– Hello, thanks for answering to our questions. To start, could you please introduce the band to all those people who don’t know you yet?
This year we celebrate our 15th anniversary and throughout all these years we tried to get across intense, mystic and timeless music. Dornenreich is all about passionate and handmade artistic expression. Every single album sounds different, however, the basic and unique Dornenreich-emotion shines through on every album in my perception.
– And what does «Dornenreich» mean?
It can be translated in two ways. The first is “Realm of Thorns”, but the other meaning is “rich in thorns”, which I prefer personally for it gets across a strong emotional – let’s say – picture.
– Your latest “Flammentriebe” was released last February; how has been its feedback so far? And, are you happy with the final result?
To be perfectly honest with you: yes, we are absolutely satisfied with this very album – and that has never been the case before, that is, this time I was happy with the result right after the final mix and if you’d ask me know whether I would change something I can say – for the very first time in our history as Dornenreich – that I won’t change anything if I would be given the opportunity to.
To me “Flammentriebe” represents the best unity of music, lyrics, sound production and visual appearance that we’ve achieved so far – and we did a lot to achieve that without any doubt.
Fortunately also other people seem to perceive the album in a similar way. Therefore the reactions could not have been better. If one wants to break it down to the level of points and verbal appreciation “Flammentriebe” really received numerous top-scores worldwide and was – for example – labelled as “the future of Black Metal”.
In February we were on tour and our audience made us really feel that they are into “Flammentriebe” wholeheartedly as we are – which is most important. To be brief: Yes, we are truly happy at the moment – and we hope that we’ll be able to play in Spain again soon!
– I think this album is a perfect mix between all the elements and details that have created your very own style and with a refined technique, let’s say you have managed to make all your elements fit in a very natural way…
Thank you. I appreciate that a lot and I’m glad that it gets across to the listeners this way.
The creation of this album was a long and intense journey.
– One of the things that I totally love from the album are the amazing guitars which overall, sound quite varied (as the whole album) and expressive. How did you work in the guitar sections and the general songwriting?
The album is based on my intuitive way to play the guitar. I created all the songs in a rough sketch via playing the guitar in a quite subconscious way. I let it happen. Then, I elaborated the rhythmic structure of the album by means of very concentrated rehearsals with our drummer Gilvan. The two of us really tried to interweave the drums and the rhythm guitars rehearsal by rehearsal by rehearsal. At the same time Inve and I developed the detailed melodic and harmonic side of the songs – and this chapter was both a conscious and a subconscious one for sure. Also the final arrangements that we worked on as whole band in the rehearsal-room are based on deliberate decisions. However, we changed certain things – especially when it comes to the arrangements – even in the studio. This way we intended to keep the creativity alive until the very end of the production. So, in the end “Flammentriebe” is the balanced result of our subconscious and conscious approach of expression.
– Lyrics tend to fit perfectly with your sound and vibe but, as are in German, I guess some people can’t understand them. What are the main topics and ideas behind the lyrics in “Flammentriebe”?
The lyrics rely on a concept. In fact, the lyrics are radically critical concerning civilization. They are
meant to be an accusation of the “man of flame” (title of the album’s opening track) this current society seems to be build on. The man of flame tries to establish his standards and luck at all costs of this planet and the creatures living on it. Driven by the density of worldwide economics based on growth the man of flame denies the reality that this earth, which enables mankind to live at all relies on cycles. Nevertheless, pure criticism is not what the lyrics are all about. That would be far too easy, I mean, it actually is easy to be against this and that but it’s far more challenging to offer perspectives, to stand up for something. So, as a consequence of all that the second half of the new album tries to sharpen the senses of the individual – to really perceive the cycles within itself and around itself.
I address myself to the human individual for I am convinced that only this individual – having its own emotions and thoughts – is able to change this society locally and thus from within. But don’t get me wrong, all that is far from being a manifesto of moralization, I don’t want to point at anybody as for the fact that I carry far too many characteristics of this man of flame within myself. However, seeing all the exploitation of earth and creature as a consequence of mankind’s topical way of life in all its habbits, routines and consumer behaviour is something that is to be accused, which not only justifies but also demands screams in my eyes and therefore the screams burst with emotion. By the way, we had to interrupt the vocal-recording for several days as for the fact that my voice was too worn out after the screams … We did not hold anything back.
– And how important are your lyrics for the band?
They are a very important part of our expression. As they are based on my mother tongue German my level of identification is a special one. Actually, our lyrics build a unity with the music – word by word, tone by tone. If you don’t believe that just check out the English translations of our lyrics at dornenreich.com.
For example I only scream whenever the lyrics deeply demand screams.
– When I reviewed your album I said that, if this album is not your best effort so far, is your most creative one, but what’s your opinion on that?
One can hardly compare our albums for each album represents our very state of development at the time of the recordings in an authentic way, but I – personally – think that our fifth album “Durch den Traum” is our most ambitious and most varied album to date. Nevertheless I consider “Flammentriebe” to be our most convincing album concerning the fact that it gathers the intensity of “Her von welken Nächten”, the mystic depth of “Hexenwind”/”Durch den Traum” the grasping arrangements of “In Luft geritzt” and the mature passion of the three of us who played countless concerts together and who experienced a lot during the last years.
– Now please, tell us a bit about the artwork (how did you work on it, the artist, etc.)
This time it was my father again who painted it. Actually, this picture is more than ten years old, but as for the fact that it has been present in the flat of my parents a
ll the years I knew that it would become the cover of “Flammentriebe” for a long, long time yet.
My father also painted the cover-artwork for our demo-tape, our first two albums and for the album “Durch den Traum”. Usually, I talk with him about the lyrical core and my visual ideas and then he elaborates it and it has always been fantastic to testify this process stage by stage …
– In the album we can find Gilvan again. Why did he leave the band and why has he come back?
Well, back in 2001 when Gilvan quit the band he did so in other bands as well. I guess that he was involved with too many bands back then and therefore he needed to gain some – let’s say – freedom.
In 2005 we met again and we talked about our past, our decisions and we really felt that we wanted to work together again, so Gilvan has rejoined Dornenreich in 2005 yet, but during the first two years he was “just” our manager and booker. However, it was perfectly clear that we would create another album together sooner or later – and now this very album is done. Most important is that we get along with one another far better today than we did ten years ago. Dornenreich relies on passion, friendship and mutual respect. And that’s a very good mixture and I hope that we’ll be able to stick to that for many years to come.
– You have been working for 10 years with Prophecy Records, what does this label provide to the band and what balance could you do from all these years?
Our cooperation is built on mutual respect and appreciation. Both sides Prophecy and Dornenreich have managed to carve authentic and strong profiles over the years and both sides rely on authenticity.
Prophecy don’t pressurize us in any way. We are given total artistic freedom – and that’s the way it has to be when it comes to Dornenreich.
– Your music is a mix between Black, Doom, Progressive, Folk, etc. What bands or music styles have influenced you?
We all have quite different musical roots. Gilvan is into New Metal nowadays, Inve comes from Jazz and classical music and I listen to gems of numerous genres. To drop just a few names of bands, artists and ensembles that inspired me: Ulver, Tori Amos, Devil Doll, Kvist, Gehenna, Meret Becker, Tenhi, The Kovenant, Pantera, Birchbook, Estampie. So, all in all I can state that we draw on the ocean of music – and consequently Dornenreich could never be described or be based on one genre or style.
– The atmosphere the band creates is fantastic; it is one of those things that bring the songs that attractive keeps the listener interested. How do you work on them and how do you come up with them?
As I am that much involved myself it’s very difficult to locate where this special atmosphere refers back to.
All I can say is that I personally give everything I can give as a feeling and thinking human individual whenever I enter the studio or the stage. Artistic expression means so very much to. It’s a degree of dedication that is not healthy for me as a vulnerable human being at all, but it’s authentic and possibly that’s the invisible fountain of this atmosphere you seem to perceive when listening to Dornenreich.
The weird thing about all that is that “Flammentriebe” aims at mental and physical health, it aimes at vital cyles of nature, it aims at balance; anyway, the production of this very record drove me to my border of mental and physical health doubtlessly.
– Where do you take inspiration from to create such a singular and characteristic style, whith elements from all those different style and things?
Observing and perceiving all the smaller and bigger cycles within me and around me is the basic source of my inspiration – plus: my very own way to perceive the world and myself, which – inevitably – is the result of my biography. I made numerous extraordinarily pain- and joyful experiences in my life, which shaped my perception. That’s it as far as I can see and feel it.
– DORNENREICH has had changes in its sound, has experimented with new things… How do you value your past?
On every single album of our discography we were convinced that this one album we were just about to record was the most authentic and intense way to express ourselves and things that felt right and important to be communicated via Dornenreich at this moment. I think that I could hardly ever re-record an older album, but every album represents an important chapter of our artistic journey.
– And why the band has been through these changes? I guess you do what you feel like at any moment and just go with the flow.
Exactly. We are into music and expression wholeheartedly and therefore we explore and experiment that much. Moreover the line-up change from Valnes to Inve also influenced our development obviously. And that’s good thing for it is a natural thing. Inve is not Valnes – and Gilvan and I matured as well I dare to state.
– For example, your previous album was almost pure Folk. How did the idea of creating an album like «In Luft geritzt» arise?
Acoustic instrumens (- especially the acoustic guitar -) have been an important part of Dornenreich since the beginning of the band back in 1996 and I have carried the idea of creating an entirely acoustic album with me for many, many years. I simply wanted to invoke an album that gets across passionate, powerful and literally handmade music. That’s why we gathered ourselves at the fire-place of organic music via using “natural” acoustic instruments, exclusively. Nowadays we play the track “Jagd” from that album in a metal-version live – and it’s one of our most intense live-tracks and that simply testifies that – within their core – the acoustic songs of “In Luft geritzt” offer a lot of energy.
– Anyway, something you haven’t changed have been your lyrics, as have always been in German. Have you ever thought of including any lyrics in English? Though I imagine you feel more comfortable expressing yourself in German…
The level of identification that the use of one’s mother tongue offers translates into a special vocal expression, I would say; at least that’s what I experienced and – believe me – I experimented a lot with various languages, but it never felt right for Dornenreich. Nevertheless I consider it to be important that we offer English (and even French) translations of our lyrics via dornenreich.com, which get across the main conception and idea of all the lyrics. It’s important because our lyrics are an essential part of Dornenreich and I really want to offer the possibility to know what our lyrics are all about to dedicated people all around the world.
– Your previous release was the «Nachtreisen» DVD, what can you tell us about it? Was your decision to release it or was up to your label?
It was our decision as every artistic decision is ours.
This DVD features both sides of Dornenreich, that is, the metal-side as well as the acoustic side. The metal-concert was recorded in 2007 at the Summerbreeze-Festival in Germany. It was a big ten-camera-shoot and the result is amazing. For this show we had our friends Markus Stock (Empyrium, The Vision Bleak …) and Thomas Helm (Empyrium, Noekk …) with us as session-mu
sicians. This concert will stick to our minds as it was a memorable event in the history of Dornenreich
The acoustic show was also recorded in 2007 at the Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Leipzig. The location was a very special one, which supported the mystic aura of our music absolutely. The fact that both sides of Dornenreich are combined on this DVD in such an apt way is what makes me deeply happy.
Apart from the two concerts the DVD also offers two clips of our first tours back in 2000, 2001 and 2002, impressions of our very first festival shows at Wacken, With Full Force and at the mentioned Wave-Gotik-Treffen. Besides one can find a clip called “Recording HER VON WELKEN NÄCHTEN” and numerous beautifully animated slide-shows with rare pictures of our history.
– We can find some known Metal bands from Austria such as PUNGENT STENCH, SUMMONING or some Gothic Metal bands as VISIONS OF ATLANTIS but, what bands else could you recommend us?
Two Austrian bands I personally appreciate a lot are Angizia and Mely.
– I saw you’re going to play at the Wave Gotik Treffen fest, a gothic festival with really few Metal bands in it’s rooster. What do you expect from it? Do you feel is like a challenge playing in front of a crowd that is not so familiarized with your music nor style?
We’ve played their back in 2001 in metal-line-up, in 2007 we played two acoustic shows at this festival and this year we’ll return in metal-line-up – and I expect a great show for all people involved. We have always had a fantastic response at the WGT. Actually I think highly of this festival for one can experience countless artists of very different (sub-)genres in numerous different locations. All these locations make you wander (or drive) through the whole city Leipzig and that’s a unique thing for sure.
– And speaking of gigs, is there any chance of seeing you someday soon in Spain?
Back in 2001 we played three shows in Spain and we’d love to come back to Spain for sure.
So, all can say that everybody who is reading this interview right now shall feel free to draw the attention of local promoter to Dornenreich. As soon as we’ll receive serious offers we’ll make tracks for your country!
– Finally, what are your near-future plans?
In a few days we’ll head out to the road again with our friends from Alcest. This tour will be a co-headlining European-Tour. Then we’ll headline some festivals and we intend to play another tour in October. So, this year we’ll be busy with bringing Dornenreich to the stage.
– Thank you once more for your time. If you now want to add any final thoughts, last lines are yours.
To come to an end I just want to thank you, Tania, for your support, your devotion to expression and your interesting questions!