Sunday, June 28, 2009

Interview with Dark Castle

Dark Castle are a stoner/doom duo from Saint Augustine, Florida. I recently had the chance to interview them to find out more.
Dark Castle are:
Stevie Floyd - Guitar, Vocals Rob Shaffer - Drums, Vocals, Synth

MM-Who are your musical influences?
We're into a lot of different types of music. As far as metal, some influences would be Death, Bathory, Yob, Neurosis. As far as 70s prog rock, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, King Crimson, Camel. We listen to a lot of multi-cultural world music types like middle eastern, Asian, Egyptian, African. Hip hop and classical too.

MM-Tell us some about the history of your band.
The band formed the day we met. Both of us had other music projects that we left behind to start something new. We both had similar interests and goals for a band. We originally both played guitar and had a drum machine, but then Rob decided to play drums. We wrote music and recorded a demo ourselves the first year 2006, and started playing shows and recorded our EP "Flight of Pegasus" which we self-released the second year 2007. We kept playing shows and made our own merch. We recorded a yet to be released song early 2008, then recorded "Spirited Migration" in spring and began touring outside of Florida, as well as began talking with At A Loss Recordings. In May 2009 "Spirited Migration" was released on At A Loss and we have been heavily touring all year. We've played close to 200 shows to date.

MM-How would you describe your sound to someone who was not familiar with your music?
"...a rupturing combination of doom wreckage and post-metal advancement...” - Decibel Magazine
"Listening to the debut from this Florida duo is like walking through a lush valley while the sky before you turns black." - Alarm Magazine
"sounds like Hiroshima but slower" - some guy

MM-You released “Spirited Migration” in May. Tell us about it.
We recorded "Spirited Migration" in Spring of 2008 with Phillip Cope from Kylesa at the Jam Room in Columbia, SC. The title of the album as well as the artwork refers to a spiritual journey, a path into a new perception and consciousness. Each of the song titles is a different step. Realizing the world of form is a dream and opening your eyes to the formless (Awake In Sleep). Breaking down past ways of thinking that have not worked, survival is threatened, and the need to adapt and change to evolve (Into The Past). Introducing the spiritual journey (Spirited Migration). Growing but fighting to become more aware (Growing Slowly). The journey is difficult but you persist (Weather The Storm). Perceiving a higher state of consciousness (Flight Beyond). Really feeling living things, and becoming a part of nature without labeling the circumstance or being. Finding the source. We belong to the land, the land does not belong to us (Grasping the Awe). The cycle of life, the man leaving the tree, going to the sea, dying and becoming part of the tree again, and the stillness behind all of that action (A Depth Returns).


MM-What are some of your favorite songs on the new album and why?
We really put our all into everything that came out on this album. We do not feel like there is any extra filler material. If anything we cut that stuff out. The album was meant to have a continuous flow, like all pieces are part of the whole. So we really feel strongly about every song.

MM-How does the new album compare with your “Flight of Pegasus” EP?
We definitely put a lot more time into "Spirited Migration" as far as writing, recording quality and concept. "Flight of Pegasus" was more a collection of songs that worked towards what we achieved with the new album, but we had not yet developed our sound.

MM-What has been the response to the album so far?
The response has been really positive. We've got more feedback and support than we could have imagined. It's amazing to us how many people can actually get something from it. We just really want for people to feel what we feel when we play this music.

MM -Where did you come up with your band name?
We felt that Castle could refer to a dream, and that is what we feel like reality is, a dark dream. And we approach writing music based on this concept.

MM-Under the “sounds like” section of your Myspace section you list a number items dealing with nature and you have nature listed under the “influences” section. How does nature impact your music and why is it such an influence on you?
Everything that is not man made inspires us. The energy of nature is free flowing and organic, which is how we would like our music to be perceived.

MM-Who are some of the best bands playing in your area right now?
Civilization, Six Dead Horses, Khann, Republicorpse, Jr. Bruce, Hollow Leg

MM-So what are you guys doing that sets or will set you apart from other bands playing this style of music?
We truly put everything we have into our music from all aspects including writing and live performance. We use a lot of multi-cultural scales when writing. Everything in our lives revolves around our music.


MM -You are doing a west/southwest tour through the end of June. How has that gone?
The tour has been great! We have met a lot of amazing people and played with a lot of killer bands. We really enjoy traveling to places we have never been, and playing shows in anything from basements to venues.

MM-What are some of the most memorable shows that you have played so far?
We have played with Zoroaster a lot that is always really fun. We played with Rwake in their home town to probably the biggest crowd we have played to. All our shows with Black Cobra have been a killer experience, they're such a great band and good people. We played with Sourvein during Mardi Gras which was pretty insane. Had a psychedelic ten foot bonfire with Minsk. And many more bands and experiences.

MM-What should someone who comes to see you live expect?
A loud journey through smoke and darkness.

MM-Is this the only project for you guys or is anyone currently working on any other projects?Stevie is working on a solo drone album. Rob has a lot technical metal material written. We are of course open to the idea of collaborations as well.

MM-What else do you hope to accomplish in the remainder of 2009?
More touring...We have a week with Bloody Panda in the southeast in late July. And a Northeast tour in September. We also want to finish mixing another recording we did before "Spirited Migration". A vinyl release of "Spirited Migration" hopefully later this year. We're open to whatever comes.


MM-Pick the band from each of the following pairs that you prefer and tell why you picked them.

Sleep or YOB
Both of them are obviously amazing, but we have to go with Yob, because of the creativity behind it. They do a lot with a little and have a very distinct sound.

Electric Wizard or Orange Goblin
Electric Wizard the only band who can make you feel high when you're not. Orange Goblin is badass though too.

Candlemass or Pentagram
Candlemass and Pentagram are tied for sure.

MM-What are some of the best albums that you have heard so far this year?
Kylesa "Static Tensions", Minsk "With Echoes In The Movement of Stone", Isis "Wavering Radiant", Battlefields "Thresholds of Imbalance and "Wolves in the Throne Room "Black Cascade"

MM-Is there anything else that you would like to say?
Thanks for taking interest in our band and music.

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