Interview with Darkest Horizon about their brilliant new album Aenigmata
Congrats for the release of the brilliant new album “Aenigmata”. My very first impression about the new songs was “Wow, Darkest Horizon have reached to their whole new level!” So, I just wanted to say “Congrats!” to you guys first, but I need to calm down from my excitement to sort out this interview with you. Well, my first question to you guys is about Aurelius. He had been doing great jobs as an epic growl singer in your band for a long time and of course he did it in “Aenigmata” as well. Why did he leave the band even right after the great job with you guys?
Jonas: Hello Kumi, first of all thank you very much, we are glad you like „Aenigmata“ that much! Yes, Aurelius did a great job in all our recordings from the first EP „Shattered Skies“ up to our latest record „Aenigmata“. The reason we decided to part ways wasn't personal or because of a lack of talent. After now almost 10 years we came to a point where the personal ways of life drifted apart and Aurelius wasn't able to handle the amount of time we have to put into Darkest Horizon. We all sat down and looked for the best solution and how to handle this situation and in all our opinions it was the best for all of us to make a cut. Playing in a band costs a lot of time and energy and because of his personal way of life Aurelius wasn't heading in the same direction as we anymore. But anyway we wanted to release „Aenigmata“ all together for it is a good way for all of us to close this chapter so to say with a last release. And we are glad that Aurelius and we are still friends and there are no bad feelings between us.
The latest official music video - Cryonics was his final appearance as a member of Darkest Horizon, wan’t it?
Jonas: Actually yes and no. It was his last appearance in a video of ours but on our last show as a support for Wintersun on their „Wintersun by request“ shows in Aschaffenburg Aurelius visited us. And for our last song Ad Astra he joined us on stage all together with our new singer Enis. It was great fun and a very special moment to have the „old“ and the „new“ Darkest Horizon joined together on one stage. By the way Ad Astra was our very first so to call „single“ we ever released. So it was very special in every way and the perfect ending for us playing music together.
Anyway, you already find a new frontman, right? Could you tell us who he is?
Jonas: Yes, of course! Our new frontman is Enis, an old friend of ours. He was singer (and bassist) in several bands before and came around with us as a technician at first and later also as my bass replacement for shows I couldn't join because of illness. So he has been a part of Darkest Horizon for a very long time and now he just switched to the microphone. And to be honest, we couldn't find anyone better than him! Enis is a brilliant singer and fits perfectly to us as well musically as personally. We are very glad he considered joining us and decided to stay.
As you know, I’m a fan of Darkest Horizon from “Scattered Worlds” but this is my first interview with you guys somehow. So, could you tell us about each of the current members?
Jonas: Wow, you are right! We know each other for several years now but never had an interview... that's surprising! About us: We are five guys in Darkest Horizon right now. There is Olli, our lead guitarist, Daniel, our rhythm guitarist, Enis, our new singer, Chris, our keyboarder and main-songwriter, and me, Jonas, the bassist. Furthermore we have two session drummers, Phil and Vince, who support us with their skills and give us the possibility to bring our music to the stages of the world. Olli is a killer lead guitarist! To be honest I don't know many guitarists, especially in our closer area, who can compare to his style of soloing. He is one of the fastest guitarists I personally have ever played with. Daniel is not only the other half of our string rhythm fraction and backing vocalist he is also the organizer for us bunch of chaos. He is an all-round talent and if it wasn't for him we would be drowning in chaos for sure...
Enis is the beast. That's about it. When you listen to him live you will know what I mean. He has the voice of a demon and though he has been in the singer-position for quite a short time now he is already a full member and very important part of us. As a physician he also brings some logic into our chaos. Chris is Darkest Horizon and Darkest Horizon is Chris. He is the mastermind behind all our songs, except for „Elysium“ which has been written by Olli, and the creator of the universe which inhabits our art. He surprises us over and over again with his ideas and musical worlds and me personally I am very proud to make music with him for now over ten years (Chris and me were bands before Darkest Horizon). Jonas, so, me, I am the bassist. What can I tell you about myself? Well, I am the second half of the string rhythm fraction and nowadays backing vocalist too, but I try also to help out wherever I can. If it's promotion or organisation or anything else, I try to do the best I can and hope that it's achieving what the try to achieve. It is weird to describe oneself....
And you signed with a record label or so lately, didn’t you? What is your target with them?
Jonas: Actually this information is wrong we didn't sign with a label. We signed for promotion with Proximity Productions from India but not with a label. With Proximity Productions we are working on becoming more known worldwide especially in Asia. We have been to Sri Lanka two years ago and it was such a great experience that we would love to come back and furthermore go to all other countries in Asia that are willing to see a bunch of German guys growling and sweating on stage.
I’m one of the witnesses of your growing as a band over years. The previous full-length “The Grand Continuum” is a good album and I like it, but as I mentioned above, “Aenigmata” is just exceptional cos every single song has more vivid colors and sharp images than past releases! How did you improve your songwriting skill?
Jonas: Thank you very much! Well we are very glad that you see it this way for we always work on improving ourselves. This includes rehearsals together and practicing by ourselves as well. Furthermore we had a different way to work on this album. „The Grand Continuum“ was our first album and so we had to learn a lot. It is a very different thing if you record a single or an EP or an album. When we recorded „Aenigmata“ we used everything we learned from TGC and focused more on the songs and the details themselves. This makes a big different between the albums and will on any other album coming for one always improves themselves. We never want to rest but to grow and grow with each release and each show.
You dealt with a cosmic huge theme with the previous release “The Grand Continuum”. “Aenigmata” seems more personal and focuses on humanity. Is it a conceptional album? What does Aenigmata mean?
Jonas: Yes, „Aenigmata“ is a conceptional album. The name „Aenigmata“ on one hand describes a collection of riddles and on the other enigmatic paradoxes. The album so to say is a collection of paradoxical questions and riddles from science to mankind and back. This includes e.g. the „Omnipotence Paradox“ and furthermore and gives you, besides the musical part, something to think about in silent moments.
I can’t get enough saying that every single song in “Aenigmata” is fabulous. There are a lot of brilliant guitar melodies in it, for example: “Enigmachina”. Do you start writing songs with guitar parts basically?
Jonas: No, normally Chris writes the songs and we listen to them and then work on our parts more or less separately. Some parts are built up together, others written in long nights at home. In the end we put everything together and work out the details. It is the way we work best for everybody is able to bring in his own style and on the other hand the combination of all parts in the end always gives an impulse for further ideas. This is what makes this music deep and you can get surprised with details again and again.
Could you show us your current favorite gears?
Jonas: Well, we, Olli, Daniel and me, are currently endorsed by Washburn Guitars. So I play the Taurus T24-JH, which is my signature bass, all in white and with our tribal on it. Olli currently plays an Ibanez RGA JBM and a RG Ironlabel LTD RGIX as his favorite besides his gear by Washburn. Daniel not only plays a Washburn PXM20b but is also a huge fan (and endorsed by) ENGL Amps. This combination is brutal as hell... Chris plays a Korg Kronos which is more like a compact orchestra than a keyboard. So far for our nowadays gears but we always adjust to what is needed when the time comes.
I’d love you to tell us track by track interpretation of “Aenigmata”, please?
Track1: Omnipotence Paradox
Jonas: This song questions the existence of an almighty entity or force. The central conundrum is this: “If there is an almighty being, can it create something that exceeds its might? If yes, it could not call itself almighty anymore. If not, how can it be almighty, when there’s something it cannot create?”. The story can be interpreted as higher beings creating man in their image who could one day surpass their creators. It also can be interpreted as mankind creating machines in their image that could one day take control.
Jonas: Enigmachina is a portmanteau word, blending together “Enigma” and “Machina” (latin for machine). Humans and machines are starting to merge into a single being. At what point is a cyborg more machine than man? Is there a point when androids become so advanced, that they can be considered human beings?
Track3: Tempus Inversus
Jonas: This track represents a very abstract thought experiment. It explores the concept of time in a different way. What if time behaves erratically? If time can be controlled in a way that it can be looped, sped up or even run backwards, everything could be real and unreal at the same time. And in the center stands Ouroboros, a mythical snake that is doomed to eat its own tail forever, symbolic for our powerlessness.
Track4: The Lunar Effect
Jonas: The subject of this song is the unexplored phenomenon that the moon can have certain effects on the behavior of people. The track tells the story of a man who is drawn to the moon in a way that he feels the urge to do actions against his will. A form of sun-downing syndrome that slowly drives him insane.
Jonas: Cryonics describes the preservation of life with extreme low temperatures. This song asks the philosophical question of how far people are willing to go for eternal life. It also portrays the scenario of being trapped in a nightmare for centuries while being in cryo-sleep. Will the person that awakes after such a time-span still be the same person from centuries ago?
Jonas: According to Greek mythology, Pandora is the legendary woman who opened a box that contained all evils of humanity. This track deals with the power of curiosity. It tries to capture the vast emotions inside Pandora’s head, when trying to control the urge to see a mysterious new world.
Jonas: The Fated Hours describe the thoughts of a person that goes through a near-death-experience. The
sensation of leaving one’s own body and seeing the scenery from a bird-like perspective, makes him ask the question whether he wants to stay in this world or let these final moments pass.
Track8: The Spectral Hours
Jonas: In this thought experiment everything we know is part of a fabricated world. A perfect illusion to hide reality. Can we be sure that what we feel is real or are we being manipulated? If so, would it matter and would it be worth severing the strings of the manipulator?
Track 9: Catharsis for a Heartbeat
Jonas: This track covers the idea that perception is limited and that true catharsis can only be felt beyond physical senses. Through pain comes relief. The protagonist of this song has lost his sight, his hearing and other physical abilities. However these senses turned out to be mere distractions in his lifelong quest to find inner peace and enlightenment.
By the way, you guys are currently on tour with Wintersun, right? Are you enjoying it?
Jonas: Unfortunately yesterday was our last day on the „Wintersun by request“ shows. Unfortunately because these guys are so unbelievable nice and it was pure fun to share the stage with them. We are very proud they gave us this chance and it worked out to be a great time for them and us as well. If the possibility to join them would come again I think we wouldn't hesitate any second to say yes. It is an unbelievable feeling when a band as Wintersun, who are a very big influence for us, especially for Olli, wants you to join them on tour and then on top you have a great time too. These guys are unbelievable musicians and we learned a lot of them we didn't know or pay attention to before. So yes, we definitely enjoyed it!
Did you get any feedback about “Aenigmata” from members of Wintersun as well?
Jonas: Hmm not that I personally know of... They gave us a feedback on our show and our work but not about the album itself. But to be honest I never asked as well because we most of the time had completely different thematic we had discussions about.
So, you released the great album and are doing the first tour for the album now. What is your next goal?
Jonas: Our next goal is to tour again! We want to tour as much and as far as we can! Especially touring in Asia is a plan we want to realize even if it's pretty difficult for us as a band from Germany. But coming to Japan would be amazing. We also work on new material to introduce our new singer properly, too. Be prepared there is a lot about to come from our side!
“Aenigmata” will be available in Japan too. What do you feel about it?
Jonas: Proud and a little bit excited to be honest. I don't know how known we are in Japan and me personally I unfortunately have never been to Japan, too (you don't have much time for vacation when you do music). So I am very excited to see how the reactions about our album will be and I think we all are very proud to know our album being heard in Japan. That's a very good feeling when you started making music in this band like eight years ago. We are looking forward to see what it coming next!
Thank you so much for your time and effort for this interview.
Jonas: Thank you!
Check all about Darkest Horizon on kumi666com!
Check Aenigmata on Lyrics Library!