Fans of Opeth, Ulver, Pain of Salvation, and Porcupine Tree, are really taking to the new instrumental project by musician Dave Caswell called When Day Descends. Described as "music which fills the narrowing gap between progressive metal and rock", Transcend is an instrumental album not to be missed. After being extremely impressed by the release, Sea of Tranquility's Murat Batmaz sought out Mr. Caswell to discuss the album in detail, as well as his future musical plans.
Read on for more information on the intoxicating When Day Descends!
SoT: Hi Dave, could you talk a little about When Day Descends for those unfamiliar with your project?
Dave Caswell: When Day Descends is an instrumental progressive rock/metal project that I've undertaken. The music itself draws influence from bands such as Opeth, Pain of Salvation and Dark Suns. The project began in late 2001 as a solo project of mine, and is currently unsigned. From the wealth of material written since the project began the full-length Transcend was released in early August of this year.
SoT: Transcend is a one-man project. Why didn't anyone else contribute to it? Is it because there aren't too many people interested in this type of music in Tasmania?
Dave: Well the original intention was for a project just for my expression. I had another full band at the time, so I wanted something more personal where I had complete control.
That said, I would've liked to have a real drummer on the album, but a few things that were organised along the way unfortunately fell through. So the decision was made to proceed as a solo project, rather than never get anything released.
We do have quite a good and varied scene here now, so finding locals to fill out the band would not be out of the question.
SoT: What are the biggest advantages and disadvantages of being in a one-man band?
Dave: The creative control is a huge advantage, and there are never problems with slack or argumentative bandmates. But in a band, working with other musicians who have perfected their own instruments is great. The range of opinions a band can present is useful too, as a one-man band there is the danger of overlooking aspects of the music (eg. a guitarist focussing on melody but overlooking rhythm aspects). Another common problem is for a guitarist to write drums/bass/etc in the same way they write guitar, which is a mistake.
And currently the business side of it all falls into my hands as well, without others to share the burden. So there are certainly advantages and disadvantages, which is why I like to have a separate band to experience the other side of it.
SoT: Have you had any negotiations with labels yet? It could certainly be an advantage for you to spread your music around.
Dave: A label is the next logical step for this project. The initial release of Transcend is very limited in both number and availability, essentially because it's partly a promotional release. The hope is a label will pick it up and release it to the wider market. Labels which cross the borders of progressive rock and metal would be ideal, such as InsideOut or Laser's Edge. As it stands I am just beginning the hunt and hopefully good news on this front will not be long coming.
SoT: How has the interest in Transcend been so far? What countries showed the most interest, and what are you doing to promote the record as an indie artist?
Dave: I guess the most interest from any single country has been from Australia, but European countries and the US have also been interested. The reaction has been extremely positive so far, I couldn't be happier with it. People have been posting on forums and sending me emails with extremely nice comments, which has been great. Hopefully it all starts to build from here.
Initial promotion has been to get some reviews and interviews done and generate a nice package to send off to labels, amongst other things.
SoT: Are you musically trained? You have played all instruments and programmed the drums on Transcend.
Dave: I've been playing guitar for close to 15 years now I believe. The first 6-8 of those were spent in weekly lessons, but since then I've taught myself. I have strong opinions regarding theory in music that resulted in me spending a few years purposefully trying to forget much of what I'd learnt, and to get myself out of the over-analytical way of listening. So in some ways I am musically trained, but I'm no expert and would likely fail miserably at any exams!
SoT: What are some of your biggest influences and what bands do you mostly listen to?
Dave: When hearing my music the one quickest to people's lips is generally Opeth. This makes sense as when I was forming the style of this project they were my favourite band. Pain of Salvation and Dark Suns represent other major Progressive Metal influences. More recent material is influenced by the likes of Kayo Dot, Paatos, Isis or Magyar Posse. But as with most people, I listen to a large variety of music and it's not always easy to say which ones have had the biggest impacts on my style.
SoT: Will there be any other albums in the future? Ever thought of using a vocalist for your music?
Dave: Yes on both accounts. Two new albums are already written. The first of those is Ascension, which is a single 40-minute track of "film-score" music driven by a single acoustic guitar. This is obviously a departure in style and should be seen more as "something on the side" rather than the next real WDD album.
Beyond that is Descendant, the real follow up to Transcend. This album becomes even more atmospheric and will have vocals. Demo tracks without vocals are available on the website. I'll be aiming for a 2006 release on both these albums.
There is also a split EP in the works with three other bands: Sepia Dreamer, DIE and Criseshift. This will contain two new WDD tracks that will not be found anywhere else, and will be the first introduction people will have to the vocals for this project.
SoT: For the time being, since you're still an independent artist, what is the easiest way to purchase a copy of your music and get more info on When Day Descends?
Dave: www.whendaydescends.com is the best source of information, or firstname.lastname@example.org can be used to email me for any questions/comments. Transcend is currently only available through my website and can be purchased via PayPal, any other options should be discussed with me at the email just mentioned.
Thanks for the interview!
(Click here to read Murat's review of Transcend)