Chuck Schuldiner Project

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Interview with the singer of Dragged Into Sunlight

So I recently had the chance to sit down and chat with the singer of Dragged Into Sunlight. He chose to remain anonymous. Suffice to say, it was really interesting to find out a little bit about Dragged Into Sunlight as well as their singers relationship to metal. This was definitely one of the more engaging interviews I've done.

If you don't already know about the all powerful magic of Dragged Into Sunlight check them out on Facebook:

So how has the tour been going so far?
It's been going great, lots of long drives, lots of big shows, lots of good bands. We played with a lot of good bands last night for example. We played in Italy, Germany, obviously France tonight. We did some great festivals in the UK, we headlined Desertfest. It feels good to be on the road, 24/7 chaos.

Any special tour moments?
There's a lot! Every day. We don't tour that often so when we do tour it's complete chaos all the time. We haven't had any gear failures or breakdowns or anything like that. It's all about being together and having a great time. Remember, with Dragged Into Sunlight there's upwards of fifteen people involved at any one time. This is just one line up that we are touring with. We're all best friends though. It's just about fun, having as much fun as possible every single night.

So what is it like having all of these people involved in your music?
Difficult. But it's not as restricted. We've all been in other bands where it's like "I've got a guitar riff to show you" and the other guys are like "I'm not feeling it". With Dragged Into Sunlight it's never a clash, it all beautifully gels. The inspiration that we all take from a lot of different sources is similar. I was speaking to one of the guys before, he recommended Early Graves, who I had never listened to before and it was great! I'll do the same to him, I'll send out new black metal records, I've sent him a lot of stuff recently and been like "Man you got to check this out". We're always comparing notes and comparing music. We're at an age now where we do music because we love it. We have nothing to gain from money. We all have jobs where money doesn't matter, it's just a material thing. We like breaking even on shows and making sure we don't cost ourselves an arm and a leg. No one's retiring off this, there's no point. It's a large group of friends and its difficult just with so many people all over the UK, Birmingham, London, Liverpool, Wales...

We can have two practices going on at the same time. Some people might be writing stuff with one drummer in Birmingham and then others might be jamming with a drummer in Liverpool with different guitarists and vocalists. It's a collective approach to everything, nothings individual there's no one person taking credit. Everyone get's their own sort of influence into the music. That's why it is such a diverse sound. It's not just a band. It's a case of stuff coming naturally. 

It's a matter of knowing the genre. In Brussels last night I was talking to a bunch of black metal kids and then this one guy came up and talked to me about the hardcore scene in Belgium with bands like Archangel, Reprisal, Congress, I hadn't talked about them in so long I was so excited because you get scenes where people are overwhelmed with doom or black metal, no one had talked to me about hardcore in so long I got into a really deep conversation. Some of the styles and ideas I use in Dragged Into Sunlight come from hardcore, little tricks that hardcore vocalists would use. You can't replicate that. You just inherently know what to do, it comes very naturally. We don't just shove music together, it's very well molded, that comes from having a diverse background. That's the difficult part about being in a band with so many people, everyone has something to say, all the time.

It's been basically two years since Widowmaker came out, can we expect a sequel soon?
Yes. We've written the sequel. We actually finished writing Widowmaker four years ago. So we've been working on so much new stuff. We have at least six tracks of the new record done which we're going to announce the title of soon. We've got a split with Gnaw Their Tongues which is about two thirds of the way there. We have a sequel to a tape release, Terminal Aggressor II which we did in 2008 which we did with Nate Hall who works with Neurot records. So much new stuff. Time is not on our side though, there's twenty four hours in every day and we all have demanding jobs. We own a studio together but the amount of time that we spend in their is minimal. Our practices are sometimes at two in the morning to six in the morning because that's the only time available outside of life responsibilities. Then it's a nightmare because that's our down time and everyone wants to get wasted and hang out with friends who they haven't seen in maybe six months.

You've mentioned your jobs a couple times now, what do you do?
I'm a lawyer. The others all have very serious jobs. It's a case of schedules. My days are twelve hours minimum. I'll phone the others at eleven at night and be like "I just got out of work, are you guys practicing" and they'll be like "Yeah, we started an hour ago". By the time everyone leaves their respective positions in the UK to come to one central hub to set up and practice, it can be nocturnal, then with cables being faulty, amps blowing up, and pedals breaking sometimes we don't get a practice for four weeks just because of technical difficulties, geographical difficulties. It makes it really difficult to practice if you're not all located in the same city. When it started, we knew this is what we'd be up against, but it needed to be done, we'd all been in bands for ten years and all toured the world. We'd all had labels and releases behind us but it was never what we wanted to do. 

I remember having discussions early on in other bands and saying things like maybe we should have this riff or moment worked in and being told "Oh, you're not a guitarist, you don't know how it should sound". In Dragged Into Sunlight creativity is sort of endless we just keep on putting in influences and things. It reflects well on the music that we create.

Finish this sentence for me "I've never told this story before and probably shouldn't but..."
I ended up moving to a really remote location near a recently closed mental hospital when I was younger. That influenced me even more. When I used to walk home in the evening there was no light and I was in a massive forest. I used to practice screaming to myself. That's how I learned to harness my vocals and I just realized I could do it, and now do it repetitively without hurting my voice. That's how 11 shows in my voice is still absolutely fine. I must have practiced every day for five years walking home on my own. I think that is probably how I developed my vocal approach. It's a pretty unique approach, not something I regularly talk about or anything. 

People say how do you come up with the topics for your lyrics, and it comes very naturally. It comes from life experience. It's like my vocal style, it comes from a guy who learned to scream in the woods. It's how I learnt and the topics came from influences of other musicians, artists and theorists. Another insight that I have that pretty much no on else has is that in 2006 I worked on death row for a year. Being there around those people and seeing people through the five millimeter glass and talking to people on the other side of that glass and developing relationships with them. You know, that's the sort of thing that I can describe to you and tell you what its like, but I can't ever put you in that chair and say "You see that guy? He killed five people". You introduce yourself, and you get along with them, like we're getting along right now and I get along with him perfectly. It gives you a very different view on things. That's something that's unique to me, like the experience of walking through the woods for five years. The words come naturally and that's a big part of Dragged Into Sunlight, that's something not a lot of people know. 

Is that getting at what you love so much about music?
Yes. I love being able to apply my life experience. It just so happens it coincides with theh world of metal. When I was screaming to myself in the woods I knew I liked heavy music but I didn't ever envision myself being in a band or touring the states or anything like that. I enjoy being able to apply myself to music and it goes back to that analytical side of things and practicing until it's completely smooth. If there's a bit of a jagged guitar part I like to make sure it flows perfectly. I like sitting down and looking at every fucking millisecond of the record to make sure it's perfect. Another example, of something I don't really tell people to often, but I once listened to a Church of Misery record many years ago and there was a glitch in it and for years I couldn't listen to that record. It was difficult to listen to I wouldn't listen to that whole record. For me it was less than perfect. With dragged into sunlight nothing leaves the studio without being completely perfect. I hope you see in the live show tonight we put in 200% every night. This is day eleven now and if I said I was putting in anything less than 200% then I'd be lying. Every night we're breaking ourselves until 6 AM because that's what it's all about!

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