DARKWOOD - Reviews & Interviews
Dark - Goth - Electro - Industrial - Ambient
Interview with DARKWOOD by Melania Capuozzo
In the presentation remarks of your new album you conceive an apocalyptic scenery: "The clouds of autumn were drawing near and the world shivered in the storms of the sun." Which is the final race you refer to?
The main subject of "Herbstgewölk" is the nuclear race in the last days of the Third Reich, leading directly into the catastrophe in Japan and into the long period of Cold War right after, because the Americans and Russians were gathering all knowledge on miracle weapons and nuclear science from German archives and scientists, which finally made them able to build long-distance missiles. Between the lines, the question is also asked, why did the emigrated scientists so willingly collaborate with the Americans? Of course they wanted to end the war, but were those nuclear bombs necessary to end the war and wasn't it clear that the US - with those frightful weapons in their hands - would be the next conqueror till even today?
In 'Prophecies' we can hear the sample of an American predicator. What can you tell us about it?
The sampled American is Eisenhower, an American president, who is here philosophizing about the Korean War - which has been quite some time ago. As an irony of fate, they might now ask themselves the same questions in the Iraqi War: "Where do we go from here? When comes the end? Is there an end? ...To these questions there are two false answers - both equally false!" And they still only have false answers to their questions...
Again, about samples, you used them in many tracks. 'Aftermath' is one of these: in this song there is an association between a political rally and a Russian movie. What is the value of this resource? Do you use it to make more incisive the message you want to communicate?
The name of the Russian movie is "Stalker" by Andrei Tarkovsky. This is a brilliant and very philosophical movie about the 'meaning of life'. To go off the topic a bit, the track on our "Secret Lords" collaboration - "Room of the Innermost Wishes" - is also based upon this movie. There is a room in a so-called 'Zone' that fulfills your wish, but only your true and innermost wish, born from suffering. It is only fulfilled when you are totally desperate - else the 'Zone' kills you... Especially the Russians - with their endlessly terrible, bloody and doomed history - have somehow kept a 'meaning of life' that I would somehow describe as 'Purity and Friendship'. So the sample featured in "Aftermath" is a poem spoken by Stalker that reflects his perception of this Purity. Against this philosophical and personal statement stands a political estimation - expressed by an American politician - why somebody should make the Russians their friends - because they have thousands of nuclear weapons left!
'Opfergang' is based on a Georg Trakl poetry: I think Trakl has many affinity with the innermost word of Darkwood. What do you think about it?
I know Trakl's works since quite short time - I discovered this poet accidentally by the help of a friend. But once I started reading his poems, I was totally struck by the strength, expressionism and despair of his poems. No wonder that the person behind those work of arts was a very ambiguous and interesting one. Apart from the fact that his gloomy expressionism of describing death and suffering perfectly suited the Darkwood music, Georg Trakl seemed to be a person pretty close to my character. On the one hand he appeared very thoughtful but on the other hand went all the way down when it came to experiencing life in all its facets. He once said, you need to despise luck to gain true knowledge. Of course he knew luck for the moment - in his case he was having a passionate relationship with his own sister - which has been a source of lust and a curse for him at the same time. And - as Nietzsche said - he knew that all lust yearns for eternity. But by despising transient luck, by frequently breaking with a normal life, having desperate but creative periods, intoxicating his body and recovering, he became a Seeker and Creator and thus a Knower. Unfortunately, he broke far too young after seeing unbelievable pain in the military hospitals of World War I.
I used his poem "Menschliche Trauer" (Human Grief) in the song "Opfergang" (March Towards a Sacrifice), which creates a seeming contradiction between the heavy drum loops and waxing noises, propaganda telling that 'radiation is the least important effect obtained by the use of an atomic weapon' and his fragile description of a catastrophe drawing near.
Which are your other favorite authors?
My favorite authors for lyric poetry - besides the ones I was setting to music like Schumann, Bröger, Hohlbaum, Bienenstein, and Friedrich - are Hermann Hesse, Ezra Pound, and Edgar Alan Poe.
As writers for prose I esteem Gustav Meyrink, Umberto Eco, Ernst Jünger, and again Hermann Hesse. As philosophers I adore Nietzsche and Spengler.
We can feel in between the notes a sense of dark resignation. Do you also think that the only real authenticity is to be found in the loneliness and in a marginal position?
Five years ago I would have answered that there is no resignation at all - all you have to do is to fight, because life is struggle. Right now I must admit that I could understand that you seem to hear some despair close to resignation between the lines. As described before, "Herbstgewölk" is on the nuclear race whilst and right after World War II, but when having a look at the present political situation, nothing seems to have changed over 50 years. The situation is disastrous. The United States have maintained their political, economic and military position based upon pure brutality. They are loosing credibility, but they are by far not loosing influence. The New Hope Europe seems to fail as it more and more turns out to be a nice opportunity for a few politicians to earn a lot of money when being elected for the parliament - not more. But Resignation must not be the solution. We European people need to use our Spirit against American aggression and turn our Cultural Values against the American emptiness.
With the second part of the question you are certainly right. To quote Nietzsche again - everything great needs to go through silence. Real values you will find through loneliness and consideration. With this topic I basically dealt with on the "Weltenwende" 10". But finally, you have to leave your shelter again to spread what you have learned in silence - and if it is your Epitaph.
Do you reflect in your music personal facts?
All the historical reflections in Darkwood's music become personal facts when thinking about your and my life in this world, that is a matter of fact.
But here and there is a glimpse of direct personal occurrences - "A Black Rose" or "Stiller Bund" have been very personal songs. Apart from those solitary songs, I am working on a full-length CD in collaboration with Chaos as Shelter and Agnivolok. We reflect different phases of the alchemical transmutation process upon personal states of being and psychological patterns of behavior. By chance or not, Vadim of Chaos as Shelter, Vera of Agnivolok and me were pretty much having quite the same 'personal oddities' throughout the recordings - so this recording will be very authentic with some quite dark tracks and some outbursts of pure passion.
Since the first appearance till today Darkwood has been an ascending parabola and a continuous surprise. Why don't you draw up a balance of this situation?
Ascending parabola sounds good, but also continuous surprise sounds good to me. But I know what you mean. Some people would have preferred that Darkwood had released 4 neofolk albums - others 4 industrial ones. From the beginning on I was rather focusing on special topics that somehow turn out to be a thread throughout history. According to the topic and sometimes also according to personal preferences and circumstances the sound naturally comes to me. I cannot say, I will now record this or that musical style. The whole sound somehow builds up over the weeks and months working on the tracks. As being a Libra, one would expect me being a very balanced personality. But having a closer look, one can see swaying the scales up and down all the time causing a lot of trouble - only presenting a balance in the mathematical mean value. So I am afraid, Darkwood will also in the future show this variety of expressions. But for the next two releases, acoustic guitar, classical instruments and lyrics will be present again as well as dark patterns and noisescapes.
By the way, on the Heidenvolk website at www.heidenvolk.de there is a good overview for all Heidenvolk releases including short descriptions of topic and sound. At www.darkwood.de you will additionally find a general introduction, some lyrics, and all compilations so far.
At this point, I want to thank Melania for giving me the opportunity to be present in Ritual and for the very good questions which made it a pleasure for me to answer.