DARKWATER - Feeling Alive
March 12, 2019, a year ago
Scratching that nine year itch. Sweden melodic progressive metal masters are alive and well after a nine year hiatus with their new and third album Human, out now on Ulterium Records. Due to family commitments, the band took a long break, but have returned and are here to stay. Vocalist Henrik Båth talked to BraveWords about Human, being gone for so long, and what’s in store for the future.
BraveWords: First off welcome back! Nine years between albums, why such a long delay between releases?
Henrik: “Thank you! Yes I guess it's been a while (laughs). Well the main reason is that some of us have prioritized our family life before the music for a few years. I became a father a few years back and having kids really put things in perspective, so I wanted to put my focus on them as much as possible when they were young. And later on both Simon (Andersson, bassist) and Tobias (Enbert, drummer) also became fathers so I guess it's just been that period in life.”
BraveWords: Were you afraid that maybe the fans forgot about you guys? Did you feel an added pressure to make sure you put out a high-quality album because of the long time between records?
Henrik: “Well I can't say that we were actually. I guess we should have been but we've had so many people asking how things were going all the time during this long period so we knew they were out there waiting. And that is just amazing, to know that people have that kind of patience waiting for new music from us, it's felt really good. Of course we knew it was important that we released something really good being away this long but it has never been any kind of negative pressure for us. It has only driven us to do our best.”
BraveWords: The first single/video was “Alive (Part II)” and I love music videos that tell a story. First off, why choose this track to be the opening statement for the listener and second please explain the concept behind this video where it seems like this man and woman are struggling to get through their everyday life?
Henrik: “Yeah we really wanted to do a short movie kind of thing, and to really do something special. Choosing ‘Alive’ for the video was quite obvious for us all actually. We all felt that song contained all the important parts for making a good video. It's very dynamic and has a bit of epic feeling to it. It contains the heaviness but is at the same time extremely melodic. We all feel the chorus of that song is definitely one of the best on the album. And it also worked well to build a story around it lyric wise.
“And you are right about the concept behind it. The lyrics of the song is about appreciation of what we have in life, to really make the best of it. And many times we forget about everything that's good in our lives and only focuses on the bad and I think we need to change that. And that can be a really difficult thing for many people, but still it is very important. So the video actually shows two people struggling with their lives and making some rather bad decisions, or at least thinking of doing them, instead of focusing on all the good things they have. And we wanted to make the viewer able to interpret the ending of the video in their own way, so you can have both a dark ending and a positive one depending on your view on it. We wanted to make sure people actually took a moment and thought about these things so that is also one of the reasons we did a quite dark video with lots of emotions that really affects the viewer.”
BraveWords: Human has such a full sound to it – every instrument sounds crystal clear – what was it like to work with Jacob Hansen?
Henrik: “It was a wonderful experience, he is so talented and a pro at what he does. He has a quite rare expertise regarding hearing how things work together and he immediately hears how he shall treat the small details in the music, we were very impressed with that. And he’s a great guy to work with, very responsive to what we were after. He’s definitely the best we’ve ever worked with.”
BraveWords: The cover art has a very solemn feel to it, but also very entrancing. What was the idea behind the artwork?
Henrik: “We always have the album title ready before starting with the album cover, so we wanted something that really fitted the title. And also something that suited the music on the album. So Markus (Sigfridsson, guitarist), who has done all the artwork for the album, actually came up with this idea of a woman looking down at the earth. It somehow symbolizes that we as humans need to remind ourselves about who we are and how we treat each other. We sometimes need to reflect about how we, as human kind, can work together regardless of all the negative things happening all around us, between us and even within us.”
BraveWords: Human seems to have a theme of how people have to deal with life situations and how to adapt to an ever-changing world and I feel it’s introspective and philosophical. Would you agree? What was the inspiration behind Human?
Henrik: “Yes that's a good way of putting it. I think the inspiration comes from everything that's been happening around us these last few years. We didn't have a theme when we started writing the lyrics for the album so it's not really a concept album, but there's an underlying story throughout about how we are as humans in this world. And I guess subconsciously we were all affected by everything around us when we wrote the lyrics and we found a common theme in all of them.”
BraveWords: Tough question, but are there any particular songs that stand out to you?
Henrik: Tough question indeed. All songs have things in them that makes each and every one special to me, but if I had to choose one it would be ‘Alive’. Probably mostly because we've worked so hard on the music video for that one, and that the lyrics are important.”
BraveWords: Clocking it at 76 minutes, was there any trepidation to make an album so long in length in this digital age?
Henrik: “No I can't say that there were. It's the same regarding the length of the songs, we don't focus on that at all when we write. We just want to write as good songs as we possibly can and make the flow in the song feel natural. So whether it ends up as a three minute song or a ten minute song doesn't really matter. And I think most people appreciate a lengthy album, as long as there aren't any filler songs (laughs), and I don't think we have that.”
BraveWords: Any plans to tour and also will we have to wait another 9 years for the next Darkwater opus?
Henrik: “We'd love to get out and play as much as possible, we are in contact with some different festivals so we'll see what happens. It's not gonna be another 9 years that's for sure. We are extremely happy to be back and we will stay here.”