This past June, Austrian experimental metal one-man band Dancing Sun released its debut album entitled ‘Firefable.’ We asked the Graz-based musician questions about the record, his musical vision, and more.
Define the mission of Dancing Sun.
There is a dream and some noble ideals concerning the process of creativity. Dancing Sun: The servant of tales.
Songs and tales have a life. Tread them respectfully. Balance active and passive — don’t take the sledgehammer to hand over your personal intentions nor don’t get lost in a cast off thread story.
Tell me about the creative process that informed your recent album “Firefable” and the themes it captures.
It’s been a while ago, when I read an interview with the highly respected grandmaster Dan Swanö. As far as I remember he meant he wrote some songs of his 1998 solo album “Moontower” in a few hours. Yes, and there are a lot of his kind, I confess I can only take this statement as a counterpart — no I am not such genius and I am not as fast as Bob Ross.
Dancing Sun and especially the “Firefable” songs are a long-time run fresco, where you paint the background with horizon — break — then beach and tamarisk trees — break — then windsurfing girls — break — flying water and sand — finish. Sounds summer time easy, but “Firefable” got a lot developed by toss and turning thoughts, it’s kind of a consecration, wonderful exciting like the first child. I am a great fan of Lotte — last track on the album, “Lotte’s song,” it’s got a more spontaneous approach.
What is the message you are trying to give with “Firefable”?
First, there are more things that we don’t know, than things we know about a certain object. There is a message of Firefable I’m not aware of and one I can imagine: Listening to music is a shift into another world.
Fantasy literature, Progressive Rock, and many others are ideally suited for a tour into something archaic or some inner world confrontation with a lot of basic elements such as water or fire – That’s where the Firefable is placed: In the title-track-scenario some weird dudes are sitting around a bonfire listening to stories of Healing Silence, Dead Waters or Birds of Fire and one of this fellows is the listener of Dancing Suns “Firefable”. The inclusion of the audience is a romantic novelists’ trick. The old archetypical fire-setting is a place, where every day life is forgotten & time is nothing. And there are questions – for example – Have you ever seen the flameflooded kingdoms, while you stared into the embers? That’s a good initial point for an inner adventure, when somebody jumps into the storyteller’s role, even better. There we are – a storyteller’s eldorado, a time-out, an old black book with a labyrinth-look-a-like firesign on it called Firefable.
How did you document the music while it was being formulated?
You never know when you get kissed by the muse. She’s writing in my small black memo book, I always carry with me. Another example of documenting was invented last December, when I had the intention to quit music after the Firefable-album. Before it was even finished a canadian Punk-Rock-band kicked my ass to write the first song of the next album & let the sun dance again. At December there’s been plenty of paper crap beside my swedish oven, so the lyrics were written on a paper box. That’s very convenient, because it’s a stand-alone for singing – my recommendation. Beside this out of the blue-pop-up-creativity-events, sometimes meticulous field studies take place prior a song is started – for example, I’ve interviewed some months several ancestors, worked through the family tree, and went to several venues for the genealogical “Tree”.
Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?
Describe the approach to recording the album.
It’s been hard work and it’s been the proper way for Firefable. Nowadays I try to be more sensitive for both worlds – between the focus on discipline, playing technics etc. & the fun of composing. A good flow by keeping the creative “Heat of the moment” (Asia is great!) and the recording session in a near distance – I don’t instantly eat the apple while it is falling from the tree, and I don’t put it in the freezer until the next Apfelstrudel – I’ve got a nerdy little room-in-room-home-studio waiting for me any time to write and record songs on the fly.
How long “Firefable” was in the making?
How long do you have time? Once upon a time there’s been a full length album of Dancing Sun called “Unbosom” in 2015. It has never been released. Tree, the last track of Firefable has went through transitions. There’s been an evolution from songs like “Powwow of the Tree” and “Rags to Riches” until another coat of paint has joined the canvas titled “Tree”. The carcassesque “Dead Waters” went through similar metamorphoses.
Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?
Dead can Dance, Carcass, Renaissance, Nevermore. Song structurally maybe Mastodon. Vocals influenced by Taneli Jarva. FX-Playfulness while mixing My Dying Bride Mastering Sound references Ulver “Childhood’s end” and Kontinuum “Kyrr”.
What is your view on technology in music?
Devin Townsend and Suzanne Vega don’t share the same equipment, but both are fine.
Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?
Let’s talk about the purpose of metal & music in general. I remember a guy I met 2008 in a youth hostel in San Francisco, who worked like mad in a factory at the harbor. Beside shower and sleep there were only two hours spare-time left for him day by day. He meant that this two hours were his resurrection time. It was time for Iron Maiden. Of course legend-building takes history as a bitch, the Birmingham phenomenon is one major basis for the invention and living the steel. One of the many purposes of Metal could be the way to cope with reality, with the human race & to be thrown into your own personal soup. Why not call it a beneficial escapism, if it’s a vessel to come along with your life, to scream and come back from a liberating gig with a smile upon your face. Art for the sake of art is fine too, but meanwhile I’d be simple as it gets an even more happy Bird, if Dancing Sun would make some other birds more happy.
What are your plans for the future?
I’d like to make a roadtrip with a big bus through 3 districts eastern from my hometown Graz in Austria. Beside I’m quite far with Dancing Sun’s forthcoming album. I love the new songs, I would have liked to release these type of songs earlier, but Firefable has been Firefable, it had to be as dark as it gets. This time I’m happy to give mixing in the hands of a very skillful sound engineer: Andi Gassner also mixed “Laszlo Podenco’s Dreams” on Firefable.
We’ve got a good flow.
Furthermore there are also questions concerning Dancing Sun like “can a one man show be non-egocentric?” Once, when Mormons addressed me on the street at their promo tour, I’ve been in the mood and asked “but what about Metal & windsurfing?”, they answered “you can not have both!” Let’s see.
Firefable is out now on Bandcamp.