GOLDEN DAWN, a brainchild of Dreamlord, has marked my life in one way or another. I really adore his debut opus ”The Art of Dreaming” – one of the best ever records when it comes to Austrian black metal circles. Everything has started under indeed strange circumstances of tape trading during the 90s, and then I got Golden Dawn. The problem was that complete silence came after this particular issue. During 2003 Dreamlord has delivered one more offering, but with very different style. ”Masquerade” was a very different album comparing to previous one, but it was rated well. And then again, after so many years of silence we have a brand new album coming from master Dreamlord. ”Return to Provenance” is step backwards musically, closer to debut full-length.
Hi Dreamlord! I would like to give you my compliments for your latest record! It’s indeed a great opus! Congratulation! Hi Marko, I am very pleased that you like the album, thank you!
But I would also like to ask you why there was such a long pause between your previous album and your newest one? I mean, almost 9 years have passed by…
I just needed time to develop myself musically and personally. I have recorded tons of songs and ideas in the meantime and worked together with different musicians, but I never felt the right time to release another album. Furthermore I set up a recording studio and worked as producer and studio musician for many bands. So to say, even though I wasn’t active with Golden Dawn I added my soul and influence to a lot of bands and productions.
And after almost 9 years of silence finally we have ”Return to Provenance”. Please, could you from your point of view present your latest material to our readers?
In 2009 I went through a very depressive abyss and needed the creative self-realization of producing a new album on my own, as a means of personal therapy. I just took the guitar and started to write songs and 3 months later the whole album was pre-produced. For me, the production of a record symbolizes the eternal quest of seeking the center of yourself, the “true self”. In the past years I was often very far from my true self, therefore all attempts to write songs ended in progressive and chaotic mixtures of styles. My former songs sounded torn apart and twisted, as I was twisted myself. For now I wanted to get focused, to get rid of all those experimental influences and go back to the origin of my musical expression. That helped me a lot in my personal development.
Comparing to your previous full-length ”Masquerade” the new one is definitely more based on black metal! It’s less melodic and but on the other hand it’s more grim. Why did you compose black metal opus this time?
You are definitely right, it was my intention to reduce the melodic component and emphasize the riffs and the songwriting itself. I wanted songs that don’t need difficult keyboards or second voices to get working. Also, if you take the concept of returning to the origin (of music or metaphorically speaking to your own true nature), you can’t combine this with complex melodies. The origin of music is rhythm, not melody. The origin of Black Metal is grim, riff-based music and the origin of my musical intention is a melancholic, sometimes hypnotic and sometimes bombastic mood. I wanted to reduce “Return to Provenance” to these pillars, so that I can progress and develop that further with the next album.
Would you agree with me if I say that ”Return to Provenance” is more musically linked with your debut issue ”The Art of Dreaming” comparing for instance with your later recording ”A Solemn Day” or ”Masquerade”?
First of all, there is no “A solemn day” album, I recorded that for myself only and sent it to a handful of email friends, so it is astonishing that you know about this recording. Actually the second album should have been called “Sublimity”, it was fully recorded in 1997 but never released due to the bankruptcy of the label that produced me by that time. You are right that I linked the new album more to “The Art of Dreaming” from a more mature, not so youthfully-chaotic point of view (which is self-evident as I was only 17 when I did the first album). “Masquerade” is actually something that never should have happened. It was an immature album, as far as songwriting, production and performance is concerned. I absolutely don’t like it anymore and never listen to it. I can also relate that to my personal development again, I don’t like my way of being and perceiving music from that era anymore.
”Return to Provenance” has so much to offer. Although that the each compositions starts with more black metal base later it develops into something different with more symphonic approach. So, still your latest material could be characterized as symphonic piece of work. Was there any intention before the composting process to make such songs for the new album?
All songs are based on guitar riffs or drum rhythms. It was very important for me to get a “band feeling” or even “live feeling”, although I have no band. Perhaps a coming Golden Dawn album will contain really symphonic big orchestrations, this time the keyboards were supposed to be an addition just to support the atmosphere. As you noticed, most songs try to “open” or enhance to a certain peak and that’s what the keyboards should help to do. On the other hand I felt that for example “Dionysian Eucharist” has a good density just through the guitars and needs no keyboards, whereas on “Nameless” or “Self-destruction” the cello was used instead of sampled orchestras to get that extra feeling of solitude and melancholy.
Do you have some personal favorites when it comes to new album? For instance I indeed like such a great tracks as the title song and ”Dark Illuminations”! Both tracks also have some sort of choirs if I am not so wrong.
Yes, I did some choir vocals, but the idea was to combine them with the harsh lead vocals, cause I didn’t want the strong contrast of clean lead vocals this time, that would have ruined my new-found coherence. All in all I want the album to be seen as a whole. I didn’t want to have an album with certain stand-out hits and “fillers” around them. When I composed the album, I had one project for all songs on my computer, that helped to get that connective character, even though the mood of the songs is still different.
Who has done the artwork for the latest effort this time and what did you try to present by it? The artwork was done by Bernd Grünwald, my former band colleague in Sternenstaub. He is a professional designer and it was easy to work with him. I wanted the cover to symbolize a gate to a pure and ancient world as a metaphor of entering one’s true self. The cover with its exotic towers, the “cave feeling” of the booklet and also the colors highly reflect the album title and the mood of the music.
Also, what can you tell us about the lyrical background this time? What kind of topics did you cover this time? Are you still ”dwelling” in the worlds of occult?
My lyrics still dwell in the worlds of occult, yes, but in a very personal and subtle way. I write about my own inner darkness and singing those lyrics help me to explore those hidden inner realms. I was mentally very weak when I wrote the album and a song like “Self-destruction” is my way of reaching a mental zero point, where all is lost and gone and from where I can start new journeys. Even though I use some of the same negative vocabulary as many extreme Metal bands, I always want to show a positive, creative aspect of it, a hidden alternative to the narrow-minded state of most people’s life. I want to express a nameless state of hidden knowledge in my art, a notion of the conscience of creation as a whole that we can have when we lose our ego only for a moment.
As a matter of fact the name of the band is Golden Dawn and the link with this hermetic order is more than obvious. So, are you a member of this (or any other) occult order? Are you personally interested in practicing of magic(k)?
To me, my band name was never really connected to that occult order. Of course I know about it and I also read some occult literature when I was young but after all a “golden dawn” symbolizes a state of ultimate enlightenment for me. Taking part in a ritualistic system may be helpful for some people but I prefer to practice my own personal rituals and find my own way of exploring the mysteries of life. When I started with Golden Dawn I was very much inspired by shamanism, in particular by the teachings of Carlos Castaneda. I have some experiences with lucid dreaming and know that the world that we perceive is only a small part of the whole picture. In ancient times people had a very natural access to what we call magic, it was part of their daily life. In our modern society people need explanations, systems, manuals for everything but in my opinion that is misleading. People should look inside and find the key to all mysteries within. They should stop talking and start living. That’s what Golden Dawn stands for.
If I have correctly check out your new line up now you have all members in the band and I hope that you can also perform your song live on the stage. So, could we expect any concerts soon of Golden Dawn?
No, there is no band. I worked with several musicians throughout the years but I decided to go back to the “one man band” state. As I said, the material of “Return to Provenance” was created to be performed live, but unfortunately I still haven’t found any live members that are personally and musically appropriate and not too far away from my home place. That might change one day, but after 20 years of not playing live I am not open for experiments with untalented or unreliable musicians. But I will play some gigs with one of my other band projects called Rauhnacht. This is very meditative and pure Alpine Black Metal and maybe worth checking out for some people that read these lines.
One question with historical background: once you were member of Austrian black metal syndicate. Well, it was long time ago, but this group or organization if you will, was indeed well-known in black metal circles. What can you tell us about ABMS from your point of view?
By that time everything went very fast, a handful of new bands in Austria were inspired by that Black Metal spirit coming over from Scandinavia and the ABMS was formed as kind of platform to support each other and to bring together some resources and activities within the scene. There was a sampler called “Norici Obscura Pars” that covered some of the bands and individuals within the ABMS. As many of the involved persons were strong, uncompromising personalities, they all went more or less their own ways later, but without a spectacular clash, as we know it from Norway. Some of the “first wave” bands still exist, others completely disappeared. Some years ago I planned to produce a second part of the ABMS sampler but I found out that nowadays we have no real Black Metal scene in Austria who shares any spirit in the way of the mid-90ies. This is why nothing happened and the ABMS remains within the minds of those who were involved.
Well, Dreamlord, I would like to thank you for your great music and for your answers! I wish you all the best and I really hope that I will be able to meet you personally once day!
Marko, I am very grateful for your interest and it was a pleasure to answer your questions! My hails go to you and all related souls in Serbia and all over the world, take care and stay individual!
Answers by Dreamlord
Interview done by Marko Miranovic