Dark Sky has been on the map of melodic hard rock/metal since the beginning of the 80s. Now, the Germans are back with their new, seventh studio album (“Signs of the Time”) and the heart of the melodic hard rock community has started beating faster and faster! Myth of Rock came in contact with the band and right below follows our interesting conversation!
by Dimitris Zacharopoulos
Congratulations on the release of ‘Signs of the Time.’ How does it feel to have your seventh studio album out, and how has the response been so far?
It’s a great feeling, especially since we’ve given the band a real new start with this album. And the response to the new material is truly overwhelming.
With a history dating back to 1982, Dark Sky has seen various eras in the music industry. How has the band evolved over the years, and what challenges have you faced along the way?
In fact, the band’s roots go back to the 80s. Of course, not only the band’s line-up has changed since then, but also the music style. Dark Sky started as a classic hard rock band and has since developed into a melodic metal band with symphonic and power metal influences.
The album has been described as one of your best, offering powerful and inspired hard rock/melodic metal songs. What inspired the creative process behind ‘Signs of the Time’?
“Signs of the Time” is definitely the strongest Dark Sky album until now. I think the inspiration for the mood and lyrical content of the songs is based on the events of the last few years. So much has happened in the world and in our homeland that worries us. A few years ago we wouldn’t have thought this could be possible.
Could you delve into the songwriting process for this album? How do you come up with fresh and interesting ideas, and how collaborative is the band’s approach to creating music?
We worked very closely with our producer Markus Teske on the creation of “Signs of the Time”. We also worked together with other songwriters such as Hannes Braun (Kissin’ Dynamite) to create really strong compositions. All of the band’s musicians also got involved in the recordings.
The production on the album is bombastic. How important is the production aspect for Dark Sky, and what kind of atmosphere were you aiming to create with this record?
The production is of course a very important part of our music. We have been working with our producer Markus Teske in his Bazement Studio for many years. And he always manages to translate our music and the atmosphere of the songs into a perfect sound.
The album seamlessly merges hard rock with modern metal. How do you strike a balance between these two genres, and what influences of the rock and metal spectrum played a role in shaping the album?
We deliberately used several rock genres on this album because we also took up older ideas. It was important that each song was catchy and sounded good. But in contrast to previous albums, this time we used more symphonic elements for some songs.
Lyrically, ‘Signs of the Time’ explores introspective themes. Can you elaborate on the lyrical vision of the album and the themes you wanted to convey to your audience?
Starting from the title track, it’s about concerning where our free, western society is heading to. As on every Dark Sky album, there are lyrics that deal with the Christian faith. But of course we also sing about interpersonal things, such as love, joy of life and sadness. A special text is “Heroes On Ice”, which we have dedicated to the ice hockey professionals, because they are gladiators of modern times.
In a time with numerous music options, how do you believe ‘Signs of the Time’ stands out in the current musical landscape, and what do you think it brings to listeners that sets it apart?
I wouldn’t say that we have reinvented music, but with “Signs of the Time” we are definitely giving fans of melodic metal a listening pleasure.
The album is described as a modern, melodic hard n’ heavy release. How do you balance maintaining a vintage sound while ensuring your music stays relevant in today’s digital age?
In addition to classic sounds, we also use very modern sounds and in the end the production simply has to be right, and as our producer says: “Just make it grit”!
Considering your extensive discography, what have been the key influences and experiences that have shaped Dark Sky’s musical identity?
At the beginning it was bands like AC/DC, Scorpions or Kiss, today there are also bands like Nightwish or Powerwolf who inspire us.
As a band that has been around for decades, how do you keep the creative spark alive and continue to push boundaries with each new release?
We love creating new songs and then playing them live. Of course, the support of fans at concerts and comments on social media especially fuels this love. And with each production, the horizon for developing new songs expands, which fortunately increases the quality of the songs
Can you share any memorable moments or challenges you faced during the recording process of ‘Signs of the Time’? Any anecdotes that stand out?
There were a variety of unforgettable moments and challenges. For example, there was the song “Heroes On Ice”, which we originally composed as an instrumental trailer for the German professional ice hockey club Schwenninger Wild Wings. Or the song “Forgiveness,” which we composed with Hannes Braun. I constantly had to fight back tears while writing the lyrics because the topic of child abuse affected me so strongly. Or the song “Stin Katedral,” which I sang in Czech. This was a brutal challenge that I would not have overcome without the help of my Czech wife.
What role do each of the band members play in the overall sound of Dark Sky, and how do you navigate individual contributions to create a cohesive musical experience?
Every musician in the band contributes an important part to the Dark Sky sound with their instrument. After each production, it’s exciting to see how we can implement the new songs live for concerts so that they sound as close as possible to the studio production.
With the release of the album, do you have any plans for live performances or tours? How do you adapt your music for the live stage?
We’ve already had great performances in several countries since the CD was released, and we’re already confirmed for some very big festivals this year. That’s what we’re particularly looking forward to, the concerts and the direct contact with the fans on the big stages.
Looking ahead, what’s next for Dark Sky? Are there any future projects or directions you’re excited to explore in your musical journey?
First of all, it’s important to promote the new album live as often as possible. In addition, we are already collecting new ideas for songs. That’s why I’m in Bazement Studio in January to pre-produce the first songs with Markus Teske. If possible, we would like to release a new single together with a music video for the 2024 summer festivals. So it’s going to be exciting!!!