Death Of A Dryad

Death Of A Dryad returns with their sophomore release, which expands the duo’s dark and atmospheric orientation and fantasy in every way. Nogh (vocals & guitars) shared with Grande Rock all the details about the new album, the project’s background along with other (relevant & irrelevant) strange stories…
Death Of A Dryad band pic
Hi Nogh and welcome to Grande Rock. You new album “Hameln” is truly captivating and dark. Kudos!
N: Thank you very much! We are extremely happy that you guys enjoyed the album and what we wanted to express through our music.
Well, it’s been around 7 years since the release of your self-titled debut. What happened in the meantime and why did it take you so much time to come up with a new full-length album? You also released the EP “Blight” in 2016 as well.
N: Composing new songs takes a lot of energy and time: time to live stories we want to tell, to share the feelings we felt, and above all, to feel the urge again to transform the harshness of life into music so we can share it with others. Composing is a cathartic process and we do not want to rush it. Furthermore, we were also strongly involved in our other band, Mind Imperium, with whom we have released another record in 2018.
Which are the main differences among the new album and your previous albums according to you?
N: Our first record was a great way for us to define our own musical style, which we were then able to explore further with “Blight” and even more with “Hameln”. I feel we are also more confident today with what we want to express, and the message – rather hopeless – we send beyond the music.
I do know that you were about to release the new album in December 2020, but you pushed the release date back for about 3 months. Why’s that?
N: There are two reasons to this: an unfortunate one, linked to global pandemic, that forced us to delay the release of “Hameln”, as we were not able to meet our schedule in France. The second is that we were lucky to meet Alex from Trisol Music Group and Carlo from Wormholedeath and got to sign exclusive deals with them regarding the release of “Hameln”, but we had to delay it even more to prepare all this.
What does the album title “Hameln” declare?
N: Of course, “Hameln” refers to the original name of the city where the story of the “Pied Piper of Hamelin” takes place, where even some references to the facts can be found within the municipal archives. Hameln and the Pied Piper are inextricably linked, and mentioning one immediately brings forth the other. “Hameln” is also a reminder a specific time for mankind, where we started losing our bond with nature, where myths are swept away by science, where our irrational expansion begins.
“Hameln” is a concept album. Can you tell us a few things about the concept story?
N: It is a concept album loosely based on the “Pied Piper of Hameln”, and suggests a succession of musical scenes. Every song follows Robert Browning’s poem “The Pied Piper” and depicts a different part of the story from the Piper’s point of view who, as nature’s herald, is torn between his will to save mankind and the sentence he has come to deliver.
We wanted to tell the legend of the Pied Piper in our own way, describing the evolution of his state of mind throughout the story. Each song would describe a major event of the story and provide a deeper understanding of the piper’s inner thoughts as he slowly becomes insane.
And if you were to break the concept in tracks – what would you say?
N:Enter the Piper”: The Piper offers his services to the town council, and frees the city of the rats flooding the streets and stealing food from the stalls. By leading the rodents away whilst playing a bewitching tune on his pipe, he saves the city but also his furry friends from human corruption, hence restoring the balance between all.
“Hameln”: The town celebrates in music its liberation from the rodent infestation and resumes its uncontrolled and destructive growth. But the people of Hameln, selfish and ungrateful, refuse to pay their saviour. The Piper, bitter, can only observe a yet sullied human nature he knows too well, a nature unable to resist corruption. As he leaves a city where he is no longer welcome, he foresees the inevitable and impending doom, a terrible retribution that will befall on the people of Hameln.
Apud Omnes Hostes”: The Piper has been betrayed. He unleashes his anger and foretells the upcoming sentence: he shall strip Hameln from its future by taking the children away. But this ruthless event has extreme consequences on the Piper and shatters his personality, becoming both the saviour and the executioner. Metallic sounds can be heard throughout the song, recalling a scythe used by Death.
Moths to a Flame”: With his magic tune, the Piper leads the children out of the city.
“Left to Die”: The Piper goes insane as he leads the children to their death. The song begins with a funeral march, as the Piper walks in the snow, desperate, loosing what is left of his sanity.
In the last part of the song, the Piper plays again a magic tune, as the children die.
“Requiem”: The Piper has led the children to their death, innocent victims of a corrupted mankind. Everything is already expressed in Project Pitchfork Requiem, and all we did was to adapt the song it would match our musical style.
Freedom Lies”: Final song of the album, as a requiem sung by the Piper for a dying world, and so many wasted lives. After anger comes sorrow, and a rueful feeling of guilt for what he had to do. Sadly, he dares not hope of a better future, because human nature is bound to make the same mistakes again, and history will repeat.
Why did you deice to include a cover of Project Pitchfork’s “Requiem” on the new album and how does it relate with the other tracks both lyrically and musically?
N: “Requiem” instantly came to mind while we were working on the album, even more as “One by one” is repeating every once in while in “Hameln”. It fits perfectly both in our story, and in what we wanted to express throughout the album. The lyrics serve as a bridge between the past and the present, anchoring the Piper story in our modern lives. Still, even though we shared with “Requiem” our pessimistic view of the Pied Piper story, we wanted to create our own particular version of the song that would fit into the album while preserving Project Pitchfork initial work.
Where did the recordings take place and who is responsible for the production, the mixing and the mastering? What has changed in the way you record and what do you think of the final outcome on the whole?
N: Recordings took place both at Tidalwave Studio and Dark Faery Records Studio. Since we are a duo, we like to supervise every part of the production process, so no one else is involved for the production but us. Patrick Damiani (from Tidalwave Studio) does an incredible job mixing everything together and handled the mastering, just as we did for Blight. We are very happy with the result, as it really transcends what we had in our mind, thanks to him!
What are your expectations from “Hameln” and what do you wish to achieve with Death of a Dryad over the next years?
N: We don’t expect anything in particular for “Hameln”, we only wished to share our music with everyone, and are glad if listeners are moved by the songs and their meaning. We will continue expressing ourselves through music as long as we feel the urge for it, so stay tuned if you’re interested for more!
Is Death of a Dryad a studio project only, or do you plan to give any live shows, in the near future? Have you thought about it?
N: As Death of a Dryad has always been a studio project, we do not play live. We have the chance to play in many different places with our other band called Mind Imperium – our last gig was in Toulouse 14 months ago, and we have not been able to perform since, due to COVID restrictions. We are currently reflecting on the possibility to bring Death of a Dryad on stage though, as it gives us the opportunity to share our music directly with our audience, so you never know…
How would you describe your music style to someone that hasn’t heard of you before?
N: Carol and I shared a common desire to create a different kind of music, with no limitation of genre whatsoever, and express ourselves using less conventional instruments, such as the lute, the flute and other medieval instruments that we play. Hence, we created Death of a Dryad as an atmospheric dark metal duo a mix of metal riffs and aggressive vocals, with strong depressive atmospheres or medieval instruments.
What do you think about this corona-virus thing? How much has it affected the music business and people’s lives so far?
N: I think this pandemic is a very complex matter and has affected everyone differently. I can only sadly relate what is happening to our “Hameln”, as I believe I can see many common traits. One thing for sure is that not being able to attend live shows or perform live is very difficult for the music industry, and I hope it will be history soon.
It’s time for our “Strange Questions”!!! How did you come up with the band’s name Death of a Dryad initially?
N: Death of a Dryad is about the end of an idyllic world of beauty, of fantasy, of harmony between man and nature, which has for instance been represented by the English pictorial movement of the Pre-Raphaelites, or the French author Jean Giraudoux in his play “Ondine”. The world stands in contrast of our opposite industrialized, individualistic and polluted world. We wanted to choose a name that would define both our music and the things we wanted to express, contrasting sadness, suffering with ineffable sweetness and nostalgia. We felt that Death of a Dryad actually did both.
Is there beauty in darkness?
N: Darkness breeds beauty, as well as many other things born from our own imagination. So, if we probably all react differently to darkness, whether real or symbolic, what matters the most is what we do with whatever comes out of it.
Is there a particular book you can’t recommend enough?
N: There are so many books to read, one lifetime wouldn’t be enough to read everything… But if I had to choose, I would probably say “Foundation” or “Prelude to Foundation” from Isaac Asimov.
Top 3 Dark Films of any era?
N: “Dellamore Dellamorte”, “Donnie Darko” and “Interview with the Vampire”!
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
N: There are so many great artists and even more great records… I cannot pick only one, but I would say either “Somberlain” from Dissection, or “Wildhoney” from Tiamat as they both highly inspire us, and deal with despair and nature.
What’s the best soundtrack for the end of the world?
N: Probably Simon & Garfunkel – “Sound of Silence”…
Which are the best 3 Atmospheric albums of all time according to you?
N: Dead Can Dance – “A Passage in Time”, Summoning – “Stronghold” and Tiamat – “Wildhoney”!
Fill in the phrase… “Dark Music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
N: … an ever-growing feeling of solitude and ineffable nostalgia shared amongst all humanity, which is transcribed into music.
Which do you consider to be the best male & female vocalist in music history?
N: Freddie Mercury without the shadow of a doubt. I would hesitate between Lisa Gerrard and Kate Bush.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
N: You would need to send something timeless, so probably Verdi’s “Requiem”.
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
N: I would definitely go to the future, and see with my own eyes what will become of mankind and witness the consequences of our expansion on nature.
If you had the opportunity to invite any famous person, living or dead, to play on your album, who would you choose and why?
N: Jeff Buckley, so he could share with us his sadness and nostalgia.
Thx for talking to Grande Rock Nogh. Say anything you feel like saying before we close. Take care…
N: Thank you very much for this great and surprising interview (food for thought!), and for your support. We always quote Nietzsche who said, “without music, life would be a mistake”, so thanks for listening to our album, and until next time!