One-man production machine Dave Janson, mastermind behind the pioneer of what he calls Modern Dark Metal, SCHWARZER ENGEL, recently took time off his busy schedule to speak to Stephanie Hensley about the inspiration behind his lyrics and the style behind his own coinage, Modern Dark Metal, a fuse of Gothic Metal, Black Metal, and Death Metal. With his recent mindblower of a release “In Brennenden Himmeln”, we can only see his project reaching for greater heights.
Hello Dave Jason and thank you so much for this interview. After listening to the album In Brennenden Himmeln (which I really adored, by the way), I had a few questions for you.
Thank you, ask whatever you want!
Not only is the music deep and intricate, but the lyrics are as well. Were there any personal experiences that inspired the songs on this new album that you might like to share?
It’s always been kind of a desire for me to let out my dark and brutal side through music. When I wrote the music and lyrics for In Brennenden Himmeln, I completely absorbed the dark atmosphere of the songs. If you heard the album you might know that my lyrics are a mixture of reality and fantasy. I’m singing about the end of the world, which is going to become real if human beings not change their handling of nature and themselves, but I’m also letting fantasy in, like with Drachen über Eden which is about dragons burning the earth. In Brennenden Himmeln is an album connecting each song by one single element: fire!
At what age did you become drawn to music and what was the first instrument you learned to play?
I grew up with music from the beginning. You will laugh, but I started to play violin at the age of six. When I was 15 and started to take lessons in electric guitar. Now it’s more violence than violin! Hehe…
How do you feel your music has evolved since the releases Traume Einer Nacht and Apokalypse?
My music has become harder. Apokalypse was a pure dark metal album, while Träume einer Nacht had more gothic influences and also some melodic and soft songs in it. The new album is a lot harder than both predecessors, by mixing Gothic Metal with Symphonic Black Metal and Death Metal elements. The result is my personal mix, which I like to call “Modern Dark Metal”.
Was it difficult to find each of the musicians to play your music live?
No, I’m pleased that this wasn’t a big thing. First, I recruited my bass monster Bert and the first of the two guitarists Jens. Afterwards I found my first live drummer and we played a tour as a four-piece with THE VISION BLEAK and AHAB in Germany. In 2012 I added another guitarist Stefan, because I don’t want to go on with playing guitar by myself live. I wanted to focus on the vocals and the show. I think if people like your musical vision, you shouldn’t have big problems to find skilled live musicians. We are always having a lot of fun on tour together, because we’re all stupid, you know? (Laughs)
To date your lyrics have all been in German. Is there any chance that in the future you might do a song or two in other languages?
I regret it but SCHWARZER ENGEL will go on exclusively with German lyrics. I don’t find a reason to change to another language. It’s the biggest pleasure to sing in my mother language.
Your music has a very deep gothic tone to it. What bands have inspired that aspect of your sound?
I think I should name first of all RAMMSTEIN as an influence. The gothic tone comes maybe from bands like DIARY OF DREAMS or DEATHSTARS. Besides, I’m influenced by a lot of other great metal bands like DIMMU BORGIR, OZZY OSBOURNE, AMON AMARTH or CRADLE OF FILTH.
Do you think it might be more difficult or easier being a one-man production in the studio?
For sure this has both pros and cons! One of the pros is that I can exactly do what I want and I can produce the songs in completely my own style and I don’t have to compromise with anyone. That’s a big pro. The biggest con is that you have to do all stuff by yourself and as you might imagine, there’s a lot of work to be done…
Recently you played a show at the M'era Luna Festival. How was that? Are there any more live shows planned for the near future?
Yeah, our show at the Mera Luna Festival was a great experience for all of us. We played the main stage, and there were many people watching our show. This gives me power to move on the band. We will continue to play live by doing a German tour with our label-mates EISREGEN and DEBAUCHERY in winter this year. Also we will support German Gothic Rockers ASP in our hometown Stuttgart.
Are there plans for any more music videos such as the one for “Schwarze Sonne”?
No, not yet. If you watched the video for “Schwarze Sonne” on YouTube, you might imagine that it is a really exhausting and expensive move to realize a video like that. We will see what the future will bring.
How difficult was it to write the songs for In Brennenden Himmeln?
It’s not difficult for me to write songs but it takes a lot of time. Until the song arrangements are completely perfect, you have to change and work a lot on them. But I’m very happy with the songs themselves now and the whole sound of the album. Every time I finish an album, I say to myself: Now you’ve done something great – now you have the right to die!
What advice would you give someone that might be just getting started and attempting to make music like you do?
Trust in yourself, work hard, be open-minded and shit on doubters by creating your own style.
What might your fans be surprised to learn about you?
That I’m not drinking vampire blood in my basement at night. (Laughs)
Thank you so much for this opportunity!
You`re welcome! Do check out www.facebook.com/schwarzerengelband
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