Dynazty – Dynamic DelightWednesday, 22nd April 2020
Bands develop from their initial influences, and given time, experience, and seasoning, will grow into a stronger, confident style of their own. Such is the case for Swedish metal act Dynazty. Those into their early discography like Knock You Down or Sultans of Sin may have thought of the group as a sleazy-oriented melodic hard rock/metal band – but they slowly morphed into more of a modern heavy/power metal act. These days, most would consider them just a melodic metal band – as The Dark Delight explores facets of cyber, electronic, AOR and even melodic death or cultural nuances in the Dynazty way.
We reached out to vocalist Nils Molin, who was happy to bring us back up to speed on the band. You’ll learn more about the band’s approach to this record, the emphasis on a stronger production, what mixing with Jacob Hansen brought to the table – and of course a bit of talk regarding Amaranthe, his family and their support in his endeavors, and even cover song talk.
Dead Rhetoric: The Dark Delight is the latest Dynazty album. To these ears, there seems to be even a stronger emphasis on distinction with the musical hooks, vocal melodies, and separation of ideas/thoughts song to song than ever before. Where do you see the differences in this album compared to your previous work – or do you believe it’s just the next logical step in the discography of the band?
Nils Molin: I do believe it’s the next logical step of the band. There was nothing that was overly, no such cautious decision when we were writing this album, this direction or that direction. I think it was just a natural continuation of where we came from before, and the previous couple of albums. The philosophy was simply to write stellar songs, to put even more emphasis on song production, which we actually did. If there was a conscious decision to go in a certain direction, it was with the production. We would put a stronger effort on the production, which we did. Other than that, we thought about writing the best songs that we could, and that’s the idea that we always start with when we write a new album. We wrote more songs for the album than ever before, which gave us the chance to cherry pick what made the album, which we have never been able to do before.
Dead Rhetoric: With tracks like “Paradise of the Architect” and “From Sound to Silence”, there is that mixture of cyber/electronic effects against the normal melodic metal components – going into different direction with influences like Amaranthe and In Flames in spots. Has that diversity always been important to get across to Dynazty followers, especially given the musicians within their bands wanting to express their diverse, creative ideas?
Molin: I think so. We definitely are quite diverse, both as musicians and as songwriters. There is no one kind of genre within the metal scene that we are fully committed to. I guess when it comes to writing music there will always be influences coming from all directions, and once you put them in the melting pot that is Dynazty, we distinguish our own sound by using these kinds of influences. “Paradise of the Architect”, that song is like a spiritual successor to some of our earlier tracks like “Starlight” and “The Human Paradox”. It’s just that we amped up everything even more with this track, that follows the general philosophy of this album.
Dead Rhetoric: And “The Road to Redemption” is a different style of Dynazty song as well, don’t you think?
Molin: Right. That is definitely one of those curveballs that we tried for on this album as well. And that’s also the general philosophy of this band now – if there are some experimental songs in terms of sound and styles, we are not afraid to at least try it on. And if it turns into a song, then we will most likely use it.
Dead Rhetoric: You chose to preview the record with videos/lyrical videos for “Presence of Mind”, “Heartless Madness”, and “Waterfall”. How much of a challenge is it to decide what songs should give the fans insight and a preview until the full album content – and how do you feel the shoots went for the two visual clips? Do you enjoy that process and avenue of promotion in these social media platform driven times?
Molin: For this album in particular it was really difficult to choose the singles. At least in my opinion there were so many single tracks, pretty early on we wanted to release three videos before the album was released. We were all set on “Presence of Mind” being the first video, I think it’s a clear-cut case of a first single, and an introduction to the album. We could have gone into many different directions, picking a heavier track, or we could have gone with “Hologram” which would have been a great single. We chose these three songs, and I think they are a good representation of the album.
The video shoots, I’m very happy with the result of all them. We worked with a guy we’ve worked with before, and we knew going in that this would be something that we would be very comfortable with, the results would be good. And I’m very happy with it.
It’s a part of the territory, social media. A lot of the stuff has to be handled by the band, at least if you want to be in control of how you are presented. Overall I’m not a big fan of social media, but it comes with the territory so you have to be engaged and be a part of the whole thing.
Dead Rhetoric: Going with renowned producer Jacob Hansen for the mixing duties on the new record – what does it mean for the final product to have those fresh, experienced set of ears looking at the material and giving his input to shape things?
Molin: I think that Jacob’s mixing style is the missing piece for us in terms of production. I think he creates this huge natural sound that never has been easy to come across. This huge, natural, powerful sound and this is the kind of sound we’ve always sought after and never really nailed down on an album before now. Once we had that missing piece, in terms of production we have something we’ve never had before. Jacob is one of the most sought after record producers and mixers in the metal community. He does so much stuff, his knowledge and experience (is) staggering. When it comes to this music, it’s a real pleasure to work with him.
Dead Rhetoric: Would you ever consider using him long-term from the production side of things or do you feel you would rather keep things in house with the band?
Molin: As far as producing the actual songwriting and arrangements we are very comfortable on our own, and that’s the way we’ve done it for the last couple of albums. At the same time, we are still open to working with an outside producer, if it would be the right opportunity for it. When it comes to mixing, that’s why we are working with a guy like Jacob because he can put his own stamp on the mixing and sound the way we envision things. Let’s see how things go in the future if we end up co-producing something in the future.
Dead Rhetoric: How did the specific imagery come about for the cover art this time – what do you believe you were able to get across for the first impressions through this medium[M1]?
Molin: In terms of the album cover, we worked with a guy named Gustavo Sazes. He does a lot of cover art these days and he’s a fantastic artist. I sort of wanted to step away from the whole process- I just gave him the album title, sent him some lyric sheets and a couple of demos and let him go to town with it. Because I know that he has a much better mind for these sort of things than I do – I just have that much trust in him. When I saw it the first time, it was what I had expected although I didn’t know I had expected it to look like that. I wanted this to portray the album title, the themes of the album in a good way and look stunning and beautiful to look at, and I think he did that.
Dead Rhetoric: And where did you want to come across lyrically with this album?
Molin: All the tracks are individual in lyrics, but there are some overall themes that run throughout the album and reoccur. I just try to find something when writing the lyrics that sort of gels with the overall song, conveys the song in the best way that it possibly could. Just try to find a theme that is symbiotic with the music itself. What that can be, it differs. Then there are some themes, a couple of songs you feel where the element is going so you look for a different kind of lyric. Overall, I try to strike a balance between the uplifting, empowering and positive kind of content and then some darker, more introspective themes.
Dead Rhetoric: Where do you think you’ve made better decisions as a singer for Dynazty – either personally when it comes to the creative/live process or on the business/behind the scenes choices, or has it been a bit of growth in both areas?
Molin: For me personally, I try to be all encompassing. In this day and age, you need to take control of yourself – nobody is going to do it for you, and if you have somebody else is doing it for you, they may not necessarily be the right person who understands the band. Which was the case very early on in our career. Or you just have to give what little income you are receiving in the early stages of your career. I try to grow as a musician and as a singer, and grow as much as I can on the business side of things as well. Learn as much as I can to make sure my ideas are correct, and that I’m working in the right way.
Dead Rhetoric: Elize posted something on her social media accounts that the band had to ‘sneak’ over the border before the COVID-19 restrictions shut things down to record the new Amaranthe album. How are things going with the sessions for that, and what measures will have to be taken to get back to your home country – as this worldwide pandemic is definitely still a major concern?
Molin: I think it would have still been possible. I think they arrived one hour before Denmark went into lockdown. That doesn’t mean that you can’t go to Denmark to work – you just need to find the proper permit or paperwork to go there. Hopefully the situation does not get worse, they will not be stuck in Denmark so the rest of the band can go to Denmark and record stuff.
As far as I know, the sessions are going well. They are still in the early stages of recording the album, and tracking drums. So far, so good – and let’s just hope that we can record this album the same way that Amaranthe has recorded their albums, and not have to separately record stuff in Sweden because we can’t go to Denmark, and vice versa.
Dead Rhetoric: What would surprise the fans to learn about the people within Dynazty when they are in their down time away from the music?
Molin: That’s a good question. I can speak for myself personally. Downtime away from music – nowadays I am spending so much time away on tour for the last couple of years so I am almost never home. I try to spend time catching up on the things I haven’t been able to do while on tour – seeing movies and tv series, maybe playing a video game or two. I watch a lot of sports, that’s the normal every day stuff I do when I am at home.
Dead Rhetoric: What are common mistakes or missteps that you see younger musicians make in the hard rock/metal field that you wish they would take into consideration for maybe a stronger impact later on down the line?
Molin: When you start out, especially when you are very young and if this is your first band, there are all kinds of mistakes that you can make, and that you will make. We certainly have made many when we started out, simply because you don’t know what the industry looks like, you don’t know what the business side looks like, and you can’t possibly know, you can’t study yourself. You can only learn them by trial and error and doing it.
Overall the most important thing for any aspiring musician and band is to focus on writing good songs. That is the foundation of any good band. If you don’t have good songs, the rest of the work that you put down isn’t going to matter. At the end of the day, that is foundation that you need to build and keep building until you establish everything else.
Dead Rhetoric: That makes sense. A lot of times you see younger musicians looking for shortcuts, and that doesn’t necessarily make things beneficial in the long run…
Molin: For example, there are many people who still think of making a cover of a song, and that can be a shortcut to getting people to notice the band. That could work, if you are willing to put an equal amount of effort on the rest of your songs, and finding a way to get that audience to like you not only because of the covers but also because you make your own music. Sometimes this can be confusing to the audience, because they originally listened to you because you made covers, and that’s where you became famous. Many younger bands try that out in order to get (people) to discover the rest of the band, and many times it backfires.
It’s a bit of double-edge sword. There are plenty of bands who got away with it- one of the first Judas Priest hits was “The Green Manalishi” which is a cover. I don’t know how many Priest fans know that this is actually a cover.
Dead Rhetoric: And “Diamonds and Rust” was a Joan Baez song they did. Judas Priest were one of the bands who could record covers, be accepted, and still churn out awesome original material as well…
Molin: Maybe it’s easier, in those days, if you went to a completely different genre, grabbed one of those songs, and form it into your own sound. Nowadays, everyone will find out if you do a pop song, people will take notice.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve always had a great, supportive family who have encouraged you to push your musical pursuits – often asking your mother for feedback on material you are working on personally. Discuss that family motivation and its importance on your craft – how has it helped you long-term, have there been times where their inner voices and strength help you through some challenging or tougher times?
Molin: The most important thing in terms of support from my family is that they’ve never questioned that I wanted to follow my heart and go into music. Never any of this ‘hey maybe you need to get a real job’. It’s just been natural, because they are the same kind of people as I am. They understand the importance of doing something that you are really passionate about. Just to have this, and always knowing that nobody is thinking badly of you because of the direction or aspirations of your career – this is the kind of support that gives you a good foundation. Or good comfort in going forward. And I will always be happy about that.
Dead Rhetoric: Obviously any touring activities are in a holding pattern for the foreseeable future until the health concerns with the coronavirus get under more manageable control. How do you foresee handling this downtime personally and professionally – and do you believe we’ll see possibly greater creative benefits long-term because of this?
Molin: At this stage, nobody really knows how long this will go on and what it will lead to. There is no crisis that doesn’t bring out eventual positivity, and I’m sure there will be lots of lessons learned from this, lots of inventions, and lots of positivity long-term that comes out of this. Everything is shitty, the economies are going to suffer like hell, and as a result people are going to suffer. Hopefully there can be a resurgence of creative powers. Right now, we are just releasing this album, so I sometimes believe you need to take a few steps back and halt your creative work at least a couple of months before you start picking it up again. Otherwise we would be back to writing material now. It might be good to let the creative brain cells rest a little before we start writing again. Maybe a lot of other bands will take the opportunity to focus on more writing because they cannot go out on tour.
Dead Rhetoric: What does the next year look like for activities for Dynazty and Amaranthe?
Molin: Everything is a little bit up in the air at the moment. There is a touring schedule for the rest of the year, but nobody knows what will happen. There is a festival season starting up in June, and who knows what will happen with all the European festivals for example. We had a long-term plan for Dynazty, we were supposed to tour in April and May and we’ve had to postpone it. There are more plans for October and early November with Dynazty and in early 2021. But at this stage, I can’t really count on anything, since we don’t really know how long this thing will go on, and how it will affect international touring.