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INTERVIEW: T – Dragged Into Sunlight

It’s been a fantastic year for DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT. Not only are the extreme metal titans touring with MAYHEM (read our review of the Manchester show here), they also made an Earth-shattering appearance at the mighty Lords of the Land Festival and are set to invade Mammothfest in October. We were lucky enough to catch vocalist T, before a show, and have a chat about all things DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT.

Thank you so much for having me here, it’s an absolute pleasure to meet you. So, first question: How do you feel about touring with Mayhem, what’s it like?

T: Yeah, it’s great. You know, they’re like a legendary band. When we started DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT we wanted to replicate the formula bands like MAYHEM have, they stick around for a long time. It’s just, you know, twenty years of contributions to music, defining genres and really making an impact, unlike bands who are around for like two years in scenes or whatever. So obviously MAYHEM, DARKTHRONE, AUTOPSY, OBITUARY, all those bands, they’re what inspired DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT, so to tour with MAYHEM, for us, is a milestone and it’s something we’re really really honoured to be part of.

And of course the excitement doesn’t end there. You guys have played Lords of the Land festival this year. How’re you feeling about that?

T: Yeah, the Barrowland is probably one of my favourite venues in the UK. You know I used to go to shows there a lot when I was growing up. So many great bands, it’s a classic venue. The festival is great and obviously AUTOPSY, huge inspiration, and another one of those bands that have been around for so long, making such a vast contribution to extreme music, defining boundaries. It’s overwhelming to see them. I hope they live up to everything I want them to be, and I’m sure they will! But yeah, very excited about that.

How would you describe DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT’s overall sound and atmosphere, if you had to?

T: Our sound’s a massive, sort of, spectrum of influence. You know, from noise to black metal, death metal, hardcore, doom. We don’t really have, you know, a defining style. There’s definitely style influences there, but we don’t see it as putting sub-genres together or anything. We’re not the type of band to have one person doing everything and making a whole track. Our way is everyone diving in, creating a cauldron of influence, and then sort of layering and adding to it till everyone’s parts are included. So, you know, it sort of evolves into a style of its own perhaps. But one thing stays constant, our music is always defined by our life experiences and that sort of replicates the sound. For example, Widowmaker, that was a summary of like, five years of our lives, and it really, you know, it was a strange one because at the time we were all going through similar experiences outside of music and this influenced the creation a different type of record to, you know our usual envy, hatred, and so on and so forth. And so the new one we’re working on is, again, it symbolises a good four year chunk of DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT, it’s what we’ve done and what’s happened in the past four years.

Let’s talk about your stage presence. Was there an inspiration behind such a ritualistic performance, and if so is there an intent?

T: Oh definitely not, I mean, when we got together we didn’t intend for DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT to go out and do a lot of shows. The idea was that we wouldn’t play shows, we were sort of like: “right everyone’s grown up now…” but, you know, it didn’t work out like that! We’ve all been doing this for such a long time, we’re all just good mates. We thought: “the scene is on its way out, it’s dying, so we’ll do a band where we get together and just jam” you know? Eventually, we had more and more ideas come out, resulting in us being like “ooh, y’know, we should do this… and this…” and it just evolved organically like that, so no intent. I mean, we used to do it in a front room of someone’s house! We’d set up a smoke machine and fill the room, then the ideas would just flow.

Nice! So it just developed?

T: Yeah, it developed really naturally. I guess whenever we practised we were naturally adding more and more to the music and the performance. At the same time, I mean this was like ten years ago, a lot of us were going through professional career changes and things, and it’s because of that we decided we didn’t really want to be a known band [hence, performing with their backs turned to the audience]. To be honest we just do all of this for ourselves.

Very true. Also, we’re all massively excited about the new album. How’s that coming along?

T: It’s going great! We did the drum tracks just before we left for this tour so all that’s left to do now is get it ready and obviously add the guitars, noise samples, vocals and bass. So there’s still a long way to go. I think it’s gonna be a pretty intense three months over summer. Hopefully we’ll get it all done. We have a thing where we don’t like doing record releases early on in the year, mostly because it’s good to play shows earlier in the year and then release stuff later. I mean, no-one really wants to tour in November, December, so on and so forth. So that’s where we’re aiming this year. We’ve got a cut off day in mind, hopefully we’ll make it.

Are we allowed any details on what we can expect to hear in this album?                                    

T: Yeah, I mean I’ve showed the demos to a few people who are sort of involved and they just say “well you can’t mistake it for any other band!” which for me is a good thing because I think it does what we wanted it to do. It’s almost like a mix of all the releases put together now, but at the same time, it is evolving. It’s a progression on what we’ve previously done. I don’t think it’s any one genre, but if I was to compare it to any of our previous releases it’d have to Hatred for Mankind. It’s a very similar vein.

It’s a fabulous time to be releasing an album, what with the resurgence of the UK black metal scene. I’d say that’s thanks to festivals like North of the Wall and Lords of the Land. Would you go as far as to say Britain is the new Norway?

T: Uh, probably not, no. Only because Norway has a lot of government support for their music scene, and we don’t have that here. I mean, it’s great that we’ve got Lords of the Land, North of the Wall, and other festivals but Norway, their government is backing Inferno and a ton of big festivals. I mean, I’m not sure they back Inferno but, you know, they contribute towards shows, they give musicians adequate resources. So yeah we’re a long way off being Norway, and I think it’s reflected in the bands that we’ve produced, and the lack of longevity our scenes have. Scenes just don’t stick around as long as they should in the UK. Whereas because they’re so supported in Norway, a band like MAYHEM can flourish and grow, and lots of other bands stay for a long time. In the UK being in a touring band is tough. It’s a really difficult road, because, like I said, there’s no support here.

Sadly, true. Regardless, there’s much more going on in England nowadays than there used to be. I mean, black metal isn’t as niche as it once was. Have you found the scene, and of course, playing in other countries to be different to here, or is it very much the same as in other places?

T: You mean is there anything different about the UK?

Yeah.

T: I’d say the UK’s a little less accepting of different styles. It’s very divided. In Europe you see, we go through countries like Belgium, Holland, and they have a very collaborative approach in their scenes. They come together and they open venues between, you know like twenty of them and stuff. But like, for me, here, I barely know twenty people in different scenes, everyone keeps to themselves. So, yeah, it’s a very organic scene, there’s not as many sub-genres. But, you know, the UK will always have a lot of integrity in the bands that it produces. I mean, regarding bands that come out of other countries, you know, you visit them and the gig experiences are great and the festivals are great but the UK has still produced more bands than a lot of other countries, more classic bands, and especially in extreme music.

So what can we see in the future for DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT?

T: Hmm, I guess I don’t really know. I think we’d probably like to tour again, perhaps next year. We’re doing Mammothfest in Brighton in October, and I’m really looking forward to that. It’s a great line up, ROTTING CHRIST are fantastic!

Alternatively, where would you love to see DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT in a couple of years?

T: I’d love to get back to the US, I know we’d like to do more European tours as well. Again, I guess just keep on doing what we’re doing. What I’d like to do immediately, I think, is just start getting the new stuff out there, because we have so many recordings from years gone by, something like six years of just recordings that no-one’s even heard yet. So I’d want to release them sort of one by one and get them out there. But getting a release together when your members are so scattered, you know, we live two hundred miles from each other on opposite ends of the country. Getting something together is very difficult, it’s taken us a long time. We’re perfectionists!

But we are of course so grateful for that, so many amazing albums.

T: Yeah, thank you, it means a lot that people have listened to what we’re doing! It’s great because we started off playing to the walls and that’s how, we thought, we’d stay. But as I said, this is for MAYHEM, it’s an absolute honour to be on their tour and I hope it continues. Oh and, we hope to get the new stuff out this year!

Yeah, wow. Well thank you so much for your time T, we’re really looking forward to the show tonight.

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