Dark Forest’s “Aurora Borealis” is an album that I find myself returning to again and again. It’s one of those albums that I can just lose myself in for 50 odd minutes and it’s like the rest of the world doesn’t exist. When visiting Dark Forest’s website recently, I noticed that another release was on the horizon, so I asked the band’s mastermind, David Parks, a few questions about it.
Lou: Hi, and thanks for taking part in this interview. How are you today?
David Parks: Hi Lou, thanks for the interview. I am good today… I just finished another mixing session on the new album.
Lou: To get us started, please can you describe the music that you create with Dark Forest?
D. Parks: Dark Forest is a one-man project with a live line-up for performances. The main objective has always been to create an epic style of atmospheric music fuelled by a connection with heritage, history and nature. Strong orchestration and sampling is often utilised in the music to give it this feeling.
Lou: I originally ‘discovered’ Dark Forest (don’t worry, I will be putting up my Loucifer Flag to claim you soon!) a fair while ago on MySpace. I was just wondering, do you still use MySpace or do you now focus your attention on other social networking sites? If so, which ones? What are the best ways for fans to get in touch with you?
D. Parks: Really, the type of social media used to communicate the music does not matter to me whatsoever. Whether it is MySpace (moreso in the old days) or Facebook (moreso today), I utilise all of these tools to communicate with fans in the easiest and most convenient way possible for everyone. By registering across numerous networks, I can open easy communication to many fans. The best way for fans to get a hold of Dark Forest is through these registered networks and also through the contact page on darkforest.ca, which links to my e-mail directly.
Lou: I understand that you’re currently working on a new album called “Land of the Evening Star”. Where does that title come from?
D. Parks: The title comes from the English translation of the Latin word Vesperia, which is also a track title on the new album. In Canada’s founding days, various titles were considered for the country before it was called Canada. Vesperia was one of these suggestions. Although this name was never seriously considered, I found it interesting and used it in titling the new album.
Lou: How will the new album compare to “Aurora Borealis”?
D. Parks: The new album is actually quite different in a couple of ways. Naturally, with the amount of time between albums, the musical style was bound to change somewhat. The music has taken much more of a soundscore feel and full orchestration is utilised moreso than in Aurora Borealis. In addition to this, the production sound should also be quite different than what is heard on Aurora Borealis.
Lou: I hope you don’t mind me asking this, but why has there been such a big gap between the two albums?
D. Parks: I have been composing various songs and riffs for a new album since the release of AURORA BOREALIS. Many of these were scratched, and many of the riffs from these old songs were used in some form or another in LAND OF THE EVENING STAR. In addition to this, between AURORA BOREALIS and LAND OF THE EVENING STAR I completed university education, which took up a lot of time during this period. Oftentimes, it left time only for live performances in between everything.
Lou: Does “Land of the Evening Star” have a release date yet? Will it be released through Bleak Arts Records?
D. Parks: Currently, LAND OF THE EVENING STAR has no release date. I am working on it currently and it will be released not long after! The release seems that it will be a conjoined effort between Bleak Art Records and Dark Forest.
Lou: Are you able to tell us anything about the tracks on the new album? Are there any, in particular, that we should be looking forward to hearing?
D. Parks: While I would love this interview to be the host of the track list for the new album, I cannot reveal that yet. However, for Canadian fans who have seen DARK FOREST live at some point since 2007, you will recognize the songs “Bjarne Herjolvsson ca. 985CE” and “Northmen of the New World” as tracks on “Land of the Evening Star”. The 2007 “Bjarne Herjolvsson” recording is currently available on MySpace, but it takes a big up-turn in production and energy on the actual album session.
Lou: What sort of subjects have you talked about in the album’s lyrics?
They range in everything from natural themes to Canadian historical themes at the moment. These Canadian historical themes include Viking colonisation at Vinland in ca. 985CE all the way through to the European colonial foundation of our country ca. 600-800 years later.
Lou: I noticed on your website that the album will be completely self-recorded. Do you feel that this allows you to have even more input and control into the album? Do you find that it puts additional pressure onto you?
D. Parks: I am a big advocate of self-production, if one has the means to do so. I thoroughly believe that having full control over one’s album, from the conception stage to the mixing and mastering stages really does add a particular touch to the recorded material. As far as pressure is concerned, I feel that the pressure is even less than in a third party studio setting. I can work and compose at my own pace, with no time or cost deadlines and no external pressures. I have been composing and recording this way for years and don’t see a change in this method any time soon.
Lou: Through your website (actually, in the same update!), I also saw that Kris Verwimp will be taking on the artwork again. Has Kris got a design for it yet? Will you also have an input into that?
D. Parks: I contacted Kris for an album cover for “Land of the Evening Star” quite a few months ago and yes, he has already come back to me with a great design for the album cover which I am very pleased with. Generally when working with Kris, I give a general idea of what I am looking for, send him the demo recordings of the album, and his artistic talent does the rest of the job. Once again, he has delivered really great artwork on this new album!
Lou: Will the album be available on CD or download? Or both?
D. Parks: The album will be available on any and all medium that I see fit. I am not interested in confining myself to only CD, LP, or MP3. Which every method the fans are most interested in obtaining the music, I will concentrate on these distribution methods. ‘Land of the Evening Star’ will originally be pressed on CD as well as digitally distributed, including digital purchase capability directly from the Dark Forest website.
Lou: Which bands have influenced you the most?
D. Parks: I don’t really know which bands in particular. In the past years I have listened to a lot of soundscore, traditional and baroque music. I don’t know whether these manifest in the new album or not. I haven’t really thought about it!
Lately, I haven’t really listened to an extensive list of metal bands, but I like Arntor-era Windir, Summoning, Hollenthon, Skyforger, Forefather, etc.
Lou: Will you be playing live to promote the album? Do you have any plans to come over to the UK? (Please!)
D. Parks: Since 2009 we have received numerous requests to play live in and around the western Canadian region. Especially in the recent past, I have declined all live invitations by indicating that we will not be playing live until the official ‘Land of the Evening Star’ CD release in our home city of Calgary, Canada. As far as the UK is concerned, of course we would play there any time, providing that we have the means! We hope very soon to approach the UK!
Lou: Is the Dark Forest live line-up complete at the moment?
D. Parks: Yes the line-up is currently complete. Late 2010 we lost our bass player when he moved to eastern Canada, but he has since returned to Calgary and we are a full line-up again.
Lou: How is the ‘metal scene’ in Canada? Is it relatively healthy? Do you, and other bands, have plenty of opportunities to promote your music?
D. Parks: I’m really not sure. A band here has as much of an opportunity to promote themselves as they are willing to put in! That is my opinion, and is not unique to Canada. We have some great promoters in Calgary, which brings great attention to our area and bands. I am in contact with bands from the east to the west coast and everywhere in between. Metal seems active and alive across the country from what I have seen from my contacts.
Lou: Thank you once again for answering my questions. Before we finish, do you have any messages for the readers of Loucifer Speaks?
D. Parks: Wæs hæil! LAND OF THE EVENING STAR – coming soon!
Thanks for reading, and until soon!