The Band: Dautha
Answers by: Ola Blomkvist (guitars)
It’s always a pleasure to talk, once again, to so creative bands as Swedish Dautha. They made our teeth long with their demo Den förste, and now those high expectactions are fully confirmed by the release of DAUTHA's much anticipated and inspired debut album “Brethren Of The Black Soil”. They stay true to the band's adopted mundane perspective as they convert the rich lore and history of Medieval and Antique Europe into their own take on Epic Folk/Doom Metal.
Hello Mr. Ola Blomkvist, it’s a pleasure to talk to you again. After your promising demo Den Förste your first album will be out in the streets on March 16th, how do you feel about it?
Greetings, and thank you for having us at Metal Brothers! To soon have the album out gives us a sense of completion and a momentary peace of mind, being, as it is, the collected result of over three years of periods with manic inspiration followed by more sober moments of curating the spoils of the writer's madness.
Your debut album "Brethren Of The Black Soil" confirms that Dautha is here to stay, what do you think?
Well, I think we are off to a good start with Brethren Of the Black Soil and we do have more material in the pipe line, although I fear it will trickle out quite slowly from said pipe...We will not release anything that is not well rehearsed and fully developed, ever.
Ola Blomkvist demonstrated his good ideas and lyrics in the previous demo, I think this new album continues that trend
Thank you, really nice to hear that you appreciate my work. This said, the music of Dautha is the result of a collective effort from all members of the band. Lars Palmqvist has come up with his vocal melodies as well as the violin's, which he has written on keyboard for Åsa Eriksson- Wärnberg to perform, while Micael Zetterberg has done his own drum patterns, Emil Åström his own bass lines and Erik Öquist his own solos and the majority of the harmonies he plays, and so on. It is a fact though, that the basic's of all songs comes from me, meaning the riffs as well as all lyrics and graphics/visuals, but without my fellow members I am nothing.
Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's… So, lyrics seem an important chapter in your music, it seems they are oriented to a variety of subjects related with the old times, right?
Yes, the lyrics are extremely important to the overall Dautha-experience and they do cover some specific phenomenon's related to medieval, and antique, times. First we have Hodie Mihi Cras Tibi, which is latin for “today it is me, tomorrow it is you”, and this one is our audible stab at the kind of memento mori/Vanitas funerary art that were common in medieval times. Not super original perhaps, but it had to be done. Second (at least on the CD version) we have the title track, in which a dead serf laments his miserable past existence while mocking his equally dead oppressors, the clergy and the land lord, after the great plague has passed its just judgment on them all . Third is Maximinus Thrax that deals with this particular Roman emperor who rose from a very simple back ground as a farm boy to become the first of the soldier, or Barack's Emperor's. A true underdog that during his reign between 235-238 A.D were in constant opposition to the wealthy elite in the senate. A curious detail regarding Maximinus is that he was a real life giant, and according to contemporary sources he stood over 2,5 meter's tall with muscle to match. Our lyrics for this song follows his career until right before he gets killed by his own much favored soldiers, leaving him triumphant, which admittedly is a breach in our campaign for misery, however the fourth track, The Children's Crusade, rectifies this... Just like the title implies it deals with a crusade, of sorts (it was never condoned by the church), that involved children marching to free the Holy Land, not through war, but through love. It was a bit like the summer of love of 1968, only in 1212 A.D... The event, part fact, part myth, did indeed involve children, but it also included all manner of marginalized people such as beggars, prostitutes and other outcasts, so the name popularly given to this phenomenon is a bit miss leading...Anyway, this motley crowd left areas of Northern France and Germany to get to Jerusalem via Italy, where, it was promised to them by their leader's in the shape of two prophesying shepherd boys, God would part the sea so that they could walk dry shod to the promised land. Of course this juvenile grand scale folly ended in catastrophe when the prophecies revealed by the shepherd's proved false... The fifth song is In Between Two Floods, a re-recording of the last track of our demo Den Förste. In it we portray the kind of carnival Geist that followed the black death of the 14th century, while also directing a bulbous finger towards our own times...The last track Bogbodies is about the remarkably well preserved pagan dead found in bogs all over northern Europe. In the lyrics we let them speak their resentment against the conquering cross and what it has done to the spirit of their kin.
Actually an awesome job and another reason to buy your album. It seems no changes in the line-up have occurred, I suppose that helps in the flow of your music?
Yes, a stable line up that is focused and that pulls in the same direction is essential to the final outcome of an album for sure. I think we have found a way of working that everyone in the band finds fruitful and rewarding and I have no reason to believe we will not be the same troupe doing album number two together. Regarding the flow and the over all feeling of the album I must add that Kristian Karlsson, our producer and the owner of the Hufvudstaden Studio where we recorded, had a huge influence-he is the man and he really took us to a higher level and we definitely want to continue working with him.
How long have you dedicated to the composition of "Brethren Of The Black Soil" and which were the most important landmarks in the process?
I would estimate that the conjuring of the riffs, harmonies, song & violin melodies, rhythmics and the arranging and rehearsing of the album has taken three years in all. The landmarks...well, the most important one, and the most obvious no doubt, is the completion of the band, with Emil, Erik and then Lars joining me and Micael. The second most important event is getting signed to Ván and being offered a really good deal (read a generous budget) by Sven for the recording of the album. We are forever thankful towards Sven for believing in us, his kind is rare in this business, in fact I believe he is one of a kind. One moment that has stuck with me that involves material featured on the album is when I came up with the theme-riff for The Children's Crusade. I was out walking in the countryside and stumbled upon a rune stone that I had not seen before (me and my dog often go exploring historical sites in the rich cultural landscape of Östergötland) and then this melody comes into my head. I had to abort the walk immediately and head for home in my car (I was 20 km from home) to record it and I remember driving like a complete speed moron...another moment is hearing Lars singing his song melody for the refrain in Brethren Of The Black Soil for the first time-goosebumps...Oh, and me and Lars recording the children's choir at the Finspång municipal Music school will stick with me as well, really moving.
Wow, now all that long effort pays off at last. I think the song Brethren of the Black Soil can be a good summary of why Dautha can be considered one of the revelation bands of the moment, a great mixture between doom and melodies, gothic, death and even symphonic elements
Thank you, glad to hear you like the song! The title track is actually my personal favorite on the album and I am glad to hear that you think it sums up what we are about. I don't know if we can be considered a revelation or not, but if people perceive what we do as a fresh, or as Bernhard of the Seeds of Doom Radio Show (check it out, great show with a true connoisseur behind the microphone!) would say, a quirky take on an old, glorious tradition we'd be more than satisfied.
Also, “Bogbodies” is a great track that finishes the album in a majestic way with great riffs and an atmospheric mood that makes it stand as a very special song
Thank you again! This is definitely the darkest song on the album, and the most experimental and as such it differs quite a lot from the rest of the songs on the album. I think the atmosphere of it is greatly enhanced by our guest vocalist Thomas Sabbathi (Griftegård/YOTG) who sings the refrains. Another contributor to the song that played an important role in making the song special is our producer Kristian Karlsson who has great skills when it comes to the use of analogue synthesizers. Last but not least I believe the violin adds a lot of darkness to the song whereas on the other tracks it adds more of a melancholy vibe. In Bogbodies Åsa Eriksson-Wärnberg really tapped into the darkest currents of our Swedish folk music heritage and delivered melodies with both hoof's and horn's...
Which song was harder to complete?
The Children's Crusade would be the answer. I don't know how many versions we did of it before it was complete. Actually, just a few days before going into the studio me and Lars found it necessary to deconstruct it one last time, and by then we had rehearsed the previous version for a couple of months. That sucked, but in the end I think we took the right decisions. Another thing about it that made it harder to finish was the children's choir in the beginning of the song. We struggled quite a lot with the melody for it as well as the recording of the choir children – we had to do a bunch of takes until we got it right, mainly due to the kids being a bit shy and not singing loud enough.
The cover artwork is in concordance with the enormous effort that this album suppose in terms of lyrics and music, how did you get it?
I often visit flee markets and there one can find really old books dirt cheap sometimes, and one of my find's proved to contain a treasure trove of royalty free (due to its age), majestic and morbidly beautiful art...art that suited the subject of the title track lyrics perfectly.
Amazing. I only have one doubt after listening to your brilliant first full-length, this album touches the sky so I cannot imagine that anything you can invent for a hypothetical second album can be better than this. Afraid of height?
You make me blush here... Well, we really don't feel that much pressure at this point, simply because we have no illusions of making a career with Dautha. We play Epic Doom Metal for our own amusement and for the die hards and, in a way, releasing an Epic Doom album is like playing to ones own family, and this is not so scary, right? What I mean is, there is just a small amount of people that will get what we are after (and the rest we just don't care about) and they will always enjoy what we do as long as we stay true to ourselves-posing within a family is quite useless... Also, we already have a bunch of material that was written during the same period as the Brethren...stuff so all we need now is time to rehearse it through properly. And we will take our time, nothing will be heard from us until we have something to present that we know with our whole beings to be 100% Dautha.
What are your plans for the coming months?
We are now going into a period of light dormancy, to be honest. Our individual schedules are full with stuff unrelated to the band so not much will happen with Dautha, at least not during the first half of 2018. However I try to work a little every day to further the completion of album number two and right now I am going through all the old material to see what ideas that will make it and what we shall scrap. I have also started writing some lyrics and Lars is doing some song melodies for a new track when he has some time to spare.
Thank you very much for your interesting comments Ola!
Thank you, my friend, for the chance to speak to your readers, it was a pleasure!