My mate Carrie Clevenger has a habit of turning me onto new music. This is one of the many reasons why I absolutely adore her. One of the bands she introduced me to last year was a German outfit called Tunes of Dawn, and I am once again forever grateful for this new musical adventure. Then again, any band that covers the immortal Gloomy Sunday gets a serious kick-ass badge from me. So, naturally, I had to track frontman and bassist Hagen Schneevoigt down so we could shoot the breeze a bit. And at the end of this interview there will be a question you can answer by commenting on this blog (leave your name and email address so we can pick a winner). One lucky sod will win Tunes of Dawn goodies.
Now, over to Hagen…
I had to know what prompted the band to cover Gloomy Sunday. After all, there’s a bit of an urban legend attached to the song that suggests folks commit suicide after listening to it. The band plays on this theme in the music video.
Hagen responds: “Well, we always liked that song. And the legend is true. Gloomy Sunday was written by Hungarian musician Rezs Seress in 1933. It’s about how he lost his big love. It was said that many people attempted suicide after listening to it. We liked that story very much, even if it’s a sad one. But the song fit perfectly into the world of Tunes of Dawn, and so we did the cover.”
Watching that Gloomy Sunday video, and listening to the band’s music in general, it’s clear there’s quite a bit of a homage to Type O Negative, and perhaps even hints at Rammstein in more lyrical moments, even.
Hagen says: “Well, of course Typo O Negative is an influence. We always loved this band. But, in general, we have so many influences, like old Black Sabbath, Elvis and all the classic rock stuff. It goes from classic, jazz to pop and, of course metal. We all have different tastes, so in every song is a bit from everyone’s personal taste. But the main inspiration is life and all its up and downs. We prefer the sad and melancholic things. But always with a glint in the eyes.”
So, to poke at those wonderfully "sad and melancholic things" I had to ask Hagen one of my favourite questions: What songs from your past, do you look to for inspiration?
He responds: “It’s very hard to say ’cause there are so many beautiful songs we would like to do. Just to mention a few... two would be definitely Type O Negative: Love you to Death and Anesthesia.”
Then, the question I throw at all my vic— erm, interviewees… Now, you’re in a situation where you need to explain to someone who’s never heard of your music and who you are, and you have EXACTLY 16 words to do so...
Hagen says: “We are painting tragic but hopeful light with music, where others only paint shadows and darkness.”
Nice! Now, if Hagen had to pick one Tunes of Dawn song that really encapsulates what he thinks the band is all about… the lyrics, the choice of arrangements for the instruments. Why must listeners care about this song?
Hagen says, “If I must pick one, I would pick A Warm Sigh at 6°. The lyrics range between past, present and future. From sadness, hope and romance. From life, death and to dreams. Musically it is one of the more heavy songs, even it is not that fast. The melodic line and heavy guitars combined makes the song powerful, I think. We are better creating songs like that, than faster ones.”
Bands’ first-ever live shows often result in unintended hilarity. Whether this is due to Random Acts of Chaos or the wicked sense of humour belonging to the Heavy Music gods, we’ll never know. Hagen relates his own experiences with Tunes of Dawn: “Our first live show ever took place in June 1994. We were so excited, we did not dare to drink a single beer. Instead we drank lots of energy drinks by mistake. But at least everything went good. We still have some video footage of that show. Mostly we are laughing our asses off, because we look like teenagers playing death metal.”
|Tunes of Dawn back in 1994|
Undergarments aside, but staying with the clothing industry, as for what lies ahead, Hagen concludes: “At the moment we are doing a song for the Berlin-based designer Kilian Kerner for his new collection 2013. We will also perform the song at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week this month. Furthermore we are currently writing new songs for our next album. The release is planned for fall this year.”
Now, be awesome little minions and go check out the Tunes of Dawn website here where you’ll find all their social networking links and more (go check out that music video already, will you?).
As for the question, name one Type O Negative song you’d love to see covered. (Answer by leaving a comment with your name and email address where we can contact you.) Entries will be open until January 17, 2013.