ProgPower Metal from Sweden
Interview with Staffan Lindroth
Staffan welcome to SFTV. What is the latest news from Dimhav? How are you holding up with the pandemic up there in Sweden?
Thank you, great to be here. This spring and summer have certainly been different from normal, but since Dimhav is not doing live performances we were not as affected as a lot of the bands out there. By now the situation over all is of course a lot better than 2-3 months ago, but I guess it’s not time to relax and go back to normal just yet. The upside of this mess is that spending more time at home means more time in the studio as well, which is always welcome.
You have released “The Boreal Flame” some months ago on physical format via Omniversal Records a label that is yours. Why not a label and an independent DIY effort?
Since the beginning of planning “The Boreal Flame” we were set on doing the release ourselves. Partly because we were much more focused on producing an album of high musical quality than getting as wide attention as possible. But still, we are of course really happy about each and every listener and fan, and the great reception we feel it has gotten. The extra services a label provides were not that interesting to us in this particular case, especially since there were no plans for touring, or extensive marketing campaigns etc. For most bands, those aspects are usually much more important so there is of course still a role to play for record labels out there. It all comes down to what you need.
Which is the response from the press and the fans til now? We see that, before an album is released, many people stay just on words to support a band, and when the album is released the sales might not have the expected result.
The response has been very good. When it comes to reviews, and direct feedback, it has all been very positive and it’s particularly nice that a lot of the listeners seem to “get” what the album is intended to be and pick up on a lot of the things we made an effort to manifest in the music. We were especially happy to be listed on the “Top 50 Albums of 2019” in Sweden Rock Magazine, in their December issue. As for sales/streams, first of all we didn’t have any specific expectations, so we are quite happy about where we’re at. But we still feel that there are a lot of potential listeners out there, so we do want to reach a bit further as well.
Give us some further info about “The Boreal Flame”. The songwriting process, the recording sessions, production etc.?
The songs on “The Boreal Flame” were all written by me and Olle. Some of them were written very much together, such as “Star And Crescent” and “Realms Of A Vagrant King” and some more individually. “Boreal Ascent”, for instance, was written almost entirely by Olle – with me figuring out appropriate guitar parts afterwards, which was a fun process. Some of the songs were written a while back, with the intention to play them in our band at the time (“Shadows Past”, now on ice) but stylistically they did not quite fit, we found. That’s also why we had the idea for Dimhav, where we could fully explore the kind of music we wanted to do.
As for recording, we had full demos of all songs which – when all song structures were set – were used as basis for the drum recordings. We have our own little drum studio where this was done over the course of a few weeks. After Olle had finished the drum editing I recorded all the bass and rhythm guitars and added “sketch vocals” as well – as a guide for Daniel (and no, my own vocals will never go public (haha). Daniel then received project files from us with stems and all tempos and time signatures in order. We live in different parts of Sweden, so he did all his recordings at his place, sending files back and forth as needed. When the vocals were done I proceeded to record all the guitar and keyboard leads as the final step. I then mixed the album in my studio last summer. The intention was to keep a natural, dynamic and not “over-produced” feel on the album, which hopefully comes through. It was then mastered by Jacob Hansen, in Denmark, who really did a great job with it.
How did you convince Daniel to sing on the album? I think it was quite easy for him to accept your offer, as your music is close to what he has done in the past with Lost Horizon?
Yeah, we’re really happy that it worked out to have Daniel sing on the album – the process was simply that we got in touch and talked about it, and since he liked the songs it was straightforward from there. And you’re right that the vibe of the album probably does fit in with what he has done earlier as well. The songs on “The Boreal Flame” are quite varied in terms of vocal range and intensity, so having such a great and versatile singer was really key to getting the end result we wanted.
we were much more focused on producing an album of high musical quality, than getting as wide attention as possibleStaffan Lindroth
A band’s music is always a combination of influences. What are your influences to write music and are there influences that might be able to possibly surprise your fans?
Yes, some of our influences might surprise our fans. There are some obvious ones of course, like all the metal bands we’ve grown up listening to – Helloween, Symphony X, Angra and a lot of others. We are both big Devin Townsend fans as well, and there are some more recent bands as well, like Fleshgod Apocalypse, Scar Symmetry, Wintersun, Brymir and others that we both listen to. We both enjoy classical music as well, which is not unique in the metal world of course, but in our case perhaps not the “usual suspects”. Dmitri Shostakovich has been an influence on both of us, especially his symphonies, and in my case the symphonies of Anton Bruckner are often on the playlist. Ravel, Debussy and Wagner are constant sources of beauty and inspiration as well. In short, classical music is a huge world which is well worth tapping into for anyone.
Could you please develop the lyric-topics in your songs? Is it a concept album?
To a degree it is a concept album, since we did want to have a “red thread” going through the songs and the music. There is a loose narrative which is based on the idea of a man waking up after a very long sleep in something akin to a prison cell, to a deserted world. He then searches for the reason why he was locked away, and who or what he actually is. This narrative is not fully explained through the lyrics, which is conscious since we did not want to do a “metal opera”, but it provides a context for each song and helps establish a mood in the music, we think.
What made you decide to start Dimhav and what are your intentions and dreams with it?
The intention with Dimhav was and is for us to have a vehicle of creating the music that we want, with as few limitations or compromises as possible. Our current plan is to keep making the music that we like, and possibly explore some new directions with it as well. As for dreams, simply having people find and enjoy our music goes a very long way!
How did you choose the name Dimhav?
The Dimhav name was not there from the very beginning but appeared at some point during the process. It is a Swedish word which means “Sea Of Fog” and having a Swedish name is kind of a nod to where we come from. There is a famous romantic painting called “Wanderer above the sea of fog” which might be a more or less conscious source for the name. That painting shows a man with his back to the viewer, looking out over a foggy landscape, which evokes thoughts about the relationship between individuals and nature, exploring the unknown etc.
Did you make any plans for your next album?
So far nothing is set in stone, but we are continuously writing music and evolving new songs, so a second Dimhav album is very probable. As for the timing, and exactly what it will be, we’ll have to wait and see!
Thanx for the interview and give an end.
Thank you. It was great talking to you and sharing a little bit about our background. Thanks also to all our listeners and all those who bought our album so far.