Eviga is an extremely talented and busy Austrian musician, yet he’s best known for his work with Dornenreich… the band that started out as Black Metal has shifted a bit in terms of sound but still maintains the same intensity, essence and awesomeness. Pest Webzine / Slowly We Rot prepared some questions for Eviga regarding the new album, the projects and the future and here are his thoughts and words…
Dornenreich began their journey in the music world as a Black metal band which seems to be miles apart from the sound of Dornenreich these days... how was the journey from one point to the other? How did you get here?
As to me personally Black Metal has always been characterized by the individual approach every artist seemed to have while establishing its sound and by the spiritual depth of this intense and pictorial music. The best way to underline that is to hint on the fact that on our second album we had this song called ‘Reime faucht der Märchensarg’, which today we play in an acoustic version and on our sixth album ‘In Luft geritzt’, which was a pure acoustic (!) album, we had a song called ‘Jagd’ that nowadays – in a metal version - is an integral part of our metal shows, too. It’s all about the spiritual depth, there are no limits (especially not in terms of instrumentation, song structure etc.) – and that’s exactly what fascinates me to this very day.
Earlier this year, the band has played the “Mystic Places” acoustic tour in iconic venues such as Old Pancras Church, Kultur Palast, the ARTer Galerie… how did the shows go? How excited is it having sold out venues after so many years? What material was played on this tour?
It was an uplifting experience once again and night by night. One enters places like churches with a different attitude, a different and possibly far more receptive and clear mind. And it was fantastic to have full houses on this special tour again and after all these years. I feel that our core audience has grown with us over the years and we are very glad that we have such an open and loyal audience.
When it comes to the set-list we tried to get across a dramaturgically elaborate set including songs of many different albums. Moreover, we played instrumental versions of three songs of our forthcoming album and they blended in very well and were wholeheartedly embraced by our audience.
What’s left of the original Dornenreich in 2018’s Dornenreich? Is the essence still the same?
In my perception it is. 'Intense - mystic - timeless' - that way we put it more than ten years ago and I feel that we live up to this trinity of attributes still. The passion, the dedication and the spiritual depth - everything is still there and we probably are focused on that more consciously and determined than in earlier years. However, of course, it at times is quite a challenge to keep up the devotion and quality as life goes by, but because of our now even more conscious approach it gets spiritually even more rewarding every year to express and to be creative.
Eviga will interrupt the recordings for the band’s forthcoming ninth album in order to travel across Europe as guitarist for Empyrium and Sun Of The Sleepless. Does your collaboration with other bands help you focus better on the sound and message you want to portray through Dornenreich?
Of course, my active participation in – for instance – staging music of other bands informs the way I deal with music and expression and makes me perceive and approach my personal artistic vision in greater clarity.
When is the new album set to be released? What can fans expect of it? Will it be acoustic or Black Metal?
The album demands its time and we are willed to do justice to that. From where we stand right now I think that the final development and recording of the album, which we will do on our own largely, will last until summer 2019 and as we will play select festival shows next year, too, it is quite probable that we will release the album in early spring of 2020. As to me this album has to be released in springtime when nature is in full bloom just because of the special and highly vital nature of the album itself.
2019 is set to be a great year for the band as it will see the release of Dornenreich’s Vinyl Compendium and some intense gigs. The set-list for this tour is going to feature tracks from the albums “Hexenwind” and “Her von welken Nächten” which are going to be performed with all clean vocal parts for the first time in more than ten years. This is massive... how did you “achieve” this? Which countries will be included on this tour?
The man who will support the vision on bass and by means of his great and apt voice is Eklatanz from Heretoir and since our common tour back in 2014 we knew that we would try something together one day. David/Eklatanz is really into Dornenreich and shares our way of approaching emotional expression as musician and performer. We hope to bring the tour even to some countries outside of our classical German speaking core-area (Germany/Austria/Switzerland). Actually, we are talking about a return to Porto within the frame of the SWR Barroselas Metalfest in 2019. We have not been there in nine years, so… it surely would be about time and we have fantastic associations with our stay back in 2010.
These concerts also intend to commemorate and honour your father’s contribution to Dornenreich as painter of the band’s classic cover-artworks such as ‘Bitter ist’s, dem Tod zu dienen,’ ‘Durch den Traum,’ or ‘Flammentriebe.’ Is this the best tribute to him? Why have you said that “with his death, an era of the band comes to an end as well”… what do you mean exactly?
Yes, we consider it to be a decent way to celebrate life, life that changes, evolves – and comprises death, - which to me is just another transition, just another shift…
I will always treasure the memories of closing up to my father while working on artworks together. And an era ends because my father had his very own painterly style and vision and there won’t be any further artwork for Dornenreich painted by him specifically for the band and in his distinctive vein, which – over the years – ‘coined’ Dornenreich’s visual appearance massively.
How much of your life have you sacrificed in the name of art, for Dornenreich? Do you regret the choices you made? If you could go back in time, would you do things differently?
Referring to going-back-in-time: Usually, I see people answering this question like ‘No, I would do everything all over again just the way I did it because it led me to where I am today’… and to a certain degree I embrace and underline that, but – in all honesty – I, in turn, would say ‘Yes, I would do some things differently when I’d be given the chance to go back with all I know toady’. I won’t go into details here, because that’s far too personal but yes, I would have done numerous things differently, which does not mean that I would not have ended up exactly where I am today, though. In my opinion it would be egocentric and high-handed to assume that my life is exclusively forged by the decisions I make. Life is huge… However, to come to an end here, I would like to stress that I don’t regret the main choices I made. Not at all. Art is deeply rooted within me, I am convinced that I was ‘born with an artistic soul’ as Lisa Gerrard/Dead Can Dance once put it.
Of course I sacrificed or – more neutrally put – dedicated a lot of my time and my energy to art - and I received so much in return, it’s the priceless treasure of my ever evolving consciousness and that also heavily relies on the school of life that art led me through.
How much of a passion is required in order to be a musician and keeping on pursuing your dream? Would you say your dreams regarding music have come true?
What I have learned – or consciously rediscovered – is the gratifying magic of creation itself. It’s just fantastic and truly magical when something new comes to (artistic) life. And of course it takes a lot to keep up the focus, the energy and the intensity after so many years while life went on. Naturally, my life today contrasts with my life during the early steps of the band when I was just fifteen, sixteen years young. And moreover back then in the mid nineties there was no internet, that is, a totally different way to approach, appreciate and simply perceive music than it is today.
It is no secret that the music industry’s main business – selling physical sound carriers – vanishes by and by. Things change drastically and fast and so does the perception and appreciation of music in general and we will see where it all goes…
Besides, yes, I truly can say that my dreams regarding music which I had as a teenager have come true over the years. We released many various albums (including one totally acoustic one) of which some were labeled as genre-defining milestones (within German Black Metal…), we also released a live-dvd, played some fantastic tours across Europe and we have achieved all that while staying authentic (including the use of our mother tongue).
So, given both the stage the music industry is and our own development it was and is about time to gather at the source of original inspiration and fascination. And that’s what I did and do. I am deeply thankful for the adventures I had the pleasure to experience via music and the forthcoming album will do justice to that by honoring the creative spirit all anew.
Care to leave a message to Pest Webzine / Slowly We Rot Fanzine readers and Dornenreich’s fans?
Well, I would like to thank you your loyalty over the years. Take good care!
Interview by Sónia Fonseca