Interview: Dragged Into SunlightWritten by Kenny Leys
Dragged Into Sunlight hail from the underground of the UK extreme metal scene, maybe they even are their own unique scene. Grim, dark sound and aesthetics are the thriving force in this arcane outfit that is usually disguised from the outside by balaclavas and almost no communication to the world outside. Spitting their bile upon the world through sonic annihilation and dissonant rhythms, Dragged Into Sunlight are men of words. But we at RMP got them to share some thoughts with us regarding their band and mission.
- In 2012 you released “Widowmaker”. The opening track “Part I” is an almost 15-minute-long track of ambient sounds and violins. Not really what many expected from Dragged Into Sunlight. How has the response been to the album and that track in particular?
Dragged Into Sunlight is without doubt, a selfish endeavour, and so, we create as we wish to create, drawing from such a vast pool of influences that the outcome is virtually unpredictable. If it is what those involved wish to listen to at a particular point in time, then so be it. “Widowmaker” is new flesh to an existing body of sound and as such Dragged Into Sunlight meanders and twists as it sees fit, without limitation. We definitely do not work within the confines of expectation. For what it is worth, however, “Widowmaker” was, in all, well received.
- Dragged Into Sunlight plays a heavy mixture of doom, sludge, black metal, even some drone sounds used now and then. Do you feel these certain genres to be the best to express your music?
Dragged Into Sunlight does not work within any particular genre. Genres in the most part are for those who wish to feel safe and unchallenged. Ultimately, a label or description, makes little difference, it is quality that underpins any description. Dragged Into Sunlight is an affliction born from negativity, best expressed as creativity without limitation, everything louder and everything heavier than everything else.
- Dragged Into Sunlight was formed in 2008 out of the ashes of other defunct bands, so far you released a demo and two albums, and the first month of 2015 has already passed. Any plans for new material?
There are always plans. New recordings will be forthcoming, when the time is right.
- In the video for “Boiled Angel”, one of the songs on the 2009 release “Hatred for Mankind”, there is a piece featuring Charles Manson. Why the choice for Charlie and what do you think about his music (folk) a part that not many know of Charlie?
Manson's words and demeanour resonated with the theme at that particular time and place. Manson, like any being, is able to create music, relatively good music even, the particular style is somewhat irrelevant however as any creative outlet is most definitely overshadowed by the media frenzy and the ideal of Manson as a cult serial killer. The travesty is in fact just that we live in a world where ideas and depictions are planted and derived from media coverage rather than facts and an accurate knowledge base, everything is based on perception and in contemporary society perception is easily manipulated for any number of reasons and to satisfy any number of agendas. There are without doubt, many facts relating to Charles Manson which will remain buried as they do not fit those ideals or agendas portrayed by the media, those unknowns serve only to create an inconsistent story and a perception other than that established by the media which focuses on the crimes alleged to have been committed. Very rarely is Manson acknowledged for academic commentary, and in fact “Boiled Angel” voices some of those theories directly from the horse's mouth so to speak.
- Dragged Into Sunlight hails from Liverpool, home to The Beatles. You guys have a different sound compared to them but do you consider them an influence as well? Or does the Liverpool-Beatles connection mean anything to you?
That is a common misconception. In fact, those involved in Dragged Into Sunlight are from all over the UK and congregate in Liverpool as a convenience. Both bands are however products of their time and marked by personal experience, hence there are both cultural and ideological differences. That said, the connection means very little unfortunately.
- The image of the band is quite dark and occult at times, you all wear balaclavas (ski masks) on stage and smoke is in abundance. Doesn't it get sweaty with the masks? And what does occult mean to you and how do you connect it with the band and its message?
Balaclavas are used in photographs only, suffice to say, there are no smiles for the camera. Dragged Into Sunlight appears in person on stage without any mask, so in answer your question, of course it gets sweaty, but not due to masking, just from exhaustion. The occult and supernatural are of no great significance, no one is bringing anything back to life here, there is no worship of deities or anomalous entities created from the imaginations of ancient sun-blasted shepherds and madmen. The notion of cult, family and following, a sense of devotion to a particular theme, manner and belonging are however of interest, and are connected to the band and any message.
- You recently did a European tour (November 2014), the biggest part of your shows takes place in your own territory of UK, how was the response of the European crowd?
There were two UK shows in London and Bristol at the outset of the November tour, both of which were busy with solid line ups including 11 Paranoias, Ghold and Hooded Menace. Shows such as Berlin, Prague and Utrecht in particular were highlights. Europe has some great crowds, mostly due to the ethic which is few and far in the UK unfortunately. The underground extreme music scene and thriving DIY ethic which subsists, as well as some truly exceptional promoters, always provide for a good experience during performances in Europe.
- Last summer you also toured Japan for the first time, a country that has quite different cultural standards opposed to our European customs. How was the experience?
Japan is a very different culture. Politeness is inbuilt and extreme music appeared supressed to such an extent that it became a nocturnal activity. Like any pressure, it builds up, and requires a release. In Japan, the latter was best demonstrated by the opening bands, who offered a level of aggression and exertion that UK bands would be pushed to deliver on any day. The experience was certainly enlightening. Bands to check out include our friends in Zothique, Coffins, Nola, Endon and Self-Deconstruction.
- I notice that in your merch section you also provide Dragged Into Sunlight skateboard decks, did members of the band skate or what's the connection with the band to make this merch?
Occasionally. Holy Mountain Printing was keen to pursue skate decks and the design by Comaworx worked well.
- The occult and satanic imagery has become approved by the masses, everyone knows of Anton Lavey and Aleister Crowley or ever Charles Manson and the Family. But where do you draw inspiration from? And what's your stance on cults and the occult?
It has been said before that the occult and religion hold little value. There are no abstract realities here, just one reality, the same reality which continues to suffocate and force feed on a daily basis. For the most part, that frustration results from the throes of everyday existence and continues to present the difficult decision as to whether problems are best resolved with a rational mind or a nail gun. Most days tend to favour the latter.
- Any last words you want to share with our readers?
Watching. Waiting. Visible.
- David Marote