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Dante

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toroddfuglesteg View Drop Down
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    Posted: September 16 2010 at 08:24


Dante is a progressive metal band from Germany originated in 2006 by Markus Maichel (keyboards) and Markus Berger (guitar). Around 2005, both longtime friends decided to do sessions on Berger's own studio. Liking what they had recorded they decided to form a full band, so Alexander Göhs, vocalist of Berger's previous band Twelve was asked to join the recording session to see if he could be interested in their music. He joined Dante soon afterward as a regular member. The band was later joined by drummer Christian Eichlinger who had the same vision of progressive rock as the other members of the band.

I got in touch with Markus in Dante through www.progrockrecords.com and got their story.


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Your biography has been covered in your ProgArchives profile so let's bypass the biography details. But why did you choose that name and which bands were you influenced by ?

When the initial project turned into a real band, we were looking for a name that was a) catchy and b) we felt would fit the kind of music we make. There were a few suggestions flying around, but then someone dropped the name DANTE, and we immediately liked it! It is catchy, and we liked the literary and artistic reference as we always wanted to make meaningful music and write poetic lyrics with the band.

Itīs difficult to say for us which bands we were influenced by as there are so many great bands we like, but we certainly are huge fans of Neal Morse, Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater and, on the more traditional side, Pink Floyd, Yes and Gabriel-era Genesis. So probably some of that shows in our music, but we certainly donīt consciously try to write something alike.



Please tell us more about your first album The Inner Circle from 2007

It was actually released in January 2008!
The beginning of the album dates back to where there were only Markus (Berger/guitars) and Markus (Maichel/keyboards) working on their songs in the studio. Those first songs were not written with a band in mind. We asked Alex (Göhs) to do the vocals on the finished tracks, and towards the end of the writing process Chris (Eichlinger) joined us and delivered the drum tracks. But basically, though Chris had the freedom to do his drumtracks, with the exception of a few orchestral things here and there, the album was written before anybody else joined the band.
The album was produced in the bandīs studio by Markus Berger and we released it through our website. Fortunately, most people really liked it, we got a whole lot of great reviews and so got a good start into the Prog-scene!
We are very proud of it, it was our very first Prog-album, and we did absolutely everything on our own, we wrote the songs & the lyrics, recorded, mixed and mastered the whole thing, created a great 20 page booklet to go with it, created a very cool website...To see that we could actually make something like that happen without any help whatsoever and that it was so very well received was great!

A funny thing about the albumīs title was, that the lyrics evolved in a way that was very poetic and conceptually circular, so when deciding about an album title we chose "The Inner Circle" as it fit the lyrical content but was also directly linked to our eponym, Dante Aligheri - we did not think of such a thing when we named the band!



Please tell us more about your second album Saturnine from 2010

Just like with "The Inner Circle", we started from scratch without any plans and went on writing and let the whole thing develop naturally.
The whole writing process was a bit more "open", as far as the contribution of the band was concerned, there was definitely more input from Chris and Alex during the writing sessions. Also, while the lyrics of the first album were mainly done by Markus (Maichel), this time Markus (Berger) did contribute more there too. But all that just developed as the band grew together. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Markus (Berger) and Markus (Maichel) in our new RedTube Studios.

Musically, we are very proud of it, and we feel it is big step forward for us. It picks up right where "The Inner Circle" left, and to us, feels very powerful, dynamic and organic despite all the complexity of the music. It is very melodic, every single song is strong, and though the songs are not as tied together lyrically as on "The Inner Circle", the music flows really well from song to song, so that the album feels as a strong unit. And, it contains the best song DANTE has ever written, "Vanessa"! We just love that song!
Of course, "Saturnine" is also special to us as it was calling ProgRock Records attention to us.

How is the creative process in Dante from coming up with a theme/riff/idea to you get it down onto an album ?

Basically it still works the same as when we started out. We donīt write as a full-band. Markus (Berger) and Markus (Maichel) get together in the studio and write the songs and record a demo. There is just a great writing chemistry and flow between the two of them!
Usually, a song starts with only a rough idea of what we want, maybe a riff, or a melody, but usually it turns out pretty soon how it will develop. Obviously the epics need more preparation though, we always have a good idea what we are going to tell in these songs!
During that whole process the rest of the band does have their input though, suggesting certain things, discussing others, though the final decision lies with Markus and Markus. When the guide track is ready, Chris is doing the drumtracks and the final orchestration of the orchestral parts, then Alex does the vocals.
When we are happy with the result, everything is roughly mixed. We create the whole album that way, and towards the end of the album production of course, everything is re-recorded and properly mixed and mastered.
This workflow has proven to be the most effective for the band.

Just to give those of us who are unknown with your music a bit of a reference point or two: How would you describe your music ?

Stylistically, our music is somewhere on the line between Progressive Rock and Progressive Metal. Thereīs lots of mellow and melodic stuff, thereīs epic orchestral stuff, thereīs lots of really heavy riffs and pounding drums and many tricky instrumental parts and solos.
But that being said, we just write what feels right for us, and we always really write "songs" despite all "progressiveness" of the music. We donīt want a collection of cool musical parts somehow glued together but songs that flow and have good melodies.

How is your gigs situation ? Is there any plans or wishes to play gigs or festivals this year and/or next year ?

The gig situation is unfortunately not so good and maybe the biggest drawback for us. We just canīt play as much as we would like to. There are so few clubs and organizers that invite a Progressive band. We just keep trying and applying to get more gigs, and hopefully we will have more live opportunities in 2011. Playing festivals would be great, and generally, we would like to play as much as possible to get our music out to the people!

What is your experience with the music industry and the new internet
music scene ?


Getting signed by ProgRock Records was great for us. Not only are they great people who really care about the music, they also do a very good job. Not having to do everything on our own was a huge thing for us, and basically what a relatively new band like us lacks are contacts, and the label has got those. So, this is certainly a good experience with the industry.
On the other hand it is very distressing to see that most of the industry does not care about the quality of the music, but just the commercial side. Of course, it is a business, but that should not be the sole criterion! We have our share of experience there, with labels, promoters, organizers..., all saying, yes, the music is great, but it does not sell, canīt be played on the radio...so we canīt do anything for you. But then, thatīs how it is, and we wonīt complain, itīs the music we really care about, and itīs not that we did not know all that before!

The internet scene has done us good in the sense that it allowed us to get our music to many people when we were completely on our own, to many fans and critics worldwide. Without that and the good response we got there, we would not be here with our second album and a label deal!
As far as the commercial side is concerned, we have not profited so much there with "The Inner Circle", Prog is just not that iPod friendly! But then, we donīt know yet how "Saturnine" is doing there.

Are you involved in any other bands or projects ?

Markus and Markus are involved in a few projects they also produce in their RedTube Studios, and Markus (Maichel) and Alex do have a sideproject called "LaMer" they will hopefully have more time for too, and Chris is currently working on his 4th solo CD with orchestral- / score-like music

What is your plans for the rest of this year and next year ?

We will have a couple more concerts this year, maybe weīll also get an additional opportunity or two to play somewhere as a support. We will keep sending applications to as many promoters and organizers as possible.
Besides that, we are already hard at work with the material for the next album, and we are progressing nicely there!

The number one priority for 2011 will be to get out there to play as much as we can! Weīve got good music (we think!), got a label that takes care of album sales, reviews and all, now we want as many people to hear our music as we can possibly reach. Then we hope to further expand the production services we offer in our studio. Also, we are planning to have the material for the new album ready sometime next year, we are already really looking forward to that!


Thank you to Markus for this interview.

Their PA profile is here and their homepage is here


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progmetalhead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 16 2010 at 12:53
Nice interview Torodd Approve
 
Both albums are excellent and a worthy addition to any Prog Metaller's collection.
 
They are already in mine! Wink Big smile 
http://www.last.fm/user/colt2112

Colt - Admin Team MMA

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