Drakwald

How did Thibaud/the band get in touch with ecological topics? How important are those topics for DRAKWALD as a band?

Thibaud: Before writing the lyrics, we try to think about a concept that represents us, modern and at same time close to nature. The core of the paganism itself is nature, and it's pretty sad to see how humankind destroys this precious thing nowadays. I think it's come of oneself, many Folk Metal band chose to speak about the same legends again and again; we choose to speak about an important topic that everybody must be concerned about: ecology.

Max: I think it came quite naturally, all ecological topics speak to many people these days and we're just normal people. Also, when you're interested by various pagan mythologies, you understand that our ancestors honored many gods which represented many natural elements like the sky, the sun,...Nowadays, our modern global society built itself thanks to the religions on the books and needless to say that our Earth is dying.



Where did you find Bertrand who plays the bagpipes? Did you know him first and then integrate the instrument or did you look for a bagpiper?


Marc: Bertrand was at the same university as another member when we created the band. He was interested in the project and he joined us. Whistles & bagpipes are played in his familly and he takes over.

Are there any challenges when integrating the instrument in a live setup?

Max: In the past we had some difficulties on stage, sound engineers usually don't know how to deal with a bagpipe but now we got our own tech guy, so it's fine.

Simon: Yes it's quite difficult to integrate a whistle and a bagpipe in a modern metal mix. Marc and I both have a huge sound with our 7 strings guitars, you add it a deep bass, a drumkit, some choirs and sample, a singerů You don't have much space for a folk instrument. For that, we have had some trouble to have a good mix in the past, but we worked hard with our tech guy to have a good mix now!

I saw your guitarist Simon playing a Kemper online. What's so fascinating about the Kemper (I've never played one) and which other gear do you use?

Marc: We are both playing on Kemper. We recorded Riven Earth on a Kemper and the sound quality is great. The useful thing is that you can adapt your sound and your amp like you want without buying a new one.

As you can see on Riven Earth, there are no differences with a real amp. We used many amps before like Laboga, Engl, Mesa Boogie, etc... We can find all the amps, recorded in pro studios, on a Kemper so we think it's a good deal. On stage, we can use the Kemper in many ways too. We can play on cabinets like a real amp with our Matrix GT800FX, or we can connect the kemper on the mixing table, or we can do both. So we are really polyvalent. Maybe the thing harder than an amp is that it's not easy to take in hand.

Simon: Like Marc said, the kemper is a really useful amp. I bought it many years ago, before being in Drakwald for demoing/recording some covers. It's the first modeling amp with a decent sound (and I've tried a lot of amps). It can avoid an expensive sound system for recording like a good cab with a good mic in a room, and you don't have to crank your amp to have a good sound. So you can play the guitar easily at a low level (it's a good thing when you have retarded neighbors ahah). The kemper is also very helpful for live! You don't even need a heavy cab on stage. You just have to plug it through a patchbay to the mixing console and it's done. It simulates perfectly your favorite amp/cab and Mic settings. I love it, and I'm not the only one, I saw a lot of bands using it on stage, like Eluveitie, Trivium, Amon amarth, Ola englund.

Might it be possible that your bandname is derived from Warhammer? Who's the Warhammer/table top games expert?

Marc: We discovered that Drakwald was a name in Warhammer, but that's not the reason why we chose this name. We are not attached to this fantasy world even if some of us played to this game. This word is atypical and we liked the fact that this is symmetrical and easy to pronounce in different languages. This is what we were looking for. A unique band name and easy to find. We made a brainstorming to choose a name and it was the one who talked to us, like if this was a common word. It was a pure coincidence. Today we use this word as a band name without significations close to Warhammer.

Your second album "Riven Earth" is a huge effort. Did you start writing immediately after "Resist Fatality" or did you have some line up hassle to overcome?

Thibaud: Simon, our rhythm guitarist join the band just before the beginning of the writing, so we can't say that was a hassle. He perfectly integrates to the band and take a great part in recorded the songs before the studios to be ready for the main record.

Marc: We started to write before Resist Fatality. One title is quite old, Blood and Glory, which we updated before the record of Riven Earth. Then we wrote during these 2 years. Before the record, we made a rush because we were short to finish some compositions. We home recorded all the titles to have an idea of what it looks like, not on paper, for each songs during the previous year. After this process, we removed 3 compositions which were, in our view, not yet finished.

How long have you worked on the album and what were the biggest challenges when writing and recording the songs?

Thibaud: We wrote the main part of the album the last year and a half. We try to stop touring for a moment to focus on writing some new material, that fix better to our expectation. So we focus on writing the music we always want to hear, a Melodic Death Metal with Folk instruments. Marc: The biggest challenge when writing a song is to please everyone, haha. Sometimes it works in one version, sometimes we make 2 or 3 versions, sometimes we just give up.

We've worked 2 years on this album because we wanted something better than the previous one, both in terms of composition and sound quality. We trained hard too, because we wanted to be ready for the studio. It wasn't easy to record some technical riffs. Riven Earth is a level above Resist Fatality. When recording, one challenge is to record perfectly all we planned to do in the timing we had. David, from the Dome studio, was really helpful and we did well thanks to him. I must say that recording the bagpipes has been a bit more difficult than we expected to, we encountered some troubles with this instrument because this is not on the same frequencies than other instruments, even with an electronic bagpipe. I think it was the biggest challenge for this album.

Where exactly does the band originate and how dense is the pagan scene in the area?

Max: We come from Tours, in Loire Valley, France. I think we're the only pagan metal band in our region but there is a strong Metal scene in our hometown, about 10 or 12 metal bands. We have some good facilities to rehearse easily and to learn: there's 3 or 4 schools for modern music in Tours.

Thibaud: There is a quite small pagan scene, maybe like 10 bands for all the country, but we have the chance to know some of great band from this scene, like Drena´, and it's always really a pleasure to share a gig with them.


What is the essence of pagan for you guys?

Max: I think we all have different points of view with all the paganism stuff. For me, It come from my atheism (I'm not baptized and never put a step in a christian school) and my personal tastes for History and Nature in general. For example, I'm interesting by the celtic era of Europe and in the mean time I read a lot about ecological stuff and how our world is changing.

What's next for DRAKWALD?

Max: We're currently planning a tour to promote Riven Earth, we really want to spread the word outhere to many people as possible. If you know some promoters in your local area, just talk about us. Thank you for your time doing this interview!

You're welcome.

Thomas Eberhardt