Interview conducted via email in October 2013.
WULF: Greetings, and thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview! Who are you? How would you describe your sound? Also, would you mind giving us a brief history of the band?
Senyt: We are Dark Mirror ov Tragedy. We live and play in Seoul, Korea. We play Dark Symphony Metal (kinda Symphony Black Metal). The band name Dark Mirror ov Tragedy is taken from the Middle-age prophet Nostradamus who saw the through the mirror the dark cursing future. Like the name, our music is the combination of small pieces of harping memories from self life experiences carved by going back and forth from darkness to brightness. Dark Mirror ov Tragedy is formed in 2003. Members are M.pneuma(Vocal, 2003~), Gash(Guitars, 2003~), Senyt(Guitars, 2007~), Reverof(Bass, 2006~), Confyverse(Drums, 2005~), Zyim(Piano, 2011~), Arthenic(Violin, 2010~).
WULF: We here at the Malicious Intent blog are trying to learn more about the Korean metal scene...what is your opinion of it? How would you compare it to the various other metal scenes in Asia? Also, are there any other strong bands you can recommend for those who are interested in checking out more Korean metal?
Method, Oathean, Silent Eye, Vassline, Remnants of the Fallen, The Choppers... Many bands appear and disappear in Korea. We go to Japan 2 or 3 times for a year for the show. So I think Japanese metal scene is same as Korean's. But I heard in Indonesia, Taiwan and some of Southeast Asia counties, there are many metal bands, and Extreme Metal is popular than East Asia.
WULF: The atmosphere and lyrical content on your albums is quite dark. Are your lyrics based on personal feelings and emotions, or are they more fantasy-based? Also, where does the main inspiration for your music comes from? Besides musical influences, are there any specific films or literary works you draw inspiration from as well?
Senyt: Our lyrics are like a novel. For example, in our new album, it's 3rd full-length album, in each song, there is a character like a dancer, composer, sculptor-..etc. and there is something happening.
but it is not just novel. It reflects the world what we live, we see, we feel. We see many tragedies in the world. So our music reflects tragedy, contains, describes present tragedies metaphorically. The character, the dancer in the new song "'Dancing in the Burning Mirror", he is burnt to death. It's metaphorically described the world where the people live who are crazy for mass media, pop culture or k-pop. If you want to know the reason of his death, please check out the lyric.
WULF: One of my favorite aspects of your band is the incredible atmosphere you pack into each song. Violins, acoustic guitars, a grand piano, melodic female vocals, etc. Is there a main songwriter who is responsible for all these embellishments, or is your music more of a group effort involving the entire band? Also, how do you recreate this atmosphere during a live performance? Do you have a violinist or guest female vocalist or anything like that?
Senyt: Before this 3rd album, vocalist and also leader, M.pneuma, he wrote most songs in 1st and 2nd albums. But in the 3rd album, two guitarist, Gash and Senyt participate in writing the songs. We write song personally. and M.pneuma arrange the orchestra parts and each members arrange their parts.
The Violinist, Arthenic, she joined in 2010 but she left in 2012, but she rejoined in this year. So except full orchestra part, we can create the sound like studio album. Also the pianist Zyim has prominent skill for making orchestra sound in live performance.
WULF: When I listen to your music, my imagination immediately begins to create a scene set in 18th century Seoul, except in my imagination it is very similar to 18th century London or Paris. There is plenty of fog that obscures the gas-lit, cobblestone streets during the late hours of the evening and early morning, and who knows what kind of demented madmen, sinister vampires, or worse may lurk around the corner of a dark alleyway. While the setting is also quite romantic, there is also a strong feeling of loss or tragedy as well, as if the protagonists in the story are doomed to failure, insanity, or death. What images come to your mind when you listen to your music?
Senyt: Impressive imagination! Great! Well... we know the stories of songs, so when we play or listen to our music, we imagine the character of lyric. The character transcends the time and space. He doesn't live in specific age. He lives in the world where, when the people are enjoying the art. And he is in agony because of tragedy. We concentrate on his thought and emotion, not situation.
WULF: As far as I can tell, it has been 3 years since you've released your last album, the "Under a Withered Branch" EP. When can we expect to see some new music??
Senyt: The process of recording new album is almost finished. the 3rd album. early next year, you can see the best album in the whole world!
WULF: Your music is full of beautiful atmospheric passages ("Ashen Requiem, A Dirgeful Grace", for example, immediately comes to mind), but I've noticed that, while unique, seem rooted in a sort of Gothic, Western (European) style. With the rise in Asian bands incorporating traditional folk instruments and melodies into their music (such as Chthonic from Taiwan, Tengger Cavalry from China, Baby Metal from Japan, etc.), have you ever considered experimenting with mixing Korean folk music, such as Pansori or Pungmul, into Dark Mirror ov Tragedy's overall sound? Also, I hate to ask, but what is your opinion on the recent explosion of K-Pop as a global phenomenon?
Senyt: It's good question. We don't try to make Korean traditional melodies in our music compulsorily.
Yes, we are Korean, and we know the Asia feelings, emotions are still live in our heart. But Metal is Western culture. The point is metal is not only Western culture anymore. Also, classic music is too.
We are based on metal and classic music. And emotion, thought, feeling are reflected in our music. If you didn't feel any Asia things in our music, yes, we also didn't have any inspiration of Asia style. But if you got some feeling of Asia emotion in some parts of our music, our thought, emotion, blood, and body made that naturally. It is just your feeling and emotion. And that is enough to make you recognize "we are Korean". We don't need any Korean folk music. (As for) K-pop, it looks like factory production. K-pop is fast food. Kinda hamburger, pizza or kimbab, ramyun. Some of k-pop are really good. Great composing, great mixing, and great sound. It looks like really good fast food that can be preserved for a long time or make us eat that every time. Anyway, fast food is good for city life. And it makes many sickness like obesity. That's all.
WULF: Dark Mirror ov Tragedy is going to be performing at the upcoming Hellride: Resurrection of Death Party 2013 in Seoul on October 5th. What can we expect from your performance? What are you hoping to accomplish? Are you going to be playing any more shows after this?
Senyt: We will play new album's songs. Yes, you should expect the new song. It is the second time of showing of our new song in Hellride. After this Hellride show, we'll go to BEHEMOTH live in Seoul as a support band in Oct. and in Nov we'll go to Japan for the Tokyo Dark Fest.
WULF: Besides any future live performances here in Korea, do you have any other plans for future, such as new music, tours, music videos, or a DVD?
Senyt: Early next year, we'll release the 3rd album. and also we are planning to make the music video for our new song. Expect this! The tours, we try to go tours in Asia first, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and Australia in next year.
WULF: I wanted to keep this interview short because I know you're probably busy preparing for Hellride, so that's all the questions for now. Thanks for chatting with us! Any final comments to your fans?
Senyt: Dear WULF. we truly appreciate this interview. Thanks!
Dear brothers in darkness,
Expect the new album of Dark Mirror ov Tragedy!
We'll show the most beautiful and spectacular album in the world.