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Kelly Sundown Carpenter (Darkology)

Interview with Kelly Sundown Carpenter from Darkology
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 14 April 2010, 4:04 PM

I really love it when a new band pops up and throws a great album. This is exactly the case with DARKOLOGY's "Altered Reflections" an album that got me from the very beginning. So, Kelly Sundown Carpenter was eager enough to shed some light to this new band and hopefully make you interested in their music!

Hails from METAL TEMPLE webzine. Where do my questions find you?
Hello METAL TEMPLE!! Your questions find me well here at home.

So, DARKOLOGY's debut is out for quite some time; are you satisfied with the feedback? How do you respond to the negative reviews? ( if any…)
Firstly, we are all very pleased with the reaction to the album.
As far as reviews go…good or bad - I think it's best to take them in stride. Once you start considering what others will say/write about your work you begin to lose the honesty of your expression and that's death of art.

And I am asking this question taking into consideration the hectic CD sales and the general economical crisis we all are experiencing. How difficult can it be for a new band?
The economy does make it more difficult for a new band but I think the "free" downloading from file sharing/torrent sites makes it even more difficult with respect to record labels and their role in the music business. If the record label never gets back any of the money it has invested in the album through album sales it's much less likely to be able to finance good promotion and tours for the band.

How did you contact Rock-a-holics Records and what did convince you to sign a record deal with them?
Michael was in contact with Rock-a-holics Records because they were re-releasing ARCH RIVAL's debut, and we found that they were interested in DARKOLOGY as well. They made us a generous offer, are very "hands on", and have a lot of integrity, as opposed to us being a non-priority for a larger label.

Back in the 80s signing a record deal was close to sign your soul to the devil; how different are things nowadays?
Well…we work mainly with indie labels so the deals are much more fair and we are able to retain more rights to our music, the counterpoint to this is that if you deal with a major label most likely you will give up most or all of the rights to your music in exchange for bigger advances of money and bigger promotion…but as I mentioned before…the larger label may never do anything at all for you and let the band slip through the cracks unnoticed…nothing has really changed in that sense.

Let's go to DARKOLOGY's debut album; how long did it take you to get your music into the CD? Did you face any difficulties during this process?
I recorded my parts for the album at Nomad studio in Dallas in two weekend sessions, which went very smoothly.

Listening to your vocals I could spot influences from CRIMSON GLORY's Midnight; what are your influences in your singing style?
I really loved "Transcendence" by CRIMSON GLORY but I wouldn't say that Midnight was really an influence on me vocally. My main influences are THE BEATLES and BLACK SABBATH…my big heroes are Ronnie James Dio, Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate, Rob Halford and Steve Perry…also Motown guys like Stevie Wonder and Sam Cooke.

What was your input in the music in "Altered Reflections"? And how was your composing process?
When I joined the group everything had pretty much been thought out…what I did was re-interpret the melody lines and then brought my own personality to the performance.

Let's go to DARKOLOGY's debut album; how long did it take you to get your music into the CD? Did you face any difficulties during this process?
I think the whole process took a couple of years…we were very careful about finding the right label to release the album. I think the main difficulty we faced was not being part of the "extreme Metal" trend with the growling vocals and blast beats…but I think we made a great choice with Rock-a-holics Records…they understand the band and have worked hard for us…

How important are the lyrics for the singer? I mean can you sing lyrics that don't fit in your mentality?
Lyrics to me are profoundly important and I generally prefer singing my own words but if someone else comes up with something good I have no problem using their words and ideas. I will only draw the line at singing about ideas I don't agree with philosophically.

Has the album's artwork anything to do with the lyrics?
Actually John Holland created an individual artwork for each song while listening to the album. What he has done for "Altered Reflections" is superb…it's a rare treat for us to know that he was inspired directly by the music when he created what you see throughout the packaging. There are references to several songs (mostly "Dark Energy") on the front & back cover as well. You can see more at John's site:

You have been with OUTWORLD and BEYOND TWILIGHT; what did you earn from your time with those bands?
I learned a great deal in my time with both of these bands…with OUTWORLD I signed my very first record deal, we were together through a lot of trials and big disappointments. That band taught me to be strong and move forward no matter what… you need a thick skin in this business or it will eat you alive. With BEYOND TWILIGHT I really learned a lot about the recording process and what it takes to create special moments within my performance…to be able to make a bit of magic in the studio. Also with BEYOND TWILIGHT I got my first experience with filming a video and the many things that go into that process.

In particular when you joined BEYOND TWILIGHT you were to replace Jorn Lande; did you feel any type of pressure to compete him?
Yes! You know, back then I really wasn't very familiar with Jorn's work. I had heard his performance on the previous BEYOND TWILIGHT album and was blown away by his incredible talent there. I remember things started to sink in a bit the day I arrived at Tommy Hansen's Jailhouse studio and saw the gold HELLOWEEN records hanging on the wall. I'll never forget when Tommy Hansen said to me…"You got a lot to live up to Kelly" For me the pressure was really to remain true to myself, do the very best job I could and hope for the best.

You also shot a video for "I Bleed" where you chose to do it the old way without adding computer effects. So, how long did it take you and is there any concept behind it? Who had the idea of making it black and white and just use the red color?
The video was filmed in three days on various locations and edited in three days. Our bassist Mike Neal is responsible for the concept also edited the video with cameraman/director Jon Shulte. There were a few effects used but Mike chose that classic black and white look with the red that signifies mortality and the loss of a loved one.

DARKOLOGY is a new band; what are your goals with it? Do you a certain target in your career or you just take things as they come?
For the most part I take things as they come…we have had a very strong and good support from the fans and media so a bright future is possible…we'll see!!

What are your touring plans? Do you prefer to join a big festival billing or join another band into small club shows?
I like both types of venues for different reasons…at the festivals you are able to reach a very large audience in a single performance which also gives you the opportunity to win over people who are there to see other bands. I like the small clubs for the intimacy they provide…that face to face exchange between the players and the fans.

Ok, Kelly thank you for your time and I really wish you the best for DARKOLOGY. I really like your singing style and timbre. Close the interview the way you want to.
Thank you very much for the kind words…I really appreciate that! I'll simply close the interview by saying a great thanks to the fans…none of this is possible without you!!


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Edited 28 January 2023

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