I do not know about young metalheads generation, but old haired metalheads know German band Darkness very well! Cult never dies!
Hi! Tell me about Darkness and ‘80s, when you just created the band. Why did you decide to name the band with such title? What kind of ideas do you explore and what is the main difference between your early and nowadays visions?
I always wanted to have a real band, no friendly projects. It was december 1984 when I met a guitarist named Uwe Christophers. I told him my idea of music and the name of the whole thing : DARKNESS! My first thoughts for the name was Destroyer, but that was not dark and gloomy enough, haha.
Even before the turn of the year we had our first song finished: „Armageddon“ was born ! My vision was to form a band with a bunch of friends to play that fast kind of heavy metal that we all like and and later became known as “old school german thrash metal”. And, believe it or not, these are still exactly the same ambitions today. I’m really happy that it is in fact at the moment so again !
“XXIX” EP was released last year. How does that make you feel? Do you feel you have put album into masses without any wishes to change something now?
The Ep was a first official sign of life from the band Darkness. At a complete album we have not even thought. The scene should see : here we are again, this is how the new line-up sounds with two new and two classic songs. The reactions were great !
Tell me more about “XXIX”? EP ideas etc…
The idea was to record a new song and added a old one just for promotion. Then Lee joined the band and we doubled the idea. So we recorded four songs in our homebase and released them on our own. The EP has been quite successful so far and the foundation for the work on a full-lengths album was set.
And, of course I can’t miss next question – what happens that you had such long break in activity? Last album was released end of ‘80s… And, 26 years later you were able to do something new…
During the production of the third album we have lost the trail. To many changes in the line-up ! A new singer with a great voice, but not useful for a thrash metal album. In addition a lot of experimentation with the sound and with the song-writing in some songs, too. We were caught in a delusional, maybe our time a bit too far ahead. At the end, no one was really happy ! So it came to total resolution ! I revived our thrash guerrillas with Arnd in 2004. I’m not really a fan of reunions. In my opinion, a band only works again in original line-up. But that was not possible : both singer of Darkness died a few years ago. So the only solution seems to start something new, from this point we make music under the banner „Eure Erben“. But the longer you worked on the idea, more trashy the compositions were. This happened almost by itself. We recorded two ep´s first, including some of our own classics with german lyrics, thought, that’s kind of okay, but then the calls grew louder for a real new Darkness release. So we decided during the recording of “Terror 2.0” to release this album with including a „english version bonus disc“ under the sign of Darkness. A double-cd for regular cd-price, a present for a handful Darkness-maniacs. And then everything went quickly, we ourselves were surprised how big the interest in Darkness was. There it was again, our determination, our vocation.
Meik, Dirk and Lee are completely new band members, how did you met, or maybe you were friends for a long time? And, are you sure now is stable and powerful line-up ever?
Meik was the first one we asked to join the band. He was from another band in our rehearsal building. Dirk has spent many years with Olli, our first singer, and was placed close to us again by Speesy, first as its temporary help. From Lee I knew that he was a Darkness fan since 1988 and now the singer of his own band named Yuppie Club. I do not really like grindcore and this monster-moderate vocals, but if someone has such a strong voice, he can and must be used it the other way. We tried some rehearsals and it worked. With this line-up we have already played a lot of shows, it works incredibly well, we are all good friends and I’m concerned it could stay that way forever.
If this is not a secret, what was wrong with Christian, Bony and Chris? Why they have played so little time with Darkness and were replaced?
Chris has been cast, for Bony and Speesy it was a labor of heart to play in Darkness. Chris was a really good guy, when it became more and more with the band, he said no, out of consideration for his family life. That was fair and okay for us ! Bony is a great musician. He works a lot in the music business and simply had too much to do. Similar to Speesy. In 2015 Dirk took the part as bass-player from him who had to give up Darkness for his main job at Kreator. But we meet regularly again.
Lacky, wouldn’t you like to return to vocals again sometime?
No, not really ! Lee does an excellent job. Sometimes it comes down to a few concerts spontaneously that I singing along the last number Armageddon, just for fun.
Where do you take all inspiration from? To sing about society and violence.
Just look at the daily news, there is so much bullshit happens in the world every minute. That´s enough inspiration for more than a million new Darkness longplayer. The topics have not changed in the last thirty years, unfortunately. And lyrics like “Death Squad” are more relevant than ever …
In your opinion, what is the best way to define nowadays Darkness’s sound?
We tried to find a mixture of our old roots with new ideas. Fresh and modern sound, but recorded like the old days. That´s not the normal way nowadays, every band trigger their sounds immeasurably and then often they sounds all like the same. That is what we are trying to prevent. Darkness sounds straight, candid and honest, that is the most important thing for us actually.
So, are you preparing some stuff for full-length album now? Maybe you can tell us some details?
The recordings for a new Darkness album are finished. The forthcoming album „The Gasoline Solution“ will be released in october 2016 by high Roller records and is going to be a real follower of the two classics „Death Squad“ and „Defenders of Justice“.
What are your main musical influences? How huge is their influence in your sound? I mean mostly bands which has an influence to Darkness back in ‘80s.
It started all with the classic influences like Maiden, Priest, AC/DC, Accept, Motorhead and even before with bands like Kiss and Queen or older stuff. With Metallica and Slayer comes the new wave of really hard and fast music. That was our favorite style at this times.
Is there some well-known musician in particular that you would like to use in one of your upcoming albums?
No, this is not necessary. We are all good enough for what we play, haha…
What is your personal strategy for making your music heard by a larger audience?
There is no strategy at all! We do what we want to do, authentic and honest, that´s it!
Do you have any other hobby beside music? And what are you in the common life? I wish you could live from music, but I’m sure this is impossible unfortunately right now, so what are you doing to surviver?
We must indeed all still besides working in jobs, that’s right. Everyone has to pay bills, we also. But music is the big part of my life. I spent many years working independently to give me many freedoms for making music. Now I managed my own music- and merchandise-online-store since 2012 and support the underground scene as best as I can. If you’re interested, visit www.sektor12shop.de, you will also find all the available official Darkness stuff in the middle of tons of new unknown bands and some well-known ones.
Are you all supported by your relatives towards your devotion to music?
That was certainly sometime and somewhere the case, but now we get it all ourself pretty well out.
How’s the metal scene in North Rhine-Westphalia right now? Is it easy to play gigs, to buy records etc there these days?
I think we can be very satisfied with our local scene. We have a lot of clubs and bars with good music, also live music, and a good handful of festivals. The number of young fans and musicians is also growing. There are actually times when you think everything is perfect, which is not really true, but feels like this!