TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
This interview with Flauros of Darzamat was done by e-mail by Egemen Limoncuoglu in May, 2006.
Polish veterans Darzamat released their latest effort, Transkarpatia, last December. The album received very good reviews from the whole European metal media, so it was a “must” for Tartarean Desire to interview the mastermind behind the whole Darzamat concept, Flauros...
Darzamat’s latest effort, Transkarpatia is out since December, What are you doing these days? Apart from answering interview questions, i mean!
It's true that couple of months have already passed since the premiere of the album "Transkarpatia". I must, however, admit that it has been a very busy and hardworking time for us. Actually, the continuous and endless promotion of the album has been lasting since January..... We have still been responding the unending number of interviews for the magazines and all kinds of radio stations. It's very nice that so many people want to talk with us about our music and our latest album. I don't think that there has ever been such a great interest in our music before.
However, in all of this, we do find time for playing. We have just been finishing the preparations for the approaching concerts. The first new compositions, which will perhaps appear on our new album, have also been coming into being. Accordingly, we are rather not bored (laugh)!
Let's start with the news about X-Mas Fest, Darzamat will have a pretty busy schedule in December 2006. Can you tell us about the X-Mas Fest?
Yes, the participation in X-Mass has been probably the biggest concert challenge for us so far. It's been a long time since we wanted to cooperate with some big concert agency. It makes a lot of things easier for us. Unfortunately, it continuously didn't work and we had to fix most of the concerts on our own.
This situation has totally changed after our last album. We've been given the chance from the three European concert agencies and I'm sure we won't miss such an opportunity. as soon as in August we'll go on few concerts with the Norwegian Trail of Tears and if everything turns out to be fine, it will undoubtedly bear fruit in other tours.
In December there's a huge challenge that awaits us namely we'll go on the one of the most cult European tours : X - Mass. On the X - Mass festival used to play such excellent bands as: Morbid Angel, Destruction, Neil, Deicide, Vader, Napalm Death, Hypocrisy, Marduk, Exodus, Immolation, Impaled Nazarene or Hate Eternal.
This year's X - Mass includes 12 cities in : Germany, Austria, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and France. Darzamat is going to play on this festival next to such bands as : Six Feet Under, Gorefest, Krisiun, Cataract and God Dethroned.
In Poland the concert promotion will, however, start as soon as at the end of April. What follows, we'll play in Czech Republic and Slovakia with the French Misanthrope. Later on there comes the Sagfesival in the South of Germany with Brainstorm and Ektomorf as well as Apocalyptic Form of Death Festival in Czech Republic. Additionally, we'll play the concerts in Belgium and Holland with the Norwegian Trail of Tears. It is, however, the beginning of our concert plans, so accordingly one can expect some other dates pretty soon.
Transkarpatia received very good reviews from especially Polish Metal Media, Polish Metal Hammer named it “album of the month”. I guess people really dig what you are doing in your country? How was the reactions to the album from the rest of Europe?
The reactions to our new album have been truly superb not only in our country. We've lately been receiving the excellent reviews from all over the Europe as well. There are high notes that we've received in some big magazines in Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Portugal, Holland, Czech Republic, Latvia or Italy. We have also still been receiving positive signals from other world regions. It is truly wonderful that people have been fond of our latest album. Such opinions make us sure that Darzamat follows the appropriate way.
You’ve recorded all the instruments and vocals at Maq studio in Poland. Then you decided to finish the production process at Los Angered Recording. Was it something you were planning to do for some time? To produce the album somewhere else?
Before the work on "Transkarpatia" I had been considering the possibility of going abroad to make the mix of the record, yet, I didn't really believe that it will be possible with this album I had been considering various options, I had been talking to various producers. Peter Tagtgren with whom I had met during the Metalmania Festival turned ot to be very busy. Record companies rush him due to his bands. Some people wait for Hypocrisy's new album, some other wait for the lacking Pain's DVD materials. So, accordingly he hasn't got too much time on working with some other bands. Fredrik Nordstrom was simply too expensive for us and as far as Waldemar sorychta is concerned, he hasn't responded us so far (laugh)!
Andy La Rocque produced the album. It sounds like a really brave and financially hard decision to produce the album in Sweden. Can you tell us how did you decide to work with La Rocque? I wonder if you’re a fan of Andy La Rocque’s music too? Or were you just impressed by his production skills and decided to work with him?
We went to Goeteborg by pure accident. We went on Hard Rock Laager Festival to Estonia where we met the guys from Lord Belial. Thomas Beckelin and co. have been working with Andy for many years now. They were the ones who made us think about the possibility of work with Andy. The sea of Jaggermeister and a bit of talking about the cooperation with him were enough for us to come up with the idea!
That is why we have decided to get to know Andy's worth on our own. Thomas Beckelin (Lord Belial's leader) had taken our latest album to Goeteborg and then we sent Andy "Transkarpatia"'s demo tape. To our huge surprise he replied very quickly. He liked our music and agreed to produce Darzamat's new album.
Naturally I could not imagine the album's production without the band's participation so accordingly we (me myself, Nera and our guitar player Chris) went to Goeteborg when we peeped at Andy's work actively participating in it at the same time. Andy turned out to be not only a wonderful guitar player and producer being very commited to his work but a fantastic and a very open man as well. In his studio he created nearly relaxating atmosphere which is almost a miracle when we talk about a very intensive work which the production of the record undoubtedly is. Till this day I remain impressed with the personality of his. People from Swedish bands with which we had the pleasure to meet during our stay in Sweden do share my opinion. We additionally had the oportunity to feel in the climate of Goeteborg which is one of the most important cities on the metal map of Europe. It is here that the famous Fredman Studio or Los Angered Recordings are situated. It is the city that dozens of metal scene bands come from starting with At The Gates, Arch Enemy, Dark Tranquility and In Flames and ending with Hammerfall.
The album sounds truly impressive just like you say in your release info, there’s no doubt about it. But this kind of a crystal clear production has some kind of a risk too. When you think of today’s black metal scene’s radical approach to good quality recordings. I, myself think that, sometimes fans of the genre try really hard to praise the albums with low production qualitys. What do you think about it?
It is a matter of taste. Some people are fond of the selective productions that kick the asses pretty much e.g. Dimmu Borgir. Yet, some other prefer the severity and the hellish climate. The most important thing in the music is that it shouldn't lack the heart and the full engagement of the ones who create it.
Darzamat has its own vision of music as well as of the production of its albums and we don't look at the trends or the opinions of others. I am very satisfied with what we managed to do on "Transkarpatia" and we are about to keep following this way.
You and Nera are the ones who wrote the lyrics for Transkarpatia. Firstly i want to ask you about the theme of the lyrics. There seems to be a concept connecting 11 tracks, all connected to each other one way or another. And where does the album name come from?
"Transkarpatia" is in a sense a journey into the past, forgotten emotions and lost ideals. The record is a certain concept-album if one treats it in terms of a subject-related story and not in terms of history having its beginning and the end. Even without a thorough perusal of the texts one can notice that the lyrical layer oscilates round the pagan issue and the issue of magic/necromancy. The matters being also touched upon on the record are : The Inquisition, vampirism and the hatred towards everything that The Church could not accept or was even afraid of. On the basis of history, together with Nera we created the vision of the world seen in a totally subjective manner. Nera browsed through many book and internet pages in order to be able to feel in the role of the then woman It was supposed to help her mirror her emotions in texts, arrangements and in the singing itself. This kind of subject matter has been the one we had in our mind for a long time. Yet, it took us a long time to set ourselves against it. We have finally faced the challenge and we took a journey to the times "Transkarpatia"'s texts talk about. It has been the journey to the feelings, thoughts and the then attitude towards the world.
The title itself is the word which was created in our heads due to the junction of few elements out of which the album's concept has been built.
“Better an end in horror than horror without end” the album ends with these words.
Something must die to enable the birth of something new.
How do you write lyrics? Do you have special methods for the writing them? I mean do you have to be in a certain mood to write lyrics?
In a sense I had to learn writing texts with yet another person. Earlier, I was pretty egoistic as far as this matter is concerned. However we started speaking the same language with Nera very quickly and we reached the agreement as far as writing lyrics is concerned. We have got similar opinions on many issues as well as pretty similar preferences and interests so accordingly, there have been no bigger problems.
It, naturally, happens that our opinions on some subjects differ, yet then, we try looking for compromises. I think that group-work is all about compromises so it was a thing I finally had to learn (laugh)!
However, what is most important is the idea, the common concept on the record. The chosen subject matter, the common direction. I personally like starting the work on the new album when the title is ready. Therefore, I most often start with this very element.
Just before the Transkarpatia’s recordings you had a line-up change. Bass player (and guitarist) Daamr was replaced by Bacchus, why was the reason for him to leave the band? How did you decided to include Bacchus to the band as the new bass player?
There came a moment when Daamr could no longer function in the band in a normal way. He was very strongly involved in his personal matters and he wasn't able to devote himself to Darzamat. Accordingly his leaving the band was pretty natural. We could not endlessly wait for the time when he copes with his personal life and when he is able to devote himself to the band the way we would expect him to. Darzamat wants to go further and develop. As it comes to Bacchus things are totally different. He has sloted perfectly in the band. It is a man who previously played in one of the local metal bands in our neighbourhood. I hope that he is going to stay in the band for a longer period of time (laugh)!
You’re working with Metal Mind Productions for quite some time. It seems like you are satisfied with their work, right?
I am sure that every band would want the promotion to be much better than it is. MMP does a lot for us, yet, I am aware that they cannot afford the gigantic amount of adverts in the best well-known magazines. There are therefore many things we ourselves do e.g. we send a lot of promoting stuff by ourselves. We have been also doing the arrangements of most our concerts. I believe that there will come a day when all of this changes. It can, however, happen only when some big company is interested in Darzamat. Still, I am very satisfied with our cooperation with MMP as they are our partners in talks and as far as I know, it happens pretty rarely in terms of band-label relation.
Photos taken by Katarzyna Zaremba for the new album. I must say that they look also impressive and stylish. Can you tell us a little bit about the photos, whose ideas were they? Did Katarzyna act like an art director or were you the ones deciding about the photo style and concept?
Such matters are of course planned and well-thought-over in advance. Besides, the whole graphics is very strongly related to the concept of the record. Katarzyna Zaremba together with our graphic designer - Qras constitute a menetalporn group with which we have already cooperated for some period of time. It is very important for me that these are the people with whom we are constantly in touch and with whom we understand without saying a word.
There are many matters we discuss together and here we can also count on their creativity.
With departure of Szymon, Darzamat headed a new direction, and released two albums Semidevilish and the current one. The change in style is very obvious, and it seems it has been welcomed by the listeners of the band quite well. Do you think the people who are buying Darzamat’s latest two releases, are the ones that folowed you since the early days, or do you think you now have a completely different fan base?
Few years ago, there occured some serious and revolutionary changes in the band. The whole lineup was practically changed. I was the only member from the old lineup that left that is why the stylistic changes were pretty inevitable. Besides, I was loking for new people in order to be able to create the band anew. I wanted Darzamat's music to look exactly the way it does now from a very long period of time and I am glad that I have finally been able to meet my own expectations.
Earlier it was impossible for me to come to any kind of agreement with Simon - the cofounder of the band. We had totally different visions of the band, completely different priorities. We sat down, talked and it turned out that he lost interest in the band and even in the metal music itself. In this situation it was no other option but to separate. I think the last three years prove that this solution was a good one.
We have recorded two very good albums "Semidevilish" and "Transkarpatia" as well as we have started playing a lot of concerts. I think that is what it all is about that is why I do not even wonder whether now we have more fans than we used to have in the 90-ties. The old fans go and some new ones take their place. The band should not and cannot make the music that is imposed on it by the people from the outside. It must emerge from You. it is only then when it is truly sincere and worth anything.
What changed most do you think in the European scene since the day you first formed Darzamat? Is there anything specific you can name that changed most? And what changed in your personal life since the first days of the band?
I remember when I was 15 and together with my friend we would go to the city situated couple of dozens kilometers from our city just to be able to read about metal there. There was a guy there who had the xerocopied zines from all over the world and he made a kind of "metal library" out of it.(laugh)! Metalmen from various places in Poland would come to him and they borrowed the zines for money. One also had to leave deposit in case one did not reappear with the zine from Mexico or Japan. Those were truly excellent times, then getting the acces to the info and to the music was almost a miracle. Accordingly, listening to the music later on had its unique unrepeatable "taste". It was a certain kind of celebration. I do not, however, believe that it will come back. The world paces forward with its own speed and in my opinion we will sooner have the zines in sms than we will return to xero (laugh)!
The world surrounding us is constantly changing, we ourselves have been changing therefore some changes in the music also do appear. It's however, hard to compare those times with the present ones. It's also hard to evaluate which ones are better. Every period of time has its charm on condition that you are able to find a place for yourself in it.
What else does Flauros do apart from his life in Darzamat? Can you tell us about a typical day of yours?
Every single day, besides creating the music as well as being the manager of Darzamat, I work as every decent citizen does (laugh)! I am a journalist in one of the all-Polish newspapers.
You also have another band, called "In Dread Cold". Can you tell us about In Dread Cold, especially for the ones who are not familiar with the band?
There are few people in the band being engaged in different projects. Among others, we are co-creators of In Dread Cold project which has lately released its debut album "Underaba" for the British company Black Doom Records ( the members of My Dying Bride constitute it ). This is the project which differs completely from what we do in Darzamat. It's a totally twisted music which possesses the elements of: trans, industrial and experimental metal. Yet, we have recently mainly focused on Darzamat and our nearest plans are strictly related with this band.
Can you briefly(with one sentence?) tell your thoughts about these albums:
In The Flames of Black Art (1997)
A wonderful debut which allowed me to vector many of my thoughts and musical visions. Boundless honesty and faith in what we were doing.
In The Opium Of Black Veil (1999)
Making the form from the first record more complex. A good continuation and development of the musical affections from the first moments of the band's existance.
The experiment of Simon - the man with whom I created Darzamat and who has got nothing in common with the band. The attempt to find something that doesn't exist.
The beginning of the rebuilding of the band. The first step towards my vision of Darzamat and the second breath which put the balls on the corpse.
The best album in the band's history. Quite mature ideas and a huge certainty of what we do as well as confirmation of the high level presented by Darzamat.
Last words to end this interview...
"Transkarpatia" will change Your way of thinking about metal - climactic yet full of energy. It is the record that will cause a lot of muddle on the metal scene and it will stay in Your heads for a long time. See You on concerts! Stay dark!
Links of interest:
Metal Mind Records