About Me

Interview with d'Artagnan

“One For All And All For One”! The well-known motto from “The Three Musketeers”, the novel written by French novelist, Alexandre Dumas and suits very well this band. Tim Bernard, guitarist, vocalist, and one of the founders, talked with Metal Imperium about its origins, “Felsenfest” released on 28th October 2022, via Sony Music, the tracks and much more. They even have tracks in several languages. A band that must be discovered and is wunderbar!

M.I. - Hi there, Tim. Welcome, on behalf of Metal Imperium’s readers and your Portuguese fans. How are you?

I’m doing fine, thank you very much! We’ve just been on a TV interview yesterday, for German television. So, lots of things to do right now. We went on tour,in the last couple of weeks, in Germany, here to celebrate our new album: “Felsenfest”! Yes! It was a very nice time, great experience for us and great reactions for the CD. So, we’re very happy for this release! Now, how are you?

M.I. - I’m fine, thank you! It’s an honor to talk with you, since I’m a big fan of your work and your songs!

Nice! What’s your favorite song?

M.I. - Track number 9: “Pulverdampf & Donnergroll’n”!

Nice, because it’s not an usual dArtagnan song! It’s a little bit experimental! We used some other sounds from other bands for this song. It’s nice that it’s your favourite song! Cool!

M.I. - Could you please introduce the band, the history, the members and what instruments you play, for the fans to know you a bit more?

We’re six men, with drums, bass, guitar. We’re a Folk Rock band, so we have a bagpipe player and the bagpipe player is also an Irish tin whistle player and our singer, his name is Ben. We have a great violinist, Gustavo. Gusto, as we call him. And me, I play the guitar and sing. That’s it (laughs).
We established in 2015. So, we’ve been on the road for like six years, because in 2016, was the year we released our very first CD: “Seit an Seit” and, since then, we have been touring and have five CDs released. We want to play in other states, unfortunately, it’s not so easy, but we’re working on it. Maybe in the near future, we will have some shows in Europe. It will be great! Maybe sometime in Portugal, I don’t know (laughs). 

M.I. - Your name makes reference to the 17th French soldier Charles de Batz de Castelmore dArtagnan, who was famous thanks to Alexandre Dumas and his “dArtagnan Romances”, most notably in the novel “The Three Musketeers”. Why this soldier and what fascinated you about him, that you decided to choose that name for your band? Do you like that century? Is there a mystic about it? Share your thoughts about it.

It’s not only the “The Three Musketeers” and the whole “Musketeer” cosmos. Also the whole history! Our front singer, Ben, and main songwriter, is fascinated with History and the main thing: we choose this name and the whole history of “The Three Musketeers” because of the brotherhood. You know, helping each other, the lifestyle is exciting, it’s adventure, it’s drinking wine, lots of women (laughs), just the whole thing! Everybody knows one “The Musketeers” film. There’s a whole “The Musketeers” franchise and there’s another movie coming from France next year and there’s plenty of movies with Charlie Sheen or some other movies. Every three years, comes a new “Musketeers” movie and this time, we founded the band. There was a series, a TV show from “The Three Musketeers” and it was amazing! So, we decided to make it all, to get this theme of “The Three Musketeers” into the music. We had the possibility to make great customs and wore some swords. Yeah! That was the whole idea of making the band called “dArtagnan”!
We’re interested in History and half the band is completely into History.
Yes! I think every century has something mystical, especially this century, but everything about this is a time when things were not as easy as today. Things were a lot tougher. You had to be some other man and woman not as today. There were no smartphones. You had to make something up for yourself. You couldn’t come up for yourself, for your cellphone and Google something. You had to come up for yourself! It’s all the time before technology. It’s interesting! It’s mystic!

M.I. - Your style is Folk Rock and indeed it suits you. You blend Modern Rock with Folk sounds and rhythms. We can hear sounds that take us on a journey to 200 years ago, with lyrics that celebrate the love of life, compassion, friendship, camaraderie and courage. You even talk about drinking. How did you come up with these themes? Can we say that you are the pioneers and ambassadors of that style? How do you feel about that?

dArtagnan is nice, but the new way of dArtagnan is to keep it more open to every theme! So, on the new CD we have other songs like “Westwind” and we made a step into the Pirate era, just for fun! Not only this “Musketeers” theme, you know? You can write twenty albums only about “Musketeers”. But, you have to be more, it’s about more! 
And also your favorite song: “Pulverdampf & Donnergroll’n”, is not only about this time. It’s an anti-war song! It’s about the invention of the “Pulverdampf”. I don’t know the words in English, sorry! It’s not only about “Musketeers” right now! dArtagnan is growing and the themes are getting bigger. We want to be a historical party band (laughs)! 
You have to look at the world right now! It’s as simple as that. As I said in the “Musketeers” intro: you have to be a strong man, you have to be something more and you have to help each other. That doesn’t change! It’s always the same: we have to help each other, we have to look out for each other and you have to be strong during hard times. And I think the times we live in right now are not easy. We are going through hard times and it’s important that we all come together and be strong. 
With our lyrics, we want to make people strong! We want to support them! We want to give them strength to carry through hard times and it works! So, we have a lot of fans who say: “Thank you so much for your music, because you’re helping us through hard times!” and that’s the nice thing about our music. Some songs are pushing yourself! You can push yourself through those times, when  you are sad or things don’t work out. That’s how we come up with the lyrics, but also we want to tell everyone not to take everything so hard, it’s also important to party, to make yourself feel good, have a drink, feel excited about something! Beside the strenght and courage, we also write about nice feelings, party songs, love songs. It’s the whole thing! 
Yes, you can say that, but I think we’re not the inventors of Folk Rock, we’re not the first guys who mix up violins and bagpipes with Hard Rock. We’re not the inventors of this, but our wish is to be one of the greatest and biggest Folk Rock bands in the world. Maybe! That would be great, but we’re not the inventors of this kind of music. Yes! We are maybe the first musicians to dress up like “Musketeers”, but you have a lot of bands who claim themselves to be the first ones who make Historical Rock, but I would not say we’re the first ones who make this kind of music.

M.I. - “Felsenfest” is your new album, that was released on 28th October 2022, via Sony Music and it is a masterpiece. “Felsenfest”, in German, means solid as a rock, rock solid, steadfast and firm. How did you come up with the idea for that name? Could you tell us the story behind it and are you guys solid as a rock?

I think nobody’s always solid as a rock! I think everybody’s struggling sometimes, but we’re solid in believing in our music. That’s what makes us solid as a rock, because we know what we want and when we’re on stage, we want to make people feel better in their lives, want to make music for people, we want nice evenings for people who come to our shows and would listen to our CDs. That is what we’re solid at! So, we’re solid in believing that we want to be musicians. 
You know when have to choose a title for an album, it’s not easy! So, everytime we’re thinking of a new show: “Ok! What songs would we have? What is a great title?”. So, we came up with “Felsenfest”! Ben had the idea “Felsenfest” (solid as a rock). I think this time the title was before the song. So, he wrote a song about the title, I made the melody and we wrote the song, because we wanted to name the album “Felsenfest”!

M.I. - Let’s talk about the lyrics, shall we? Thirty-eight tracks of pure epicness. You sing about myths and medieval stories. Do you sing only about German stories or worldwide? Could you tell us which ones do you know and tell the fans any curiosity, please?

I think the stories are not only German! Sometimes they’re just in Ben’s head. “Drei schwarze Reiter”, track number 8, is a written story, like a little horror story, it’s dark, it just came up in Ben’s mind. As an example, the track “Freiheit & Tod” (“Freedom & Death”) is about the French Revolution! So, it’s not German, it’s worldwide! 

M.I. - We can also hear references to historical events and important aspects from navigation. Which historical event influenced you the most, lyrically speaking?

The Thirty Years’ War in Europe! That historical event, you can hear it in a lot of songs from dArtagnan, but this is one theme Ben reads a lot about and it’s fascinating to him. There’s also “Wallestein” from our third album, but that event is not on this record!

M.I. - What are your favorite singers/bands of all time? And albums?

Freddie Mercury is a great singer! Dio is one of a kind singers. Ben and I look up to him. Very nice singer, very nice guy. Rainbow.

M.I. - Tim, thanks once again on behalf of Metal Imperium’s readers and the Portuguese fans. Could you leave any final words, please?

To the people of Portugal, thank you so much for listening to our music. I hope we will come to Europe and maybe visit your great country. I’m excited! Thank you very much for listening to our music! 

Listen dArtagnan, on Spotify

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Raquel Miranda