Interview with Gerrit P. Mutz (vocals) - Dawn Of Winter (November 5th 2008)

November 14th the new album by the doom metal masters from Ludwigsburg will be available. Not many of you will be familiar with the band. One reason for that; the songs are not only slow, they don't often release albums too. We from the wanted to know more about this band and fired some questions at frontman Gerrit P.Mutz, who also happens to sing in Sacred Steel. 

Dawn of Winter is a band that already began in 1990. Why did it take so long before the band released their debut?


Gerrit P. Mutz: Well, we recorded a mini-cd calles 'Celebrate the Agony' in early 1993. Then we recorded our debut album entitled 'Doomcult Performance'in late 1994. Due to the fact that we absolutely didn't like the sound on the final pressing, we shelved that album till we were able to release it in remastered form on vinyl in early 2003. Our second album 'In the Valley of Tears' was recorded in 1997 and released in 1998. Most of the people, including us, label this one as our real debut. This should explain the 8 years in the making of our debut, hahaha.


You also sing in Sacred Steel, are the other members also involved in other bands?


Gerrit: Jörg (guitar) plays in a death metal band called My Darkest Hate and Dennis (drums) is in a Retro-doom band called The Thirteenth of November. Together with me, Bolle (bass) was once playing in DeDe7, but they are not active anymore.


I can imagine that you spend more time singing and playing in Sacred Steel, how do you combine this with DoW?


Gerrit: Very easily. We don't rehearse regularly with DoW and we don't play live often. Sacred Steel works way more on a fix time schedule. DoW has more become a sort of long life project.


Why did the band decide to play dooooooom?


Gerrit: Totally naturally. I have asked a good friend of mine (Oli Schramm) in the late 80's to join me in playing doom, because I couldn't find any musicians interested in playing slow. He had never tried to play drums before, so we just played extremely slow and he learned to play drums that way. That worked fine. We loved bands like Saint Vitus and Candlemass and in the summer of 1990 we decided to give it a go as a band.


I don’t think the band tries to be original, therefore the influences of Candlemass and Saint Vitus are too much involved in your songs. What is the bands goal? I sometimes get the idea that the band pays tribute to them?


Gerrit: We only want to play the music that we love to hear ourselves. There is no goal besides the fact that we want to create good doom songs. Originality is overrated. Surely we also consider ourselves as a tribute to our doom forefathers like Sabbath, Witchfinder, Vitus, Pentagram or Candelemass. We're only in it for the sake of doom itself.


How does the band get that very doomy and heavy sound?


Gerrit: We try to play as dedicated and focused as possible. We rewrite the songs as often as necessary until we are absolutely sure that we have delivered the best result possible. Whatever is good for the structure or the athmosphere of the song will be considered and tried.


Who is responsible for the songwriting?


Gerrit: We have 3 songwriters now. The main songwriting is still handled by Jörg M. Knittel. Dennis Schediwy has also written 3 songs for the new album and I have contributed 1 song this time. Whoever has an idea for a cool doom song is welcome to bring it to the rehearsal room. We even encourage our bass player (Bolle) from time to time to come up with some ideas as well......


Is it for a musician more difficult to play slow songs, or fast songs?


Gerrit: Writing a good song, slow or fast is difficult. The playing itself is a thing that can be learned through practice.


Does the frontcover with the dead woman have some deeper message?


Gerrit: Sure. It depicts a recently died young woman who looks peaceful in her endless sleep. She is sadly missed, yet she seems to have found what we all are looking for: the end of pain.


Do you have any idea how big an audience there still is for doom music?


Gerrit: No clue at all. We don't care. As long as we can put out our album and enough people buy it to give us the possibility to maybe record another in the future. We are not looking for fame and fortune. You can't find that in metal anyway, not if you don't play mainstream music. And doom for sure is the most underground music in general.


Your voice fits perfect with the slow doomy stuff, I think your voice suits DoW better than Sacred Steel? What your opinion about that?


Gerrit: It may fit better to doom because it is not a real powerful voice like the typical voice that everybody expects in a so called powermetal band nowadays. Nevertheless I alway liked singers that have a voice that seperates them from the rest and gives the band a trademark. I know my voice is not everybody's taste but, again I don't care. Whoever doesn't like my voice is free to listen to something else.


What are the plans for the months to come?


Gerrit: To promote the album and maybe play some smaller gigs. And to start rehearsing next year again when we have some new ideas. Nothing more.


Besides Candlemass, Saint Vitus and Black Sabbath, what are more influences for the band?


Gerrit: Manilla Road, early Manowar, Witchfinder General, The Doors, Dead Can Dance, Druid, Black Widow, Nigro Mantia, Lazarus Sin, Mercyful Fate, Dream Death, Thergothon, Coven, Sabbat (UK), Salem Mass, Winter, Cirith Ungol, early Uriah Heep, Trouble, Angel Witch and tons more....


Is doom the only true metal? Why (not)?


Gerrit: No it is not. Every metal played with 100 % conviction and dedication to the traditions of the metal genre is true metal. Doom is the soul of metal, but not the only true metal that does exist.


I leave here room to say anything you want to our readers….


Gerrit: Believe in your own vision, it's time, you must resist. Show 'em your conviction: RAISE THE METAL FIST!

And don't forget to keep it slow.


Doomed blessings, on behalf of Dawn Of Winter.


Interviewed by Reinier de Vries

Dawn of Winter - The Peaceful Dead

Album available on Massacre Records