The first question obviously will be about the big change on Dornenreich's music, and I imagine I'm not the first one asking you about that. I wouldn't say you've lost Dornenreich's sound, as I still find the same kind of feelings on this new album, but the musical style has changed a bit. I think you've lost almost all the Black Metal aproach, and you're nearer than ever to folk music and less agressive stuff. Well, enough from my side, now tell us which is your oppinion about that and what kind of feelings you wanted to transmit with this new record. Were you tired of playing more agressive music or it was just a logical progression in your point of view? How has been the response as well from the press as from the fans until now?
Dornenreich is meant to get across authentic emotions and thoughts, therefore each of our albums mirrors our stadium of artistic and personal development during the very period of time the album was created in. To me “Hexenwind” is a natural progression due to our intuition, yes. In a way it is a more subtle and introverted continuation of the basic themes of our last album “Her von
welken Nächten”. Consequently the energy “Hexenwind” communicates is a more psychic one, whereas the energy of our former albums was more physical. As for “aggression” I would like to add that I never experienced any Dornenreich-album to be aggressive but intense and passionate.
The reactions have been passionate as well so far. We received passionately negative and passionately positive reactions, but only few people responded via indifference. Could one long for any better reception?
As well as you've lost the Black Metal aproach from your music, there's still a big Black Metal feeling, and, as I said on my review of "Hexenwind", sometimes it remembers me Burzum's "Dunkelheit" in a more neo-folk/rock musical path, and in others Empyrium, Ulver or some german gothic stuff. Which musical influences have you had those last years that had any possible weight on nowadays Dornenreich? Are they the same as in the past?
Wasn’t it all about deep emotions, mystic moods, authentic thoughts, nature and stylistically unconditional individuality what the mentioned bands stood for? Wasn’t Black Metal something else but a Beats-Per-Minute-Chase on drums and a superficially shocking youthful rebellion?
To me it was – and I feel likeminded vibes when listening to bands such as Ulver, Empyrium, Kvist, Ved Buens Ende or Borknagar.
Actually we appreciate any kind of music that is sincerely alive, that moves us, triggers or carries emotions, makes us think and feel deeper or simply shares its beautiful wings with us – and, yes, we have got to know and adore countless artists, bands and ensembles over the last years.
Since "Her von welken Nächten", released in 2001, there was no news about Dornenreich, until you released "Hexenwind". What happened during all that time? Did you stop the band's activity for some time or you just needed more time to work on this new songs? There was no questioning from Prophecy Productions, your label, about when were you going to finish working on those new songs? Can you explain us a bit all the process that resulted on this new album?
In 2001 we played live fifty times approximately and in 2002 we played at the With-Full-Force-Festival and the Wacken-Open-Air and even during the last three years we spread news frequently. However, you are right in stating that we did not release a new album in nearly five years – and that is quite a while, for sure.
First of all it is a fact that we built our own little recording-studio and that I tried to get familiar with the basics of digital recording. Finally, we recorded everything apart from the drums, which were recorded by Markus Stock (Empyrium/The Vision Bleak/Noekk/Sudio E) on our own. This process took its time and a lot of extra-energy as you can imagine surely.
Furthermore we have always been struggling with the songs, too, and our tendency to perfection resulted in some very difficult situations that were not always easy to cope with, but we did after all – and when talking about “we” I think of our label Prophecy as well. They believed and trusted in us – even in bad times – and that means a lot to me.
Going a bit deeper into "Hexenwind", as I don't have the lyrics of the songs, and anyways I don't understand german, I'd like to know what do you speak about on this new album and if there's any kind of relation with previous albums or it's a new lyrical aproach. Which are your main inspirations when it comes to writing lyrics, only everyday's life or any others? Does your living place(Tirol, Austria) have any impact on Dornenreich's music/way of thinking?
By the way – the English translations of the “Hexenwind”-lyrics are available at dornenreich.com. “Hexenwind” is an album rich in symbols and pictoriality. Primarily I focus on fantasy in the deeper meaning of imagination because – to me – this ability is the magical and actually invisible beginning of creation. First there are emotions, thoughts, inner visions, yearning and then a man utters them verbally and finally acts in the “outer world”.
Consequently we stripped the music down to its essence. We use simple and floating structures and keep up one tempo for many minutes sometimes in order to trigger the listener’s individual imagination, because the shamanic beat – combined with the mysterious and yearning melodies – invites and even urges the listener to focus on his or her inner pictures.
So, in order to do justice to this associative width the lyrics rely on simple and archaic words one can relate to in various ways.
Personally I appreciate the clear and poetic tongue of writers such as Hesse, Tieck, Fouque, Gibran, O’Donohue, Tolkien, Eichendorff and Novalis.
When it comes to inspiration I think that all the things, beings and moods that enrich my life with joy or pain work inspiring upon me. Moreover I’m fascinated with the varied landscapes of Tirol – including vast forests and the Alps – that hide numerous legendary and mystic places such as the “Devil’s Mill” or the “Devil’s Podium” that offer certain vibes for sensitive people.
Speaking about live activity now, are you going to make some shows to play the new stuff on stage? Will it be a different kind of concert as the ones you did in the past? Where would you like to play and with whom?
“Hexenwind” is a rather introverted, intimate and in many ways very fragile album, thus we won’t play live in the nearer future probably; though it would have been great to elaborate a set based on acoustic guitars and vocals in order to play another special tour together with Tenhi (as we did in Autumn 2001) …
The line-up of Dornenreich is composed by two persons, Eviga and Valnes, but what about the other persons that contributed to all your works, like Michael Stein, who played the drums on “Hexenwind”? Why you never had a complete line-up? Is it more easy for you to work like that?
The biggest longtime Dornenreich-ensemble comprised three persons: Valnes, Gilvan (our former drummer) and Eviga and it is true that Valnes and I have very detailed visions when working on an album therefore we primarily need session-musicians to execute our ideas. Actually we are not really willing to compromise on Dornenreich, so, for instance, Michael Stein played the drums the way I had worked it out.
By the way – we consider ourselves to be open-minded, but after ten years and when it comes to the actual artistic decisions we tend to be quite, quite pigheaded …
Another thing that is typical from Dornenreich are the simple covers, you never used too much complicated pictures for them, but they look always really different, and this time you used a photo(or it looks like it). What can you tell us about it? Which relation does it have with the music inside? If you had to tell an album cover that really atracted you(in fact you have to, hehe), which one would you say?
This time we used a photo, right. It shows a misty forest in the North of Innsbruck/Tirol. On the digi-version of the album we put the Dornenreich-logo on the upper left side and the albumtitle “Hexenwind” on the lower right side of the frontcover, so the invisible line between Dornenreich and Hexenwind - together with the forest - give a subtle impression of an “X” which represents to us two different energies crossing and affecting one another. Moreover they communicate a common thing, the letter “X” and that relates to the music directly for we try to get across the same ideas musically by means of combining contradictory elements
(such as the Northern coldth of distorted guitars with the Southern flair of acoustic guitars) that build a common vision: the song itself. So, “Hexenwind” offers many layers and messages when perceiving slightly deeper …
Anyway, we have always used minimalistic covers that rely on colour-moods mainly because we wanted the albums to be veiled in an aesthetic and supportive outer shape that does not detract from the album itself, yet.
Some simple and aesthetic covers that I highly appreciate are Tenhi’s “Kauan” (some obvious similarities to “Hexenwind”), Ulver’s trilogy covers and The 3rd and the Mortal’s “Tears laid in earth”-cover.
I read somewhere that in the recording sessions of “Hexenwind” you recorded 60 additional minutes of music that have not been released, is it true? Why haven't they been released? Will there be a special edition of “Hexenwind” with that unreleases stuff, will you keep it for a future release or it was just not as good for you as to release it on this album?
It’s true that we recorded over 100 minutes, but after all the years we wanted to focus on the songs that reflected best our personal mood during that very time. At the moment it’s is not sure whether those further songs will be released or not.
And now, what can we expect from Dornenreich for the coming future? Will we have to wait another four/five years until the next album? Have you started working on new songs or you're still digesting the ones from “Hexenwind”?
Topically I am busy with various things concerning Dornenreich though nothing is absolutely sure yet.
So, all I can give you now is the cryptic promise that it won’t last another four years until Dornenreich will be back in one form or another.
Austria is a country which had(and still has) a quite interesting scene, with bands like Abigor, Korova, Angizia or Golden Dawn in the past and some of them still fighting like Belphegor, Mastic Scum or Dornenreich, for sure. Any new outfits that look interesting for your ears? How do you see that scene after all those years? Which things are better and which ones are worse?
Actually I’m not familiar with nowadays’ scene, thus I’m not able to give you any proper comment on this topic.
I'd like to know now which albums have surprised you these last times? Any book? And a movie?
I’m looking forward to Omnia’s new album for I appreciate “Live Religion” a lot and I think that the forthcoming Madder Mortem album “Desiderata” will be very interesting.
As for books I was very impressed by certain books of O’Donohue and concerning films recently the most striking one – to me – was “Crash”.
Ok then, we arrived to the end of the interview. It was a pleasure to make you this questions, and hope they were not too boring for you. Now I hope to know about you in not too much time. If you want to say something else, go on...
Just want to thank you for your interested questions and your support.
Gia Thanatos is a webzine dedicated to music for the apocalyptic times. No matter the scene or genre it comes from, and mainly chosen according to its author's taste.