded the pre-production on my phone and then drank a bunch of jägershots and on my way to a concert later that night I listened to it on my phone and felt that it might be one of my favourites on the album. The orchestral outro was created by Alex Gramman and it turned out really good I think.

With “Inhuman Spirits” being out there, would you say that this is only the beginning for a new era of Darkane, or rather another opening for a slumber?

It’s hard to say, but we are very excited at the moment and are looking for live shows, and hopefully we’ll write new material a lot faster this time. But you never know. ;-)

Looking forward into the remainder of 2022, are there plans to support “Inhuman Spirits” in any form?

It’s hard to get gigs booked at the moment since all the “pandemic shows and tours” are being done right now. We played a show in our hometown a few weeks ago and next up we have a show in Milan, Italy at a biker festival. More shows are coming up for sure.

Christofer, it was good to have you for this interview, and I am really glad that Darkane is back for attack with an amazing record. I wish you all the best, Cheers

Thanks a lot, and I hope to see you out there soon! Take care and stay metal!


 



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