Michelle Darkness: I don´t want to live this life again
Michelle Darkness, singer of German Doom Rockers END OF GREEN, is about to release his first solo album, approximately in October via AFM Records. STALKER had the opportunity to meet Michelle – who hardly ever gives interviews – in Finnish Sonic Pump Studios and to listen in advance to the songs.
It´s clear that this album is very important to him, all those years of work and three weeks of stress naturally have some impact. The first listening session sounded fantastic, the great view from the studio to the sea gave the right frame for those dark Rock melodies. Great grooves that touch you, and influences of melancholic Finland can be heard. Among those 13 Songs are three covers, “Pet Cemetary”, „Sound Of Silence“, “Love will Tear us Apart” The latter is a fine duet that moves you to tears. More songs are “Raging Fire”, “Darkland City” and “My Sweet”, but we don´t want to give everything away right now...
For people who don´t know you, could you tell us something about you and your musical background?
It started around 1992 when I bought a guitar just for fun and started writing songs, back then together with another singer, sort of German Punk songs. Then we met Matthias, who is still the drummer of End of Green, then he was about 11 or 12 years old (laughs). Then we met Oli just by chance in a bar, and also the rest of the band we met somewhere just by chance.
How are you now? We heard that you had been sick and had to cancel End Of Green-shows.
Yes, one gig, but I am always sick because of my teeth. 2003 I had to cancel a part of the tour because of an almost broken jaw, and since then I have to get treatment constantly. At the moment I´m fine, thanks to antibiotics (laughs).
We know your work with End Of Green, so what can fans expect from your solo album?
Ehm... I don´t think that there is such a big difference, but it might be a bit more experimental with influences from the 80s, and it is a bit harder.
Does that mean that your solo album is more personal, that you can be much more yourself?
Yes, all songs are exactly the way I imagine. There is still no live line-up, because I have done everything myself so far. And I´ve always wanted to do something like that. I recorded a lot at home on the computer.
So you have not planned any tour yet?
No, as we don´t have a line-up yet, and we had to rehearse etc. And the album won´t be out before October.
Why did you choose Finland to record your solo album?
I like the sound here, and one of my biggest idols – I guess no-one knows them – is “Bay Laurel” from Scandinavia, just the lifestyle here is so different. If you put on the radio in the morning, you can always hear Rock, in our country it´s a disaster. Just Rock on radio is great, something totally different and far from Germany, and that gives you a special spirit. Everything is so cool with Nino, too, we just met and it was like we knew each other, although I never met him before. Just great.
So you think it was a positive decision to come here?
Yes, definitely, I will come back again next time, but much better prepared, having more time to program the drums and so on. Simply more time, because the studio was free for just three weeks and otherwise overbooked.
So what do you do here when you are not working in the studio?
I was at Lost & Found, at Inferno and in some other bars. Well, we had a little sightseeing trip by car, along the ring and the sea. I found two new friends, the Chinese kiosk owner and the Turkish Pizza baker. Otherwise it´s pretty boring, I watch a lot of TV. Well, otherwise there is a lot to do in the studio. And I am always up for breakfast at 8, because then it´s best (laughs). That was fun, last week was a tennis match, and everybody was dressed in white, and I walk in even at early morning as the black sheep. And everyone was “uuh”, well... (laughs)
But I have not seen elks yet...
This is difficult, you had to go far up North
Yes I had to go far North... and I have a special relationship with Finland, it is always warm and bright here, and yes...
You should come back in winter then
Oh yes, perhaps for a holiday (laughs)
On the album you have some surprises, various duets with Finnish artists etc. Can you tell us how that happened, what we can expect and who those artists are?
Well, there is Entwine´s Mika and Hanna Pakarinen (known from 2007 Eurovision Song Contest, the ed.), Nino (Laurene, producer and owner of Sonic Pump Studio, the ed.) played some guitars himself, some solos, and also Thunderstone-singer Pasi contributed something, a few choruses and so on. How come? Well, I checked with Nino what would be suitable and we just pondered over a duet version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” when Hanna´s video appeared on TV screen. Nino said, he knew her and she might do it and even might have time. We wanted Jyrki from The 69 Eyes for “Pet Cemetary”, but he is somewhere lost in L.A. Well I think her voice fits nicely, it´s not so high but rather sounds like Rock, and I didn´t want a high voice, that would not fit.
End Of Green fans surely want to know if your solo career means the end of the band?
No, I am in so many bands and I have so many project about something else, so for me this is no problem, and I would not neglect anything. I´m a full time musician.
Why did you pick those three cover songs
Because they are suitable for me and because I am a big Joy Division fan. And Pet Cemetary fist because I don´t want to live this life again. And Sound Of Silence, I rather raped it, I think the text is nice... it fits.
Where do you get your inspiration, do you have idols?
No, I don´t, everything just comes from inside. From life... those are very personal lyrics. I usually don´t talk about it, because I think everybody should find their own interpretation and write their own stories, and many come to me and say: “Yes, I think I know what you mean”. And that is OK.
Is there a song on the album that is the most important for you or where you put in most heart and soul?
Mmm... good question... I don´t really... well, there is one you have not heard yet, it´s name is “Dope Crawler”, a bit more Doom, and also “Raising Fire” - there is something in all of them...
Ok, perhaps last words for the fans?
Yes, a big thank you that you make it possible to do it, because without fans that all here would not exist.
Once again a big thanks to Michelle for the nice interview, and to Nino Laurene for giving us an impression of Sonic Pump Studios.
Author: Sandy Mahrer, photos Julia S., transl. K. Weber Date: 2007-09-05