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Dornenreich: The beautiful and painful wisdom of nature
One of the few Austrian bands who made it to the top in the dark scene are definitely Dornenreich = the duo Eviga and Inve. Since 1996 they continue to supply us with high-quality outputs, and they continue to reject any possible categorization. High time for STALKER to invite mastermind Eviga to a little chat...
As exile-Austrian I happen to know you a bit longer, since your Metal phase, and your CD "Her von Welken Nächten" will always remain one of my classics. Now you´re rather focused on acoustic sound, also your 6th album "In Luft geritzt" (2008) featured only guitar, violin , percussion and vocals – how come?
Acoustic instruments have always played an important role since the beginning of the band, and there were also acoustic (guitar) songs on our „Mein Flügelschlag“-Demo 1997. Also „Her von welken Nächten“ features 3 acoustic songs. The dynamic possibilities of acoustic instruments are phantastic, and I have been longing for a long time to record a powerful mystic passionate album that emanates directly from the “acoustic well” of musical expression.
How do you define your style? Is Dornenreich still part of the Metal scene or rather Gothic – or have those category boundaries ceased to exist
To put it blantly and subjectively, it seems that in an ideal situation “Metal” would stand for “freedom” and “Gothic” for “mysticism”. As with Dornenreich we have always expressed ourselves freely and always in mystical ways, we are – as far as I am concerned – clearly part of the Metal scene and the Gothic scene alike, although our roots are in existence itself.
What kind of experience was it to play in Helsinki? And also, what´s your impression from the artist Sieben?
It was an uplifting experience to be that well received in a city that one has never been to before as we were in Helsinki last year. And it was great to perceive Tenhi getting the enthusiastic response they deserve. We spent two memorable days in Helsinki with our friends Tenhi and we also appreciated Matt Howden´s performance very much for he seemed to be totally into his expression.
Your acoustic show at WGT a couple of years back was very spiritual. How do you think Dornenreich´s music is better to be experienced live? Unplugged or not?
Both sides of our current expression offer special qualities. The “metallic” side provides everybody involved with some kind of physical ecstasy and intensity, whereas an acoustic performance is able to create incredibly intense moments of intimacy among performers and audience, which is great in my perception.
At the moment I think that we´ll return to pure acoustic music after our next album “Flammentriebe”.
How do you design and decide what artwork to use?
All our artwork relies on my initial ideas. Usually I share these ideas with my father and a
graphic designer called Lukasz Jaszak, who try to build the entire artwork from my initial ideas, which rely on my attempts to get across the basic message of an album-title visually. Thus, we don´t use any foreign work but we create our artwork from scratch and for Dornenreich exclusively.
How are the band members outside of Dornenreich? And how do you handle the “electric” program? Is Gilvan (dr) then part of the band, plus more session musicians?
I´m not sure if I got you, but we are quite different as human beings seen from an outer point of view. Within Dornenreich this circumstance causes the fact that we complement each other well.
Right, actually Gilvan rejoined Dornenreich and our “metal-line-up” consists of Gilvan, Inve and Eviga. We are just three people on stage as we have always been apart from our Summerbreeze-show (dvd), during which Schwadorf and Helm (Empyrium) supported us concerning bass-guitar and sung vocals.
Since “In Luft Geritzt”, what have you been working on?
We have constantly been working on our very first dvd entitled “Nachtreisen” (“Nocturnal Journeys”), which was released some weeks ago. It was an exhausting process, but the final result is something that we are truly satisfied with. Primarily this dvd portraits both sides of Dornenreich by means of a metal-show (Summerbreeze-Festival 2007) and an acoustic one (WGT 2007).
Besides, we have been working on our next album called “Flammentriebe”, which will be
a very dramatic, intense and varied album, that many people will probably label as “Black Metal”, I guess. So, this album will be quite a big surprise after the absolutely acoustic “In Luft geritzt”. We´ll record the album next year and we´ll release it in early 2011, which will be the year of our 15th anniversary.
What is inspiring for you?
It can be put as simple as this: it´s life in all its nuances and details. It´s everything that works inspiring upon me. Most of the time the cycles and (interpreted) moods within nature are what my thoughts and emotions are mirrored and triggered by. But for instance also a cat crossing the street in an unusual way or a good conversation might resonate within me.
How do you write and compose?
The basic musical themes are created intuitively. They just come to me whenever I grasp the guitar. The final arrangements of rhythms, melodies and harmonies are elaborated consciously together with Inve and Gilvan.
The lyrics rely on the pictorial and highly emotional character of our music. Usually, I gather myself in silence for a couple of hours and then I start to listen to the music we recorded (over and over again) and by an by the words, phrases, ambiguous meanings and puns of my lyrics take shape.
Your lyrics contain puns, onomatopoeia, what inspires you? How do you handle the recording of a song? Locked up in a box, just with a microphone and then somebody wants you to do it over and over again – it seems that it´s not so easy to keep this intensity of performance...
A studio situation is artificial, that means not in a well-known surrounding and always combined with a deadline, that impairs the fragile artistic process, and even if you are at home with a microphone and without time limit (- and I did exactly that when recording the main part of „Hexenwind“ and „Durch den Traum“ -), it will remain an obstacle, especially for a person like me who is never satisfied with a „1st take“ ...
What state of mind are you when on stage, and playing? Long time ago, a gig at Innsbruck, I got the impression that Eviga is taken to stage in a strait jacket, released just for the show and put back into it right afterwards, getting dragged back to the asylum :D
I tend to sink into the emotional essence of each song that we perform. It´s a state of ecstasy for sure – and sometimes one gets distracted, but I try my very best to stay as close to my (inner) vision as possible when being on stage. Naturally also the outer circumstances (light, sound, audience) influence the performance to a certain degree
and sometimes a concert even grows into a breathtaking cycle of mutual energies among bands and audience – and that´s a magical experience, indeed.
Defining moments in your life?
Becoming aware of transitoriness of being. The discovery of the phantastic opportunity to express my emotions with an instrument. The discovery of art and nature and their close connection. To bid farewell to a loved one.
This unique emotion that remains when you realize for the first time that beauty and pain are invariable two sides of your life, and learn to accept it.
Some would argue that most bands of today are made by a recipe, there is not so much unique and truly originally artists out there. and black metal is nearly a joke of its own. how do you view Dornenreich from this point of you? how do you see yourself?
We simply try to create an authentic artistic expression. Something that is intense, mystic and timeless, something that is honestly built on the joy and grief of life.
What else musical would you like to accomplish?
Without any doubt we managed to offer some varied artistic journeys, but the core was, is and will stay that we stick to our inner voices, that we keep our integrity and our authenticity.
In metal culture the topic of religion is rather controversial, but are there some personal believes for you? What is sacred?
The wisdom of nature should be sacred to all of us. Apart from that I believe in the immortality of the soul and I believe in art as a way to get across soulfulness.
The differences between Austria and the rest of Europe, regarding the scene and the audience?
Recently I have not noticed any crucial differences – and in my opinion this is not entirely positive. It seems that the globalising trend of culture rummaging or rather levelling is definitely taking place in the Metal underground, too.
The curse or the bliss of being Austrian?
The landscape is wonderfully diverse and in Austria living is much more safe – this is the beauty of being Austrian. The conservative mentality of many Austrians, following slavishly any kind of authority, on the other hand is pretty disturbing.
The best / worst gig, a weird tour story?
Luckily in this year there was no “best gig”, as there were many very intense shows, but there was definitely this one worst gig, when our sound guy had to re-build the whole sound system in a venue, because nothing was working. When you are one of the over-punctual at a venue and then still have to worry for hours if you will be able to perform, that can be really nerve-wrecking...
What is it, do you think, the meaning and purpose of life?
To live it as a vital part of nature instead of taking part in exploitation of all life as we all tend to do nowadays without noticing it.
Author: Marina Sidyakina + K. Weber, transl. K. Weber, photos: Dornenreich Date: 2009-10-31