Interview
Artist: Gared Dirge (Lord Of The Lost)

Date: 11 October 2017

 

MM: The new album 'Swan Songs II' has just been released, how are you feeling now the songs are finally out there?
Gared:
Like with every release so far, itís a mix of joy to finally let our fans hear the songs in their entirety and excitement if/how they like it.  Luckily these days, with all the videos and song snippets released prior to the actual album release, we can already get a glimpse at how the new material is gonna be accepted beforehand. But yeah, nothing beats the amazing feeling of the album being acclaimed by the fans after its release.

MM: How would you compare 'Swan Songs II' to your earlier releases, how do you feel your sound has developed over this time to where you are today? 
Gared:
Well, the concept of Swan Songs I and II is completely different compared to our "regular" releases, obviously.  It features our most musical and orchestral side, both mellow and harsh, but far away from rock/metal drumming and heavily distorted guitars.  

Compared to Swan Songs I, which was rather mellow and melancholic, we decided to add a relatively heavy and dark touch on Swan Songs II.

MM: Although the music on 'Swan Songs II" is beautifully composed and almost romantic sounding, the lyrics are quite emotional and disturbing.  Where do you get the inspiration for the lyrical content of the songs? 
Gared:
Our singer, Chris, is the main lyricist.  From an outside view, I think he gets his inspiration everywhere from personal experiences to whatever he witnesses in his daily life, with a tad of social or religious criticism at times.  Not everything is based on true stories, though.  There are many fictional scenarios he comes up with and likes to write lyrics about as well.

MM: What draws you  to the darker side of the melody?  
Gared:
I guess that arises out of our individual tastes of music and general inspirations.  Weíve always felt music to be stronger and more intense when written in a minor key, thatís a mutual feeling within our band.

MM: Right from the start the band have always have always portrayed a strong visual image, both  in your live performance and on your videos.  How important to you  is the visual element to your music? 
Gared:
This question sort of answers itself already.  Weíve already done it that way and still keep on doing it, because it is in fact very important to us.  Itís not like the music wouldnít work without our visual approach, but we do like to underline it with how we look.  And thatís fairly different on each album.  We like to think of something new with every release, something that goes along with the respective album.  Of course on Swan Songs I and II and the accompanying tours, we refrained from using heavy makeup with all the body paint and whatever we usually like to do, because it just wouldnít fit the mood.

MM: You've released  3 videos to date from the new album, all very different but equally very appealing. Did you shoot all three at the same time or separately and how long did it take to shoot them?  Who came up with the ideas and do you have any plans of making any more videos from this album? 
Gared:
We actually shot four videos for this album, one of which yet being to be released.  Two lyric videos, two "real" videos. They were all shot within three days.  The shoots involved everything from scenes late at night, early in the morning before sunrise, heavy rain, very little sleep, a lot of running and hours of driving between many many different locations.  So it was three utterly intense days in fact, as you can possibly imagine.  But nonetheless (or because of that) weíre very happy with the outcome.  

The initial ideas usually come from us which we then work out together with our video director, the great team of Vdpictures (www.vdpictures.ch ).  I donít think weíre gonna do more videos for this album.  Everything has been said and done with these four.

 

MM: The new album features a couple of special guest co-writers, Scarlet Dorn and Martin Engler, how did they become  involved? 
Gared:
As for Martin Engler, he and his band Mono Inc. have been friends of ours since our early days, as weíve had our first big tour supporting them in 2011.  Weíve had several collaborations with them ever since.  Scarlet Dorn is a singer/songwriter that Chris discovered.  He offered her to produce an album with her and also wrote a couple of songs for that album.  In return, she came up with a song idea for us, which ended up to be "The Broken Ones".  We just recently released a video for that song.

MM: You have been very consistent over the years with the high quality of your releases and return with your latest album. What was the writing and recording process like for this album? 
Gared:
Itís so different from what we "normally" do and yet it feels natural to us.  A good song is a good song, no matter in which guise it ends up stylistically.  For me, the most interesting part was to re-arrange some of our older songs in a classical, orchestral way.  Itís so interesting to see a song that until then you only heard as a metal song become an epic, orchestral piece of music.  Some songs were even pretty hard to "convert", but I really enjoyed that challenge.

MM: 'Swan Songs II'  has been released in CD, LP, Box and Digital download, providing plenty of choice for your fans, but do you ever get the opportunity to listen to other artists and if so, which format do you prefer to  purchase music in for your own enjoyment and why? 
Gared:
I was born in 1987, right into the CD era.  So Iím not one of those vinyl enthusiasts.  I do get the idea of certain musical styles sounding best on vinyl and the size of its packaging providing plenty of space for an elaborate artwork, but that does not necessarily apply to the music and artists I listen to.  So Iím totally fine with CDs for artists Iím a real fan of and streaming services for music I "just like listening to".  I know itís a shame, but I donít really have much time to listen to music with the attention it deserves.  I have grown to appreciate silence a lot whenever I can, since Iím constantly surrounded by music and sound in terms of my job.

MM: In general I think more and more people are coming back to buying CDs and Vinyl  records.  What do you think about this revival of the vinyl record and CD? 
Gared:
I absolutely support that.  Nothing could ever replace holding a physical record medium in your hands, putting it into your playback device and listening to it while flicking through the artwork. Thatís what I really enjoy doing if (!) I find the time.  

I might be a bit nostalgic about that despite me and my generation being guilty for giving illegal download platforms with shitty-quality mp3s and nowadays streaming services a chance to rise.  

So itís all the more relieving and delightful to see that we return to appreciating this form of art not only acoustically but also physically/visually.

MM: The band  performed at a number of festivals over the Summer and recently completed their  UK tour.  How did those go and what were some of the highlights?  
Gared:
Both the UK tour and the summer festivals were amazing for a number of reasons.  We havenít been to the UK since our first time in 2010, so it was high time to return.  And we couldnít have felt more welcome, both by the audience and by KMFDM, who we supported on those dates.  Itís never fair to pick favourites, but the London show at legendary 02 Academy Islington was definitely my personal highlight.

MM: The current leg  of the tour finds you touring the US, given recent events in Vegas, has this changed how you feel about the tour at all?
Gared:
Unfortunately, we were forced to cancel our appearance on this tour due to our visa applications being declined by the US authorities.  But to answer your question in a more general context: as cruel and horrific as events like the one in Las Vegas are, us humans must never allow to let fear conquer their lives, affect their free will and stop them from making, exposing, consuming and enjoying art.  We live in a world where things like that can seemingly happen anywhere at any time which could lead us to think that no-one is safe.  And as much as that might be the case, we will still be safe and strong if we stand together and and carry on, flipping the bird to whoever wants to jeopardize our freedom of speech and art.

MM: The music industry has changed a lot over recent times, now social media plays a very important  role in music promotion and connecting with fans, posting updates about the latest happenings in your career. How do you feel about that? Do you  often use social media?  
Gared:
We use social media on a daily basis.  Itís a major pillar of a bandís publicity these days, though many bands still seem to underestimate its possibilities.  Itís both blessing and curse.  You can reach huge amounts of people and potential new fans if you use it properly, connect to fans and give them so much more than just albums and concerts.  But at the same time, it establishes a sort of virtual proximity that some people take too much for granted, thinking we know every single fan by name.  As much as we love our fans, itís simply impossible to have a personal relation to everyone, let alone know their names, despite Facebook and its interpretation of the term "Friend" suggesting otherwise.

MM: Originally the  band was simply known as Lord but soon changed to Lord of the Lost.  What does the name represent to you? 
Gared:
Many people feel lost from time to time, including ourselves.  We want to provide a safe haven for those who feel lost and show that, if in a community, feeling lost doesnít feel that bad after all.

MM: In the past I  would have described your music as Dark Glam with a touch of Cyber Goth, but 'Swan Songs II' is much more symphonic in comparison to some of your earlier songs.  How would you describe the must of Lord of the Lost to someone who hasn't yet heard it?  
Gared:
I honestly would have never connected the term "Cyber Goth" to us, but hey, itís just categories, right? Swan Songs is not the way we will sound like forever from now on.  Itís more like a band-internal side project which we will surely revive every now and then.  Seriously, I couldnít describe Lord Of The Lost without writing a whole essay.  As a band member, I might just be too biased.  And thatís the reason why weíve made a playlist on our official Spotify profile, called "Lord Of The Lost - Essentials".  If you want to know or show someone, what Lord Of The Lost is all about, thatís where you will find the answer.

MM: What does the immediate future hold for Lord of the Lost after your current tour?  
Gared:
Next step will be the tour for Swan Songs II in November.  And as always, weíre already in the process of writing songs for the next album.  Stagnation has never been our thing.

Interview by: Little Linda

 

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