Dreamshade 26/02/2011

The  Swiss metallars DREAMSHADE  have recently released their new album, ‘What Silence Hides’, through Spinefarm Records. According to a press release, the CD "sits loosely under the 'melodic death metal' banner, a genre that continues to be developed by DREAMSHADE's high-profile labelmates Children Of Bodom. But DREAMSHADE succeed in bringing modern elements to the traditions of the music — the result being a fresh blend of melodic death and progressive metal." The band consists of six uniquely talented youngsters, Lugano's DREAMSHADE was formed in 2006 by guitarists Rocco and Fella. Their self-financed EP ‘To The Edge Of Reality’, released in 2008, gained an excellent response around the globe and during the last two years the band has played several big European summer festivals.


The band's debut album ‘What Silence Hides’  was recorded at Cave Studios in Switzerland. It was mixed at Studio Fredman in Sweden and mastered by the legendary George Marino at Sterling Sound in New York. The 10 tracks featured on ‘What Silence Hides’ are tightly arranged and expertly played, ranging from the genuinely melodic through to no-holds-barred, full-tilt fare. Strong haunting melodies, powerful high-tech rhythms, atmospheric, emotional keyboards, soaring guitar hooks and aggressive screams and howls, it's all here to be savoured and enjoyed, the whole thing wrapped up in the powerful artwork of Colin Marks from Rain Song Design.



In order to get to know this band a little better, we tracked down Fella (Guitar), Iko (Vocals), Rawi (Keyboards) and Rocco (Guitar) to answer some questions. Here you can read what they had to say to the readers of Metal-Experience.com


Could you start this interview off with a short introduction of the band? How did you guys get together and where does the bandname come from? 


Fella: The whole project started back in 2006. Me and Rocco (guitar) were schoolmates and used to play together in a punk rock band something like two years before, but he quit because wanted to spend his time learning to play metal. One day he called me after a long year studying music and proposed me to put our musical ideas together. We started writing new material to find the right sound for us and quite soon Rawi (keys) and Ivan (bass) joined the band. The four of us started having a very great feeling working together, so we wrote something like 20 songs before the arrival of our singer Iko. He really had what we required and we welcomed him as soon as we heard him screaming. In 2008 we decided to select the best 5 songs we had and we hit the studio to record an EP.  We spent more than one year searching for the right drummer, as no one was technically able to play our songs. So we asked Sera (drums) to be the session drummer for our recordings. He has always been known in the music scene of our area for being one of the greatest drummers. He learned the 5 songs very quickly and had the feeling that this project would work, so he joined the band.


The bandname came out somehow in 2007. We were in our rehearsal room and had a few beers, you know... we were kids and not able to hold our drinks! Then we spat out some ideas to represent the meaning of this band. We needed some words to express what this band means to us so the word "Dream" came out, but a dream is something you only live when you are sleeping so we wanted our bandname to express what remains of our dreams, which actually is their shades...


How did you launch into writing material for your album ‘What Silence Hides’ and how much time did you spend on creating the songs?  


Fella: Well, actually it was a bit hard because first we had to technically evolve ourselves and then write songs that express our emotions at their best. The songs on ‘What Silence Hides’ are very different and way more mature than the ones on our first EP. We took inspiration from many kinds of music outside metal and then turned what we learned into our songs, that's why our album sounds new and we believe it's a modern way to write melodic death metal. At the beginning it was a little bit complicated to write our material and it took something like two months to write the title track of this album, because we had to understand which way to follow to write the rest of the tracks. Usually we write many songs at the same time, some get finished before others.


Which approach did you choose to create this album? 


Fella: We had a really great feeling when we started writing material for this album, we wrote every single riff we created in our minds, even if it was too hard to play! In those cases we forced ourselves to learn them. It happened to me many times that I woke up at night and wrote down the riff I was dreaming. When we relized we had tons of complete riffs, we just made a strict selection and got rid of the "normal" ones, I mean those which a musician tags as "not bad" or "nothing special".



How can we imagine you worked on these songs? What's the typical writing process like for Dreamshade? For example, did someone write all of the material by himself or was it more of a group process? 


Fella: Usually, me and Rocco write all the music parts: guitars, bass, keys and drums. Then everyone re-arranges his lines as he prefers. Iko wrote all the lyrics on this record and sometimes I would meet with him to write some parts together, like for example the songs "Only Memories Remain" and "DeGeneration". We study every song at home by ourselves and then we play them all together in our rehearsal room. Nothing more than this.


What were the goals you had in mind when you started to record ‘What Silence Hides’, any elements you definitely wanted to include on the album? 


Fella: The first of our goals was to record the album very professionally so we did everything to play its songs as well as we could. Then we wanted it to sound really modern and powerful so we put Fredrik Nordström in charge of mixing the whole record. We are very satisfied with our product and we really hope that people will enjoy this album.


Could you please describe the implications of the title ‘What Silence Hides’, what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it? 


Iko: It’s not easy to explain… Daily, we face situations and sensations that may be hard to express with words, and the only way to understand them is with gestures and emotions. Words can sometimes be constraining and only with silence and our deepest feelings we can understand each other. But that’s just a rough explanation, all the rest can be understood by reading the lyrics.


About the lyrics, can you give us a little background about the songs on the album, is there a story behind them? 


Iko: Glad you've asked me this. I'm particularly happy with the content and themes of WSH's lyrics. I really put myself and my feelings into this record; in fact through all the songs I developed the concept of existence, which really affects and torments me every single day, splitting the whole album in two distinctive sides: positive and negative experiences. I'm a human being made of emotions and sensations that I have to face every day. Sometimes they've turned into the positive side, where you may find: love, happiness, success, friendship; of course on the other side you'll find bad and sad stuff: solitude, the loss of a loved one, hate, anger, sadness and so on...

Let's say this is kind of a concept album.


How important is it to you that people pay attention to the lyrics apart from listening to the music? 


Iko: It's one of the things I care about the most! Lyrics make a song as well as the instrumental parts. I follow many bands in the scene and absolutely feel incomplete if I cannot reach the whole meaning of a song, and I believe that a relevant part of it is hidden in the lyrics' contents. During a live performance I need to share our songs with the crowd, letting them sing along with me!


If someone was only going to read the lyrics and not listen to the music, what would you hope they would take from them? 


Iko: If they did that they would probably think that we are and indie-pop band! Just kidding.. I hope they can find themselves in my words and my feelings. For example I'm pretty sure that if you read the whole lyrics you'd find out that several of the things I write about already happened to you. In WSH I wrote about daily situations.



Who produced the new album, and what made him the perfect man for Dreamshade? Can you tell me a little more about him? 


Rocco: Our album was produced by Etan Genini of BlackAce. He is a smart young guy who mainly manages pop/rock artists and can live from his music business. He's the owner of Cave Studios, the place we went to record ‘What Silence Hides’. He got interested in our music already in 2008 and when he discovered we were about to finish the songs for this record he called me. He loved the way we were working and believed our band may go far, so he offered to work for us. What I really like about him is that he relies on us both concerning the business aspects and the artistic ones: he gave us the liberty to express ourselves without pretending to modify our songs or anything like that, he just gave us complete artistic freedom!


In which elements on the new album can one clearly hear his vision and ideas? 


Rocco: One can probably not hear his own ideas as the whole album was written by Dreamshade. The element which was influenced by his help is the sound quality!


How would you describe this album to someone that has never listened to the band before? 


Rocco: ‘What Silence Hides’ is probably what was missing and a lot of people were looking for in melodic death metal. Those who like Children Of Bodom, In Flames, Norther, Darkest Hour, Killswitch Engage, Misery Signals, and melodic death bands in general will probably enjoy our music. Our sound is the combination of new atmospheres and melodies with the power of the brutal riffs. It's not only about heavy refrains, technical shreds and purely agressive sound. There are several emotive arrangements in our music. Don't get me wrong, it is nothing to do with emo stuff. I just mean we are very melodic although we play with an in-your-face style.


Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics? What are you personally into? 


Rocco: Iko writes the lyrics, and he mainly expresses what he feels in his daily life. When Fella and me write music, we probably express what we'd like to hear at that moment. It's not easy at all to understand how to write music. It would be nice if it was. It depends on many things. Probably when you are very sad you are not able to come up with a happy riff, but you may find the perfect continuation for that song you didn't finish.. Anyway what motivates us to wite music is the music itself. Sometimes you discover a new band which plays exactly what you were looking for for ages, or it may astonish you with something completely new which you just can't stop listening to. Then you will live a lot of experiences and emotions with that music in your mind.. And the idea that you can make someone feel that way is just... so nice! It's like giving someone a present and seeing the joy in his eyes, which makes you feel way better than receiving it yourself. 


Could you respond to the following terms in just one word or sentence: 



Metal : is music. Also like pop, rock, classical, hip-hop, electronic and so on...

Underground : is waiting to be discovered.

Internet : a very important part of our lives in today's world.

Religion : the important is good not god.

Politics : something that divides people.

The Netherlands : NL = atlantis, under the sea level 

Switzerland: watches, cheese and chocolate 


What have been the highlights and low points throughout your career? 


Rocco: The first big success was to play at summer festivals. We played at Metal Camp 2008 in Slovenia, and that was just our 5th concert. We then also played at Metal Camp 2009 on the main stage, which was an awesome experience, we played at Summer Breeze 2009 in front of a very big crowd, but the strongest experience we lived was when we played with Amon Amarth in Zurich at Volkshaus. There were plenty of people and our booking agency came to check us out. Signing with Continental Concerts & Management and with Spinefarm Records was the first recognition of our hard work and the first step of our real career. But we aim for way more than that!


We are dealing with the low points right now as the band is taking so much effort that we have to work part-time, and this obviously has some consequences..


What is your opinion on the metal scene these days? Is there anything missing in the scene? 


Rawi: Metal in 2011 isn't as it was 20 years ago. It's much more difficult for a band to emerge. This comes from different factors. In music and therefore also in metal, practically everything was already invented while technology and experience bring many groups to become good bands with the potential to be successful. Also, the music business is now in crisis. Internet brings knowledge and helps bands to promote theirselves but cuts down discographic incomes. Music is always associated with fashion and if the fashion before was more towards rock music, with today's several different music genres, there is always less place for rock and metal music. The attitude today in rock music is different. For example in the '80s punk,  hardcore and metal where under the same "branch" of music. Today with all the different kinds of music it's much more difficult for a listener to follow all metal styles (this  obviously holds also for any other kind of music). So this increases the fashions in our metal scene but closes people's minds, which find it hard to listen to different kinds of music. What's missing in the scene? Dreamshade's upcoming album!


How would you describe your own music? 


Rawi: A pool of emotions. Melodic and romantic in some cases but also rough and brutal like every metal band has to be. Also technique is an advantage for a musician but this doesn't mean you know how to write and play good songs.



What makes Dreamshade different from the other bands out there? 


Rawi: Our music is tagged as melodic death metal and that's correct. If you listen to Dreamshade you can immediately find similarities and make comparisons with melodic death metal top acts such as Children Of Bodom, In Flames or Soilwork, but actually Dreamshade is something new. This isn't because we need to be necessarily a melodeath band but is probably because each band member listens to different things, we are all open minded, so everyone brings something different and new to the band. Our music is a combination of what we feel and like. So melodeath is where we started from when we were aged 14 but we try to put in everything that brings us great emotions. Bands I estimate under musical aspects and for their attitude are for example Protest the Hero, Architects and Misery Signals. I think bands like these deserve a great place in today's and the future's metal scene.


What can we expect from Dreamshade in the near future? Any touring plans? 


Rocco: we are willing to play at most festivals this year and to tour as soon as possible and as much as we can. Our booking agency is still looking for a good european tour for us. It's not easy as we haven’t released our album yet and many people don't know who we are yet. But we are ready to pack our things and leave, we just can't wait it! In the meanwhile we will play at our Release Party in our hometown and at Finnish Metal Expo 2011 in Helsinki. We have already been confirmed to other events for this year but nothing’s official yet.


Where do you see the band going within the next couple of years, and where do you see the band’s musical direction going for the next album? 


Rocco: I am very positive and I really think we will run a long way in the next two years. This year we will concentrate on live performances and we will write the songs for the next album, which is planned to be released in 2012. At that time we should have expanded our fanbase and I hope we will be able to cross the pacific. You know, we really believe in this project and we see it’s going very well. That's the minimum we pretend to achieve and the more we do, the better it is!


We want to be satisfied as much for this album as for the next one. We will not change our style and one will recognize our sound but of course we will evolve. We don't want to release a copy of ‘What Silence Hides’. Our songs are already very different from each other and we don't "follow" any tendencies, so if you like this album you will have no problems with the next one. I really love the new songs we already wrote and all the riffs Fella is inventing.


A last statement? 


Rocco: I'd like to thank you guys so much! It's very nice and it's been a pleasure that at Metal-experience someone got interested in our music, that you took the effort to share this with the world, and that you gave us the possibility to express ourselves with this interview. You guys rock!


To all the readers, I hope you got a good impression of our band and that you will listen to our music, just enjoy it, and share it with us at a concert!




Iko – Vocals

Fella – Guitar

Rocco – Guitar

Rawi – Keyboards

Ivan – Bass

Sera - Drums



2010 - What Silence Hides