Guitarist Daniel Dante – Madness Of the Night
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Tom Hack for setting up the interview.
Thanks to Massacre Records for providing the promo pics.
Madness Of the Night is a Swedish goth/dark wave duo that released their debut album THE ASGARDA in November 2013. Since the duo have a bit of an unusual background I thought it would be nice to learn a bit more about them and their music. I hooked up with Daniel Dante former members of the Swedish gothmetal act Soulgrinder, and here is what he had to say.
Let’s start with some background info about the band. When was Madness of the Night formed?
Madness of the Night was formed in the winter 2010/11. I made some songs and wanted Abir to try out one of them, “Theater of Life” and we got very good response after we published it over the net. We did not go under the name Madness of the Night in that time, the name came up after some month, beginning of 2011.
You and vocalist Blackshadow hooked up on internet and I read that you two shared a lot of interests. When did you find out that she could sing?
I knew that before I meet her in real life, she send over a demo she made in Lebanon when we spoke over the net. She is a woman with a passion for singing and she has sang all her life.
You been a part of the Swedish goth metal act Soulgrinder before but Blackshadow has been a part of any bands prior to Madness of the Night?
Abir came to Sweden in the year of 2000 and under that time I still worked with Soulgrinder. Me and Niclas made a recording and Abir made some singing too, but this songs have still not been published. In the year of 2001 me and Abir had another project together under the name Erotic Chant. It was like a tryout and that project was more based on electronic darkwave, gothic industry ect. We made a DIY record “Between Pleasure And Pain”, published over the page mp3.com and we had some good response.
She is from Lebanon and you are from Sweden. How long did it take before you two met up IRL? And where? Did you go to Lebanon or did she come to Sweden?
We became friends over internet for about one year, we had the same interests so we build different online projects. We had a gothic community named Gothland where we made reviews, interviews etc with band all over the world. However, my first visit to Lebanon was my summer vacation 1999. We became hooked to each other so we became married 6 month later and she moved to Sweden later next summer of 2000.
How come you kept Madness of the Night a duo and not a band with a full line-up?
I had a very long time break in writing music. We got kids and that took a lot of our time, still do. However, Abir were on a vacation to Lebanon with the kids over Christmas time, so I decided to buy my own presents and I did, I updated my studio and started to try out and made some music. It took me nearly a year before I felt confidence in the new equipments. In that time we never expected to start this as a band, we did it more for ourselves. After we made Theater of Life I understood that we got something very good here and something that can contribute to the Gothic Rock audience. We got very good response and we made more songs and everything have escalated from that. For the answer on your question, it is simply that we started Madness of the Night more as a project, but we thinking of to find a lineup and hopefully be able to make some concerts in the future.
Where does the band name come from and does it have any special meaning to you two?
We normally work and feels more creativity in the night time. This is something that always have been true for me, and Abir’s creativity comes often in the night too. I am a night person who doesn’t sleep so much.
What did Blackshadow think of Sweden when she came over here the first time?
That was the summer of 2000, it was one of the worse summer in my memory. It rained every single day and she was nearly going to return home. The countries are very different too. In Sweden we are used to this structure in the society, in Lebanon there is more anarchy and you rely on contacts and the social structure.
You two are married today and have kids. Are there any difficulties with having a band together with someone you love and are with 24/7?
It is not a big problem for us. Actually I have a work so we are not together 24/7, and many times we work separate from each others. The composing is often a process where I work alone and Abir know also how to record etc so she do much of her work alone too. The writing process and for her to try out melodies often needs full concentration.
Is Madness of the Night a band or a project?
I am not sure where the difference of a band or a project goes. However, it is hard for us to play live right now when we still only are two members.
Was it given from the start that you were going to play this kind of music?
Yeah, I think so. We are both very deep rooted in Gothic Rock and Darkwave. Myself, I got a passion of heavy guitars so we became a heavier version of traditional Gothic Rock. Abir also listen much to Neofolk and traditional Arabic music.
Have you done any live shows so far?
No, not for Madness of the Night.
Debut album THE ASGARDA
How long did it take to write and record the album? And what are the lyrics about?
The full process took about three years, and then I am not counting the first year when I was trying things out myself. From the recording of the first song, The Asgarda til the release of our record it took about three years. The lyrics is all written by Abir Blackshadow and it is her personal experience and thoughts about the society and life. The lyrics is important for her so I gave her hundred procent freedom to write what she wanted. Much of the lyrics are structures in the society and against racism etc.
Were there many songs that didn’t made it on to the final edition of the album?
I have not counted, but there is a bunch of songs that never reached The Asgarda. Many of them I have saved for future inspiration, maybe we will use parts of them or rebuild them etc. For example the main ref for Voices Of The People is taken form an idea I got for 20 years ago but never finished in that time. There are a lot of half done stuff and some songs we made but not feeling 100 percent for. We are perfectionists, we wanted to make a good record and not put any fill out songs to make the CD longer. However, The Asgarda reached 49 minutes and that is OK I think.
What did the fans think of the teasers you put out on the internet?
Massacre Records putted the song Oppression as an album teaser over youtube. And there is another album teaser where you can listen to parts the song from the record, before you buy it. We have published Oppression before, but another versions and many fans like that song. What we heard until now is only good things about this album version.
Is it you that writes all of the music? What are you inspired by?
I write all the music and Abir do the lyrics and melodies for her singing. My inspiration comes from what I have listen to in the past as well as what is coming to me in my creativity moments. Many times I try to find something simple to work out from. It can be different, sometimes a guitar melody or something from piano. Sometimes the bas or a drumbeat. I want to feel something special with what I do, not just a song. Sometimes I get this feeling from beginning or it comes after a while under the process of the writing.
According to the bio are you a multi-instrumentalist, which is your main instrument?
The instruments I normally plays is piano, guitar and bas. I use to say that I am not a super hero on any specific instrument, I do a bit of everything. However, I started to play piano as a child and went five years in private lessons. The rest I have worked out in my own way, started to play bas in a band when I was 13 and later guitar when I was 15. My brother introduced me to work with midi in the beginning of the 90’s and thereafter we started Soulgrinder. I think it is fun and interesting to try out instruments. I used to borrow the drums from the drummer in the band when he went out from a smoke when I played in a band. Last summer I started to try out violin, it hanged there on my parents wall. It must been horrible for them to listen to me in the beginning. I have always been interested in to write music.
Where does the title THE ASGARDA come from?
That was Abir’s idea and it comes from a female movement in Ukraine that have built up a camp inside the forest where females are invited to train martial arts and self protection. She loved that idea and wanted to become a female warrior, she use the pencil as the sword to fight the patriarchy system in our society inside her lyrics. Words can become stronger than weapons.
Are you happy with the cover art-work? Do you think it reflects the intention of the album well?
We think Jan Yrlund have made a great work with the cover for our album. It is not a traditional gothic rock cover but in the same time I think it can tell something about the substance in this record. Our aim was not only to target the people who listen to Gothic Rock or Darkwave. From start we felt that we got audience from people who listen to other kind of music and we got a receipt on that. We got many great reviews for our album, also from the metal scene. However, our music is for everyone and we do not want to limit ourselves to only target the gothic scene. Thats one of the reasons why we picked Massacre Records.
There are a few remixes of the songs on the album, why did you feature remix versions of songs that already are on the disc?
Oppression (remixed) is the only version of Oppression on Asgarda. We were first thinking of to put the original mix in the end of the album because we knew that many of our fans like that track. However, when Andy Horn took over and remixed all the album we decided to remover the original version and we putted a new song, Jephanie instead.
You don’t only use the English language on the album but also a few other languages. How come you wanted to go bilingual?
Abir is from Lebanon and she wanted to make a gothic rock song in Arabic and that became Theater of Life (Mesraheyat-alhayat). We have never heard any other bands doing this so we wanted to do something different. And Stand Up she took inspiration from Majida Al-Roumi, a classical Arabic singer who inspired Abir a lot. The song “Jävla Zigenare”, this is Swedish translated to “Fucking Gypsies”. The title is controversial, however it is a song that defends the Romani people by highlighting how many people speaks about them in the Swedish society and else where.
How should the listener interpret the song “We Are Gothrockers And We Don’t Care”? Like a tribute?
This song is against bulling or mocking people who wants to be different. Many goths out there feel this and there are even people who got killed because of they want to dress and look different. This is a song that tells that you should be proud of who you are and stand for it. Abir got the name Blackshadow from what people called her on the street of Beirut. She really had a hard time to dress how she wanted. However, even in Sweden people react how she is dress up sometimes. Myself is not so much into this, I usual wear black clothes ect, but not into makeup and stuff like this. The most important for me is the music.
You shot a video to two of the songs, could you tell us which songs and what the videos are about?
We actually made three videos, two of the songs are on our record. We made “Theater of Life” and “She is the Demon”. Yes, I think we will make more videos but right now I am working on to re edit this videos and put the music from the album because the versions on the videos out there are from my own earlier mixes and not from The Asgarda. I want to re-cut them because that will be more interesting, make them a bit different from the other versions and change the mixes, especially Theater of Life. We have made this videos by DIY (do it yourself). However, I am working as a photographer and worked for television so I got some experience an have made videos before for other bands too. And we made them with a very tiny budget. Both of them we went out early in the summer morning before sunrise to places where we shoot. She is the Demon, Abir got some kind of script in her head when we made it. We went to an old church ruin with some props and the story is based on a woman that revenge on her husband.
She is a Demon video:
How would you like to describe what kind of music Madness of the Night plays? To which fanbase ought the album appeal?
Our music is based on traditional Gothic Rock from the 80’s – 90’s with a more metal sound. We also find inspiration from punk, neo-folk etc, music we like and listen to.
You got some great reviews regarding the album how does that feel and do you care about what critics have to say about your work?
Yes we got many great reviews for The Asgarda. Then there are some critical, some of them says we made a record that released 20 years too late. Those things doesn’t matter so much because we want to be old school with a traditional sound. The audience who listen to Gothic Rock still spinning their records from the 80’s like the rockabilly fans still listen to Elvis Presley and that is the thing. The music we make is timeless in a way and my dream would be to see our younger generation spinning our songs when we are old. However, we do not want to be like a copycat of something that is already done. I think we made a good record and I feel very proud of it.
Was it hard to land a record deal and were there many labels that were interested in signing the band?
We made a self release EP with three songs 2012 and we sent it to some labels and magazines. We did not send it to so many labels, we had some other labels who were interested to sign us.
How come you inked a deal with Massacre Records? Are you happy with the work the label have put into the band and the album so far?
Yes we are happy with their work. They have a huge experience in the metal scene. Our record can be found all over the world, in most of the bigger record shops or if not it can be ordered easy by asking. It can be found in all bigger digital stores over the web as well. Massacre Records have really helped us to reach out and they also doing a great work to promote our music.
For how many albums are you signed for at MR?
We got a new signed agreement and that means that we will see what happens with this record. I guess it depend on sales etc.
Studio, production and mixing
Where was the album recorded and who produced it?
Everything were recorded in our own studio.
Andy Horn is responsible for the mixing and mastering, were any of you two also part of that process?
Andy was only going to do the mastering from the beginning. However, he wanted to correct some part in my mixes and later on he wanted to make a full remix of all album except the last track, the “chamber mix” of “We Are The Gothrockers And We Don’t Care”. We had a good communication under this process. The most of the work went very smoothly and I think Andy really understand our music and what we wanted. Of course there were some moments where we talked over smaller details and changes.
Did you play all of the instruments on your own or did you hire studio musicians?
Yes, I played all the instruments and made all the programmings.
Past present and future
Why doesn’t the band have a proper website?
We still working on it. However we thinking of the purpose of the webpage itself. We see the webpage as the spider in the web who lead you to other places were you can find more information about us. Until now we mainly have used other social media to reach out like blogs, facebook ect.
There are really hard to find any info about you and the band online, why so mysterious?
We are not so mysterious as you might felt. However, Abir got a past in Lebanon who still stalking her and we got some threats because of our music. Some of her lyrics is also controversial for where she comes from.
Are you active on facebook and twitter or any of the other social forums?
Yes, we are on both facebook and twitter. We also got a blog where we update reviews, interviews and other news. You can also find us over VK, Youtube ect. You find the most of the links from our webpage www.madnessofthenight.com.
Are there any interest shown for the band in Asia or America?
We have seen interest from many parts of the world. Today you can reach out in a different way in the same time you can monitor and see what happens in another way. We feel we got very much support in Russia and Europe, but also USA, South America, Middle East.
Are there any plans on heading out on tour this summer now that the album is released?
We are not sure, but that would be nice. However, we need a lineup and practice too before this can be real.
Do you have any single shows booked so far?
We got some requests and opportunities to play live but we have to put this on hold.
In a live situation are you going to feature session musicians on stage?
We got an offer from someone who are in kind of same situation as us. That we could make a tour together and support each others. I think that could be a great idea, but this is still only on idea stadium.
Are there any ideas on when the next album can be out in stores and are you working on any new material at the moment?
We have already made some new material and I got some great songs that Abir have not sang on yet. We working for a new album, when it will come is too early to tell. But as we said, we are perfectionist so we will not rush for another record. We want to make something that at least got the same standard as The Asgarda but in the same time not do the same record once again.
What are the plans for Madness of the Night in 2014?
We will work hard for our next record. Maybe find out a way to play live.
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy THE ASGARDA?
The best reason I guess concern for all great bands out there. If you like the music, buy it because then you support the band. This is also a future investment for musicians to be able to make more music.
Finally do you have any words of wisdom to share with the fans and readers?
I think you manage a great work with your research and questions here. If I should say something with wisdom, well be yourself and be proud of who you are, wherever you come from or your background. Long live Goth Rock!
That was all for me. Thanks for taking the time to make this interview I wish you and Blackshadow all the best in the future.
Thank you for a great research and good questions.
Greetings //Daniel Dante – Madness of the Night
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