With a hot new album on Candlelight Records called Dismantling Devotion and a tour with Katatonia & Moonspell, things are looking up for North Carolina's Daylight Dies, a relatively new band on the death and doom metal scene. Sea of Tranquility Publisher had a quick chance to get some info from drummer Jesse Haff on the origins of the band, the new album, and the killer tour.
Read on for the full interview!
Sea of Tranquility: North Carolina is an odd place for a band of your caliber to come out of, as most of the death/doom metal bands seem to originate from Europe these days. Can you give us a little history of the band, and your influences?
Jesse Haff: Guitarist Barre Gambling and I were thankfully introduced to the Scandinavian death/black metal scene when it was first emerging in the early 90s. An older friend ran a CD distrobution company where he would import all the new releases from the likes of No Fashion Records, Holy Records, Wrong Again Records and so on. So we listened to almost exclusively European and mainly Scandinavian bands from a young age and that obviously shaped how we sound. It was nearly impossible to find musicians who had heard of the bands we were into back then. I guess this also explains why we sound as we do. We've always preferred the melodic European sound to what most other American artists were doing at the time, with a few exceptions (such as Death). Without repeating the biography, I'll just say our demo 'Idle' was released by Tribunal Records in early 2000, our debut album 'No Reply' was released by Relapse in 2002 and most recently 'Dismantling Devotion' was released by Candlelight this past March (2006).
SoT: The music on Dismantling Devotion has a very earthy quality; despite it being so heavy and dramatic, which of course draws comparisons to Opeth, Amorphis, and Katatonia. How hard is it to write such powerful and moody material, and have it remain memorable and melodic at the same time?
Jesse: Thanks for the positive words. Song writing is not a quick process for us. I know some artists say the songs just flow out all at once, but that's not usually how it works for us. We probably threw out over an albums worth of material to end up with what resulted in Dismantling Devotion. Usually Barre will write a bunch of ideas on guitar -- and I'll contribute a few too, then we'll get together and jam on what we picked out of that. We'll pull the material together that has the same emotional feel and continually refine the details over and over. Eventually we end up with something we feel is relevant to what we want to express with Daylight Dies, or we throw it out and move on.
SoT: Many of the songs on the new CD are fairly lengthy, sprinkling acoustic passages in with all the bruising heavy sections. Are there any plans to incorporate perhaps keyboards alongside the electric & acoustic guitar parts in the future?
Jesse: There are actually keyboards in every song in Dismantling Devotion. We used them to add depth and atmosphere, not for melody. None of us are usually big fans of bands that feature prominent keys playing a dominant melody, so it will probably never be main instrument for us.
SoT: Do you prefer growls or clean vocals, or does it really depend on the song?
Jesse: It not only depends on the song, it depends on the particular part of the song. I prefer whatever fits best. Both have their place.
SoT: What are some of the band's favorite songs on the album?
Jesse: All of us really like how the title track ended up -- it was something quite different. Honestly we're proud of all the songs on this album, which isn't something you can honestly say too often. "A Dream Resigned" and "Strive to See" are extremely fun to play live.
SoT: You have been on a tour with Moonspell and Katatonia, which I'm sure has been a real treat. How long is your slot each night, and what songs do you play?
Jesse: We finished this tour up a couple weeks ago. Our slot was about 35 minutes. We played "A Life Less Lived", "Lies that Bind", "All we Had", "Strive to See", and "A Dream Resigned". Overall, the tour was amazing and introduced our music to many new fans
SoT: What's in the plans now that the tour is done? Is there writing in your immediate future for another album over the next year or two?
Jesse: We're already back to writing right now. There is talk about doing a three or four song EP, but nothing is final now. We want to keep the momentum going hence the idea of an EP. Regardless if that happens or not, our immediate plans are to continue writing and hopefully be in the studio before 2007 ends.
SoT: Your music should easily appeal to European metal fans-are there any plans to head over there for some live shows, or have you been there already?
Jesse: We toured a few countries in Europe in 2003 together with Katatonia. Like any other band, we'd desperately like to get back and do a proper full tour this time. But as I'm sure everyone understands -- it's extremely expensive. If a tour package comes along that makes any sense, you can bet we'll jump at it.
(Click here to read our review of Dismantling Devotion)