Once again it emerges a new power metal band from Sweden that manage to create, already before the debut album is released, a lot of attention and high expectations. What is it with Sweden and power metal? We’ll let Dennis Eriksson, founder of DARKEST VOID, explain.
Dennis: Haha, I don’t know. Maybe it’s like Mattias IA Eklund says: ”It’s good to be bored; a lot of music gets created when you are bored”. And well, there are a lot of places in Sweden where there is literally nothing to do at all. And, I can’t say how other musicians feel, but when I’m bored I do something that’s fun and to me that is music! So, maybe that is your correlation! Haha.
Haha, Yeah maybe that’s the reason! But, let’s continue. Darkest Void was created by you, Dennis Eriksson, also guitarist in Mad Hatter. What’s the story behind Darkest Void; why the need to create a new band? Where you writing music that didn’t fit with Mad Hatter, or was the reason at a deeper level – a calling, so to say?
Dennis: Well, both yes and no. Me and Petter Hjerpe [vocalist in Mad Hatter] have been working on music back and forth for the better part of a year with Mad Hatter. And I’ve never had a project before that I put my all into that I created myself. And in a way the project started before we even had music, because I felt like I wanted to do things right from the start with a band for once. And I wanted to make a project that is more ”full time”. It’s too early to tell now, but it’ll show in the near future if I/we did it right this time.
So yes, the reason is at a deeper level.
To continue that thread; how would you describe the music of Darkest Void and how does it differ from Mad Hatter?
Dennis: The music of Mad Hatter is more catered towards old school power metal, and uses for the genre classic instruments like harpsichords and strings and a bit of 80’s synths.
The common theme for me when it comes to Darkest Void is to try to create a feeling of longing, romantic if you will. I want to make you feel things when you listen to our music.
That may be sadness, sentimental, nostalgic, or straight up beautiful, ugly, angry or whatever; my sole hope for this band is that the listener feels something when they listen to our music.
Which I guess is what all music is trying to do – but we are telling a story through our music.
You have said that Darkest Void is about “space and explorations, futuristic elements combined into some really new power metal in a way that you have never heard before”. Is “space, explorations and futuristic elements” a personal interest of your and in what way?
Dennis: Yes! I’ve always been fascinated by space and science and about the mysteries that the universe holds. A longing to explore and see how it’s built and what it can teach us. The extreme distances that we can observe and measure things is mind boggling to me.
There is a phenomenon for example which they call a quasar, which when they first discovered one in the 1950’s they thought it was just a really bright galaxy. But not until after proving the redshift was it viewed as a separate phenomenon. And it’s discoveries like that and the vast emptiness between it all that really fascinates me.
How have you been working to implement the futuristic elements into the music; is it only lyric wise, or will the debut album have some sort of Ayreon kind of vibe to it?
Dennis: Andrew [Cope, vocals] and I have been working on a story that’s inspired by the creation of a true AI and advances in science and space exploration. I had not heard about Ayreon before this interview, but I’ve had a chance now to listen to their album The Source . I haven’t had time to understand their vibe though, but I can say that it won’t contain as many ”classical” instruments. Also, thanks for the tip! They kick ass! I always love discovering new music!
And about the lyrics: in another interview you talk about quantum physics; will the lyrics be understandable for the «ordinary» man? Haha! But what can you tell me about the lyrics and where does the inspiration come from?
Dennis: The lyrics will most definitely be understandable for the ordinary man. The deeper context might not, but that’s why I love music. People are free to interpret our lyrics in what way they choose! The inspiration came from the Darkest Void.
You have been presenting the band members on Facebook, and apart from being excellent musicians, they all seem to be close friends of yours. Has that been important when choosing band members and why?
Dennis: Yes, it has! They are all people I can count on and people that I trust. When trying to work with music the way I want to, you need people that back you up and inspire you. And they all just happen to be exceptionally talented!
I’m curious about the vocalist, Andrew Cope, that you met in Denver a few years ago. What’s the story here and how did he end up as vocalist in a Swedish metal band?
Dennis: Back in 2017 I was on tour in Denver with Strykjärn and Andrew was one of the people that offered his home as a place to stay when we were there. We bonded over the mindset we both share when it comes to music that there are no compromises only hard work.
Well the story is kind of long. But I’ll try to shorten it as much as possible.
After finding the other guys (bass player Emil Gustavsson and guitarist Micke Kullvén, drummer Alfred Fridhagen was already onboard) me and Alfred scheduled a meeting with the members of the band where we talked about our vision and what we were looking for in their performances and the overall theme and stuff. In that meeting I talkied about a specific vocal style that I would love to have in the project, and Andrew just happened to upload a clip on Instagram the day after, where he was practicing this specific style. I wrote him right away and asked him if he wanted to sing on some of my songs.
And after hearing his first vocals on ”Tears Of Rust” I just knew he was the guy I was looking for!
On Facebook you have written “43” as influence. Who/what is 43?
Dennis: Is it the 43rd element, Technetium, in the periodic table? Is it the 43rd manufactured synthetic in the Darkest Void?
I guess only time will tell…
The debut album is soon to be released (hopefully). Do you have a release date, and what can you tell me about the album?
Dennis: We are working hard on the new album right now, but as of now we don’t have a release date.
If everything goes according to plan, the album will be released sometime during 2020.
A lot of good record labels have shown interest in our work, so to me it’s about finding what works best for us and our vision. I think that being comfortable and able to work as a team towards a common goal is extremely important.
The album will feature 11-15 songs that will feature a lot of different elements ranging from ballads to full on blast beats.
How has the songwriting been like?
Dennis: The songwriting is going very well! We have a total of 14 songs right now that we are working on, some finished and some unfinished.
I’ve been making the music and Andrew and I have been working on the vocals and melodies together. The others help with input and ideas and send me riffs and ideas.
Alfred records the drums for me and I mix and master it from home.
We have already been given a taste of what to expect with the first single “Tears Of Rust”. A great song! Is that song a good representation of what to expect from the full album; why did that song end up as the first single?
Dennis: Yes! I do believe that it holds key ingredients of what we want our sound to be.
But the album is, of course, going to shift along the course of the story.
Everyone in the band are involved in different bands and projects; how much time and effort do you spend on Darkest Void compared to all the other things? In other words: is this a side project or a full-time thing?
Dennis: For me every project is a full-time thing. I spend a lot of time thinking of our making music and I record and produce a lot of other bands, which has helped in making me able to see a bigger picture when it comes to making music.
Darkest Void is very personal to me because it’s the first time that I’ve felt like I have the knowledge to create exactly what I’m feeling, and not getting lost in details like ”synth tweaking” or mixing.
At the end I must also ask a Mad Hatter questions: as I have understood you are working on the new album: how is that going, when can we expect to hear something new?
Dennis: Yes, that is correct! We actually just recorded drums for the whole record this weekend [Jan 10-12].
I’m going to start the mixing in two weeks, then it depends on our label Art Gates Records and if things work out without any complications.
But I expect the album to be released sometime during 2020.
Lastly, I would like to thank you Kristian for doing a phenomenal job with PowerMetal.no. Keep doing an awesome job and we hope to talk to you again in the future!