Austrian neofolk, acoustic, ambient, black metal band Dornenreich has recently released its eighth studio album “Freiheit”, celebrating its 18th birthday! The band has always offered its fans quality works, with many surprising and experimental elements. After the release of this new album, Dornenreich will enter a period of “change and transition”, so the time is more than perfect to ask Eviga some questions about his great band.
- Hello Eviga. Congratulations on your new work and thank you for accepting to make this interview. Your new album “Freiheit” is already a couple of months out. What are the reactions you got so far?
Thank you. It’s a joy to do this interview with you. When it comes to the overall response, I feel that many people really dived into the depth this very album has to offer. Doubtlessly, Freiheit is an ambitious one concerning both its content and its structure, however, it has a lot to offer in return I dare to state.
- How would you describe the album compared to its predecessors? Are there new elements “Freiheit” has to offer to the listener? Are there any recording facts about this album you’d like to mention? Any cooperations or guest appearances?
It is extremely varied concerning the range of emotions and instrumentation, due to the fact that it tries to get across cycles and the development of a human individual throughout its entire life in a pictorial and deeply symbolic way. In my perception, it combines a lot of elements and ways of expression that we made ourselves familiar with during the last 18 years in a pure and spiritually rich way. As the album demanded a lot during its creation a crucial aspect was our collaboration with our friend Markus Stock (Empyrium, The Vision Bleak) as engineer and producer. The deep trust and the common artistic and aesthetic horizon were extremely helpful to deliver the wide range of expressive nuances when recording the album. Besides, Thomas Helm (Empyrium, Noekk) recorded his unique, classically trained voice for an alternative vocal version of the album track “Traumestraum” (“Dream of Dreams”) which is a part of the bonus-disc of the limited edition – and it was just great to be creative together in the studio. A magical and highly memorable experience.
- Could you gives us some info about the lyrics of the new album? Is it a concept album?
Yes, it is a concept-album and possibly the most ambitious of all our albums. It deals with life in all its small and big cycles. And as for the dimension of time, “Freiheit” explores human life from childhood to seniority in a way, that is, from the unseparated perception of a child, over the egocentric perspective of youth to a more conscious perception of life and being as a whole. Therefore the structure of the album is similar to a wave, which builds up, devotes itself – metaphorically speaking – and builds up again – slowly and differently. And at a certain point ”Freiheit” replaces the urge of “Flammentriebe” by compassion. In my personal perception it is an extended journey that intends to get across the whole range of human moods and motivations during the various stages of life, that is, degrees of consciousness. One finds playfulness, urge, doubt, grief, courage, fear, loving devotion, dream and many contrasts such as ecstasy and introversion and an important distinction between self and ego. Within “Freiheit” the self is meant to be a vital connection of the individual with itself and as well with the outer world whereas the ego refers to the individual as some sort of huge but empty hungertower always in need of outer things.
- Do you believe that listeners who can’t understand your native language miss a huge part of Dornenreich’s magic? Do you take this factor into your consideration when composing? I ask because your vocals are always very expressive and your music very atmospheric and passionate, able to generate strong emotions, even without understanding the lyrics.
I deem the overall emotional impact that our expression radiates to be most important in the first place – and that’s something that gets across to people no matter whether they understand the German language or not. At least that’s what many fans from all around the world tell me over and over again. And it’s quite the same with – for instance – our friends from Alcest or any other band that incorporates the mother tongue of its members. It has an authenticity to it and it enables me to communicate the depth that I am longing for as it influences and informs my vocal performance heavily. But apart from that, Dornenreich-lyrics really have something to communicate, thus we try our very best to offer decent translations of our lyrics, which are created by our old partner Andreas Diesel who is a professional translator. These English translations are available via www.dornenreich.com and with ”Freiheit” we (for the very first time) included them in the booklet of the album. So, people who are really interested in Dornenreich and its essence and depth and who know the English language do have the actual opportunity to read the lyrics… Some of our lyrics are even available in French at www.dornenreich.com.
- Dornenreich are already 18 years alive. What do you remember from the first steps of the band? Your music was different back then. What do you think now about your first works?
Haha, well, when we recorded our debut album “Nicht um zu Sterben” back in 1997 I was sixteen years young, so – as you can guess – it was a truly magical, dreamy time driven by our youthful urge to create something intense. We tried to give all we had to offer at that specific point of our development and that’s what I appreciate this album for. Moreover one can discover many elements that should get crucial on later Dornenreich albums on this first album and even on our demo-tape. Actually, it still was the time when the internet was hardly present and the whole (black-) metal Underground had something really exclusive, special and fascinating to it for sure. I can remember that we actually had a vital correspondence and tape-trading going on with – for instance – members of Abigor and Summoning, which meant a lot to me, this very, very young musician that I was about to become…
- What do you consider as the landmarks and turning points of Dornenreich’s musical career? Any things you’d like to change if you could?
So far it was and is an incredible journey. Looking back I have to say that all the dreams I had back in 1996 when I was fifteen years young have come true during the last 18 years: we recorded many different albums, played numerous tours, released a live-dvd and above all we experienced a lot, learned even more, found new friends, met many inspiring people and were given the possibility to touch and inspire other people – which is a gift, a true treasure. But, still, I feel more and more that there are many more things and areas that we will discover as persons – and even with Dornenreich. When it comes to some crucial steps – apart from the obvious importance of members coming and going – I would point out our introduction to the Prophecy-Clan back in 1999 which also marks the beginning of our friendship and collaboration with Markus Stock (Klangschmiede Studio E; Empyrium, The Vision Bleak … and our first headlining show back in 2001 when I really felt the mutual energy and passion among us performing and our audience for the very first time.
- Through the years the band has changed a lot. Are you satisfied with your current sound? Are there any bigger ambitions and goals to achieve as an artist?
I am, yes. We have never repeated ourselves and we have explored many areas of hand- and heart-made artistic expression – and now our sound is as diverse and natural as it gets. Moreover, we managed to stay faithful to our essence throughout all these years and I am deeply convinced that we will be able to carry on in one way or another as I perceive our expression to communicate a timeless depth, an existential relevance. ”Freiheit” hints on and alludes to many things that might come and time will tell what to do – just as it has always been… However, one never knows and in the end our lives as human beings are more fragile than we like to be aware of most of the time, so, should Freiheit stay our last studio-album at all I would be deeply satisfied with this album holding this special place in our discography, which says a lot about the way I think and feel about this album, doesn’t it…
- I’ve read that “Freiheit” marks a period of change and transition and that it will take long time before you release something new. Could you tell us more about this and about the future of the band in general?
Artistic expression truly offers a sacred and spiritual quality to me, a quality that I won’t sacrifice but live up to – even if that means that I have to stop the activities that I am known for at the moment. And be sure: it is quite a job to realize an authentic and uncompromising band such as Dornenreich nowadays. Watering the band down is what won’t happen and for the next few years we intend to concentrate on few selected concerts and on (artistic) discovery. So, we will explore new ways on many levels and that might take its time, but the fact that I am deeply satisfied with the authentic aura that we were able to keep up during all these years provides me with a very good, thankful and patient state of mind.
- How important are live shows for Dornenreich? What should your fans expect from a Dornenreich gig? Are there any new tours announced you’d like to inform us about?
Concerts are important as they are able to create an atmosphere of shared presence and energy among the musicians and the audience and that can be something truly inspiring and powerful. And from our point of view concerts are also highly important to experience the essence of our expression and to make common experiences as friends heading out to an adventurous journey; so concerts truly strengthen our bonds. One might expect a passionate performance – pure and intense. At the moment no further concerts are confirmed but that will be changed soon. So, just visit www.dornenreich.com from time to time and you won’t miss any news.
- You are also participating in other bands besides Dornenreich. Would you like to give us some info about them? Are there any side-projects of the other Dornenreich members worthy to be mentioned?
Yes, I am a proud member of a very theatrical and highly ambitious ensemble called Angizia, which can only be compared with the varied extravaganza of cult-bands such as Devil Doll or Notre Dame. Besides, I appreciate to play live-guitars for Empyrium.
At the moment Gilvan and Inve are band-members of Dornenreich exclusively.
- Thank you very much for your time. Wish you all the best. Last words are yours.
I would like to thank you for your interest in Dornenreich and your support.