About Me

Interview with Dark Forest

Four years went by between these two albums (“Beyond the Veil” and “Oak, Ash & Thorn”).  We talked about the meaning of the band’s name, the process of writing and music itself. They explained what the main influences were (culturally speaking) and the relationship between their ancestors and the environment that surrounded them. Let’s salute this band the best way possible.

M.I - Hi there and thanks for answering some of our questions. Could you please introduce the band?

Dark Forest is a traditional heavy metal band from England, formed back in 2002 and we draw on folklore, mythology and history for inspiration. Our members are Josh Winnard on vocals, Christian Horton, Pat Jenkins on guitars and Adam Sidaway on drums.

M.I - You come from The Black Country, which is an area of the West Midlands, England, West of Birmingham. The Black Country, during the Industrial Revolution, became one of the most industrialized parts of the UK, due to its coal mines (in the forests), iron foundries and steel mills and for that matter, the air pollution was high. Is your name a reference to that specific part of History?

The name wasn’t specifically in reference to the Black Country, no. Although the history and heritage of the area is certainly something which has had an impact on the band to a certain degree. We’re more inspired by its earlier history, before it became industrialized, and we have referred to the greener folklore of the area in some songs. The name was originally thought of as a mean to capture the kind of atmosphere we wanted to create as a band.

M.I - “Oak, Ash & Thorn” will be released next year (April 2020), at Hellfire Studios. Will it sound as epic as the others?

Absolutely. In fact, this album sounds even more epic than our previous releases. All the songs on “Oak, Ash & Thorn” are up a level of anything we’ve done before and the production and general atmosphere of the album is one of rich, grand pastoral scenes.

M.I - Could you tell us the idea between the lyrics and music for this album?

We always have to ensure that there is a real unity between the lyrics and music and with this album, the song writing process tended to work by having a title or general theme first, then the music and then the lyrics followed. “Oak, Ash & Thorn” explores the relationship our ancestors had with their natural environment. It goes into topics such as the geo-mythical landscape, nature veneration and animism. There is an overall atmosphere on the album of both a longing to return to a simpler, greener world and, also, a fierce defiance of modernity. 

M.I - Between “Beyond the Veil” and this new album, what can we expect (musically and lyrically speaking)?

Lyrically, I think “Oak, Ash & Thorn” is more poetic and maybe more mature in a sense, although songs like “Lore of the Land” from “Beyond the Veil” did touch upon very similar themes. I think there’s more continuity between the songs this time and it works as a more concise album. Musically, I’d say that the new songs are some of the best we’ve ever written but they are also a natural progression from the last album.

M.I - And between these two albums, four years went by. What took you so long to record this one?

Yes! It seems to be the average length of time between albums for us these days. There is the fact that the songs are of a much higher standard than the early days and naturally take longer to write but you also have the factor in the everyday commitments of work and family which I’m sure you can understand.

M.I - Celtic culture and folklore are important in the United Kingdom. Did you also play traditional instruments for that matter? 

To create a certain surrounding. Celtic culture yes, but also Roman, Saxon, Viking etc. We take inspiration of the whole rich tapestry of our heritage and folklore and that aspect is summed up perfectly in the album artwork created by Mr. Duncan Storr. In fact, the title “Oak, Ash & Thorn” is taken from the Rudyard Kipling story “Puck of Pook’s Hill” which deals with the same theme. We didn’t play traditional instruments, because I think that would take us too far down the “folk metal” route. We’ve always considered ourselves straight up heavy metal and if we want to create a folky or medieval atmosphere then we write it into the guitar melodies. We do have keyboards on the album though which have been styled into string orchestras. These have added a beautiful layer of texture to certain songs.

M.I - On your Facebook page, we could listen to a little snippet of a track, called “Heart of The Rose”. What will be the name of the single, to present us this album and will it have a video too?

Yes, “Heart of the Rose” is going to be the final song on the album and is, in fact, an instrumental track named after an unusual subject to do with psychic questing, which can be found in some of the works of Andrew Collins and Paul Weston. There are a couple of choices for the single but we’re still in talks with the record label about which one it should be. A video is also something we may well look into!

M.I - What do you expect to conquer with this album?

If “Oak, Ash & Thorn” serves to bring enjoyment and inspiration to the people who listen, then it will have fulfilled its purpose.

M.I - Thanks for your patience, congrats and much success for this album. Any final words for the fans and readers of our magazine?

By wells and rills, in meadows green,
We nightly dance our heyday guise;
And to our fairy king and queen,
We chant our moonlight minstrelsies.

For Portuguese version, click here

Interview by Raquel Miranda