Din Brad is a new band from Timişoara that offers its personal view on the Romanian traditional music. Negru (Negură Bunget) had the idea of this band in his mind since 2002, but it was 2008 when things started to take flesh. With Inia Dinia (also in Negură Bunget) and Alma in the vocals, Din Brad got a full line-up. The band inked a deal with Prophecy Productions and in 2012 released their debut album “Dor”. Let’s see what Negru has to say about this wonderful band.
- Hello Negru, it’s a honor to have this interview with you, since Negură Bunget has been one of my favorite bands. Of course this interview is about your other (also wonderful) project Din Brad. Tell us a few things about how it all started. Why did it took you so long to finally form them?
Hello! It’s always our pleasure! Well, it took us indeed a lot of time to shape up the right form of this project… In my mind I had this idea about Din Brad for a long time, but somehow didn’t happen the way I plan, it was almost like a research project that took a lot of time and study. Passing from ideas to ideas the project began to have a life of its own, becoming “Dor”, our debut album.
- Can you tell us a few words about Din Brad’s line-up? Were all members since the beginning? Is the line-up complete, or do you think it will grow even more?
Since the beginning I had a lot of ideas, explored several paths until things started to flow on the right shape. The actual line-up is Inia Dinia, me and Alma, a dear friend of us. We are all good friends and it was just natural to work together. We worked on this line-up from scratch on the debut album. For the future… you never know how things will work out. We don’t have plans for the line-up change, but it’s quite likely we’ll work with some special guests, both live and on the album.
- What is the main concept or philosophy of Din Brad? What does its name stand for?
Din Brad is a project based on the idea of keeping “alive” a connection to our roots and to reveal the beauty and richness of authentic Romanian folklore. It is a personal view on the musical folklore without spoiling its authenticity. Din Brad in translation would be something like “from a fir tree”… The fir tree has many symbolical meanings in the local folklore and even in some traditional rituals. For us it is the symbol of the immortality of these lands, it connects us with the community, with the nature and the universe. We are all fascinated about the traditional simple and yet wise way of understanding the universe, where all the practices and beliefs merge together in a natural harmony. We let our imagination melt with the mountains, hills, deep waters, home, a spiritual presence… becoming a personal vision.
- What should the listener expect to find in your debut album “Dor”? How would you describe your music?
We describe our music a Traditional Romanian soundscape. Our debut album “Dor” is composed of 2 parts: one side there is authentic traditional Romanian songs, sung by local performers in their own environment and on the other side there is our personal vision of the Romanian folklore, parting ways with mainstream folklore that is more commercial and less authentic. “Dor” is rather an atmospheric album, than descriptive, it is something you have to experience with your heart, putting aside your mind. But of course everyone experiences differently this according to their own spiritual and cultural backgrounds.
- Has “Dor” any specific concept? Since your lyrics are in your mother language, is there any message in the album you’d like to share?
The Dor album as a whole explores a local characteristic feeling of sorrow and sadness. This feeling of longing and grief is a special feature of the Romanian folklore, difficult to translate in other language the complexity of its meanings. It is a local characteristic of the Romanian soul, it is somehow you are yearning for something that you have lost and feel it in a deep level of your very being. We tried to capture this ambiguous feeling into music and it became a unique experience even for us.
- There are some pure and unaltered traditional songs in the album, performed by actual local performers! Tell us a few words about this interesting idea? Are these local performers different in each song? Do they perform these songs on their entirety, or are they guest musicians in songs that you also participate?
We just felt this approach would complement our personal vision on this album. The main idea was to keep the local authenticity on the album and it was quite very nice working with these local performers, simple country side people without musical training, we actually took a glimpse of this traditional universe we are fascinated. The local performers played in vocal – only songs on their own without any interference from our side and we also had some special local guests on our songs, for example Mr. Mircea Ardeleanu on the cimbalom and some of our friends like Gădineţ and Eduard Muntean on panpipe.
- Can you give us some details about the creation process of “Dor”? Is there any basic composer in the band, or everyone takes part in it? What are the instruments you use?
The creating process of “Dor” was a unique and wonderful experience for us. Usually everyone has ideas or music themes that as we talked though became songs and crystallize in a certain structure. We didn’t plan to have a certain structure or to get inspired by a certain aspect of the Romanian folklore it just developed like this, we just let our inspiration follow its own path.
- How do you see traditional music? I mean do you see it as an alive music genre, or as a historical study / search of existing forms and tunes?
I see the traditional music as a fading expression of cultural and spiritual realities that are about to be extinct. But traditional music is already a large spectrum description. A lot of the present traditional music explores only the surface of the authentic creations, focusing on the most commercial and accessible aspects. It is up to each listener the way this traditional music offers a research study or an “alive” experience. For us is an expression of the local soul that here in Romania you may still find very alive in some isolated communities. But then this is what fascinates us, the still unspoiled nature and people bearing “alive” this old ways.
- Your album is now almost 5 months old. What are the fans’ and press’ reactions to it so far? I suppose that many metal fans will like it, even if I has nothing to do with metal. Has it reached to audiences outside the metal circles too?
So far we had a really good response to the album… There are indeed all kinds of different people enjoying it, from metal listeners, to people that have nothing to with it.
- Do you believe Din Brad will be more related to metal, or to folk / neofolk scene? How would you like it to be?
This is never something we bother thinking at. Once music it out, people can categorize it any way they want… we just follow our inspiration.
- Even if this is only your debut, you already have a contract with Prophecy! I think this can help the band a lot. Tell us a few words about this cooperation.
It was natural to work with Prophecy, because they had already some branch dedicated to unusual concepts and music. It was a plus they liked the idea from the very beginning, so it all went very well.
- As far as I know you plan to play some gigs. How is Din Brad on stage? What should your fans expect to see from you? Will you be playing in folk / medieval festivals, in metal shows, or both?
We had some gigs along Negura Bunget, even this year in their American tour it was quite an experience for us since we are at the beginning of this trip. We try on the stage to keep the same feeling as on the album.
- Negură Bunget is also deeply related to Romanian traditional music. With Din Brad are you exploring different paths of your rich music culture, or are the same paths seen through another “calmer” mood?
The main difference is that while Negura Bunget uses folklore as an inspiration, it melts somehow in that black metal objectivity becoming universal, Din Brad focuses very much on the folklore and its authenticity, becoming more personal and thus subjective, following its own path.
- Do you see Din Brad as a side-project, or of equal importance with Negură Bunget?
I never thought like that… both projects are equally important to me.
- Are there any bands in this genre that inspired you, or any bands you’d like to recommend?
I can recommend bands like Irfan from Bulgaria, or Marga Musik from Lithuania, or artists like Mari Boine from Norway, Chavela Vargas from Mexico, or Maritza from Portugal that keep the same spirit alive.
- Is it too early to ask for future plans with Din Brad? For start, do you plan to release a second album, or was it just an one album project?
Actually we are working on a new album and all I can say for the moment is that you should prepare yourself for quite a different experience.
- Thank you very much for your time. Wish you all the best with both your great bands and in your life! Last words are yours.
Thank you very much for the support!