Dorias Baracca and the Road to Their LP: An Interview
Dorias Baracca‘s self-title album was lost in limbo for some time. Seven years in the making, the release of their album on Azure Vista Records was a long time coming, and it was due to the tragic death of the singer Buster Svesdsen on the day the album was finished. Simon Skytthe and Aske Wolfhagen were kind enough to answer some questions including those about the history of the album, their former EP on Club AC30, some of their current and former music projects, and working with Jonas Munk. Give the interview a read, listen to Dorias Baracca‘s album at the bandcamp at the bottom of the page, and find yourself a copy of their album. It’s most certainly one of the best albums of 2018 so far.
Hello Dorias Baracca! Can you each introduce yourselves to the readers and say what you did in the band?
We’re Simon on Bass, Aske on the drums, and Jeppe on guitars.
If it’s not too difficult, can you give us the story behind the self-titled album and why it took so long to get it released?
Simon: when we started writing some of the songs we were still in the studio recording the tracks for the EP. The whole experience with working in such “professional” way in the studio really changed the way we were making music. When we started, we made had a lot of songs that didn’t make the cut, but when we started writing the album we were a lot more focused on what worked for us. At the same time, we wanted to define our own sound.
Aske: We started recording in the summer of 2010 and went on and on, working in different studios throughout 2010 and spring 2011. We experimented with a lot of different setups and sounds and had a really nice collaboration with Jonas Munk, who we worked with on the EP earlier.
Simon: When everything happened with Buster, it all suddenly stopped and we couldn’t really see what or how to do anything with the album. For a while we didn’t talk about it at all and no one really had any idea of what should become of the newly finished record.
All though we had known each other for several years and were really close friends, we all needed some time to deal with the passing of Buster in our own ways. Even through the years, we talked a lot about how we should do in order to release the album but we never came to the point where we could put out a date of the release.
Aske: Actually it was probably Jonas Munk who turned everything around again and started up the whole process of finishing the album. Even though it took almost 7 years to release it, he definitely did everything he could, and finally we were able to release it through his label Azure Vista Records. Jonas definitely turned everything around.
You had an incredible EP come out on Club AC30 before your debut full-length was recorded. Can you talk a bit about the writing process of the EP and perhaps how it might have differed from the process of making the full-length?
Aske: I think that when we wrote the EP we didn’t write it as a record. We just wrote music and did what we thought best. In the end we had these 4 songs that would work together on an EP, so we just recorded it.
Simon: The music for the EP was written while we had our rehearsal space down at the harbor in Odense, there was and old industrial building where there was a great atmosphere with a lot of people drinking beers and jamming and recording in the two studios down there as well. Unfortunately the building was sold and we had to find a new place to rehearse.
Aske: We probably found a lot of inspiration in the old abandoned industrial sites down at the harbor.
How did you start working with Jonas Munk?
Simon: We all knew Jonas and his work and thought that it would be great to work with him. So when we first started talking about doing our first tracks, Buster contacted Jonas and it was perfect! Jonas joining us in the studio and his know how and ideas really took the whole thing to another level.
Your self-titled album is just breathtaking and amazing. I really mean that. Can each of you talk about a special memory you have from creating this album?
Simon: I would say that one of my keenest memories from the time is when we recorded that chorus for “goodbye” and I sat outside in the control room, listening to Josefines vocals just taking my breath away and everything just made sense.
Aske: I remember when we began recording guitars and Buster and Jeppe had borrowed a lot of amps and together we build 2 big walls of amps in the recording room. It was just a big playground for guitarist and the floor was covered with effect pedals and cables all over. I think Buster almost lived in there for 2 days just searching for the perfect noise, smoking cigarettes and drinking beers. We really enjoyed those days, experimenting with sounds and seeing the album take form.
What was the writing process like for the self-titled and how did you all go about working out the tracks in the studio?
Simon: We basically lived in our rehearsal space and in the studio back then. When we weren’t rehearsing or recording, we would go out drinking beers, go to shows and then back, sleeping on the floor and waking up to play, record or write new stuff.
Aske: We always started recording drums for a day or 2. Together with Simon who would put down his one-take basslines. Then followed a lot of days recording guitars and just trying out different stuff.
Simon: Buster would do the same tracks over and over with different settings on his and Jeppes giant pedal boards simply to find the best sound for each of the underlying guitar tracks.
I like to ask bands about a few tracks from their latest release to get specific responses to songs. Can you talk about the writing and recording of “Handsome Melting Point” and “Goodbye”? I know Buster was your principle song writer (correct me if I’m wrong), but perhaps you can shed some light on the tracks.
Simon: “Handsome Melting Point” was written back in the spring of 2009. We always started out with Buster or me or Jeppe having some new ideas. Sometimes we could have a completed song and then cut it. Eventually Buster would pull out his notebook filled with lyrics and ideas and we would make the chorus with the lyrics and small changes to the melodies.
Aske: “Goodbye” was written in the summer of 2009. I think we all were a little confused about where we should be going with the band and what genres we were working with. “Goodbye” is a really about despair and fear of losing those around you. Basically it is a love song, inspired by Slowdive, but also a hard-hitting rock song inspired by more grunge-like stuff.
Have each of you continued making music in other projects? If so, which projects and where can we hear some of your music?
Simon: I started playing in a band that was more Psych-rock inspired, called The Road to Suicide. We made a split with another band from Aarhus called Spökraket, but eventually we split up in the fall of ’13 and later on Aske and I started playing together but in the end we ended up simply not having the time for the long rehearsals.
Aske: Jeppe has also played in various things after Dorias Baracca, but I think it is more as a hobby. We are still hanging out as we did back in the days, but now I am the only one who still plays in a band. Maybe someday we will all meet up in a rehearse space and jam together again. Could be fun!
What sort of gear do you all use and do you use the same gear on stage as you do in the studio?
Simon: I use an old ESP jazz bass together with an old 60s’ dynachord Bass-King T amp, that would heat up the whole rehearse space in little less than ten minutes.
Aske: I bought an old vintage Tama Superstar drumset back in 2008 and, to this day, I still only play this kit. It was the perfect kit for Dorias Baracca. Really punchy shit! I only used the bass-drum, snare and a floor tom, and then I had three big cymbals and a hi-hat. Jeppe and Buster varied their setup a lot, trying different amps and cabinets. But one thing never changed; the giant amount of effect pedals on the floor!
Thanks so much for asking my questions and congratulations on a brilliant album!
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