Metal-Roos: Hello Guys, thanks for accepting our invitation for this talk. First off, as we are in the final days in 2018, how would you describe 2018 for you?
Jonas: Hello, thank you for having this talk! 2018 was a very interesting year, for in the beginning of this year we didn’t have a clue what was going to happen. We started off with an unreleased album and no concrete further plans (though we were working on the next steps all the time), and ended up with a new singer, a worldwide-released album and on tour with Wintersun, and even on a festival in Bucharest! This was absolutely unexpected but we are more than glad that this year turned out to be that crazy.
M-R: You are still enjoying your album’s success gains! You had different shows in Europe, especially Metal Gates Festival in Romania. How was your experience? And did you get in direct contact with the other bands?
J: Yes, we are definitely still enjoying that we receive positive feedback for Aenigmata from all around the world! We absolutely astonished, to be honest! Romania was a freakin’ cool show.
In fact, we love playing in Eastern Europe, for we never had any bad experience over there. For us it was the very first time travelling to Romania, so we didn’t expect anything but to see a new country and meet new people. Finally, it was one of the most fun shows in the last year and the after-show party was even better… Unfortunately, we didn’t get in direct contact with the other bands, as much as we would have liked to (except for Machiavellian God with which we had a great party afterwards) – but this is a matter of time. We arrived very late due to the travel schedule, and then we almost directly prepared for the show so there was not enough time to speak to everyone we would have liked to speak to. It is never the last chance to meet new people, so we just await the next shows, and there will be new bands to get known to (which is by the way one of the best things about playing in a band!).
M-R: A few days ago, you announced Darkest Horizon’s new vocalist. Can you tell us more about Enis Lorenz?
J: Yes, of course! As you said, Enis is our new singer now, but before that he used to be our guitar and bass tech. He is a very good friend of ours for a very long time now. He also played bass on a few shows when I was ill. So, he wasn’t new to the Darkest Horizon family; we knew him, his voice and his way of working. This made our choice pretty simple when we were looking for a new singer and we are very glad he decided to join us bunch of morons! (laughs)
M-R: I want to move to your latest album Aenigmata! Tell us more about the process of writing it.
J: The process of writing it itself lies in the past, and I am honest, it is really the past! We recorded Aenigmata in 2016, I think, but released it now due to unforeseen circumstances. Our first album, The Grand Continuum, was the first step. We learned how to record a full-length album, how to prepare the songs, how to prepare ourselves for the studio and how mix it. Afterwards we had to release it. So, the first album was about a lot of learning, improving, trying, failing and learning again. On Aenigmata, we knew a lot more from the first recordings and we focused more on what new parts we could create. So, for example, the orchestral parts are new on Aenigmata, and we dared to use them because we wanted to improve ourselves once more (as we do now and will always do). You can say we learned how to walk with The Grand Continuum and with Aenigmata we made our first jump.
M-R: You shared the stage with the great icons, Wintersun. How could you describe this experience?
J: To be honest there is only one word to describe it: Amazing! Not only are Wintersun amazingly talented musicians, they are also unbelievably friendly guys! When we joined the tour, only Olli knew Wintersun in person but we got to know them very soon. After a few days, it was more like old friends having a great time in different cities than just a support for another band. Not to mention that we learned a lot from them! To see them perform and how they prepare gave us a lot of hints for our own way to work and new ideas for songs, arrangements and so on. It was the perfect mixture of fun and professionality, and that made it a simply great time. If you ever have the chance to watch these guys perform, do it!
M-R: Besides your performance in Metal Gates Festival and your shows with Wintersun, you won the opening slot of RockFels!!! Actually, the lineup was more than impressive. There was Accept, Amorphis, Iced Earth, Orphaned Land, Lacuna Coil and more! How did you prepare yourselves for this? You may feel excited, but you did you also feel some worry and concern? How was the atmosphere backstage?
J: I wasn’t on RockFels because I was ill, but the guys told me that it was a very relaxed festival atmosphere, all in all…. but not for Enis! It was the very first time for him to join us as a singer and we practised a lot with him and then pushed him onto the stage. Show no mercy! But in the end it turned out to be a hell of a show! About the excitement, normally we are not that excited. Most of us are focused, concentrated, even ruminant before a show, but not excited. This is not because we are “too cool to be excited”, but because we rehearse very focused and work a lot on every detail we need. So, it is more about being focused than about being nervous.
M-R: I want to go deeper into your music and characters, I mean, the moment you decided to form a band. What is the combination you want to introduce? Is there a certain theme or style you stick to in your shows or while composing your music?
J: Actually, no. We don’t have a main theme or a straight line that we walk along. Of course, there are things that you will never miss e.g. the epic keyboards, the shredding guitars and guttural vocals. We try to improve everything and always tell a new story. The main goal we want to achieve, as well as live onstage and on a record, is to create a world or a theme that makes you dream, makes you think and awakens your desire. For this reason, we never had like a well-defined style that we force ourselves to stay in, but try everything that could fit for a special part, or lyrics, or whatever. But if it doesn’t fit, we kick it out and that’s about it. Never stay where you are, always improve and always tell something new. Nobody wants to hear the same story over and over again.
M-R: What are your main influences and your role models?
J: Oh, that’s a very difficult question, as the main ingredient for our sound and style is diversity. Each of us has different influences and role models and we combine all these influences to one mixture, which we call Darkest Horizon. As an example, you may find influences on our past and upcoming releases from Wintersun, Amon Amarth, Rammstein to Hollywood Soundtracks to Anaal Nathrakh and classical music. Sounds silly? It is, definitely! This is why we don’t have one special influence or one special role model: We don’t want to copy, we want to mix our six personalities (with their very own role models and influences) to one final outcome. That’s about it, as simple as it sounds.
M-R: Which bands are you in contact with?
J: That depends. Normally with those we join the stage with in this one year or those we meet on festivals. And further on, for example, Wintersun, with who we keep a very close connection. Also, a lot of regional bands we played shows with, and who we meet on regional concerts from our hometown. So, it is very difficult to say in the end!
M-R: As 2018 is closing, what are your plans for 2019?
J: Conquering the world! *laughs* No, we want to play way more shows. We want to push Aenigmata further, and we are going to record some new stuff. We have a new singer. Our last album took four years to be released, so we are more than looking forward to enter the studio again. A lot of trial and error awaits us!
We also would like to play some shows overseas, especially Asia, and across Europe and Russia. If there are more concerts on further continents about to come, we would love to go there too, of course! Simply playing as many shows as we can.
So in the end, you can say we don’t have a clue what is about to happen, but we hope it is going to be good, and anyway we are looking forward to it…. especially to see our fans in the audience again, having a great time with each and everyone and playing shows we will talk about in the next forty years.
Interview Date: 2018-12-14
Interviewer: Rana Atef