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Comrade Aleks delves into the history and current status of Swedish band Dautha, formed by members of Griftegård and Wardenclyffe, with the help of guitarist Ola.

Interview with Dautha.
"It started with two Swedish bands I sincerely respect – Griftegård, who disbanded in 2015, and Wardenclyffe, who haven't released anything since the same year. Griftegård's spiritual leader Ola Blomkvist played in Wardenclyffe alongside Micael Zetterberg and Emil Åström, so they had common ground to found a new band together. However, they needed a proper vocalist and second guitarist to fulfill their vision: enter Lars Palmqvist of Heavy Metal outfit Last Temptation/Death Metal act Scar Symmetry and Erik Öquist from the murky band Projectu. You know the rest of this story - Dautha ("dead", or "death", in Old Norse) recorded the demo 'Den Förste' in 2016 and the striking debut full-length 'Brethren Of The Black Soil' in 2018. Well… this interview with Ola was, let's say, started more than a year ago, but was finished just a few days ago. I feel it's still an important text, as Dautha is alive and it seems we have a chance to hear something new from them sooner or later."

Dautha: Micael Zetterberg (drums), Lars Palmqvist (vocals), Erik Öquist (guitars), Ola Blomkvist (guitars), Emil Åström (bass).

Hi Ola! So, Dautha's debut 'Brethren Of The Black Soil' is out, and we'll discuss it for sure, but firstly please explain what happened with Griftegård? I remember that the band was going to visit the studio and record its second full-length but then it suddenly (for us) split up! What happened?

Greetings! We did indeed plan for a second GRIFTEGÅRD album before the split, but it was not like we were just about to enter the studio. A lot of things happened, and did not happen, which lead to the end of the band, and most of it is of private nature so I can not discuss much of it, I am sorry. All I feel comfortable saying is the split was amicable, no hard feelings and we are all still good friends.

Did you use some of the ideas you had for Griftegård in Dautha?

Save for one short lyrical passage, nothing originally intended for GRIFTEGÅRD was used. Even though both bands are of the traditional Doom mold they are two completely different entities with very different spirits, at least in my mind, so I rarely go plundering the carcass.

So, Dautha… You and the other Dautha members seem to have known each other a long time and you, Emil and Micael play in Wardenclyffe. But where did you find Erik and Lars? How did your paths cross?

Yes, Michael Zetterberg and I go a long way back and he is one of closest friends, and Emil Åström is a childhood friend of Michael and a good friend of mine as well. Erik Öquist and Lars Palmqvist happen to be colleges from work, actually. I guess it is quite unlikely to find two such talents at ones workplace, but our firm (we work as movers) are very liberal when it comes to getting time off and this attracts the musicians of Norrköping. Erik also plays in a fantastic, progressive and totally out there band called SLIMBULBOUS (remember where you read it first, a debut EP that will blow minds is out soon) that is led by another college, and close friend of mine, named Patrik Asklund.

How did you figure out the concept for the band? There are Forsaken Peddlers from France and your countrymen Apocalypse Orchestra who also have clear medieval references in both songs and lyrics. What did you find attractive in this topic?

I guess my romance with the middle ages is caused by the same psychological mechanism that makes most long back to their childhood. The middle ages, as well as our early years, seems like a dream to the majority of us, a state of innocence in which there were contrasts still and where mystery was all around. Also, God had yet to be slain, with all the pros and cons that follows. Another reason why I romanticize this age (in my own twisted way since I choose to highlight its misery, but if I didn't I might as well join a Folk Metal band) is because it is not now, but safely tucked into the past. What I mean is that its dark aspects can be consumed with the thrill that comes with, say, a horror movie - it is safe for me to revel in the Black Death from my point in time. And this is why I try to write my lyrics as human as possible, so that I, and the listeners can exercise our empathy together while diving into our small ballads. Or to put it another way, if possible I want to nail down the things in the human experience we share with the people of the past, because this is the most effective way of traveling in time currently at our disposal. Artists can do what physicists can not.

Dautha - 'Hodie Mihi Cras Tibi' (Official, 2018):

Did you discuss with Lars the idea of performing a song or two in Swedish? I humbly suppose that it would fit well the band's concept.

Well, we do have a passage with Swedish lyrics in our title track, a poem by German poet Andreas Gryphius (1616-1664) which we turned into a doomed psalm, of sorts. We have also discussed the possibility of doing two of our new songs in our native tongue also, and I'm certain we will. And I'm happy to learn we have your approval!

'Brethren Of The Black Soil' strikes with excellent down-tuned melodies and this tragic, truly medieval mood. How did you set the goal to reach a certain sound in the studio? How did you imagine a proper sound that could best describe the stories of these songs?

Thank you, and I'm glad you think we have succeeded in setting a fitting sound for the theme of the song! We knew we needed a warm sound, earthy/organic and dynamic and not compressed, sterile and massively over dubbed as is the case with many modern productions.And having a modern production for a medieval themed album would be quite contradictory, right? Right. Now, the trick to get the sound needed for the album was to chose the right producer, and we knew Kristian Karlsson of Hufvudstaden was the man to go to. Kristian is very receptive and knew intuitively what kind of sound we were after and he put his all into the album, to such a degree that it would not be wrong to call him the seventh member of Dautha. And yes, seventh member it is, as since the recording of the album Rickard Larsson, the man responsible for much of the elevated choir work on it, has joined us on a permanent basis. So next time we ask Kristian (cause there really is no one else we want to work with) to do a Dautha recording we will have even more integrated choir singing.

You are all experienced musicians, I guess that each has his own ambitions: do you easily come to agreement when you write songs in Dautha? How was the album born?

Believe it or not but there are no egos standing in the way for creativity in Dautha, it is all about team work through and through.

This said, up till now it is I that have come up with the basics for all songs, and these basics/riffs I record in a primitive music program and present to the others at rehearsals. Then the others add their parts, such as drums patterns, bass lines, guitar harmonies and solos, song and violin melodies. For the upcoming album this method will change though as Lars has stepped forward with lots of ideas and even whole songs, something I feel is fantastic and which makes me confident in saying that album number two will be an even more thoroughly collective effort.

As for the creative process behind Brethren... it involved me being a nuisance to my partner, and at times, to my band colleges, during the most intensive writing phase. I was absent-minded at home and I came to rehearsals with new stuff all the time, or with changes of old stuff, to the point where I started to annoy the others. Birth pangs, one could say, and necessary for the end result. In addition me and Lars battled it out between us when it came to lyrics versus song melodies. I tend to write the lyrics as finished poems, and naturally I want to preserve their original charge when they are adapted to Lars' vocal melodies, and this takes some re-writing at times. Thus Lars and I spent quite a few evenings together cutting through my poetic undergrowth until we had solid hooks for all tunes. And of course we made pre-recordings of all the material as we went along, until we found everything to be in order and ready for studio recording.

'In Between Two Floods' is the only song from the demo included on 'Brethren Of The Black Soil'. What's this song about? How did you compose it?

Yes, we wanted to include 'In Between Two Floods' because it fit conceptually right in with the rest on the album, and also for its balancing effect. It is after all a relatively up beat song by our standards and this helps the listener to stomach two of our more slow moving monoliths... Anyway, In Between Two Floods is, just like the title track, involved with the great plague of the 14th century, and one could say it is our little mundane take on Boccaccio's Decameron. With it we want to describe the kind of carnival mentality that was prevalent during this huge mass death in the European societies - the King, the church and all powers that were stood helpless in the face of it and all of a sudden nothing was true and everything, thus permitted. People left their labours, homes and even families and just indulged themselves in looting, drinking and fucking like there was no tomorrow, and for many the morning never came either. The song was conceived the same way as the others, with me coming up with the basics and the lyrics and the others doing their thing.

Dautha - 'In Between Two Floods' (2018):

Speaking about Dautha and Griftegård, both bands use some Christian symbolism and it seems that Doom metal is tightly bound to this creed. And Christianity isn't just suffering, redemption and sometimes bloodshed, it has hope, mercy, some sympathy and more. How do you see this alliance - Doom and Christian belief?

Doom and Christian symbolism is a perfect match in my book, of course, and this is not so strange since I was Bible schooled from a very early age by parents that were Jehovah's Witnesses. Thus, The Word, with all its rich symbolism and poetic language comes naturally to me when I write. Regarding my personal experience with Christianity I didn't see much of mercy and sympathy, and hope was tied to Armageddon in which Jesus would return to slaughter all who were not Jehovah's Witnesses. Doom through and through. This said, the JW's offer a twisted, perverted form of Christianity with almost all of the esoteric message removed in favor of controlling dogmas. True Christianity has a lot to offer everyone though, just like the root wisdom of all major religions have. Anyway, if someone reads this that still happens to be a doubting Thomas when it comes to the alliance of Doom Metal and Christianity I urge him or her to listen to FORSAKEN and repent.

What are Dautha's plans for 2019?

We have been trying out new material, mostly of Lars' making, by sending files between us-no rehearsals, sadly. The song writing process has been agonizingly slow but we'll arrive at a new album some time in the dark future for sure. In the mean time we hope to be able to offer our fans a split 7" with some suitable fellow Epic Doom or Heavy Metal act. We have also inked a deal with True Metal Merch that will print and distribute three different t-shirt and coffee mug designs of our making, and there might appear a hoodie through them also. Check them out here, stuff should be online soon - https://www.truemetalmerch.com/

Did you play any gigs after the album's release? It seems you weren't interested in the album's promotion despite the interest people demonstrate towards Dautha.

We did not play any gigs, simply because our private lives did not permit it. We are extremely grateful for all the interest people have showed in Dautha and, given the right circumstances in the future, we will try to make it up to those who still have an interest in seeing us live. This said, it is the creative process that is, and will remain, in focus, for us, not the pr part.

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Visit the Dautha bandpage.

Interviewed on 2019-11-23 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
Aesthetic Death
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