Interview by Ed MacLaren

 

Rife with dark atmospherics and dramatic flourishes, Greece’s Dimlight push the crumbling limits of goth metal with their debut album “Obtenebration”. Feeding on the endless conflicts within all of us, “Obtenebration” impresses with its maturity and symphonic grandeur without sacrificing the black beauty at its heart. Femme Metal stepped into the dimlight to talk to vocalist Sanna Salou about developing the band’s unique musical vision and its contribution to the Femme Metal Records “Beauty and Brutality” compilation.

“Obtenebration” is an album that certainly lives up to its name. From the opening heartbeat of “Preludium” you can feel yourself descending into a chilling and all encompassing world of darkness that continues unabated until the conclusion of “Postludium 8”. Did you just decide you were going to write an album that would scare the crap out of everyone? How did you conceptualize the album?

First of all, I would like to thank you for your kind words. We’re so glad you enjoyed the album – since the first day we began writing it we had so much time in our hands that it was written without haste. Therefore, I would say this album reflects our emotional state during that period, as well as being influenced by the perpetual conflict of light and darkness or of evil and good, (anyone can choose which suits them best) so the concept of the album was already there. What also contributed to this dark atmospheric mood were the conditions with which the album was written, in dim light.

The album weaves dark textures and macabre harmonies together in such a seamless fashion it feels effortless. And from a debut album no less. It pushes the limits of the goth metal genre without being cliché. What kind of a statement did you want to make on this, your debut album?

The album was not written easily because it was very difficult to imprint our feelings properly into our music , but someone could say it deals with the general concept of dualism.

Orchestral arrangements, haunting keyboards and synths and even Spanish guitar interplay brilliantly with the heavy riffing and bludgeoning rhythms. How does Dimlight make these diverse elements work together so well?

The band have five different personalities and everyone has disparate sounds and that is why there are so many different elements in the album, surely combining these features was not an easy job but we had the chemistry between us so our good cooperation and our spontaneity helped us find the path.

There is an inherent beauty in the gloom of Dimlight’s music. This is in no small part due to your vocal performance on the album. You use every part of your voice on “Obtenebration”; your harmonies and your upper register are chilling. How much time did you spend arranging and recording your vocals?

Once again thank you for your words. I would not say that I use all my voice in “Obtenebration” because I was beginning to sing and I did not have enough experience to use my whole voice, however I gave my heart and soul. For the arrangements, I had the help of the band so that took 2 to 3 months and I finished my recordings within 3 weeks.

In addition to providing an excellent contrast to Invoker’s grunts and screams, perhaps you provide a hint of light at the heart of the blackness?

Indeed. During my recordings it took me some time to achieve the appropriate theatricality in order to create this contrast with Peter‘s (Invoker) vocals, besides there is always some evil inside the good and vice versa.

The album’s theatrical and dramatic arrangements are almost like a dark gothic play set to music. Many tracks use sound effects, screams, and spoken words to give an added filmic effect. Did you have a specific visual perspective you wanted to project when writing and recording “Obtenebration”?

As I said earlier the album’s concept was something spontaneous but during the recordings and mainly during the mixing process we wanted to give an extra emphasis to the atmosphere.

Antonis Papantoniou’s video for “R.I.D” is a perfect visual foil to Dimlight’s dark musical vision. They mesh so well it’s hard to tell if the visuals were created for the music or the music for the video. Did you already have a vision of how you wanted “R.I.D.” to look? How did the concept for the video develop?

Antonis Papantoniou is an amazing and talented director and one can see how much he enjoys what he is doing by simply looking at his works.This collaboration was meant to be because our aesthetics coincide tremendously. There was no script for the video so Antonis was entirely free to input his ideas into the videoclip and guide us into the right direction, therefore I think the result speaks for itself.

The video features very modern editing techniques but still feels visually rooted in classic vampire movies like F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu. Did you have a lot of input into the final product?

As I said before Antonis is very talented and we believed in what he creates and trusted him entirely with his ideas during the editing of the video because he had so much material to work with from the shootings and we thought that it would be wrong to interfere and to limit him in any way.

Invoker not only provides incredible black/death metal vocals to your music, he’s pretty convincing as an actor. He’s not that scary in real life, is he?  😉

Hehe… Peter‘s throat is amazing and he matches with Dimlight perfectly. He is a talented and expressive artist that appears in both the album and the video. But in real life Peter is not scary at all, as matter of fact he is a very cool and amusing guy!

Lyrically, “Obtenebration”  is incredibly gothic in the deepest sense of the word. The words create a mysterious atmosphere of grotesque gloom. In tracks like “R.I.D.” and “Dark Emotions” the sense of decay is almost audible. Where inside of you do you draw from to paint such bleak lyrical pictures?

We all have contributed lyrically in the album and I personally try to express my most extreme thoughts and feelings from the most remote parts of my soul.

Greece is hotbed for high-quality femme metal bands. Is it a competitive scene or is it a tight-knit group providing mutual support to each other?

Indeed. Greece has many good bands with amazing leading female lead voices and the good thing is that we support each other and that is something that helps each band. Things can become competitive sometimes but since we work so good together only good can come of it.

Who are the other Greek female-fronted metal bands Femme Metal fans should watch out for?

Well there are so many and I’m sure I’m not familiar with all of them but I can name a few favorites of mine. There are Meden Agan, Bare Infinity, Elysion and Luna Obscura.

Dimlight is a featured artist on the upcoming Femme Metal Records “Beauty And Brutality” compilation CD due out in October. How did you get involved?

We do not know exactly the details but one day our record label asked us if we were interested in being part of Femme Metal Records “Beauty And Brutality” compilation CD and we accepted without a second thought!

You’re contributing the track “Absence of Light”. How does this track represent Dimlight and its music?

“Absence of Light” is a special song for us that it represents Dimlight lyrically and musically the most and we were very happy it was chosen and we were given this opportunity to contribute to a noble cause.

With the complexity of your arrangements, how does “Obtenebration” translate to the live stage?

True, there are many parts you can’t easily perform on stage but we have managed to interpret the album as best as possible by rehearsing as much as possible and by working on our music constantly.

Where can fans expect to see you tour this year?

With the onset of winter we intend to do a mini tour in several cities of Greece. We are still in discussions concerning Europe and the USA and we really hope we can book a tour or two, but all will be decided with the coming of the second album.

(Famous) Last words?

Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to speak our minds and for your huge support and an enormous thank you to all our fans out there. Those who truly shine can be seen only in Dimlight!

 

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