Hello there! It is a great pleasure for me to interview a band that I highly admire the works. It’s been almost ten years that I wanted to interview you and now I have the chance, so, initially, I’d like to thank you very much for this and ask you to introduce yourself to our readers.
Eviga: “Hey there, I am the singer and guitarist of Dornenreich, the live-guitarist of Empyrium and a voice of the crazy ensemble Angizia – and it’s great to do this interview right after having returned from an intense tour.”
In May 2014, Dornenreich is going to release Freiheit, the follow-up to the acclaimed album Flammentriebe. Tell us a bit about Freiheit, how much has the sound changed, if so. You’ve stated that Freiheit is “a concept album about the development of a human being from its undetached mode of existence towards an adult manchild’s conscious internal – and thus also external – freedom”. For me this sounds intriguing as well as an exquisite topic. How did you come up with this idea?
Eviga: “Actually, existentialist topics have been crucial for me and Dornenreich since the very beginning of the band. Similar to the concept of HER VON WELKEN NÄCHTEN the new album is based on the journey of the human individual along and through the polarities of inner and outer life.
As for the dimension of time FREIHEIT deals with human life from childhood to seniority in a way, that is, from the unseparated perception of a child, over the egocentric perspective of youth to a more conscious perception of life and being as a whole. Therefore the structure of the album is similar to a wave, which builds up, devotes itself – metaphorically speaking – and builds up again – slowly and differently… At a certain point FREIHEIT replaces the urge of FLAMMENTRIEBE by compassion.
In my perception FREIHEIT offers our most captivating dramaturgy referring to the album in its entirety. I mean, yes, for instance the first three songs remind of IN LUFT GERITZT when it comes to their instrumentation and by the end of the third song one thinks that one knows the character and further direction of the album. However, with track four one is hit by a dramaturgical – total – twist and each further song brings along another twist as for mood and instrumentation. That’s deeply rooted in the long journey this album goes on.
Actually, Dornenreich has always been about life with all its dimensions and aspects and in a certain way FREIHEIT is both – a (first) real synopsis and a transcending prospect as one might expect from an album called FREIHEIT (freedom).”
Still on the composition topic, how’s the writing and recording session for a Dornenreich album? What does come to reality first, the music or the lyrics? Also, what does inspire you to compose? I’ve just interviewed an Austrian band that feels inspired by the nature of the country. I thought that this might apply to Dornenreich as well. Are you inspired by the beautiful Austrian environment?
Eviga: “Without any doubt. Austria is a truly beautiful and varied country when it comes to its landscapes. I live in Tyrol which could be described as little Scandinavia due to the fact that we have mountains, lakes and forests. But going into depth: When claiming that I am inspired by nature that means that I am fascinated with and taught by nature’s vital wisdom which takes place in smaller and bigger cycles. Everything is connected and still involved in the cycle of contrasting elements and processes, which – in the end – complement each other.
Referring back to your question: The music comes to us, firstly. And I put it that way (coming to us) for Dornenreich’s music relies on intuition primarily. I take my guitar and the songs come to me by and by. Then, with a rough sketch of a song, I address Inve and Gilvan and together we elaborate the songs concerning final melodies, harmonies, rhythms and arrangement. This detailed elaboration then is based on rational and conscious decisions. So, subconscious and intuitive parts are combined with rational and conscious aspects, finally.
Usually I write the lyrics while listening to a rough mix of the recorded songs over and over again. And along the mental images, the emotions and the gestures the music triggers within me I write the lyrics. Therefore Dornenreich gets across this special connection of music and words, I guess. However, to a certain degree it stays magical for sometimes I am surprised how deep the connection actually is. And such a magical experience keeps things extremely vital for us.
The recordings of an album are separated into two sessions. During the first session we record all the instruments, then we take a break for some weeks or months in order to really feel how the lyrics, the vocals and the mix should be created to do justice to the big picture.”
In my humble opinion, I find it so much more interesting to hear bands singing in their mother language. I’m studying German, but I haven’t reached a level in which I can fully understand all of your lyrics, but I’m trying to. Besides the obvious reason, what are the main advantages that you feel when expressing yourself in German?
Eviga: “Yes, I agree. I have always loved to listen to – for instance – some Norwegian Black Metal with Norwegian lyrics. Or when one considers the fact that our friends from Alcest rely on their mother tongue as well, primarily, and that they are well received worldwide it becomes clear that the vibes of a certain language are more important to the overall appeal of expression than the actual meaning of the lyrics. I mean, whenever someone is truly interested in the lyrics many bands – as Dornenreich – offer professional translations of the lyrics. Anyway, good lyrics are a fantastic additional level of a great song and with Dornenreich we surely put a lot of effort into the lyrics and the contents that we communicate. And apart from the fact that I have experimented a lot with different languages over the years it only felt natural and authentic to base my lyrics on my mother tongue eventually. It’s as simple as that: the more the words feel to be natural and authentic the more comfortable I feel and thus the more authentic and intense the vocal expression turns out.”
Let’s talk about your live performances now. What can the fans expect from a Dornenreich live appearance and what do you expect from the fans?
Eviga: “Passion, the will to get something across! That includes mistakes of course. I mean, to me nothing is more boring than musicians who aim at a detailed reproduction of the studio-versions of their songs while lacking noticeable passion. So, from Dornenreich live one may expect an intense performance that really shows how deep Dornenreich goes and how much music transcends all physical and psychic borders.
From fans I don’t really expect anything specific. I mean, there are people who like to move and express their devotion or fascination physically but there also are people that I like to call quiet aficionados, which is just another way of taking part. When I am at a concert as a part of the audience I also tend to be a quiet aficionado which is something that one might not expect from the stage-beast I tend to become during our concerts haha…”
What are your main plans that you have now for Dornenreich with a new album released? What lies ahead for the band?
Eviga: “Time will tell. I assume that we will play some further concerts by the end of the year. Next year we will concentrate on some special festival appearances and on some acoustic concerts at inspiring and uplifting places such as churches. And I am looking forward to that very, very much for the aura of – for example – a church really fits our artistic expression. It will be something deep and nurturing.”
The following two questions are about other bands that you are a part of/ play with. The first one being Angizia, one band that I highly admire as well. The band has released some essential albums, but I don’t feel that Angizia already got the recognition it deserves. For those that aren’t familiar with the band, enlighten them about this great as well as suggesting the albums they should start with.
Eviga: “Wow, I am glad that you are into Angizia, which is a very ambitious, highly individual and quite theatrical ensemble from Lower Austria/Vienna. It is a quite well hidden underground happening, yes – quite similar to Devil Doll from Slovenia, which could be compared with Angizia when it comes to its complex, multifaceted and original appeal. Angizia has been around for twenty years and I am part of it since 1998 contributing acoustic guitar, bass and – on the last four releases – vocals. And I am really proud to be a part of Angizia because every single release is a world on its own built with heart and skill. Thus, it’s difficult to point out one or two albums. Angizia just is to be discovered. However, possibly the DAS SCHACHBRETT DES TROMMELBUBEN ZACHARIAS from 1998 could be a good start for it is the easiest to listen to in my opinion. By the way, on this very album the Dornenreich-drummer Gilvan played the drums.”
And another essential band, Empyrium. You have played live with this outstanding band and are still listed as one of the live musicians. How did you get to know the band members and were invited to be a live musician for Empyrium? And how was the sensation of playing live with them and many others very well respected guest musicians?
Eviga: “Actually, the masterminds of Empyrium (Schwadorf and Helm) are good friends of mine. With Schwadorf as engineer and producer we recorded six Dornenreich-albums since 2000. So, over the years Schwadorf has become some sort of invisible fourth member of the band. Besides, back in 2007 he became visible actually for Schwadorf and Helm were session-musicians for Dornenreich at the Summerbreeze Open Air were we recorded the show for our live-dvd NACHTREISEN. Therefore it was a big honour and joy for me when Schwadorf asked me to join the live line-up to help them bring Empyrium to the stage in turn. Moreover I have always appreciated Empyrium’s music and I have known Stephane/Alcest, Fursy/Les Discrets, Aline/Neun Welten and Konstanz/The Vision Bleak for many years and common tours. And what can I tell you? It was just magical and deeply inspiring to play with such talented musicians, like-minded artists and warm-hearted people. It means a lot to me to be a part of Empyrium-live. The concerts we played so far hold a special place in my heart for sure.”
Along with some other musicians that I know of (I don’t need to mention their names, well, maybe I should just say one or two as an example, Kimi Kärki and Don Anderson), you are a person that completely challenges the metal listeners/ musicians stereotype. In my humble opinion, this is a great thing. How do you feel about that, about being, should I say, different?
Eviga: “Thank you. Well, sometimes it feels like a burden to have such a different perspective on life and art but most of the time it feels like gift that I am thankful for. You know, sometimes it’s hard to keep the balance when having such a widened perception of the small and big cycles and coherences of life, which I try to reflect via Dornenreich. It’s a challenge, but a challenge that is worth taking on in the end.”
I’ve read an interview in which you stated that you like poetry and prose. Can you share some of the movements and authors that you are admirer of, not only when it comes to poetry, but literature in general?
Eviga: “When it comes to movements I have to point out Romantic and Expressionism, but the philosophical and spiritual authors that had and have the strongest impact on my way to perceive life are Schelling, Osho, O’Donohue and Krishnamurti without any doubt.
And so we reach the end of this interview or conversation or whatever you think it suits better. One more time, thank you very much for this opportunity and I wish you the best for the future. Do you have any last words for our readers?
Eviga: “I would like to thank you very, very much for this well-researched interview – and for your continuous support. That is rare and precious and I appreciate that a lot.
And I also would like to thank our loyal fans worldwide. It’s fantastic to have that intelligent and dedicated people around Dornenreich, which is something I just learned anew while talking to many people after the concerts that we played during the last weeks.”May 17, 2014