(c) 2006 Erin Fox
“I think the fall of Lucifer and the legends that surrounds that enigma is filled with beauty and despair. Just listen to Elend and you will understand what I mean. Elend is a tremendous inspiration for me… and Lucifer himself of course. Lucifer is the perfect role model since he stands for spiritual independence. He is the savior of the dark, and darkness is the only thing that allows you to explore your inner world… the unmarked areas of your soul. Darkness is the true light.” - Anders Jacobsson
Such duality is ever present in the astutely somber sounds of Draconian, a group that extracts every nuance of dark romanticism possible from the essence of musical darkness. Captivating fans with its highly impressive full-length effort, Arcane Rain Fell, the group has returned with a collection of earlier works, The Burning Halo, which provides a few treats for lovers of musical despair as well, including an homage to seventies doom rockers Pentagram. Melancholy rains as the group’s highly artistic spokesperson, singer Anders Jacobsson speaks with Doom Metal Interviews
Did you decide to release The Burning Halo in order to give fans a bit of something to keep them interested in between Arcane Rain Fell and the next album?
Well, that can be a good reason as well, but the main thing was because the fans wanted it from us. They’d wished for the release of these old songs for many years, so from the start The Burning Halo was meant as a mini CD with only old re-recorded tracks, but it ended up somewhat different. We wanted to give the fans an idea where we stand to day also. We had already come up with ideas for some new songs so we decided to give the album a ‘past and present’ direction.
How did you go about choosing what covers would be on this release?
Well, three cover where chosen; first “Gothic” by Paradise Lost but there were some troubles and everything got delayed so we had to cut that out from the CD, unfortunately. The other two are songs from the early seventies, and when it comes to Pentagram its Johan’s all time favorite band and we though also that it would be cool putting something quite different on the album. The Ekseption song is also from Johan’s suggestion. He grew up with that band since his parent listened to them, and this particular song stuck. It’s a rather dark and passionate song with a lot of drama into it, so it really suited wearing a gothic/doom alteration. I think the result is quite good.
The Pentagram cover in particular seems to be something that’s a very different sound from the band. Will we be hearing more of this type of sound from Draconian in the future?
I don’t think so, really. I think this was a one time thing. But who knows? Personally I would like to cover more emotional songs from the early seventies, if we ever do it again. Bands like King Crimson, Uriah Heep, The Moody Blues and so on.
“Serenade of Sorrow”, “Morningstar” and “The Gothic Embrace” are all tracks from your 1999 demo, The Closed Eyes of Paradise. What is it about these tracks that made you want to go in and redo them for this effort? Did you feel that these tracks were something that really needed to be shared with every Draconian fan?
Yes, we felt it was necessary. Personally, I have wanted this for years. We have a lot of old songs that deserve attention - both from the fans and ourselves.
“The Dying” is a sprawling, epic track. How did this particular cut come about?
That was the first song we created after the release of Arcane Rain Fell. We performed it live on Summer Breeze 2005 and I think it’s the best song of the album because it contains everything Draconian is about; every sound and emotion Draconian is founded on. The structure was made by Johan and I remember that we later worked together on the rehearsals… putting the final touch to it. I think that kind of teamwork is the best.
Looking forward, will you be striving to achieve a balance of the longer, epic doom tracks with the shorter, groovier material as evidenced on The Burning Halo?
I have no idea really, but it sounds like a good idea. I think it’s important to have a few easygoing tracks as well. Otherwise, we would be more like a funeral doom band.
Do you feel camaraderie with the Finnish doom scene, or are you instead trying to carve out a particular niche for Swedish doom bands in general?
I don’t think the Finnish doom scene has inspired us much at tall, even though we love it. Bands like Shape of Despair are magnificent, but our main influence comes from the British doom scene in the beginning of the 90’s. We have spiced it up with a romantic twist similar to bands like early Theatre of Tragedy, Dismal Euphony and Tristania. I think this mixture works very well… and in the middle of all this we try to make our own thing.
“She Dies” is a very romantically-oriented track. Mixing romanticism with such depressive sounds is certainly an approach that leads to highly emotional music. How do you think fans react to the melding of romanticism with depression?
Yeah. That’s what I like about this music – the immense mixture of romanticism, death and beauty. I think the fans thrive on this, because this is what most Draconian fans like about us, and the romantic aspect of our sound, I think it’s our strongest characteristic. Take a song like “Death, Come Near Me” for example - It has meant a lot to people and that is our reward. Combining these things has always been our fortune, both in the past and the present.
Tell us about the recently scheduled tour with Battlelore that was subsequently canceled. How did that end up taking place and what are your thoughts on the entire situation?
We are really disappointed. The whole thing was poorly planned and the booking agency is known for their screw-ups. Everything was confirmed and then it just got cancelled from out of the blue. Many fans got frustrated… it was just a mess. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Its bad luck, one thing after the other.
Do you intend to embark on a tour soon or have you set your sights on the next album?
We have some plans and offers but it’s too soon to say anything about it. But I am quite the fans will see a lot more of Draconian in 2007.
Where will the music of Draconian lead us next?
You can expect absolute despair and romantic hopelessness as usual… there’s so much beauty hiding in all these ominous things. We have one goal at the moment and that is to create a great new album - an album that will darken the sun until the next millennium. I guess we have some work to do!