Have any of you played in other bands? Me and Randy we know each other for about 25yrs now. We used to play in few projects in early 2000`s with some success on the local scene, but we part ways for some time as Randy moved to USA and I moved to UK. Back in 2016 we had this idea of bringing to life a brand new project with new songs and fresh approach. Oskar was a member of a Swedish band Disrupted I and he joined us on our way to record music with us.
How is it that you started playing music? We all had pretty much the same reasons to reach for the instruments and form our first bands. When you listen to metal and you love it, you feel the energy, you see your childhood heroes on big stage performing for awesome crowds of people, playing heavy as hell, and you feel like, hell yeah, I`d like to do that too. And from there you need few more friends with the same attitude and you can reach for the sky J you know, sort of dream BIG. That is how it all started in mid 90`s with us.
What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you? My name is Wojtek Widuch and I write and play all the guitars and bass, Randy Kaciak is our drummer and Oskar Asfjal is our Vocalist.
Have you had other previous members? When Me and Randy decided that we wanted to start to play again, we approached guys from our previous band Carnivorous and we asked them to join. They agreed to do it but in the end they could not commit to it did not work out. We expect 100% commitment to what we do, positive energy and right attitude otherwise there is no joy in it.
Did you make music even when you were young? Well, as I previously said we started in early teens, and that is when we played our first bands, first songs in some random places, you know like schools, village picnics etc. We took all the chances to show the world our faces and play our songs as good as we possibly could back then.
Where are you from? I was born In Poland but I live in UK for about 12 years now, Randy is from Poland but living in USA for around 15 years and Oskar is from Sweden, so you can say it is a worldwide project.
What year did the band form? It was in early 2016 when we started talking about forming a new band. In mid 2016 Oskar joined us and by the November 2016 we had 8 songs ready for our first self titled EP. We signed with SlipTrick Records and our album was released early this year. It is still available to but through our Facebook Page.
What's your style of genre? We don`t really want to put ourselves in some sort of a brackets. We all like different styles of Metal and we try to combine it all together, so you can hear influences from few genres like Melodic Death Metal, Trash Metal, NWOBHM, Groove Metal and more.
What inspires you? We take our inspirations from many genres and many musicians, our fans inspire us a lot, when they happy with our music it gives us a lot of energy to work even harder on new songs.
How often and where do you reherse? We work on our music on daily basis, so you can sort of say that we rehearse every day. The only difference is that we don’t meet in person but instead we work in our home recording studios and we communicate online. In XXI century distance is not a problem at all.
How have you developed since you started with the music? Listening and playing music expands your horizons, if want a good meaningful lyrics you have to read a lot, base them on solid ground of life experiences, history etc. You meet many incredible people on the way, you talk to them and you learn something new every single day.
Do you have other interests of work outside the band? We love playing music but obviously we have may other interests outside the band, Randy for instance is a dedicated body builder, he loves his gymJ I like my cooking, history and politics, nothing better than a good political debate. Oskar is absolutely obsessed with his music, he is not only vocalist but he is also very talented guitarist and bassist, you can also hear in our lyrics he is into history.
Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? We`re not looking for a booking agency at the moment because in this stage our band is strictly a studio project so there is no need for a booking agency.
Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? We are signed with SlipTrick Records something around December 2018, we had our album released in January 2017. We are currently working on our second Album which should be ready aroun June 2016 and we will be looking for a Label to release it for us. But this is something we will leave until next year and no we are 100% focused on finishing new songs and getting them ready for release.
What are your songs about? On our first album songs are based on history and facts. You can find there a story about Dyatlov Pass incident, very, very creepy story about a group of people ski hikers and their unsolved to this day deaths, another interesting story is the song John Frum about a guy associated with cargo cults on the island of Tanna where people for this day waiting for their messiah to return. Dark Rites will tell about Bohemian Club reserved only for the powerful circle of people and some of the things that surrounds us and we are not completely aware of them. And amongst many other songs there is a song about a serial killer Edmund Kemper.
Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? Oskar Asfjal is responsible for all the lyrics and vocals, we gave him a free hand in terms of the topics of the lyrics and I worked out brilliantly. He can write a very interesting and powerful stories, lyrics which can lure you into the music. It terms of composing I write all the guitars, bass and arrange the songs and when they are ready I will give them to Randy to finish off with the drums and if there is anything to change we will discuss the ideas and adjust accordingly.
Do you start with the music or the lyrics? I start with the music, so when I plan the song I have a rough idea of what I want to do with a certain riff, the tempos, breakdowns etc. When all the instruments are ready Rady will get the drums ready and when we are happy with the sketch of the song we will ask Oskar write the lyrics and get the vocals ready.
Do you compose in a certain inviroment? It is all done in our home recording studios, far from the day to day life, where we can focus and commit to the music.
Have you done any covers live? We don’t play any cover live but recently we released through SlipTrick Records a cover of the IRON MAIDEN song Wicker Man with a really nice lyric video which you can find on our YouTube channel.
What language do you sing in? It is all done in English, but I`m quite open to the idea of Oskar singing in Swedish J especially songs based on Viking mythology.
When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? We are planning on starting our own little shop with the merchandise, t-shirts, patches etc. together with our CD`s. It will be widely available online through our website.
Where can people buy your merchandise? Depends on the demand, but they can contact us directly and we will sort the postage up.
What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? Well, I personally think it is stealing. When we released our first album few days later it was available for free through one of the Russian Pirate websites. What people must realise is that it does not help new bands at all. Recording process, promotion merchandise, all of the above is very expensive to do, and even thou for us it was never about the money because we have a stable jobs etc. Money helps to deliver a better quality songs, Videos, Interviews, Merchandise and promotion which is necessity for the band to survive and reach to the larger public than just a local people or friends. We also release free of charge songs, lyric videos to encourage people to support us.
How do you think the music industry have changed because of this?
We see that the CD`s are slowly dying, there is a comeback of the Vinyl and in some cases the cassettes are coming back which is a great thing, but you know, we are on Spotify and other platforms too but the young and new band can`t make any money on it, it pays some silly money so unless you have thousands listeners you are doomed J Less and less people create a collections of
CD`s, digital platforms are one of the reasons but also in many countries CD`s are too expensive even thou only small fraction of the actual price goes to the band.
What do you think of my work? I think that you are doing a great job and certainly industry need people like you, to promote bands, tell people that they exist let the world know that, there is a music worth listening too. This is thank to You and others like you Dark Rites had a smooth start and we hope that we can count on your continuous support, we are very grateful for.
How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? I`m sure it will help J Your blog have the audience which we would like to encourage to listen to our music, check us out on our social media, comment on our music, gives us a reviews and join our DarkRitesofficiall group where they will be able to find more about us and some wonderful underground music of many genres.
Do you have any role models or idols? We are strongly influenced by bands like IN FLAMES, VADER, LAMB OF GOD but also some of the old school heavy metal like IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, HALLOWEEN and obviously I can`t forget to mention FUCKING SLAYER, KREATOR, TESTAMENT and many, many more. They all are our models in terms of music and we always look up to them and try to use their experience. It is fantastic thing to read autobiographies of the musicians or bands, there is a plenty free lessons and advice there.
Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? We always look for new music to get inspiration from but we don’t want to restrict ourselves to anything so both the old and new school of metal is important to us.
What have been your biggest obstacles? At the moment the biggest obstacle on our way is the distance. We are dispersed all over the world and this makes it difficult to organise live shows etc. but I`m pretty sure we will sort this all out in the nearest future to reach to more fans.
What advice would you give other bands or artists? I would say to the young bands, If you have the plan, the idea the dream, if you know what you want to achieve never give up. If you feel like you are banging your head against the wall and your music is not going anywhere, look online, talk to the DJ`s from the smaller radio stations or people who have auditions in online radio stations send them your music they will help you as they did with us.
Do you have any new material? Recently we released a cover of the IRON MAIDEN song wicker man and we are almost ready to release our tribute to the old school of Swedish and Norwegian Black Metal scene with our own composition called MASOCHIST. It will be a lyric video with some very powerful and dark lyrics.
What are your web sites?
We are on Facebook on www.facebook.com/darkritesband/ - @darkritesband
on youtube http://www.youtube.com/c/DarkRites
we are on twitter and Instagram
How can people reach you? As stated aboveJ
What are your plans for the future? We are working hard on our second album which we are hoping to release in mid 2018, there will be some videos available to the singles we will release in the meantime to promote new album.
Do you have something to add? I just want to add that we are grateful for your support, I would like to thank our fans and listeners for helping our dream to come true. Our album is available through all the major shops and platforms and also directly from us via our Facebook page. Simply message us and we will arrange postage.