Since 2001 Turkey's progressive power metal band Dreamtone have been creating quality music, culminating in 2006's Sojourn and the soon to be released Snowfall. Sea of Tranquility's Murat Batmaz recently spoke to Dreamtone's vocalist Oganalp Canatan about the history of the band, their music, and the new album Snowfall.
Read on for the full interview!
Sea of Tranquility: Hello Oganalp. Dreamtone is about to release their second album Snowfall... how is everything going?
Oganalp Canatan: Hello Murat! Well, things are going on with quite a pace, both because of the Snowfall single and because of the Neverland project that we are working on. Nowadays we are finalizing the Neverland recordings' mix and getting ready to market it to record labels. Well, because of all these releases, we are working hard to meet the financial needs and trying to move as much as we can within the tight time schedule.
SoT: Could you talk a little about the history of the band? When was it formed and how did you get where you are now?
Oganalp: Well, we had formed the band in 2001 with Onur, when our previous college band, Exotherm, had been disbanded. Until 2004, we were not even able to form a stable line up, even though we had an album-like demo and a single (Pandemonium) released. In 2004 though, Emrecan Sevdin, our drummer, and Burak Kahraman (our guitar player) found us and we started working on our first album, Sojourn. Sojourn was recorded in early 2005 and released in early 2006. It was a nice movement to improve our musicianship and understand our missing elements. We also had Gary Wehrkamp from Shadow Gallery to accompany us on Sojourn. In late 2006, we have recorded Snowfall and due to some label problems and member changes, we are still keeping it at bay and will release it in March (hopefuly) or in April (most probably). And as a side project, we are producing Neverland, which will be a big move both for the band and for the scene, as we hope.
SoT: Dreamtone is often categorised as a melodic metal with power and progressive elements. How do you like to define the sound of the band?
Oganalp: Well, I will be sincere Murat, we categorize the band purely for listeners' ease of use. We need people to understand the band's music easily, when they first see the name of Dreamtone. For us, it has some power metal elements, some progressive metal elements, some more traditional sounds and some pop music elements with a heavy classical music influence hidden behind the melodies. We don't like to define the sound because whenever we do, people start to compare it with other names and see it as a competition. We are merely musicians, try to form a stable outcome of music for people who likes what we are doing but, in means of marketing, the best genre name for Dreamtone seems like "power/progressive metal" or something similar.
SoT: How were the reactions to your debut album Sojourn and why did you decide to release it independently?
Oganalp: Sojourn was a tryout for the band. We wanted to try the studios, we wanted to try the band's musicianship, we wanted to try our luck and our ideas. It received very good comments. Some were far more better than what we had expected. It was a debut album and it shows that naïve approach of a debut all over the disc. That is why we like it and that is probably why people who listened to it likes it.
It was an independent effort because that it had that trying feeling in it. Labels don't want you to try, labels want you to make money. That is the rule. So we formed our own label, Tavanarasi Media, at that time and started working on everything, trying to understand the infrastructure of this business. Snowfall is nowhere near Sojourn, in means of quality, compositions and musicianship, and it has a much more higher quality, where as Neverland overwhelms both Snowfall and any of our previous releases. Well, this is the way of being a band. Produce better results at every turn.
SoT: Is Snowfall going to follow it up in a similar musical vein or are you going to explore different sounds this time around?
Oganalp: Well, Snowfall is heavier and has a darker sound. As of its theme, it is political. Politics means dark visions, dark ambitions and dark outcomes, so, we will try to reflect this as much as we can. The following album, which has the Snowfall single as a teaser, will cover all those dark moments that we started to dig with Snowfall but with a far more heavier and better sound and performance. We plan to record the next album in Autumn time or in Winter time of 2007 but there can always be latencies and postpones in this business as it is all depending on money.
SoT: You worked with Gary Wehrkamp on Sojourn. How did you get him to contribute to your CD?
Oganalp: Gary is a great guy! We love his friendship and musicianship. When we were planning Sojourn's recording, we saw that there was the need of a Narrator to tell the story. We didn't have huge budgets to ask for professional voice artists so we asked him if he would be interested to do it, and he said "Yes"!
Gary and I, we met back in 2003 through the net while we were conducting an interview for Shadow Gallery and when he did the recordings for Sojourn, he said "I will play music next time!". Well, we have a beautiful guitar solo of Gary on Neverland.
SoT: Are there plans for any other guests on your upcoming disc?
OganalpPlans, yes. Exact names, no. We didn't have much time to work on our new disc, even though we have most of the compositions done. We need to think on the songs carefuly and then decide on whether if there is a need of guest artists or how can we use the voice/musicianship of a guest. We talked with some of the artists that we are in contact and things may become clear in the summer time, when we can have some time to rest and think.
SoT: You've also been busy with Iris Mavraki's Neverland project recently. How did you hook up with her and what's the idea behind this project?
Oganalp: Well, Orpheus from Metal Temple e-zine of Greece had told us that his mother is a musician and she was looking for a rock band from Turkey to perform gigs, together with an orchestra, with a theme of peace. Iris and Orpheus liked what we did on Unforeseen Reflections demo as composers and wanted to work on this project.
It began as a small live touring idea and then it became an album. At this stage, we decided to have some killer guest artists on this disc and invited several names. One is Tom Englund of Evergrey, while Mike Baker and Gary Wehrkamp from Shadow Gallery are the other two names that we announced. There is one more artist that we are hoping to announce in March, after the recordings of this guest artist is complete. Oh and we have a symphony orchestra on this one to accompany us.
SoT: You've already confirmed that Mike Baker from Shadow Gallery and Tom Englund from Evergrey will appear on this disc. Did you ask them to sing on the CD or were they already acquainted with Mavraki before?
Oganalp: Well, I talked with Tom and Mike and asked them whether they would be interested to take place in this project and they accepted. They listened to the demo CD that we prepared and liked the songs. We first asked to a guest singer about the project and after the positive reply we got, we started asking our favorite musicians with the motivation (sorry, the final guest artist's name will stay as a secret until mid-late march). Mike, Gary and Tom were three of them.
SoT: When can we expect your new album and the Neverland project to see the light of day?
Oganalp: Well, it depends on the labels' interest. Neverland is a big project and it needs a good label support. We produced it with our small publishing label but it is not our profession to distribute and market it worldwide. There are six labels currently interested in Neverland but I cannot really say anything yet as nothing is clear. We are hoping to have some light on this matter before April and for the fans, some samples will be available in April for their pleasure.
SoT: What would you recommend to those who have difficulty tracking your CDs down? Where can they obtain your albums?
Oganalp: Well, we have a small e-shop at our website, www.dreamtone.net , and we accept PayPal payments from there. Besides that, The End Records (USA), MUSEA (France) and Metal Mundus (Poland) are our agreed online/mail order partners. People who would like to buy with their credit cards can refer to these trustworthy companies. For Neverland and other future releases of Dreamtone, please keep an eye on www.dreamtone.net as we might have news regarding new label deals and all that. Also, a small reminder, Dreamtone is now signed with Kardanadam Media Co. Ltd., www.kardanadammedya.com as Tavanarasi is now closed.
SoT: Are there any plans to play international shows or hook up with foreign labels at this point?
Oganalp: You know, there are always plans. Foreign labels seem to be a close target at the moment. For international shows, tours, etc, we will see. Now, the nearest shows are the mini-tour that we will accompany Blind Guardian in Turkey on 4th,5th and 6th of May.