Interviewer: Jeffrey D. Adkins
Daylight Dies have been mesmerizing metal heads for several years now and there is no sign of them slowing down. Over the last couple years they have played shows with legendary bands such as Emperor, Moonspell, Katatonia and Candlemass and have made a name of their own among the best in metal.
Continuing on their success of their 2006 release "Dismantling
Devotion" Daylight Dies went to the studio to record their new
album "Lost To The Living" in the December of 2007. Doom,
death, progressive, dark all help to describe their sound, but ultimately
they are undefined, yet brilliant.
Jesse Haff, drummer and one of the found members of Daylight Dies
has aided in developing the band's sound since the inception in 1996.
Read on as I talk with Jesse about the band, the new album ěLost To
The Livingî and CD release party in July, recent touring, his equipment,
and much more.
Follow "The Morning Light" through the darkness and "Strive
To See" "The Line That Divides" the remarkable Daylight
Dies from everything else "In The Silence"...
Metal Fanatix: Hey Jesse! Thanks for
doing this interview! How are you doing today?
Jesse Haff: Thanks for the interview.
I’m doing well.
Metal Fanatix: What has Daylight Dies
been up to?
Jesse Haff: We just [got] off a three-week
U.S. tour with Candlemass and have been recuperating since then.
Metal Fanatix: I’ve read that
you guys are having a CD release party for your new album "Lost
to the Living" on July 12th at the Local 506 in Chapel Hill,
NC. Is anything special planned for that night?
Jesse Haff: We will play one of the
longest setlists we’ve played in a long time. We’ll play
several songs from the new album and a bunch of old songs too. Our
friends in Soulpreacher will also play and their music will compliment
the mood for sure. The venue itself is small and comfortable; it’ll
be a very personal vibe.
Metal Fanatix: We love your new disc
here at MetalFanatix.com. How has everyone’s response been so
far to "Lost to the Living"?
Jesse Haff: That’s killer to hear.
Since the album was just released, I’ve only seen a handful
of reviews. All have been extremely positive. So far, so good.
Metal Fanatix: How did the writing and
recording process go? Was it relatively normal from your previous
efforts? Did everything go as planned?
Jesse Haff: We began writing immediately
after getting off the Moonspell/Katatonia tour in November 2006. The
writing process began as normal, where Barre, Egan or I would write
some riffs, and we’d get together and jam on them. But as the
writing process progressed, we refined our method somewhat. For the
last couple songs, “The Morning Light” for example, almost
everything was written before we even jammed on it. Once we did get
together, it was a nearly completed song, and I could define rhythmic
details, or put my own style on it. It ends up being a much more efficient
way to write than sitting in a room jamming on the same riffs over
Metal Fanatix: Jesse, you guys can generate
an amazing doomy presence in your music. Is there a special technique
you use to create the music you write? Is it something you’ve
had to work on over the years or has it just come naturally?
Jesse Haff: We have never intentionally
gone for a “doomy presence,” or even tried to be a “doom”
band per say. We’ve really just striven to write metal that
was dark and based on life experiences. This is the kind of music
that comes naturally to us, it’s not contrived if that’s
what you mean.
Metal Fanatix: What is the band’s
true feeling towards the album's title? How did it come about?
Jesse Haff: “Lost to the Living”
implies the blind inertia that work and routine can cause over time.
Many of the lyrics deal with this subject, or the subject of ‘loss’
in general. The loss of youth, the loss of a loved one... the loss
of the hunger for life from falling into the rat race.
Metal Fanatix: The song-writing on
"Lost to the Living" sounds much more complex than your
other two albums. I love the clean vocals by the way, very Katatonia-like!
Was this album more difficult to write ?
Jesse Haff: This was the fastest we’ve
ever written an album, so I wouldn’t say it was more “difficult”
than the other albums. We are proud of “Dismantling Devotion”
but have high expectations of ourselves musically. We only want to
do something that’s going to be as good if not better than what
we’ve done before. I think we had an idea of what we wanted
to do with “Lost to the Living” from the beginning and
just worked steadily right up until the day of recording.
Metal Fanatix: Do you have any favorite
tunes off of the new disc? What are they? Is there a particular reason?
Jesse Haff: “The Morning Light”
is a current favorite. “Less is more” is a mantra we always
strive for and “The Morning Light” achieves that. It has
an organic character and is probably one of the more simple songs
on the album. Every note and chord change is important.
Metal Fanatix: What do you think of
when I mention the following tunes?
Hollow Hands: A song from the early
days, we used to always play live and haven’t since 2003. Shape-shifting
rhythms and a great hook. Really love this one.
Dismantling Devotion: I’m really
proud of the song “Dismantling Devotion,” as it’s
the first song I wrote almost everything for. Obviously my main duty
is drums, but I always write a little guitar on the side. This one
ended up being all my riffs. It was really different – extremely
atmospheric and drenched in bittersweet melancholy. We weren’t
sure how people would react to it. It seems like it ended up being
a favorite for some people.
A Subtle Violence: The second song we
wrote for the album. Musically, we worked over this song endlessly.
It is dense with ideas and the arrangement ended up being really interesting.
It’s got a bit of everything in it.
Woke Up Lost: This song ended up really
different than anything we have written before. You end up in a totally
different place than where you began.
Metal Fanatix: You guys recently finished
up a tour with the legendary Candlemass? How did that go?
Jesse Haff: Some great shows, but most
of all, great guys. Obviously it was an honor touring with them, and
it was flattering to hear that they liked our music. We had a blast
with them and the crew, we’re lucky to have toured together.
Metal Fanatix: Jesse, what is your
most fond memory from all the touring that you’ve done?
Jesse Haff: Touring with Katatonia was
great, as they are long time personal friends. Touring with friends
is the best you can ask for, because you have a relationship beyond
the business of the tour. Our first tour ever was in Europe, which
is very unusual for most bands... so that’ll probably always
remain especially fond.
Metal Fanatix: What is most unusual
item you’ve asked for when on tour?
Jesse Haff: We’re not big rockstars,
so unfortunately most of what we ask for is completely ignored. We’re
thankful if we have water, you know? Although on one gig this tour,
Nathan kept saying “where is my Vodka” in a Russian accent
over and over – for no particular reason – and 10 minutes
later we had a bottle of vodka in the dressing room. We were blown
away and decided to try that again... but it never worked.
Metal Fanatix: Is there anything special
you do for warm-ups before you play a show?
Jesse Haff: I try to unwind from the
stress of touring. There’s no special rituals.
Metal Fanatix: How long have you been
playing the drums? Have you ever played, or been interested in playing
in another instrument?
Jesse Haff: I’ve played the violin,
saxophone and a little piano too. I had a muppet babies drum set when
I was around 10, but I didn’t seriously start playing until
about 15. I focused on drums pretty much exclusively from then on
out – just a fiddling around a bit with guitar and piano.
Metal Fanatix: Jesse, tell me about
your drum set? How many pieces? Is there anything that you would consider
unique about your set?
Jesse Haff: It’s a Sonor S-Class.
It’s 6 pieces – 10”, 12”, 14” and 16”
toms, 22” kick and 14” snare. Instead of the Sonor S-Class
snare, I use a Ludwig Supra-Phonic. I got it when I was like 16 or
17, and I’ve never found another snare that’s sounded
as good. It’s incredible. Then I have a bunch of Zildjian cymbals,
but I suppose those details aren’t too interesting.
Metal Fanatix: What do you think about
natural/folk instruments? Do they influence you in any way?
Jesse Haff: I love acoustic instruments.
We have woodwinds and strings on “Lost to the Living”
instead of keyboards, it adds a much more organic sound.
Metal Fanatix: I saw on your website
that your favorite drink is “Daylight Dies beer”. Is this
a home brew from you guys? Where can I pick it up?
Jesse Haff: Yeah, we brewed beer several
times and made “Daylight Dies beer” labels. Of course
you can’t pick it up, we only make a couple cases for ourselves.
Metal Fanatix: What do you do for fun
or to relax when not blasting the drums for Daylight Dies?
Jesse Haff: I love traveling, sitting
in a dark room with incense and headphones, looking at porn, the usual.
Metal Fanatix: Well Jesse, we’ve
come to the end of this interview. I want to thank you for taking
some time to answer our questions. Is there any last thing you want
to say to the Metal Fanatix of the world?
Jesse Haff: Thanks for the interview
and take care of yourselves.
Metal Fanatix: Have a great CD release
Daylight Dies' "Lost to the Living" was released in the
U.S. on June 24 and the UK and European release date will be July
14 where all metal excellent metal is sold.
To keep up with all the latest news & much more on Jesse and Daylight
Dies check out the following websites:
- Official Daylight Dies Site
- Daylight Dies MySpace Site
© Jeffrey D. Adkins June, July 2008 Not to be re-printed in any
form without written permission.