Seemingly out of nowhere the new project, DIMHAV, appeared. Having Daniel Heiman (ex-Lost Horizon) on vocals sure gave the debut album The Boreal Flame a lot of attention, but the real masterminds behind the music is the brothers Staffan and Olle Lindroth. PowerMetal.no got in touch with Staffan to learn more about the Swedish trio.
First of all: why the big “secret”? I mean, your Facebook page was created this September, and within a few weeks the album was out. Was all that intentional?
Staffan: We never intended this to be a secret per se, but it’s true that we did not talk so much about the album during the recording process or prior to the release. In a way that is a good thing, since the music is now there to answer most questions. Also, we decided to not release any single before the album, since we feel that it is primarily meant to be experienced as a full album. We did make a lyric video however, which was released the same day as the record.
The band consist of Staffan and Olle, known from Shadows Past, and vocalist Daniel, most known from Lost Horizon. How did you three end up in Dimhav?
Staffan: At this point Dimhav might be better described as a project, rather than a band, especially since there are currently no plans to play the music live. Olle and I got in touch with Daniel once the songs were finished and were of course really happy that he wanted to take part in this!
What is the story behind the band; when did the idea behind Dimhav appear – and why?
Staffan: As for why we started writing this music in the first place, that goes quite a few years back. In 2013-14 or so Olle and I were writing music intended for Shadows Past, but a number of those songs did not quite fit in. Those became the seeds for Dimhav, although those songs changed and evolved quite a bit along the way. Then there have been musical ideas that appeared during this time that did not end up on The Boreal Flame, but may be used in various ways in the future.
Being brothers, and having played together for a long time, writing music just the two of us comes very naturally.
Shadows Past hasn’t released anything since 2013, and Daniel haven’t been that active since he left Lost Horizon. Is Dimhav the result of three guys wanting to create something again?
Staffan: I guess you could say that. Speaking for Olle and I, the desire to really focus on the music was the primary thing, rather than the other aspects of “being a metal band”. Olle and I both write music and found it really fruitful to combine our approaches and influences in the process. For instance, since the songs and parts that Olle came up with were not written specifically with guitars in mind, it “forced” me to come up with ideas and ways of playing that I wouldn’t have otherwise. We also really enjoy improvisation and free form sessions, so there are traces of that in the music as well.
About the debut album: for how long has that album been in the making – both as an idea but also musically?
Staffan: As mentioned, the seeds appeared in 2013-2014, but as more material was written we started to get a sense of a general theme to the music and concept, so over time the idea of what the album should be solidified. The actual recording process began in late 2017/early 2018 with the drum recordings. Then we divided the tasks so that Olle did all the keyboard arrangements – orchestral and synth parts – and I did the bass, guitars and lead synths, pretty much in that order. The vocals were recorded by Daniel in his studio earlier this year, and then I mixed the album during the summer. I also have to mention Jacob Hansen and his great mastering work which took the final product one step further.
How has the song writing process been like? Does everyone bring ideas to the table – and who does what?
Staffan: Both Olle and I enjoy writing music, and it is probably pretty much 50/50 on the album. Some songs, like “Realms Of A Vagrant King” and “Star And Crescent” were very much written together, and others were more complete ideas from either of us, which were then finalised together. Given the different instruments that we play, that affects the writing process in various ways of course – in how ideas first appear (as guitar riffs, drum or keyboard parts etc.) – and in how we tweak each other’s ideas. Another aspect in the song writing is that we were looking to capture a specific mood with the songs, and we tried to preserve that mood in all the music, both through how songs and lyrics were written as well as in the sounds and arrangements.
What can you tell me about the concept of the album and the overall lyrical theme?
Staffan: There is a loose storyline to the album that tells of a man who traded his soul for inhuman and monstrous powers. Throughout the album we follow him as he awakens from a self-imposed imprisonment and attempts to understand his past and possibly redeem his actions. We consciously kept this narrative on the loose side as we had no intention of making a “metal opera”. The lyrical theme overall mostly relates to this, but also strays into areas of a more “general” existential nature. I.e. What is one’s true nature and is it ever possible to truly change that?
And what about the name Dimhav; what’s the story here? What does the name mean?
Staffan: The name Dimhav – Swedish for “sea of mist” – came up fairly late in the process. We always felt like a name that matches the concept and music would appear, and eventually it did. We think it gives the right associations and has some symbolic meaning that appeals to us. A sea of mist is a place where you risk getting lost, but looking out over it – seeing the peaks rise above it in the distance – it invites adventure and exploration.
Musically you describe the albums as a mix between prog and power metal. Did the music evolve during the song writing process, or did you have a clear idea beforehand about the music?
Staffan: We are not surprised that people who listen to the album find it difficult to fully categorise it – considering it as a whole. There are certainly elements of both power and prog in there, but we never imposed any limits on ourselves in terms of what could go onto the record, as long as it fit the overall atmosphere and “narrative” of the album. So yes, the music did evolve a lot during the song writing process. Some songs grew in scope, parts were taken in or out, and ideas for instrumentation appeared along the way. Another thing that happened is that we could hear how certain parts, across songs, related to each other and in some spots, we used that to reintroduce a melody or harmonic progression. We think that really helps in creating a sense of “wholeness”.
The debut album, The Boreal Flame, has been out a few weeks and already gained a lot of great feedback. Have that surprised you; about the feedback and overall attention I mean?
Staffan: To be honest we were not really sure what to expect – and might not even have thought about it so much prior to the release. On one hand we knew that we were all really happy with the end product, so we are not surprised that others enjoy it as well. But we have been really overwhelmed by some of the reviews and find it very heart-warming that it is both “understood” to such a large degree and that listeners really seem to pick up on the feel that we wanted to get across. Some of the best feedback we’ve gotten so far is that the album invokes the sense of a journey and that it sparks the listener’s own desire to create.
Is Dimhav the nr. 1 priority for everyone involved?
Staffan: After food, water and Wi-Fi it comes close! At the moment it’s naturally not so much about writing new music, but rather to make sure that The Boreal Flame gets “out there” properly. We have received a lot of requests for a physical release as well and are looking into how to best pursue that.
What about the future? You said there were no plans for touring, but maybe a second album?
Staffan: No, there are currently no plans for touring with Dimhav. Again, the focus at this time is to make sure that this album reaches listeners who might appreciate it. There is no doubt that we will continue writing as good and interesting music as we can, but it is too early to say exactly what that will result in!
Thanks for taking an interest in Dimhav, and greetings to all readers of PowerMetal.no!
Read also: interview with Daniel Heiman