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Interview with Jesse Haff (Daylight Dies)

Interview with Jesse Haff (Daylight Dies)
BANDS : Daylight Dies

Metalfan: Daylight Dies was given birth in North Carolina, not exactly the usual spot to expect a band like yours to emerge. Tell me, how is it down there?
Daylight Dies:
You’re right, it’s an unusual place for a band such as ours to reside. I think many people from the local scene don’t quite understand what the hell we’re doing, but thankfully our focus is not local. There are quite a number of metal bands from Raleigh, most known are probably Corrosion of Conformity and Confessor. There are a lot of small local bands, but none too interesting besides a doom metal band called Soulpreacher whose debut album is being recorded now.

Metalfan: As Daylight Dies is almost unknown to the Romanian metal fans, I have to ask you to make a short biographical briefing of your band’s history.
Daylight Dies:
Barre Gambling (guitars) and I (Jesse Haff, drums) have been jamming together since around the age of 15. In 1996 we decided to start a band which focused exclusively on melancholic emotional expression, which gave birth to Daylight Dies. Due to geographical constraints, we weren’t actually actively writing music until late 1999 and early 2000. In 2000 Guthrie Iddings joined on vocals and our demo CD was picked up and released by Tribunal Records. Shortly afterwards, Egan O’Rourke joined on bass and then we released our debut album. “No Reply” on Relapse Records in 2002. With “No Reply” we toured Europe with Katatonia and the United States and Canada with Lacuna Coil. Guthrie left after the tour and was replaced by our current vocalist, Nathan Ellis. Charley Shackelford also joined on rhythm guitar. This past March we released our second album, “Dismantling Devotion” on Candlelight Records.

Metalfan: In 2002 you released the first Daylight Dies album, “No Reply”. How did the public receive this album? What is your actual considerations regarding your debut?
Daylight Dies:
The album was well received and we gained a lot of dedicated fans because of it. Of course there was somewhat of a “surprise” reaction in the scene due to sounding how we do and where we’re located. Most people thought we were a European band judging from the music.

We’re happy with the material on the debut, we worked hard on it. Unfortunately, it suffers from poor production. We made the mistake of trying to mix the entire album ourselves – after having recorded it by ourselves as well. If you spend months recording an album, you loose all perspective and your ability to mix properly degrades. So the songs don’t really come across with the full modern production they deserve. We regret that aspect, but stand by the material.

Metalfan: I know it was a change of line-up in your band before you released the new album. Could you tell me what happened?
Daylight Dies:
Our previous vocalist Guthrie Iddings decided to leave during the touring for “No Reply” and attend school in California. We knew he would eventually leave, but not so suddenly. The European/U.S. tours began serious momentum for us and unfortunately it all came to a stand-still as we had to begin searching for his replacement. Thankfully we found that in Nathan, whom we all think really elevates the vocals to a new level. Charley Shackelford had been our live session guitarist for over a year and proved to be someone who put forth 100% in a live environment, so we asked him to join as well.



Metalfan: I have to congratulate you for your last opus, “Dismantling Devotion”. It really was a big pleasant surprise to me, one of the best musical efforts in its genre of 2006 until now. Are you also satisfied with the final result?
Daylight Dies:
Thank you. Yes, we’re all extremely satisfied with the result. Ironically, the problems we faced after “No Reply” – such as Guthrie leaving and a label switch which literally took over a year – these problems gave us time to refine ourselves. We spent from late 2003 until the summer of 2005 working on this material and probably threw away an albums worth of ideas to arrive at the end result. Also, we obviously wanted to avoid the mixing mistake we made previously – so we hired Jens Bogren (Fascination Street Studios, Sweden) to mix the album for us. We spoke to him quite a bit prior to the mix and he knew exactly what we were going for. He did a fantastic job and the production really brings all the songs to life.

Metalfan: And now, as we enter album dimension let's explore the universe of Dismantling Devotion. Could you give me a few details about the album in terms of concept, themes and lyrics?
Daylight Dies:
There wasn’t an intention to have a concept when we began writing the material. Over time a common theme began to emerge. This theme really began to mesh the music and lyrics together. This theme was the disintegration of relationships. The decay of close bonds we hold with special individuals in our lives. You can apply this to intimate relationships, such as your partner—or non-intimate, such as friends and family. When a bond or relationship ends, there is almost always a dramatic emotional aftermath. The subject is unique in the aspect that it’s universal to all people, yet intensely private.

Metalfan: As the title suggest, the dissolution of relationships is the main theme, the nucleus of your musical universe included on this CD. Are we talking only about the relations between humans, or it applies also to – let’s say -  the relation between a person and his religion?
Daylight Dies:
I certainly like to allow the listener to leave everything up to their own interpretation. So if someone perceives it that way, great. But we specifically had those special people in our lives when writing this.



Metalfan: Both the aggressive and the mellow part of your music have a strong melancholic touch. Are you all so attracted by this emotional side of music?
Daylight Dies:
Music is an incredible vehicle for the cleansing of emotions. Everyone has troubling times in their lives and deals with it differently. Some play sports and some talk with friends—we write songs. Writing these songs can be a healthy process to channel the entire spectrum of negative thoughts out of our selves and into the ether. On top of all this we all have obviously loved dark music. For whatever reason, it is more inspiring and has a level of importance that happier music seems void of. The music which we strive to create-- and we also love-- is not just “entertainment”, it’s an important artistic and personal expression. The ability to relate and connect to music is key.

Metalfan: I noticed you are often compared with Scandinavian bands like Opeth or Katatonia. Do you agree with these comparisons or do you consider that you managed to create an original sound, your own style?
Daylight Dies:
Barre and I grew up in the early 90s listening to the entire European metal scene. We were listening to bands like Katatonia, Opeth, Paradise Lost, Sentenced, Anathema, In Flames, Amorphis, and many more when they were first emerging. We were lucky enough to be exposed to this whole scene prior to most in the U.S. metal scene knowing it even existed. We still enjoy many of these bands to this day. So it makes sense people would make those comparisons, as we grew up with that music and they served as an early influence. But our influences also widened many years ago to include much outside the metal genre. That differs for each of us, but we’re often listening to the cure, Fields of Nephilim, Depeche Mode, Dredg, Jose Gonzalez, Tenhi, and so on. We’ve tried to incorporate a lot of non-metal influences as well, and I think that’s pretty evident on Dismantling Devotion and will continue to be in future releases.

Metalfan: It’s quite modern to use synths and female voices today. Do you think that we could expect something like this on your future albums?
Daylight Dies:
Dismantling Devotion actually has keys on every song, but we chose to keep them very subtle and in the background. We only wanted them to add an almost invisible atmosphere. I don’t see us ever having synth or keys playing a larger role, such as playing a melody. We want to stay a strongly guitar based band and in my opinion, a melody sounds better 99% of the time on a guitar than a synth. I also don’t see a need for female vocals in our music. It doesn’t fit in with what we’re trying to do with Daylight Dies.



Metalfan: What do you mostly want to achieve with Daylight Dies? Do you think it is appropriate to make compromises in order to win more money or to become “rock stars”?
Daylight Dies:
Writing and playing this music allows us to rid these dark thoughts and feelings. It’s therapeutic in a way. So we already achieve part of our goal before the first comment from anyone else is uttered. But it’s extremely rewarding when we hear of others who not only enjoy the music, but identify with it in a way that it becomes important to them. That’s really special for all of us.

Anyone who is under the impression there is money to be made in the kind of music we’re making – or in underground metal in general – is living in a fantasy world. Not only do we not earn money, this band actually costs us money. We had to pay money out of our pocket to supplement the recording costs for Dismantling Devotion. When we go on tour, we’re all losing a tremendous amount of money. We continue with Daylight Dies exclusively for our passion of the music and what we’re doing. If our goal was ever monetary in nature, we would be doing something else entirely.

Metalfan: Where does Daylight Dies get its inspiration? Do you consider nature an important element for the creative process? What about religion?  Are you a religious person? What are your beliefs?
Daylight Dies:
None of us are religious, so that plays a zero role in our lives or music. Nature can be somewhat of an influence – the autumn and winter seasons as well as the middle of the night when insomnia sets in – this can be inspiring. Mainly we draw influences from a much bigger perspective. For example, day to day experiences and thoughts which accumulate over time. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that a normal life brings a tremendous amount of melancholy and drama. All these events – big and small – they build over time and they are released as a song. That’s inspiration.

Metalfan: You moved from Relapse Records to Candlelight Records. Why did you choose this record company?
Daylight Dies:
After we left Relapse, we were contacted by a number of labels and immediately began serious talks with a couple. We even negotiated with a couple for several months. With one label in particular, we were days away from signing when we heard they had dangerous financial trouble. Thankfully we avoided that, or that could have killed the band. Candlelight contacted us towards the end of that and immediately it was like a breath of fresh air. Everyone at the label was passionate about our music and believed in our future. That was the most important thing for us.



Metalfan: Could you describe in a few words the band members?  What kind of persons are they? Do you all have jobs in other domains of activity than music?
Daylight Dies:
I can honestly say everyone is a nice and have very “down-to-earth” personalities. Barre works at a music store and gives guitar lessons. Egan runs sound for various concerts and plays that come to the area. Nathan works at an online advertising company. I’m not sure what Charley does lately. I work as a web producer for a film company called Brave New Films.

Metalfan: How did you get selected to open for Emperor in July? What are your expectations regarding this show?
Daylight Dies:
First off, we’re on the same label as Emperor, so that didn’t hurt. Secondly, I think those at the label felt that they wanted it to be a dynamic night musically, and our music is very different from Emperor’s. Although it’s different, we both play different breeds of dark music, so hopefully it’ll fit together just fine. We don’t really have any expectations. While we’re glad to share a stage with them, we just see it as two nice gigs on the horizon, that’s it.

Metalfan: Is there a metal scene in North Carolina? What do you think about the American metal scene, compared to the European one?
Daylight Dies:
Yeah there is – I sort of answered that in the beginning. My opinion about the overall American metal scene is that it’s not something I’m really into besides a couple great bands. On one hand, metal is more popular than it’s been in decades here. You have a lot of these “metalcore” bands that are even breaking into the Billboard top 10 now. I wouldn’t have believed that 5 years ago. But none of us are really into that style. We’re still much more into the European scene.

Metalfan: That would be all for now. I hope we’ll get the chance to see you live, why not, maybe in Romania... I wish you good luck with the band and I let you have the final words for our readers.
Daylight Dies:
Thanks for the support and I hope anyone who has read this far gives some serious thought to our music and perhaps buys an album. I’ll leave the last words to Nietzsche:

Life consists of rare, isolated moments of the greatest significance, and of innumerably many intervals, during which at best the silhouettes of these moments hover about us. Love, springtime, every beautiful melody, mountains, the moon, the sea—all these speak completely to the heart but once, if in face they ever do get a chance to speak completely. For many men do not have those moments at all, and are themselves intervals and intermissions in the symphony of real life.


Autor: Dragos P.
Vezi galeriile trupelor: Daylight Dies

   May 23, 2006  | 0 Comments  | 8572 Views « BACK

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