Interview with vocalist/guitarist Henrik Båth, Darkwater (June 10th 2007)

Not all of our readers might know you guys, so maybe you could start off and tell us a bit about the background for Darkwater?

Darkwater – Yeah of course. It all started in 2003 when I, Magnus Holmberg and Markus Sigfridsson decided to start a band, a band we had talked about for quite some time really. We had played together earlier but now we wanted to write together and play a little heavier and more progressive stuff. So we came up with some song ideas and started looking for the rest of the band. The drummer Tobias Enbert we knew would suite us fine, we had played together in Harmony, so felt confident he would do a great job. Then we hooked up with bassist Karl Wassholm that we knew had a big interest in progressive metal. The first thing we did really was to participate on a Sweet tribute album called “the Sweet According to Sweden”, where we totally rearranged their “Shot Me down in Flames”. After that we only did a few selected shows here in Sweden, meantime we worked on our debut album “Calling the Earth to Witness”. We recorded and mixed it in 2006 and early 2007 we signed with Ulterium Records. 

How has the response been on your debut album “Calling the Earth to Witness” and what kind of expectations do you have for it? 

Darkwater – Well the response has been amazing! We felt that we had made an album that we were very happy with and when the response is this good it really makes you believe and hope that it will lead to something big. Hopefully we will be able to fight our way in among the more established metal bands. 

If you should choose one song, which represents the essence of Darkwater on the album, which one would that be and why – personally I would pick “Habit” because I feel it summarizes what you guys is all about in one song?

Darkwater – I absolutely agree with you on that one! Habit is the song where everyone in the band has had his part of the writing process. It truly is a creation of Darkwater. And it is in fact the only song that has in whole been written in the rehearsal room. It also contains everything we stand for in music, all from heavy straight on melodic stuff to the more complex rhythmic arrangements. And not to forget the soft elements and the vocal arrangements. Well this feels like our little “monster” and we are extremely happy with the outcome of the song! 

If you had to describe your music to a complete musical ignorant – what would you tell him? 

Darkwater – Well to be honest, I would tell him not to even care, ha-ha... no but this is very hard, cause I have always had this idea that a very large group of the people that listen to progressive metal is in some way musicians themselves. I really have no idea if it’s true but to me it has always seemed that way. But if I had to try I would describe it as regular metal, but where the music changes very often, especially between hard and soft. And most of the songs are very long and contains a lot of instrumental parts. This is, I guess, the way I would explain it without using a lot of musical terms :) 

How important is the lyrically side of Darkwater – and what has inspired you on the album?

Darkwater – The lyrics are very important though the music always comes in first place for us. On this album there are actually three of us who have been part of writing the lyrics. I can only speak for myself on this one and what has inspired me in my writing. I have taken a lot from peoples life’s around me, and the problems I have seen. A lot of my lyrics are about people with different kinds of functional disabilities, mainly mental disability, and the struggle they have with themselves but also with the society.

But one funny thing is that even if we never decided what the record or the songs should be about, we all ended up writing about the problems in life and peoples relation with their surroundings, the fortune or the human fate of people and stuff like that. Some things come from fiction and some from self experiences.

Henrik Båth

Tell us a bit about the album art work; is it mirrors to the world? 

Darkwater – This is actually something we came up with when we realized that our lyrics suited so well together. And yes, you can call it mirrors to the world. In some way we want people to take a look at themselves and the world around them and think about if we treat everyone with the respect they deserve, and are we giving the help to the ones that need it the most? This is really the essence of the lyrical contents of “Calling the Earth to Witness”. 

You have recorded the album in various studios, why did you choose this approach to things? And I am sure you are pretty happy with the result…

Darkwater – Absolutely, we are very happy with it! And we’re glad we did it this way. The main thing why we recorded the album this way was because it let everyone of us work in our own pace and it was easier for us to get the sound we wanted.

How did you get the name Darkwater, and is there a story behind it?

Darkwater – Well to be honest, we have had some serious problems in finding a name that we all felt was the right one. Darkwater was one of the first names we came up with, and since then we’ve had a bunch of names on the list. But in the end we still felt that Darkwater was the name that suited and, if a name can, explained our music the best.

How did you hook up with Ulterium Records? And how hard was it for you to get a good record deal?

Darkwater – We sent our album to Ulterium Records just like we did to a bunch of other labels. But here we felt that they were very serious, unlike too many record labels, and it felt very good to have a Swedish label because it makes it so much easier to keep contact. I can’t say it was hard to get a record deal; we got several offers, but not many as good as the one we chose. And so far we are very satisfied with Ulterium Records. They have done a great job for us!

What do you consider to be the biggest accomplishment for you and Darkwater?

Darkwater – It has to be the work with “Calling the Earth to Witness”. You see, we had some major problems with the recordings. In fact, we have recorded the album twice! When the whole album was finished we found some problems, both technical and musical, and we felt we couldn’t release that, especially since it was our very important debut album. So after a long discussion we took the decision to re-record the whole album. I honestly can say that at this time we really wondered what the hell we were doing, ha-ha... But now we are very glad we took that decision!

Do you have any touring plans for 2007, maybe on the European Festival scene?

Darkwater – At the moment we don’t, but I really hope we will be able to get out there as soon as possible!

What are the strengths and where can Darkwater improve?

Darkwater – The strengths in Darkwater I believe is our ability to write good songs with strong melodies. Every one of us in the band writes and therefore we always have someone to fall back on or discuss ideas with. This is also something that we can improve in the future, because when you have a lot of different song writers it can be difficult to get the same style and sound in the different songs. Another thing is that even if we feel that we have found our own sound, our own path, we can always make this clearer and really build our own little world out there.

Name an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your life … and why?

Darkwater – Here I have to say, as I guess so many others also have said, “Images and Words” by Dream Theater. This album was the first taste I ever got of progressive metal. And it blew me away, and still does. It alone made me start playing and writing progressive metal and at that time I couldn’t understand how someone could do what they did. Amazing!

Which five albums would you bring on your iPod to a deserted island?

Darkwater – “Images and Words” - Dream Theater, “Remedy Lane” - Pain of Salvation, “Red” - Espen Lind, “V” - Symphony X, “Bad” - Michael Jackson.

Which album(s) have put a big smile on your face and has made you bang your head in the past year?

Darkwater – When I first heard Michael Bublé I was thrown of my chair! I have never heard anyone sing with such intense and such feeling. So I must say his “It’s Time”. A great album! And then of course I have to say the new Symphony X album. I love what they do.

I thank you very much for participating in this interview and sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last lines are entirely for you. Any final words you would like to round off with?

Darkwater – Thank you! All I want to say to all you readers out there are see the people around you! It means everything! And go buy our album!! :) Take care

/Henrik Båth - Darkwater

Interviewed by Kenn.

Darkwater - Calling the Earth to Witness

Album available on Ulterium Records.

For more info on Darkwater - click on the album cover.