Let's start with the beginnings of Dagna... Transylvanian forests are Transylvanian forests, Norway is Norway but… Tanew river has a spirit, which worth discovering for the black metallers, isn’t it?
That’s right! your question goes to the heart of the idea for this album. Perhaps the Scandinavian forests are inhabited by trolls and vampires roam the Transylvanian wilderness so just the Roztocze region and the Tanew river that are particularly close to my sensitivity to nature. After all, as a young scout and tourist, I rode them by bike, I walked them many times, regardless of the season and part of day. I have stayed there many times "under the cloud", both on starry summer nights and on those snowy, crackling frosts. The experiences with communing with nature give rise to a natural need for a story and a narrative building that will allow to grasp atavistic fears. The flow of the Tanwia river seemed naturally attractive to me to plunge into these fears again after many years. Anyway, the section of the river to which the album is devoted, which is commonly called in Poland "Szumy" (means idiomately: natural noises), is very interesting! This place consists of twenty-four rock steps, which are the only place in Poland where the geological border between Western and Eastern Europe is so clearly visible. These rustling rock thresholds, the current of the flowing river surrounded by a leafy grove that gives the impression of the so-called Place of Power, or at least a place of strong, creative inspiration. The fact that the creative effect dressed up in symphonic black metal playing, well ... I've always wanted to record an album in this convention.
I feel in "Tanvia" album, despite the undoubtedly epic and sublime sound, a lot of humorous elements, and not only because of “Gargamel’s hut”. Am I right? Let’s talk about it!
Heh, you know a good music editor by the questions, here you hit the nail on the head again! At a certain age, we are probably stop taking music too seriously, especially when it is such an exaggerated convention as black metal. The story began with a trip with two friends, Łukasz and Dagna, I really wanted to show whom beautiful of Roztocze region. Then I looked at the photo of my friend, which I just captured against the river with her face of Mona Lisa and I saw: “Hell yeah, it will be good cover of black metal album”! Dagna’s name stayed the name of this project, because written in gothic letters look like as typical logo of true black metal, heh… However it took four years before the joke turned into the album. Meanwhile, "Gargamel's Hut", which appears in the title of one of the songs, really exists as a tourist shelter! An exhausted tourist can drink and eat something there, and even buy a reprint of an old, pre-war poster advertising local beer produced by the former brewery of the Zamojska Estate.
Absolutely lack of vocals, just exist only music on “Tanvia”... So because the muse speaks for itself or was there some other reason?
As I mentioned, at first I didn't even think that something that was a joke would be turned into recording music. However, more and more people encouraged me to make this record, often declaring their help in recording instruments' tracks and in mastering it. However, due to the fact that I have not lived in Poland for many years, everything was not done in the studio and that would require, for example, proper recorded a parts of vocals. Does replacing the lack with keys and symphonic sound fill the pieces sufficiently? I hope so, if you carefully listen to the entire album as a musical path, a story told in the Tanwia flow... In this point of view we must return again to the perspective that the river imposes on us. Well, my favorite way to wander "Szumy" is to literally enter the river and walk along it. We take off our shoes, sometimes knee-deep, sometimes we wade up to the waist in the water and overcome half-sunken boughs, sink our feet up to the ankles in the sandy bottom.We walk with the run and we don't look from the other sides. We come to the slippery rock steps, overhead looms Gargamel's Hut. Perhaps there is a drowned witch down there, under the thresholds? Somewhere further, the swift river current disappears in the swamps of never mown meadows. The song titles are very important! They are such a map, a slightly fantastic representation of what we can see with our own eyes.
To be continued in any form?
Two years ago I wanted to make a Dagny album but in a completely different style, as dark retro wave but in the meantime this music has gotten so popular and so much good material has been released… Today I'm not sure if it's still worth it. What's more, my musical interests have less and less to do with electric instruments, I prefer unplugged sounds now. Last year I mastered the bouzouki game, this year I'm learning to play the Turkish bağlama and in the nearest future I would like start to learn playing the cymbals, and then the hurdy-gurdy. In general, my musical interests have moved towards to medieval music, and now I find a source of inspiration there. Anyway, if you are attentive to the "Tanvia" album, you will surely notice that it is a bit retro, a bit "boomer", inspired more by music taken from the end of XX and the beginning of XXI century than contemporary new wave of black metal… The new wave of black metal, despite many attempts, could not interest me at all. And if will something new be created under the name of Dagna? I can’t promise but I don’t say no. Certainly, the opinions of several friends of musicians who would like to play under this banner for artistic fun are make me positive to this idea.
Finally, tell me about what I did not ask in this interview but I should.
If you would like to listen to the entire album, please visit Dagna's facebook page [https://www.facebook.com/Dagna-299092267120288] where you can find a free link to the album. My wish is for the audience to hit the Tanew river and plunge into its magical flow - then the musical sensations would be full!
Interview by Vilcin
Answers by Kamil “Emrys” Kaminski