An Interview With Darkest Hour
We spoke to Darkest Hour ahead of their South African tour about what drives them 20 years on!
by Daniel McCaughtry Posted: 2015/11/16
Darkest Hour are fucking coming to our country and to get you ready for what is going to be an epic night of mayhem and the incredible Undoing Ruin in it's entirety we interviewed them ahead of their adventure into South Africa!
Welcome to South Africa! Well, not yet but it’s soon! To start off, what are you expecting from the South African crowd?
Not going to lie here. You guys kind of have a reputation for bringing the fucking party! All of our friends who have toured down there have the time of their lives and always comment on the receptive and rowdy crowd. This sounds like our type of people so we can wait to get down to your country and make some new friends!
Other than the show, what are you most excited about to experience in our country?
One of the main reason we do this (travel around the world and rock) is to meet new friends, try new foods, see new nature, experience new culture. Not only are we musicians but we are also professional tourists and we love to sightsee. Better believe you will see Darkest Hour out on your streets.
One of the main things that stand out for me is how your sound has always changed and developed over your 20 years, how difficult has it been to maintain your standards from a fresh approach?
With every album it gets a little tougher. Surviving the game is one thing but doing so with your artistic and creative integrity intact is a whole other animal. We’ve been driven from day one and have been fortunate to have worked with some great people over the years, believe it, this helps.
Have the intentions you had once you started out ever changed?
To be remembered has always been the goal. Do something worthwhile, you know, leave a mark somehow. At the same time you don’t just want to just change for the same, you want to grow as a person, as an artist, and as a collective band. One thing that has remained true to our core is our commitment to performing live and pushing ourselves creatively.
You’ve recently acquired two new members, would you care to tell us a little about them?
While they are both seasoned musicians this is our Rhythm sections first album. Bassist Aaron Deal who is a long-time friend of mine and supporter of the band joined on bass first. He brought a new level of musicality, maturity, and overall warlock level understanding of heavy metal to the band. In compliment to that our new drummer Travis Orbin completely changed the way we understood practicing and he has taken the bands whole playing to a level none of us can image. It’s safe to say this is the most on fire line up of Darkest Hour ever and should not be missed live, that’s for sure.
With the evolution of your sound, does it pose any sort of a challenge to return to Undoing Ruin?
Actually, it’s the opposite. These songs feel like home and with our new found understanding of rehearsal and musicality in general it feels nice to finally give these songs the live treatment they deserve. When that album came out the band was not where it is today playing wise etc. I mean you can see that on YouTube if you want, the videos are all there. We do the album justice and it feels good.
What are the reasons behind choosing Undoing Ruin as the album to cover in full?
Well, it’s our 20th year and we felt like we needed to do something really special. Most bands won’t go revisit their old catalog for fear of looking old or washed up or something. But these songs fit right into our discography, I mean they sit great along songs that were written 10 years later. Playing Undoin Ruin was something the fans started requesting years ago and well this tour gave us the opportunity to give them what they want. So we’ve put together a set that not only is Undoing Ruin but also hits from our entire catalog. It’s our longest set ever and like I said the band has been nailing it!
After such a lengthy, successful career what are the other things you do as a band to escape from your routine?
Actually in some ways we thrive on routine. Once we get in a grove we are at our best. We like to rehearse and have a pretty specific pre-show ritual. Other than that though, we are all about adventure. When it comes to live outside of rock we prefer the more spontaneous outlook but when we’re talking about jams we like to be focused, and like I said, ritualistic about it.
Because we always want to know, who to you are some of the best acts in the world at the moment, new or old?
Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan, High On Fire, Slayer, The Haunted, Carcass, At the Gates, In Flames, The Crown, Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Scorpions, ACDC, Van Halen, The Black Dahlia Murder, Machine Head, Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Van Halen.
Can Joburg and Cape Town expect any of your art projects while on tour?
Oh yeah we like to draw, paint, piss, shit, all over the place so there will be no shortage of performance and physical art pieces left by the band all over, it’s what we do create, even if it’s create a mess!
You’ve almost done everything that a band, starting from the bottom, can do on the international scene. Do you feel as though you’ve reached your peak or as though you have more to offer the world?
Nah, there is always a branch to reach for, something to jump up to, I’m not sure I want to know what it feels like to reach a peak, I think I might rather strive my whole life, it’s nice, keeps you hungry and also keeps your art gutter. In the end most of what’s left of us when we are gone will be poured into these songs and It would be a shame to dilute that with a feeling of complete accomplishment.
Lastly, what keeps you hungry to continue creating and playing music that so many people love?
I think it’s just an addiction to create, express. It feels there is no way to put into words how creating this music is just us being, you know on some Buddhist shit – but I guess I just sort of did. Hope that makes sense. This is just us being us, and we are coming your way this Dec! See ya in the pit!
Check out the event here