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When somebody listen up DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT for the first time, he wonders where the hell they have come from. Those Breton demons assaulted the underground metal in 2009 with Hatred for mankind, a extremely twisted and dark black/death metal mixture, an ode to misanthropy, full of cryptic messages. Three years later, they surprised everyone with WidowMaker, a fourteen minutes long abomination. At last, the past year they released their collaboration with GNAW THEIR TONGUES, a soundtrack of the abyss entitled Negative Volume. But, more than a band, we should talk about a musicians collective, who grows up progressively and all of the have something in common, the anonymity. And if that was not enough, their aesthetics drawns our attenttion, dressed with balaclavas, to make them even more disturbing. Nevertheless, this interview couldn’t be more far away from the image the cast, with clear and convincing answers, with really interesting information. Here’s the result.
Subterráneo Heavy: Let’s begin with the origins of the band. I think this one is the most repetitive question possible, but it’s mandatory for those that don’t know yet who you are. How did this project start? I heard that, at first, you were a studio band… Well, we heard a lot of things about you guys and we don’t know if they are even true. Quite a utopia nowadays where Internet reaches every single spot of this planet.
DIS: DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT didn’t begin as an studio band as such. It had a far more humble origin.
DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT began with people writing riffs without much forethought, there were regular gatherings and it was a very collaborative process from the outset as to what we wanted to write and how each piece would be put together and presented. It evolved from there.
The creativity between individuals who had previously spent so long working within rigid confines proved infectious.
Subterráneo Heavy: Initially I thought that your first release was Hatred for Mankind, but a few years later we have discovered that the first life signs of the band was the collaboration with Kas Mana called «Terminal aggressor», almost twenty minutes of music, what a debut. You came out of nowhere and then you release that beast. Have you ever thought about releasing it again? That track was more dark ambient driven, something that you haven’t repeated on your next releases, even WidowMaker, which primary objective is to create atmospheres, it has nothing to do with «Terminal aggressor», while Hatred for mankind is more straight forward.
The change from one release to other is very radical. Why did you decide to focus on straight-to-the-point songs? I mean, they are closer to death metal than «Terminal aggressor». How does this change happen?
DIS: «Terminal aggressor» was a dark time. Sometimes, the best comes from the worst. We released 100 copies of «Terminal aggressor» and provided 20 copies to our friends at Glasgow Implodes Festival in 2008. It is a relatively unknown recording, however the production and approach are about as raw as can be. We have not considered a rerelease.
It is important that our music remains innovative on the basis that no one is retiring from this, so creativity is all we have. No artist wishes to paint the same piece twice and no band should create the same record more than once. There are too many bands with back catalogues where one release can be mistaken for another.
Extreme music should be as testing as it is diverse, it isn’t meant to be ‘safe’, it is supposed to be as frenzied and as unpredictable as a hammer attack.
The evolution of extreme music has slowed somewhat in recent years, there is a trend then there are several hundred coattail riders. That isn’t extreme music, it is fashion, whether you like it or not, and that is something which those who influenced the sounds of DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT did not subscribe to, and on that basis, nor can DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT.
Subterráneo Heavy: When I read about the recording dates of Hatred For Mankind I saw that, although you’ve released it on 2009, the album was recorded at the end of summer of 2008, which makes me think that both works (Hatred and «Terminal») were composed almost at the same time. Am I right or «Terminal» was recorded before?
DIS: You are correct to a certain extent. In fact, Hatred for mankind was recorded in two halves and «Terminal aggressor» was recorded and released in the middle whilst both the writing and production of Hatred for mankind were ongoing. It was just something which had to happen at that time.
Subterráneo Heavy: The last track of that record, called «Totem of skulls» is the weirdest one, it consist solely of noise and samplers of serial killers. What can you tell me about it? Do you consider it a proper song or is it just an outro, with no more meaning beyond that point?
DIS: «Totem of skulls» is a track just like any other on that record. It is often too easy to segregate noise from extreme music. In 2014, we shared a brief conversation with Merzbow and it goes without saying that Merzbow is a musician and an extremely intelligent innovator with relentless dedication to what is a perfected art. Extreme music should not just brush boundaries but should destroy them.
«Total of skulls» could have quite easily ended up in the middle of Hatred for mankind. It just sat better as a closing track and its title has a meaning that is shared and so the track, whilst remaining a piece in its own right, aptly concludes the recording.
Subterráneo Heavy: Do you believe that your debut puts you on the map? I mean, since then, you’ve been recognized in the underground metal world because of your dark, twisted sound. But of course, you’ll never reach far without hard work. Besides that, which factors have contributed to the current healthy state of the band? You’re touring, you have a good reputation… I’m asking you out personal curiosity.
DIS: Perhaps. Is there a map? The principle determining factor in music is hard work. Plus, you haven’t lived until you’ve been locked outside your hotel because you’ve missed check in and had to sleep under your van with a
toilet roll for a pillow because there isn’t enough space inside. It’s character building.
Subterráneo Heavy: Online, and on your website, we can find and a video which uses footage of the film Begotten (Begotten, Edmund Elias Merhige, 1990), and I thought about a personal theory, which can make sense or not. But it’s like that film was a strong inspiration behind your debut and also serves as an unofficial soundtrack of that movie. I mean, your music and the film are full of hatred, horror and darkness. They fit very well.
DIS: There is a very natural horror to DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT, just as there is to Begotten and E. Merhige’s other works.
Subterráneo Heavy: I’ve read that, actually you’re not exactly a band, you are a musician’s collective that is always increasing. When it comes to work on new material and playing live, what advantages and disadvantages comes with that working method?
DIS: Well, you never know who you’re going to meet. It provides for a eclectic personality to the otherwise unknown but most importantly, a diverse pool of influence, outlook and creativity.
Subterráneo Heavy: Although I know you’re not going to reveal your identity, is there any leader in terms of composition? I mean, a member who usually brings out the major part of the ideas. When it comes to song composition, is there any limit, any front that you’ll never cross?
DIS: There is no leader. It is not uncommon for a project to have a curator on the basis that it requires a driving force. DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT aims to explore new ground with each recording and step, so it remains to be seen what we will and will not do next.
Subterráneo Heavy: When I interviewed ABYSSAL last year (I guess you’ll know that band), they told me that, they don’t understand why anonymity has gained so much attention on the band, instead of focusing on the group’s music and not trying to figure it out who where behind music. What’s your opinion about all that?
DIS: Anonymity is the new black, apparently. The reasoning remains unclear for most bands. DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT comprises some well respected professions and anonymity has always provided a means of distinguishing two very different sides to the same coin. It is a personal, and genuine decision.
Subterráneo Heavy: Do you believe that people give too much attention to the musicians, instead of music?
DIS: Perhaps. Ultimately, it is what the listener opts to focus on with regards to a particular artist. That said, chances are if you’re more fond of Jacob Bannon‘s choice of shirt as opposed to the music of CONVERGE, you won’t be around for long.
Subterráneo Heavy: Your rarest release was a live album, called OCCII, Amsterdam, recorded live in Amsterdam, with three songs in one track and limited to 50 copies (I couldn’t find in which format). Why did you decided to release that live album, and what’s the reason of not to split the songs in separate tracks and limit the album just to 50 copies?
DIS: We liked the venue and the recording. We copied the CD ourselves, so any more than 50 copies would have been a tedious exercise.
Ironically, we were actually spray painting 20 copies outside a venue in Switzerland during our tour with RWAKE in 2011 when two passersby started to fight, one guy begins beating the other guy around the head with a rock from the ground. Then, out of nowhere, a cyclist who was obviously watching what we were watching unfold rode straight across the CDs, flew over his bars and annihilated his bike, so although a few survived, around 10 copies were destroyed.
Subterráneo Heavy: In 2012 you’ve released WidowMaker, a 40 minute length song. I think that you’ve said that this song shouldn’t be considered a sequel of Hatred for mankind, because it’s something completely different to Hatred for mankind. What’s the WidowMaker origin? How did you come up with that huge idea?
DIS: It just developed. It was something we wanted to do. Many of the elements were deliberately excluded from Hatred for mankind. WidowMaker has different roots, it surmises a very bleak loneliness and those involved shared a similar feeling at that time.
Subterráneo Heavy: Let’s talk about your collaboration with GNAW THEIR TONGUES. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that, the genesis of this project was a few years ago. You uploaded a song online, without title (which people labeled simply as «Untitled»), on Soundcloud and the day after it disappeared. I don’t know if that first song is now part of Negative volume, but why did you decided to throw it away? Was it just a test to see how people would react? When was the point in which you decided that, a full-length will come up from this collaboration?
DIS: The untitled track is an early version of «Visceral repulsion». At the time, GNAW THEIR TONGUES were not as well known and having met Mories, we were knew a collaboration was inevitable. After publishing that first track, we wanted to see what else was possible.
Curiosity got the better of us and the result of our efforts is Negative volume.
Subterráneo Heavy: What’s the concept behind Negative volume, why did you choose that name?
DIS: We were at a WILL HAVEN show with our friends in BOSSK when one remarked that modern ‘volume’ just wasn’t the same as that created by the likes of WILL HAVEN and bands of years gone, and that music didn’t feel ‘negative’ or pose a genuine threat anymore. The collaboration with GNAW THEIR TONGUES goes some way towards addressing that issue.
Subterráneo Heavy: Musically you have a lot in common, but how has the composition process been? I mean, everyone has taken care of everything (vocals, drums, guitars…) or each one had a specific task? For example, DIS composing the guitars parts while GTT handle the drums or the noises… Currently, in NV it’s very difficult to determine when GNAW THEIR TONGUES finish and DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT begins. While I was listening the album I was thinking «this parts sound more to GNAW THEIR TONGUES, and the next one to DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT», but most of time my thoughts were «who’s playing right now?».
DIS: There was no rule book so to speak. One might suggest that a seamless overlap is a fundamental component of an effective collaboration, who knows.
Subterráneo Heavy: Where does this fascination about serial killers come from? Your debut album, Hatred for mankind was infested with samplers of serial killers talking about their crimes (I know that WidowMaker has samplers too, but not so many). That «passion» about serial killers it’s something you have in common with GTT, who has named various EPs with murderer’s names. That fascination continues in «Visceral repulsion» were, for example we can hear Michael Ross speaking about his crimes, and I suppose there’s more killers featured all along Negative Volume.
DIS: There is something genuine in portraying matters from the horses’ mouth; a necessary evil. Once upon a time, one of us worked on death row in Texas. DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT is essentially an exorcism of its influences and in utilising original sampling, it goes some way to layering that feeling of fear and atrocity in the music.
Subterráneo Heavy: It’s a short album, compared to what you and GTT usually offer. Those five songs were all the material you created, or are there more songs that didn’t make the cut? Could we maybe see more collaborations in the future?
DIS: Both counter parties were very selective and there are around four tracks that we did not utilise on the collaboration.
Subterráneo Heavy: While I’m writing this, you’ll be already touring with GTT, so how’s the tour been so far, how’s been people’s reaction to the new material?
DIS: Mories and Eric are great guys with a penchant for creating some nasty music. As for reaction, it was good to catch up with some old friends. The set comprised a mixture of old and new material, and the reaction, although irrelevant, appeared positive on the whole.
Subterráneo Heavy: Besides the touring with GTT, I think that you will be doing more dates in Europe and USA (this one with PRIMITIVE MAN), am I right?
DIS: We are. Our friends in PRIMITIVE MAN are a hard working and smoking band, we have our work cut out. If this visit to the US is anything like out tour with COUGH in 2012, there will be trail of carnage across the US. Of course CULT LEADER are also fucking rabid, and definitely worth checking out. We look forward to our next outing.
Subterráneo Heavy: After a 40 minute song and a collaboration album, what’s the next step for the band, maybe a new album in the vein of Hatred for mankind or can we expect the unexpectable? What goals have you set for the future?
DIS: We have a follow up to Hatred for Mankind that we have been working on. We’d like to tour a little more perhaps.
Subterráneo Heavy: Before we finish, you’re a band is very grateful with those band which had an influence on you, like DESULTORY, SOILENT GREEN or AUTOPSY, so could you recommend to our readers some bands, no matter if they are old or new, worth to be listened?
DIS: SLABDRAGGER have a new record. Listen to «Shrine of debauchery» from their new record. It has this strangely vicious, disgusting but noble feeling, fairly well summarised in the title come to think of it. Like opting to fight a bear, winning but with a few limbs ripped off in the process.
Subterráneo Heavy: Thanks for your time, anything you’d like to say to our readers?
DIS: Thanks – misery forever.