Jessica Charlettte Crowe interviews elusive Liverpool extreme metal collective Dragged Into Sunlight for Louder Than War.
The name says it all, this isn’t a bunch of laugh a minute japesters. No. Anyone who’s heard Dragged into Sunlight’s second full length offering ‘Widowmaker’, parts of which were recorded in the Palace of Skulls in the Czech Republic, will understand their abhorrence for the great and good in this world. They dwell in the nebulous shadows, crafting nihilistic doom epics such as ‘Boiled Angel’ and ‘Terminal Aggressor’. Clearly a flair for the gloomy, then. The UK’s sludge metal quartet are comprised of members of some well established metal bands, but they choose to hide their identities behind hessian shrouds, dry ice and one letter only names. Live, they shift about behind church candles in cassocks, the skull of a wretched horned creature taking centre stage. We managed to track one sinister member down, known only as ‘The Vocalist’. Can we unfurl the shroud to reveal the identity of one of the UK’s most visceral and quite frankly, nightmarish band? Nope, he’s having none of it…
Louder Than War: You probably get asked this a lot, but how did you develop the band name? It seems aptly mysterious.
Dragged Into Sunlight: We do. There are varying theories that have been presented as concepts but, as with our music, it is for the individual to decide what works for them and what they understand Dragged Into Sunlight to be. The name carries with it the vicious persona portrayed throughout each creation, blackened tentacles of relentless hatred and a lashing of every extremity.
What was the concept behind Dragged Into Sunlight – I was reading it was just a studio project at first?
Dragged Into Sunlight began as a vehicle for collective frustrations. At its outset, Dragged Into Sunlight was conceived into an extreme music scene overflowing with ego through image and lacking integrity. Dragged Into Sunlight will always present a case to the contrary. As a completely selfish endeavour, it is what it is, if you do not approve, that is of no concern to us, such an approach renders outside opinion virtually worthless. Dragged Into Sunlight is a collective and one which shares a mentality, somewhat endangered in today’s extreme music scene. It is this conceptual foundation which sees Dragged Into Sunlight continue to create music on terms and with a precedent of its own making.
You’re purposefully secretive – how do you think that contrasts with your contemporaries (forever tweeting, facebooking, instagramming etc)?
Simple. We wish to keep our lives separate. Music should not concern identity or image. Long gone are the days when extreme music carried with it the ethic it once had. It is more often that not, diluted. Dragged Into Sunlight is considered a craft by all of those involved. There is very little that remains unexploited given society’s Internet addictions. Dragged Into Sunlight offer an integrity which other artists often cheapen. Given the nature of our endeavour, interaction is by no means a necessity. There are so few secrecies left in contemporary society, those that remain carry an inherent value.
Does it bother you that people are so curious about who you are? At the Birthday’s gig we were all discussing whether you actually do something as mundane as eat breakfast.
Save for fanciful speculation, no. There are certainly more fruitful efforts to be had. Nevertheless, we are human and breakfast is a meal entertained by some, it varies.
How do you think the last batch of tour dates went? I saw you at Birthday’s and it was mind blowing. There really seemed to be a lot of anticipation for the live shows.
Thanks. It was an honour to tour with our good friends in Bossk. It was good to get out in the UK again. We hope to spend more time in Europe over the coming years, particularly with the fruition of Widowmaker in to a live setting.
How do you go about recording material? I imagine you all hunched in a cave by the sea, lit by candlelight and using archaic recording devices. (Not to mention the Palace of Skulls!)
We congregate and rinse the continuum of aggression which comes very naturally to all of those involved. There is very obvious mandate for ideas, influence and vision. Those involved share a collective mindset and consequently, our approach is unitary. We think outside the box each time. We usually record through concentrated studio sessions contributing to the intensity of the recorded sound whereby the sole outlet is music and an exorcism of sorts.
Do you still all live miles apart from one another? How does this affect writing new material?
Distance and time are a hindrance. Unlike the many musicians in today’s music scene, Dragged Into Sunlight does not submit to the Internet as a necessity in the creative process. It is not possible to feel every note unless you physically see every note and appreciate the ethic underlying every note, that, to us, is extreme music and an indispensable component. Stubborn or simply carved from an extinct generation, it is what it is. To commit to an art form, you have to live every moment. The level of focus maintained conveys itself on record in a far more organic manner than robotic riffs circulated between members online.
What’s next for the band after all these festival dates?
Writing and recording. We have a number of releases in the recording process which we anticipate will see the light of day in due course.
By the way, what did you have for breakfast?
Dragged Into Sunlight have the following dates lined up:
Fri 30.08.13 ArcTanGent Festival, Day Of Damnation, Bristol, UK.
Sat 31.08.13 Asylum 2, Birmingham, UK
Fri 20.09.13 Incubate Festival, 013 Tilburg, Holland
All words by Jessica Charlotte-Crowe. More writing by Jessica can be found in her Louder Than War author’s archive.