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Dark Moor: Orchestral Heaviness with Spanish Roots

Interview with guitarist Enrik Garcia of Dark Moor by Vera in 2009

Dark Moor is an excellent Spanish symphonic power metal band which released its first album ‘Shadowland’ way back in 1999. The first years they were fronted by Elisa C. Martin, but from 2004’s self-titled release ‘Dark Moor’ on they have found a new identity with male vocalist Alfred Romero. Each album expanded their skills to combine heavy metal with orchestral arrangements. The provisional summit can be found on their seventh studio album ‘Autumnal’. Some questions were sent to sunny Spain and guitarist Enrik Garcia took the time to serve us with some proper information.

Your previous album ‘Tarot’ was released early 2007 and got huge feedback from the press. Together with entering a new label era I think you can look back on positive response?
Yes, ‘Tarot’ was really a very important step in our career. I think that was a great evolution in our own sound. The fans’ increase all over the world was significant.

In 2007 you went to South America for the first time. Well, this must have been a special experience we would like to know more about…
Yes, was... great! We could play one tour for the first time there. We received a lot of heat of the people, really passional. We are the first Spanish metal band to play in Brazil too, so we think that is important to open doors for our countries there. I remember specially the gig in Lima (Peru), with more than 1000 crazy people! Wow!! South America is great!

More exotic places to visit in 2008: Canary Islands. How does a band end up there? Was it a good experience?
Yes we could play for the first time in Canary too. We were the headliner of two festivals, which was really funny and I remember that the food was really good hehe

Columbia got cancelled. Why?
Yes, we had to cancel not only Columbia; Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico too. It was due to the promoter of the Mexico gigs. We had one week full of gigs in Mexico and he cancelled any days before the travels for stupid reasons. Not professional... So we had to cancel other gigs because we could not cover the expenses. Really sad...

In August 2008 you went to Italy again to work with familiar producer Luigi Stefanini on the next album, the seventh full length called ‘Autumnal’. It must have been pretty familiar but what was special or different this time?
With Luigi each album is different! He is great! For us he is the best producer that we could have. I think that “Autumnal” sounds like a great production, great sound, similar to the best metal band in the world now. Normally this type of production takes one year or a lot of months... Luigi made it in 20 days for us!! Incredible!

Didn’t you use a real orchestra this time, or am I wrong?
All the instruments’ sounds from the orchestra are real. We also used any synthetic effects but not too much.

Dark Moor’s music remains orchestral and overwhelming while you are a four piece band. Who played the keyboards for example on the record?
There are no keyboards in Dark Moor, only orchestra. For our music the orchestra is one fundamental pillar, so we try to have the best for the recording. In Dark Moor the orchestra not is a support, it is one instrument more, like the guitar, the bass or the drums. In reality, it is a lot of instruments more: 1º violins, 2º violins, viola, cello, horns, trumpet, trombone, timpani, flute, oboe, etc

There are some tiny little new elements I would like to have your comments on, as creator:
- the Celtic influences in ‘Phantom Queen’:
Yes this song is inspirated by the Legend of Morrigan, so we needed Celtic sounds. It is not the first time that we used this, but it is true that it’s not very usually in Dark Moor. We liked it, so it is possible that we will use it more in next works.

- the Arabian influences in ‘When The Sun Is Gone’:
The Arabian influences are usually in Spanish music. We are Spanish hehe...
This song talks of the Tuareg People, so Arabian sounds were necessary.

- the mystical and gothic approach in ‘The Enchanted Forest’:
Yes we have gothic influences and in this song these are clear. Personally, I love this song!

‘Tarot’ was a concept album, but what about the lyrical theme this time? The album cover breathes an atmosphere of autumn… any particular inspiration from that season this time?
Not the same way as on ‘Tarot’. In ‘Autumnal’ we follow a general concept based in the Symbolism but each song is independent from the others, not like in ‘Tarot’ where the concept was clearer. The title and the cover is a Symbol for us...

The artwork was done by a person who’s new to me: the Canadian Yaga Kielb… any details?
She is really good; we know her works through internet and liked it a lot. She stamps in her works the mystical atmosphere that we wanted for this album.

Previous album added choirs and the guest appearance of Manda Ophuis, but this time we see soprano Itea Benedicto (Niobeth) as female guest vocalist. Can you tell a bit more about her background, how you got in contact with her and why you decided to join forces?
She is from Albacete (Spain). We have the luck to know her thanks to our drummer Robert, who has another project where she sang in the past. We listened to one demo and fell in love of her voice. She is just what we needed for ‘Autumnal’ in complement to Alfred’s voice.

‘Autumnal’ marks the switch of bass player. I know Dani Fernandez still plays on the record, but now Mario Garcia is the new guy. Why did Dani leave and can you tell a bit more about new bass attacker Mario?
He wanted to leave the band to focus more on his project. He spoke with us during the recordings about this. He is a very good friend and we didn’t have any problem. We wish him the best in the future. Mario Garcia is really incredible! He fits in the band very well. He plays with a style perfect for Dark Moor, more than Dani I think but both are great bass-players.

You made a clip for the song ‘On The Hill Of Dreams’. Can you tell a bit more about the making of? Where was it shot? Who was the director this time?
We recorded it in one day in Madrid. We hired a Studio for the recording. The concept was created for our Webmaster Diana, my wife. We are happy with the clip, as it is simple and elegant. The Director was Pepe from “Producciones en Marcha” one Spanish video company. He is a good friend of the band and he worked with us on the live clip “Wheel of Fortune” from ‘Tarot’ album.

What are the developing plans on making a DVD?
Yes, we want to record a live DVD, with all the strong features of Dark Moor you only can see in a live situation. But prepare a live DVD is really expesive for us, at the moment, because we’d like to play with a real orchestra on stage. Unfortunately not so easy…

I found out that you will play some gigs in France pretty soon. What are the expectations and status of Dark Moor in France?
We have played in France any years ago, each time that we go, we see more people at our concerts and more fans. I think that France loves Dark Moor, and we love France 

Any other plans to hit the road supporting ‘Autumnal’?
We will begin in France and after that we play any concerts in Spain. In the summertime we hope to play some Festivals in Europe. After that it is very possible that we go to South America. This year is possible that we have a tour in UK too.

Last years I missed a proper European tour. What are the reasons and can we hope for this to come true soon?
Not is easy, since it is very expensive for us to enter an important tour. But we are trying to work with a young promoter to play all over Europe. We have a very good memory on our gig in Brussels any years ago with After Forever tour...

What were the highlights of gigging for Dark Moor until now, maybe with a bit smooth special happenings?
There are lots of good moments. But I remember really good concert that we played in a little pub in France for no more than 100 people, it was incredible, the people enjoyed with us a lot, and we with them. We sold all the merchandise in one night! Other funny moment was in Peru... one young fan could speak with us and said totally moved: “You really exist! Not one illusion in my head!”

And to occlude: what are – in the eyes of the creators – the biggest differences between ‘Tarot’ and ‘Autumnal’?
Not too many differences... I think that there is an evolution in our music. Perhaps the Orchestra is more present in the music since it is our signature! And personally I think that Alfred sang the best album of his career!

Geplaatst door Vera op donderdag 09 juli 2009 - 16:06:12
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