Tuesday, February 27, 2018

interview: Dracena (part 1)

This is the first part of an interview with Dracena, traditional extreme metal from Sweden. The person answering the interview is Mia, who is the creative force behind Dracena. The objective is to do an extensive interview that covers the past and present of Dracena.

First of all, where online can people hear the new album Cursed to the Night? Is there a way to hear the complete recording at this point?
Cursed to the Night as well as Dracena’s other two albums is available in full version on most of the digital services such as Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, Deezer and Pandora. Some of the earlier demos can be found at YouTube.

Now, what about getting a copy of the cd?
The older albums and merchandise can be ordered from http://dracena.tictail.com/

All the albums as well as the limited ed. cassette for Cursed to the Night can be ordered from our current label Infernö Records  https://www.inferno-records.net

There is also a limited ed. on cassette of our album Ravenous Bloodlust recently released by Unholy Fire Records - http://www.unholyfire-records.com/

Who is the personnel on the album?
The studio line up for Cursed to the Night is me on vocals, rhythm guitars and bass, Jocke on drums and Fredrik Folkare (Unleashed, Firespawn, Dead Kosmonaut) on lead guitars. We also have a guest appearance on vocals for one of the tracks from Ola Malmström (Sorcery).

The album sounds good to the ear and it sounds professional. Where did you record it? How has the experience of learning to record your albums been for you?
I am very pleased with the sound and production of Cursed to the Night. Everyone involved has done a great job and given a personal touch to the album Cursed to the Night was recorded in three different studios: All drums was recorded and played by Jocke at MediEvil Studios (Uppsala) where the additional vocals on “The Shadow of What Once Was” was also recorded lead solos and melodies was recorded and played by Fredrik Folkare at Chrome Studios (Stockholm). Rhythm guitars, bass and vocals was recorded by Pontus ”Punchy” Ekwall at Studio Cave (Fagersta) and he also mixed and mastered the whole album

This far I have used different studios for each album. When I choose a studio I look at sound, recommendations and location. I listen to earlier recordings from selected studios to evaluate if it will fit the sound I am looking for and ask friends if they can recommend a studio and if the studio technician is cool to work with. After I’ve chosen a studio I present a selection of references of what kind of sound I’ll expect to hear in the finished production.

To me it’s important that once we’re in the studio, everyone involved in the recording will get along well with each other to be able to produce the best possible version of the album, to be creative and to make suggestions to enhance the songs and to have a good time.

On the album you play rhythm guitars, bass and did vocals. When did you pick up the bass and decided to take care of the bass responsibilities for your recordings? When you play bass what type of rhythms or tones or sounds are looking for?

I started to play the bass out of necessity for the first album, Infernal Damnation, simply because I had no bass player at the time. I usually only practise the bass before I go to the studio, 4-6 months of rehearsal, as guitar is my main instrument.

My main goal with the bass is to make a depth in the song and differ the bass notes from the guitar riffs, because just following the guitar makes a very thin sound experience.

You have been playing guitar for a long time. What is the first instrument that you practiced? Were you a child or a bit older, like in adolescence, when you began playing an instrument? For guitar, do you remember what or who inspired you to play guitar?
The first instrument I played seriously was the violin, I guess I was about 8 years old. After that I had a small synthesizer for a couple of years and I bought my first guitar at 13. I think the reason I switched to guitar was because I was already into heavy metal but also because we recently obtained cable TV and a bunch of cool late night shows like Headbanger’s Ball and The Power Hour/Raw Power. I probably had a collective inspiration source from all my favourite bands to pick up that guitar and start to write my own songs.

What kind of music did your parents play in the house when you were a child? Being Swedish, did your parents like ABBA, Europe or Heavy Load?!
There was a wide diversity of music at home when I grew up, everything from ABBA, Elvis, The Sweet and Rolling Stones to Creedence Clearwater Revival, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton. 70’s disco and 80’s pop on the radio and my friends listened to black rock or punk or metal.

When you were a teenager what was happening in music that interested you in particular? Were you around for the explosion of Swedish extreme metal in the late 80s and early 1990s?
In the early 80’s some of the first metal videos I recall that really made an impression was Kiss’ Heaven’s on Fire, Twisted Sister’s We’re not gonna take it and Queen’s I want to Break Free. I was really fascinated both by the bands images and their music.

In school we used to tape trade and record vinyl albums to cassette from each other and I got hold of a cassette recording of WASP - Animal Fuck like a Beast. From there it went on with all the bands around at the time. I used to buy English and American rock magazines and make special orders at the local vinyl store to import the latest albums of bands I’ve seen on the TV rock shows.

In the early 90’s I lived in Gothenburg and became more familiar with the extreme metal scene around at the time, mostly through friends in the Gothenburg scene like Swordmaster, Decameron, Sacramentum, Dissection, Lord Belial, etc.

When it comes to music, metal is the genre which is closest to my soul, something that will make it bleed and crave to create my own songs. The metal bands that will always live on in my eternity are the bands from the 70’s and 80’s, which had a huge impact on my evilution and has been with me for most of my life.

[to be continued]

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