In July, Scottish metallers Dvne released their debut full-length Asheran. At their show in Merleyn, Nijmegen during their tour with French metallers Crackhouse, DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen spoke with vocalist/guitarist Victor Vicart, drummer Dudley Tait and vocalist/guitarist Dan Barter.
For people not knowing you (yet), can you tell us something about Dvne’s history?
Victor: Yeah, I am French, I moved to the UK eight years ago. There I started the band with the drummer, then the rest joined in. The first show we played was with EyeHateGod in Glasgow, which was really cool. Dan joined us when we already wrote some songs for the first EP. So from that moment we were a proper band with vocals. Before that we didn’t have any vocals. Then we wrote another EP, Aurora Majesty, and toured with Fange, a band from France. They are really good, heavy, kind of noise/sludge/d-beat. After that we toured with Trudger, which are really like us, but a bit less melodic, in Europe, which was also really cool. Then we wrote Asheran, which is our last one and our first full-length album. We actually start singing, it’s more composed music.
The homeland of Dvne is Scotland right?
Victor: Yeah, it is. We started the band in Edinburgh and are still based there. I am moving to London soon, but the band will stay as it is. Edinburgh is a great city and Scotland has been great to us. Our label is from Scotland as well, they pretty much released everything we did so far. We’ve done a music video recently for Thirst, which was filmed in the Highlands of Scotland. It’s a beautiful country, sometimes bleak but also really beautiful with great landscapes. When we went to do the music video, we thought like our music is expansive, aggressive, we felt that it was a great way as a tribute to the kind of landscapes we have around us. I would highly recommend Scotland.
How is the Scottish metalscene?
Victor: It’s great, there are a lot of bands doing some very interesting stuff at the moment. A really good band I would highly recommend is Sapien. Another band is Barshasketh, who play black metal, one of them is from New Zealand, but I think the others are from Scotland. I know some of them, actually. You’ve got Haar, a great black metal band. Haar means fog in Scottish. In Glasgow there’s a great scene, but I know more about the Edinburgh scene. You’ve got King Witch as well, which we are good friends with. They are doing pretty great and just signed with Listenable Records. There are quite good venues. Glasgow is also great, the underground scene there isn’t what it used to be, but they still have some great bands, for example The Cosmic Death, it’s some kind of acid prog. They played Roadburn, Psycho Las Vegas, they are really topnotch.
You already played some shows with Crackhouse, including tonight, how is it going so far?
Victor: Amazing. Funny enough, some shows were in basements or houses. Those small places tend to be packed and when we play bigger venues, as tonight, fewer people come. However it doesn’t really matter, because I think the reception is pretty much all very good. We are not used to it, since Asheran came out, people show more interest to the band. So we are going to gigs and see people knowing the music. People are much more engaged to our music then before. It’s makes the show more interesting for us as well, we put more effort in it.
Dudley: If you don’t know the music you can enjoy, but if you know the music, there’s more. Because we released the album, it feels like people are getting a bit of experience. It makes a big difference for us.
Victor: The same story with Crackhouse, people are really engaged with their music as well.
Both bands play very intense music.
Victor: Yeah, of course. The shows are meant to be. What works for both of us and why we toured together is that both bands have a melodic edge. They are probably more into the doom/post-metal scene, we are probably more into the sludge/progressive. You can name it however you want, I don’t really believe in labels these days, it’s just what you play. We both have melodic moments in common. We want something melodic and not be heavy and relentless all the time. Both bands don’t want to do so, but want to go through movements and change.
What is it that makes Dvne Dvne?
Dudley: It starts with the fact that we are all good friends, we can really get to the fine parts of music by communicating the way we want. Things just happen because we know each other. We know what we are trying to go for. It always brings out the best in us.
Victor: We are a band who will release a new album when we feel like we have something. What we are trying to do is make something that we generally enjoy which is melodic and heavy at the same time, with a lot of impact. To have a lot of impact we go through quiet sections and after those the energy is there. When we wrote this album, we really enjoyed jamming and writing it.
Dudley: It was fun, but not really hard. The songs flowed in.
Victor: When we had a period where we kept changing bassists, we were playing a lot of tragedy and heavy stuff.
Dudley: We even played some black metal.
Victor: We wrote two tracks on the back of the previous EP and they were heavy, old school tragedy kind of stuff.
Dudley: When we started exploring how we felt, the music came. Rather than trying to vent somewhere outside. Victor found himself and the music came. We all were in the zone.
In July you released Asheran. When you compare Asheran to the first two EP’s (Progenitor (2013) and Aurora Majesty (2014)), what is it you notice?
Dudley: They were the way we were feeling at that time.
Victor: For me, the EP’s were things we wanted to do like other bands. Asheran feels like it’s really us.
Dudley: The EP’s were us venting ourselves.
Victor: What we have done on this album is what we like to listen to. I don’t listen to our own music.
Dudley: I like it, also the EP’s. I have some evenings when I have a good beer, put one of my own songs on and I get goosebumps. It’s a weird feeling. It took a long time for me to listen to my own songs without listening to the drums or another specific part. Just trying to forget it. One night, I will never forget, I smoked a big joint, zoned out and heard the music from listeners point of view, rather than from the person who contributed to it. That was very exciting.
Asheran is your first release with Allan Paterson on bass.
Yeah, but he left the band because he had two kids. He is a great bassist and a great friend, we had great times together, but with his kids it’s impossible to tour for him. There were no issues for his replacement, but now Anderson Fry is our bassist.
What’s the story behind Asheran?
Victor: Actually Dan, our gitarist, can answer that question the best.
Dudley: We came up with an idea, Dan took the idea and turned it into his own story, really cool.
Victor: We write the music first, then we get to the story.
Dan: It has influences from a lot of things, for example sci-fi and Studio Ghibli films. It’s like an ark, from two perspectives, so you have people coming back that left a few thousand years ago. I like to leave things a bit open for interpretation. They come back and then it’s basically a story about how they interact with the nature that has regrouped since they left.
Dudley: The earth got damaged because of what people have done to it, so they left. When they came back there were still some very small civilizations that could live with nature and life, they way it should be.
Victor: The story is much more from the nature itself, nature taken the world back and humans coming back.
Dudley: When they came back the planet had grown back to life the way the planet would. When the people came back, they did so because they lost with what they tried to do in space. The simplest way to say it is that they not learned about their mistakes.
Dan: It’s a very tragic story.
Dudley: They came back and are going to do the same thing again that caused the problem.
Victor: Dan is vegan as well.
Dan: I like the planet.
Victor: We are all kind of green ecologists. Gojira also talks about that a lot. We really find inspiration in nature. We are all conscious about it, that was a point we had in common for this album.
Dudley: And we like Princess Mononoke.
Victor: Yeah, it’s amazing, a very good story.
On Edenfall you have a guest vocalist, Jenni Sneddon. How did you met her and how was working with her?
Dan: I work with her outside the band and she’s also in a band with my girlfriend. She came in quite late on, because there was someone else but couldn’t do it. Then she stepped in, which was very cool, because she had a very short notice.
Victor: We had something in mind, so we knew how we wanted it. Guests is something we might look for in the future as well. It’s interesting stuff to do. On our releaseshow we had Allan (our previous bassist) playing extra guitar and Jenni played keys and did backing vocals. So Dvne is a four-piece for now but it might change. I am big fan of bands like Magma, Ulver, they don’t care about that. They want to do something and when they need more people on stage, they just do it.
Dudley: They know what sound they want and they bring in whoever they need to get that sound. The sound is top priority. It’s better than taking samples or something.
Victor: I would never do that.
Dudley: It has to be naturally and honest.
Victor: Honesty is a big thing for us.
The artwork of Asheran is created by Eli Quinn, what made him the right person for this job?
Victor: I have seen his artworks. He did the cover for a release from Droid and it was fantastic. What we were after was something intricated. Eli did the artwork and Dan kind of build on that. Eli is great, we felt like the cover has everything we wanted and he is very Princess Mononoke/Studio Ghibli-inspired.
Dudley: He was happy to work with us.
Your music combines a lot of different music styles, what are your musical influences?
Victor: Isis, Tool, Mastodon, Neurosis, Inter Arma, classic rock, Led Zeppelin, we all listen to different music styles. Dan was in a band, Dudley in a rock band, I came from a classical musical background.
Dudley: That’s why the music is us.
Victor: A next album probably has elements from Asheran, but it also will be different as well. I am very interested in having a keyboardplayer, maybe a bit of folk, some violin. If we can do it, we will do it. We try to not limit ourselves.
Last month you were announced as the first band for ProgPower Europe next year, looking forward to it?
Victor: It’s going to be great! We will try to make things a bit special for it. It will be a Dutch exclusive, we will probably make a tour out of it. We will be on some festivals the week before and after, but I can’t talk about that yet. There is another Scottish band just announced for it, Ramage Inc. . We are friends with some of them.
Do you already have plans for new material?
Dudley: We have started for some riffs and drums.
Victor: We wrote two tracks for Asheran which aren’t on it. Every band does it, but our tracks are a bit long, so it’s a lot of work. After this tour we will probably start really writing some new stuff.
Dudley: We are doing great, quality shows and after that we spend our spare time writing stuff. Asheran wasn’t rushed, we will do take our time again.
Victor: We won’t do the same thing over and over again, no Asheran 2 or something. We want to do something different.
Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
Dudley: Look forward to the next stuff, because it will be kickass. We try to stay in control of our music. When it’s the right time, the next stuff will be there.
Dan: See you at ProgPower.
I’m Tim van Velthuysen and I started DutchMetalManiac back in 2014. I’m 29 years old and I live in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Of course, I like metal, but I can also appreciate other musical styles.
In addition to DutchMetalManiac I also have a personal website on which I’ll post various things that won’t fit on DutchMetalManiac, but might be interesting for you as well. It’s in Dutch though.