Swedish progressive death / thrash metallers Darkane released their debut album "Rusted Angel" in 1999. Their latest and fourth offering "Layers Of Lies" markes the peak of their musical career thus far and is one of the most impressive releases from the Swedish metal scene anno 2005. Guitarist Christofer Malmström took some time off to answer our questions by e-mail in July 2005.

Hello, how are you?
Iīm fine thanks.

Your latest album, "Layers Of Lies", has received some very praising reviews from the metal media, what are your thoughts about this release compared to your previous three albums?
First of all we are very proud of Layers of Lies since we have done everything ourselves this time from writing, arranging, recording, producing and mixing the album. That is the first time since we have worked with Daniel Bergstrand on the previous albums. Then we are very proud of how it turned out. We wanted a kick in the face production, and thatīs what we got! Most of the reviews has also been extremely positive so far!

Do you think that you have kept most fans from when you released the debut "Rusted Angel"?
I hope so… some of them might have jumped off the wagon, but it seems like many of the fans from the beginning still are there, and we have of course gained some new listeners during our trip.

You signed a contract with WAR Music very quickly after having formed the band, how did this happen?
Peter was a session drummer in Arch Enemy at that time and since they were signed to WAR he got a good releation with them. After leaving Arch Enemy Peter told them that he and I had started a new band and WAR was interested from the beginning, so after having written our first song (Convicted) we played it to them over the phone and got immediately signed.

If you were to describe each of your four albums with just a couple of words, what would they be?
Rusted Angel: A debut that turned out better than we would never have guessed. Gave us a good start of our career.

Insanity: Seems to have been a dissapointment to some fans and not much happened after that album was released. It was more technical than Rusted Angel.

Expanding Senses: Gave us a kick in the right direction. We toured Europe, Japan and Israel. Had a quite fat sound wall, and was very heavy. Andreas vocals took a new direction.

Layers of Lies: The best album so far (arenīt they all when theyīre new?). Andreas has found is style of singing for sure this time, and only the future knows if itīs a success or not.

It has passed three years since you released "Expanding Senses", how come you didn't release a new album earlier?
The main reason for the delay is the problems Peter had with his wrists. Those problems started in the beginning of 2003 and he didnīt have the chance to rest since we did a lot of smaller tours and festival shows and in November when we toured with Death Angel it was really bad. The main plan was that we should start recording the new album in the autumn of 2003, but Peter had to totally stop playing the drums until his hands were ok, and it took about 8 months. In July 2004 he started to practise slowly again, and when he felt ok he had to start rehearsing the new album before we could enter the studio in October.

Klas also had his problems during all this but it was for a shorter time and he got surgery in September 2003 so it didnīt really affect the recording.

Then the recording itself took 6 months because we were working our daily jobs at the same time, so we could only record during evenings and weekends. Sometimes we also had to take care of our personal lives which means that we didnīt went to the studio for 1-2 weeks. Andreas also had the flu for a while which took some time to get well from. We also had to learn the equipment in the studio since this was the first time we recorded a full length album in our own studio…. as you can see there was a lot of elements combined to slow the process down but now the album is here and we are very satisfied.

Did you have any particular train of thoughts when writing "Layers Of Lies", either musically or lyrically?
No, I wouldnīt say we had. We just sat down writing what we felt was good at the time. The lyrics are still about mental madness in the mind and in the society.

You decided to record the new album on your own, why did you make this decision?
The first thing is that we had built our own studio which meant that we could spend time in it without a deadline which made us feel more comfortable, and now we could record the album until we were totally satisfied. We also wanted to produce the album ourselves since it was an experiment for us to see if we were able to do it or not, and afterwards I think it turned out very well. Daniel Bergstrand who weīve been working with on the three previous albums is a great producer, but we felt while working with him that we had a lot of knowledge ourselves too… for example when setting up the microphones for the drums and guitars and setting the sound. The negative aspect might be that there were no one around to tell us if what we recorded was good or bad and when youīve written the songs and heard them through all the recording phases itīs very hard in the end to tell if itīs good or not. We had to try to clear our minds and try to listen to music as if we havenīt heard it before to see if it was good or not, and it worked I would say.

Achieving such a powerful recording in more or less a rehearsal room environment is very impressive, you must have set up somewhat of a studio in there?
Yes, we actually started to build the studio in 2001, but it took some while before it was finished (it probably isnīt yet). We recorded the guitars and bass for Expanding Senses there too, and thatīs when we realized that it was suitable for a complete CD recording.

A few Swedish bands in the death / thrash genre such as In Flames and Soilwork have come to a point where they can make a living off their music, how far from such a situation are you at the moment? Is this something you wish would happen?
Yes, itīs something we wish would happen, but so far weīre quite far from it. I have no idea if it will ever happen. The cool thing about being in our situation is all the free travels we get. Itīs great to see different parts of the world like this!

Which are the highlights in your career as a musician so far do you think? What makes it worth moving forward with a band like Darkane which means a lot of hard work for little money in return?
I would say coming to Japan was the highlight so far The fact that we can release our music and get positive feedback from our listeners makes us moving forward! Playing live shows is what itīs all about! To get the immediate reactions from the crowd. If the mood is good thereīs nothing better than to play live!

Do you ever go to shows of other bands or festivals as a spectator? If so, what are the best shows you have been to?
Iīve been to a lot of shows! I saw Iron Maiden in Gothenburg together with 57.000 other fans just a few days ago. That show was really great!!! One show I also remember as great and memorable was Dream Theater in 1993. When we are playing festivals we also see a lot of other bands. Meshuggah shows are also really great! I think Iīve seen them 15-20 times now.

What do you listen to yourself today? What inspires you to play and write music now compared to when you were younger?
I listen to all kinds of music, but mainly jazz, fusion, metal and classical music. I like to analyze what Iīm hearing and learn from it and this affects my songwriting I would say. Itīs important to play/listen to more than just metal to develop. If you just listen to for example a metal guitarist and then start playing you will probably sound somewhere near how he sounds. Therefore itīs good to listen to other styles and genres to create your own style combined by all the other styles. Thatīs my opinion. I donīt think my taste differs that much from since I was younger.

If you had one single wish that would come true right away, what would that be?
That my body got in shape without exercising! Itīs too hot right now.

What does the nearest future look like for Darkane? Any touring plans in the works?
There are plenty of touring plans, but nothing is confirmed yet except for a show in Herning/Denmark in September 24th. We will put it on our website as soon anything is confirmed. Right now Peter and I are mixing my solo album Non-Human Level which will be released through Listenable Records later this year. Then in August Peter will become a dad for the first time. That will happen to me in January too.

Thanks a lot for this interview and best of luck with everything in the future! Any final words for your fans?
Thanks for the interview and please check out our new album Layers of Lies and weīll hopefully see you on tour later this year! Take care of each other and let the metal flow!

Links of interest:

Nuclear Blast