Darkfall the idealism of 3 beerdrinking metalheads

interview with Darkfall

Darkfall were formed in January 1995 by Wolfgang Koch (Guitars), Marc Weissensteiner (Drums) and Vocalist Thomas Spiwak. In February 1995 Joachim Liebminger (Guitar) and Harald Koch (Bass) completed the Line-Up. This five piece immediately started to compose their first songs, best described as a powerful mixture of Thrash and Death Metal.
Just before Darkfall recorded the first Demo “Winter Leafes” J. Liebminger has to leave the band because of musical differences and personal difficults. So the four piece thrashed in the 5 Songs MCD “Winter leafes” (Und langsam verhallte..., Hypochrist, They are few, Vertigo, Winter Leafes) in two days at the G-Point Studio in Graz in January 1998.
The outcome was an angry and extremely heavy bastard of Thrash and Death Metal with first melodic influences. The production turned out to be quite okay, but the mastering was terrible. Nevertheless the Demo sold well and got extremely good responses by press and fans.
After this first little triumph, Oliver Seebacher (Rhythm Guitar) joined the band and Darkfall began to write new material. The new songs were more melodic, technically more interesting and more progressive. Not agreeing with this progress, Harald left the band and was soon replaced by Christian Kayer. And also our keyboarder Christoph Zavertanik was integrated in the line up to thicken up the sound and to enhance the musical possibilities.
In January 1999 Darkfall entered the Radwerk 14 Studio to record the second output “Dimensions beyond”. The band spent 5 days in the studio to thrash in 4 Songs (Vertigo II, Dimensions beyond, Goddess of mine, Grace of mourning) under absolutely professional conditions. The sound was much thicker and more transparent than on the first demo and the songs were more compact, more melodic and the mastering was perfect this time.
Caused by this developments and lacking of technical and creative skills our Rythmn Guitar-player Oliver had to leave the band and so the (once again) shrunken Line-up started to write new songs, based upon the foundation that was laid with “Dimensions beyond”.
The new material turned out to be again more melodic, but also much heavier and more accessible than the Songs on “Dimensions beyond”.
After releasing “Firebreed” on 1st of March 2001 an extensive promotion campaign followed and of course the “FIREBREED” sets the world on fire live with bands like Macabre, Groinchurn, Seeds of Sorrow, Legacy of Hate and on the 14th of July Darkfall have thrashed on the Hell on Earth Festival .
After this festival Darkfall welcomed Julia Wernig as a new member on the keyboards. After a short break of playing live Darkfall returned to the stages with their new line up at the 666-Undergroundparty in Vienna and on the 20th of October Darkfall played as support at the last concert of the German Thrash Metal band Blackened. After this concert Darkfall started to compose new songs for their upcoming release and is looking forward to check out a small tour over Europe.

interview with Thomas and Wolfgang on 26-6-02

Please give us a short introduction of yourself?
We (Wolfgang Koch – Guitars/ Marc Weissensteiner – Drums / Thomas Spiwak – Vocals) started in January 1995, having never before played on our instruments. Together with Bassist Harald Koch, who joined a bit later, we recorded our first Demo “Winter Leafes” in January 1998, which features 5 Tracks of raw Thrash-Metal, combined with a few minor melodies. A xear later, Christoph Zavertanik (Keys), Oliver Seebacher (Guit) and Christian Kayer (Bass, replacing Harry) were the new mercenaries that recorded “Dimensions beyond” with us, which featured the development of the band: more melodic, more progressive, more technical. Dimensions beyond was the point where we mixed our Thrash-roots with minor melodies and keyboard sounds. The CD got excellent reviews all over Europe. Oliver was kicked soon ’cause he just wasn’t good enough, and so the five-piece recorded “Firebreed” in 2001, which cost over 4500 ¤ and had the most powerful sound up today (in underground standarts). This CD got more than excellent reviews: Some “CD of the Month”, the highest Legacy-Rating of all times (15/15), ... from all over the world. The music on Firebreed was an a bit more heavy variation of “Dimensions beyond”, putting the focus back to the song itself. Zavertanik left the Band in Summer 2001 and was replaced by Julia Wernig. Up to now, we have played about 50 gigs all over Austria and we’ll soon have our first gig in the Czech Rep.

Why did you started the band? Unsatisfied with the bands that time?
Thomas: We weren’t unsatisfied with the bands back in 1995 but we always listened to Metal and so it was time to do our own thing. So we decided to start up a band to realize our own style of playing Metal. In the beginning we didn’t know what we had to do with our instruments and we drank more beer than playing Metal but time marched on and we got better and better. The only reason of Darkfall’s foundation was the idealism of 3 beerdrinking metalheads from Austria. Wolfgang: Not really, but we just had the need to form a band that was exactly the music we wanted to hear and play.

How did you developed your style to nowaday? Naturally or commercially?
Thomas: Of course our music developed in a natural way because I don’t think we play a different style on “Firebreed” in 2001 compared to “Winter leafes” in 1998. The differences between our releases are the developments of our technical skills and our arrangements. And on “Dimensions beyond” in 1999 we added a keyboarder to our line up to thicken up the sound and to create better moods in our music but the roots have never changed. If you listen to all our releases you’ll see that we became more brutal and heavier with every release and of course we got better and better. And no one could say that we are/were a commercial band because if we are/were commercial we wouldn’t play in an Underground Thrash/Death Metal band and is it really commercial to develop our technical skills? Wolfgang: It was a natural development, cause Thrash alone was too limited. All Riffs are already written, nothing new can be done. Commercial success was never an aim for us, otherwise we would play fucking Pop-Shit. Also I think that we are too heavy to have a commercial breakthrough _

Why are the new songs more accessible? For what reason?
Thomas: All of our songs are accessible. Perhaps there are only some more progressive parts on “Dimensions beyond” than on “Winter leafes” or on “Firebreed” but all our material is straight and heavy. Too many complicated parts would destroy the mood and the groove of a song. So we try to create a good mixture of heaviness, groove and technique because that way the songs are easier to listen and easier to understand. Who cares about music that no one understands? It’s nonsense to write complicate songs only to show everyone how good we’re able to play. So we compose songs that you can hear while you’re drinking beer, fucking your girlfriend or killing your neighbour and so you’ll still remember them. Wolfgang: The arrangements are done more cleverly now. A DF-Song is catchy the very first time, and cause of the easy arrangement, songs are understood (and hopefully liked) from the first time you hear it & Timing-changes are combined better. The reason to this is my personal view of “a good song”, cause I don’t need 1000 Riffs thrown into one song without any relation to each other. Dimensions beyond was good, but there were too many riffs, so now we focussed on the song again.

Think Darkfall will develop the music to another direction in the future?
Thomas: No way. We’ll always play Thrash/Death Metal and nothing else. Of course there will be some changes or developments but it always will be Metal and there is no place for experiments or something like that. Wolfgang: Does not seem so for now. But who knows...

What makes you jump in the air?
Thomas: There are many things that make me jump in the air. Something to drink, something to fuck, a good mood during our gigs, Austria wins the Football championship one day, the new Manowar release, our next release in 2003 and so on. Wolfgang: Shitty gigs with newbies on the mixing-board and people too cool to bang or cheer. And if anybody tells us that we play Gothic or Death Metal. In normal life there would be far too many answers to that...

You say you're 100% anti trend and 100% thrash. But isn't it a trend to play thrash today?
Thomas: In the early 90’s it was trendy to play Death Metal, in the end of the 90’s it was trendy to play Black Metal and at the beginning of the new millennium it’s trendy to play Thrash Metal. I don’t give a fuck to trends and to people, which decide what’s trendy, or not. Everyone has to do his own thing and our own thing is Darkfall. We’re playing Thrash Metal since 1995 and at that time no one cared about us and we ignored them all and played our music. And now in 2002 someone wants to tell us we’re trendy??? We’re gonna kick his ass and fuck his girlfriend. That’s all I have to say about being trendy or whatever. Wolfgang: We started as a pure Thrash-Band in 1995, when Thrash was more dead than Austrian Football. We kept playing it till now, so there can’t be no trendhopping from our side. Maybe thrash generally has become a trend again, but the new bands are inferior to the originals and the big “Thrash-return” wasn’t really a success (except for Destruction maybe :)

What are your favorit thrashbands?
Thomas: My favourite Thrash Metal bands are Sodom, Kreator, Destruction, Holy Moses, Slayer, Testament and some new bands like Darkane, Defleshed, No Return, Dew Scented and so on. Wolfgang: Testament, Megadeth, Sodom, Accu§er and Carnal Forge.

Which bands can go to the trash directly?
Thomas: It’s not my thing to judge other bands because every band, which decided to play Metal, has to be respected. Of course there are some pissers who aren’t into Metal like it should be but they will split off from the scene after a while by themselves. So I try to respect every metalhead but posers like Rappers, Techno freaks and Pop gays can fuck off! Wolfgang: True-, Black- and Gothicmetal Pussies. And of course all Nu-Metallers, Skaters, HC-Chickens and so on...

Tired of releasing your material yourself? Want a label?
Thomas: Of course it would be great to sign a record deal but no serious label offered a good one so far and so we decided to release our material by ourselves in future too. But if there is a good offer from a serious label we would discuss it and if there is everything all right we would sign it. Today it seems that our next release is going to be released by ourselves too. Wolfgang: Sure, but a label that can really support us. No mailorder from Uzbekistan :)

How do you pay for the self financed material? Save from gigs?
Thomas: No, our saves from gigs are to low to pay our recording sessions but we all have jobs next to Darkfall and so we have to save the money for the studio and the manufacture of our CDs from our salaries. So it costs a lot of money to release our material and we still don’t save enough money with Darkfall to pay our recording sessions. Wolfgang: No, the (few) money from the gigs is spent for sending out the promos. We had to pay the CDs by ourselves. That’s also the reason why we haven’t released anything since Firebreed, we just ain’t got no money (or we drink too much).

Do you live for playing life? How many times do you rehearse?
Thomas: Yes, of course playing live is one reason to go on with Darkfall. It’s great to be on stage and all people are screaming, banging and making some noise. It’s impossible to describe that emotion. It’s pure power. We rehearse about 3 times per month. It’s not enough but we all live in different cities and during the week we have to work and our drummer sometimes has to work on Weekends too. So there sometimes is no time for rehearsals. Wolfgang: We do rehearsals 3 times a month: (Boys are too lazy or don’t have more time. I personally don’t like playing live but nevertheless always give 110 %. I guess that the others more or less enjoy it, but the most fun is the hanging around after the gig. Everything before the gig sucks (waiting, soundchecking, listening to shit-guitar players backstage... :)

Do you have some special memories to some gigs?
Thomas: I specially remember our gig in our hometown Leoben about 2 years ago. I was really drunk and the gig was a pure disaster because I always sang out of time. But the crowed didn’t notice that fact or they didn’t care about it and so the mood was really crazy. All of them were jumping around, banging around. Everyone was totally out of control. Wolfgang: Maybe a gig in Leoben in 1998, where we for the first time presented what we meant by “Darkfal-Power”, cause we played well and the sound was extraordinary. -

Who is your favorit cartoon hero and why?
Thomas: My favourite cartoon heroes are “The Masters of the Universe”. They also are a kind of martial plastic figures. They were produced long time ago but I still like them. My favourite figure was Hordak. An evil character and demon and the leader of the evil horde. And of course Teela because of her big tits. I’m not stupid or crazy but these figures were a great part of my childhood. These figures were great toys for young metalheads. Wolfgang: Lady Death because of her gigantic tits. And maybe old Bats, because he is “so human”.

How do you see the band in 5 years from now?
Thomas: I think we’ll still play the same kind of music and we’ll still drink a lot of beer and fuck some horny girls. I hope the line up won’t change a lot and we’ll still keep banging and hold up the banner of Darkfall. Wolfgang: If I knew the future I would play in the lottery. No idea...

What do you hope to achive with the band? Or in personal life?
Thomas: I only want us to compose songs, release our material, play gigs as often as we can, drink beer, fuck chicks and perhaps we gonna sign a serious record deal and make a small tour. And of course we achieve world domination. That’s all nothing special. And in personal life I only want me to live my life. Wolfgang: A record deal at a bigger label. In life maybe wealth and the best girl in the world. Or something like that...

Is Thomas rich because he has two houses?
Thomas: No, I’m not rich but I’m not poor either. I still have a good job and so I earn enough money to have a good life. I don’t live in luxury and I don’t have two houses in Monaco but it’s enough to pay my bills and to go on with my band. In general there is nothing to complain for me. Wolfgang: No, Thomas is not rich, his second address is the one of his parents. We all are merely workers or students, no millionaires here.

Is it a gift to be able to make music? Or is it something you can learn?
Thomas: Of course you can learn playing an instrument but I think it’s a gift to get the balls to carry on with all that shit. The music business is very hard and so it needs a lot of idealism to carry on. But we’re still rocking and that’s a gift for me. Wolfgang: It definitely is a ability or talent to create, but it’s no problem to become the very best guitar-player or whatsoever in the world. But most musicians, no matter how good they can play, are no good songwriters. You definitely can’t learn that, you’ve got to have the feeling for that.

Did you had any musical training? Where do you practice?
Thomas: The members of Darkfall never had a musical training or something like that. We learned by ourselves and we’re very proud of it. It’s no problem for me if someone is taught by a professional music teacher but it’s something special to learn it by myself. We practice in the cellar of our guitarist’s house. It’s practical because we don’t have to pay a rent for this room. Wolfgang: We rehearse in the cellar of my house. No one of us has ever had musical training, we learned it on our own (more or less ;)

What will you do when you loose your voice?
Thomas: I never thought about that and I don’t think that it will happen during the next years. But if it really happens I think I would start up a record label and I would promote some small bands from Austria because someone like that would be very good for our scene in Austria.

Think you are able to write an instrumental track?
Thomas: Yes, of course Darkfall would be able to compose an instrumental track but we haven’t composed one so far. Perhaps we’ll release one in future. I’m not able to write an instrumental track by myself because I don’t play an instrument good enough to do it. So it would be our guitarist’s turn. Wolfgang: Would be no problem, but what for? A song needs something you can share with it, and as you can’t play air-guitar or –drums all the time, singing is the easiest way.

What is your favorit Darkfall track and why?
Thomas: I don’t have a favourite Darkfall song because no father has a favourite son. I hope you know what I mean. Wolfgang: Always the one I’m hearing.

Last rites?
Thomas: Thanx a lot for the interview and I hope you enjoyed it either. Keep on banging and drinking and perhaps you decide to order our CDs. More information about Darkfall are on our website www.8ung.at/darkfall Wolfgang: Loved to Death! Or Thrash till Death :) Or: “check out our homepage www.8ung.at/darkfall, get the mp3s and order CDs that stand for quality, not trend.shit” :)
Interviewer: twansibon
Jun 26, 2002

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