We need change, we need it fast/Before rock’s just part of the past/’Cause lately it all sounds the same to me… Although the Ramones’ 1980 single “Do You Remember Rock’n’Roll Radio” turns 40 this year and many people name-checked in the song are no longer with us, the sentiment expressed in the quote is still relevant. In order to survive, artists of virtually every genre have to let themselves mature and evolve. And as far as we talk the current Rock/Metal scene, the living proof of this is the Swedish five-piece Dynazty and their transformation. Once a late 2000s Hard Rock sensation, now they’re refined Melodic Metal act with rich musical resumes (Joe Lynn Turner, Lindemann, Amaranthe… ) and much potential for further evolution. So is their upcoming album The Dark Delight – out on April the 3rd, 2020 via AFM Records – only another step on their way, or a destination itself? I caught up with Dynazty‘s frontman Nils Molin to find out this and a lot more.
Alexandra Mrozowska: Do you think the upcoming Dynazty album The Dark Delight is the destination the band aimed towards sound-wise since Renatus?
Nils Molin: The Dark Delight could definitely be considered the goal we always aimed for when we started this era of the band back in 2014 with the Renatus album. I’m pretty confident, though, that we will continue to evolve and incorporate new ideas and influences in the future. The Dark Delight has a lot of elements we’ve never tried on before, and yet at the same time it is the ultimate testament of what Dynazty has always wanted to be.
AM: Contrary to many other bands plagued with frequent line-up changes, Dynazty’s line-up has been stable for years now. Do you think this kind of stability affects the band’s artistic growth in any way?
Nils Molin: For sure. There’s such a strong bond in this band, and has been for years now. We know each other in and out and have so much fun together. This couldn’t possibly be a negative.
AM: Do you think The Dark Delight could be described as a concept album? What do you think may be the titular “dark delight” of the modern world?
Nils Molin: I wouldn’t call The Dark Delight a concept album per se, although many themes re-occur and flow through the album. Temptation, self-reinvention, redemption etc… Oh, and if there is a “dark delight” of the modern world, it will definitely be social media (laughs) The song “Apex” is my take on how it is force to be reckoned with in terms of dumbing down a generation…
AM: “The choice is mine and I choose to be free”, goes the lyrical ego in “The Man And The Elements” and it’s not the only song on the new release that explores the topic of personal freedom. Why do you think it’s discussed so often nowadays?
Nils Molin: Today, in the western part of the world, we have basically limitless options in terms of life choices. Yet, so many people still feel trapped and unable to find their true call in life. There are so many expectations of how we’re supposed to live life that many people are falling in between their own desires and the societal structures. This is to me “The Man versus The Elements”. Find and choose your own path, come hell or high water.
AM: Surely one of the most important songs on the album is “Presence Of Mind”, and that’s not only because of it being a first single but also because of the message behind it. What was the inspiration behind the song?
Nils Molin: In terms of writing the overall music, the goal was to create a heavy and simplistic groove, layered with a melodic bomb of a chorus. In terms of lyrical themes, it deals with overcoming struggles through the force of changing your mindset. Overcome your demons, or succumb to them, stray from or stay on a destructive path. All is within the grasp of your mind.
AM: “The Black” seems to be a sequel to “The Grey” off 2018’s Firesign. What prompted such a reference, and was it planned from the early stages of working on the album?
Nils Molin: It is a sequel, yes. And that was the idea ever since the first instrumental drafts of the song was written. To me it just had a similar spirit to “The Grey”, which is where the idea to actually make it into a proper sequel originated from. We re-used some of the musical themes from “The Grey” and I wrote lyrics as a direct follow up to it. To me, it just seemed like a cool idea from the start. Not a lot of bands do this sort of things.
AM: While working on the album, do you limit your songwriting to certain themes and topics you find appropriate for the particular release?
Nils Molin: When I write lyrics I don’t exclude anything. Whatever flows or connects with the song should be embraced. A while into the songwriting, though, the overall themes start to settle.
AM: There’s certain modern vibe to the sound on the album with tracks like “From Sound To Silence”. Are there any contemporary bands that you find particularly influential towards the band’s current sound?
Nils Molin: We love many contemporary bands active today and that will of course influence us, just like it would in the case of any other band. When it comes to our songwriting, though, it will always be a combination of elements from the past and modern era of Hard Rock and Metal.
AM: The Dark Delight is also another album the band decided to produce themselves. What are the advantages of such a solution? Why did you decide to work with the renowned Danish producer/sound engineer Jacob Hansen at the mixing stage of the album?
Nils Molin: The advantage is that if you have a vision, that vision will be 100 per cent uncompromised. Working with an outside producer can be important especially early on in your career. But at this point, in terms of songwriting, we are pretty confident in ourselves as producers. Nobody is more critical of our music than ourselves. And in my opinion, Jacob is one of the very best sound engineers and producers in the world – if not the best one. His mixing and production are so naturally powerful and his level of expertise is staggering. His influence on the album is giving it the kind of sound and production value we have always sought after.
AM: A few years ago, you declared to focus mostly on your newer releases when it comes to concert setlists, with just a few possible exceptions. Do you happen to re-visit your early catalogue more thoroughly when occassion arises? And is there a Dynazty song you’d never play live again, even if fans requested for that particular one?
Nils Molin: We did revisit some older material this fall, when we did two hometown shows in Stockholm as a sort of belated 10th anniversary celebration of the band. We even managed to get all original members of Dynazty to play together at this event. Lots of fun! Though for upcoming tours, the main focus will be on the new album. And as for the songs, we don’t exclude anything. I’m not a particular fan of just throwing in random songs into a live set, though. The set needs to flow and most important thing is to have an overall good show over a random rarity – unless a track would be in very high demand, of course.
AM: If you looked back on your early albums and the very beginning of your career, what your afterthoughts would be?
Nils Molin: Everything we did in the past lead us to where we are today. And our present probably would not exist the way it is if it wasn’t for it. With that said, I do wish we had waited a little with releasing albums until we were truly ready for it, by experimenting more with what the band actually would want to be. Still, I’m proud of what we did in the early days. We were young as hell, had no clue about the business and had to learn through trial and error.
AM: Dynazty’s band members seem to have quite a busy schedule also outside the band. What influence does it have over Dynazty in both artistic and organizational aspects?
Nils Molin: I don’t think it has much of an influence on the band artistically. What it does is giving the band more exposure, more contacts and more experience as a live act. Those are never negatives. We have tight schedules, yes, but there will always be plenty of time if you’re willing to work hard.
AM: As you’ve mentioned, the band’s hometown is Stockholm, Sweden. What do you think is so specific about the Scandinavian music scene – Swedish scene in particular – that makes it so prolific?
Nils Molin: Over the years Sweden has produced a ton of succesful acts over all kinds of genres, especially considering how small of a country we are. This will naturally inspire and produce new generations of bands and artists. In Sweden we have also had very good musical education choices, even very early on in school.
AM: Recently I discussed the current Swedish music scene in the episode of a radio show I guest co-hosted (The Michael Spiggos Melodic Rock & Metal Show on Rock Radio UK) with the show’s host Michael Spiggos and the conclusion was that the mutual support and respect among the bands is what really differentiates your homeland from other countries. Do you agree? And are there any relatively obscure Scandinavian bands you’d like to recommend to the readers?
Nils Molin: Yeah, sure. Most bands on the Hard Rock/Metal scene run into each other sooner or later. There has always been camaraderie and only a healthy kind of competition among Swedish bands. And I’ve just toured with a band from Finland called Blind Channel. Great and hard working guys that I wish all the best.
AM: Back to the current business – The Dark Delight is out in early April and also around that time you have a short European tour scheduled. What’s next after that?
Nils Molin: We will do a Scandinavian tour in May and then another European tour in the fall before most likely heading over to Japan. More touring at the start of next year and so on and so forth!
AM: Any last words?
Nils Molin: Thanks for reading and do NOT miss our new album The Dark Delight out on April 3rd!