Feeling and dynamism are the key factors in rendering the essence of a song at least in terms of music that is intended for a deeper meaning, especially in the hard sound of metal and not just only … Several artists dealing with our favorite music do it very well in this part, a band that has caught my attention because has all of the elements I mentioned above are Dawn Ray’d from Liverpool, England. Especially the album ‘The Unlawful Assembly’ that was released in 2017 is one of the best creations I’ve ever heard, passionate about what they do and that’s why they stand out from the genre they are dealing with ,in their concerts, many people give present to see anarchist black metal mixed with pretty Celtic elements! Let’s see what Simon the vocalist/violist of the band has to say to us, to analyze Dawn Ray’d and a lot other interesting things…
From what I see you have been active since 2015, a relatively new band from Liverpool, England, give us a brief mention of the group’s history.
We used to play in a band called We Came Out Like Tigers, but that band came to a natural end, so we formed Dawn Ray’d immediately. We had been talking about starting a straight up black metal band even when we were still in our previous band, so we instantly knew what this new band would be. We played our first show in London after about 4 months of writing the songs, and toured before we even had our first EP out, and we have toured pretty constantly since then.
Let’s talk about your music, your album ‘The Unlawful Assembly‘ atmosphericblack metal with a violin accompaniment, really is one of the best I heard in 2017, tell us some information about your work?
I actually see us as more of a folk-black metal band, but I understand the ‘’atmospheric’’ description too. Atmospheric wasn’t what we were aiming for really, for example the vocals are a lot faster and louder in the mix than most atmospheric bands, I think we have a much more punk feel to it than Wolves In The Throne Room or Drudkh for example. I think we have a lot of different styles in there, which seems to be something people like.
Your lyrics are about oppression, class war, revolution, etc. Besides the angry vocal-music there is also this Celtic melancholic background, where does your music come from?
Myself and Fabian grew up playing traditional folk music, and we all listen to a lot of folk music. I think with the violin you can either go down the folk route or the symphonic route, and the symphonic stuff isn’t what I’m into really. It’s not meant to be specifically folk music, but a mixture of Irish folk and general calm atmospheric melody I guess. We also only have one guitar so it’s way to add extra melodies during the faster parts too. I think having the mixture of quiet and loud parts gives us a lot more options when writing the songs, and also works really well live. People seem to really appreciate how dynamic the live show is.
However, the cover of your album is very beautiful; Can you tell us a few things about the artwork?
It is a painting by Michael Chance from Mercer-Chance Gallery in London. I had this idea of an ‘Unlawful Assembly’, I wanted it to be a mixture of a modern black-bloc and also a more medieval or fantasy group of figures. Something that tied the fantastical elements of the record and also the very modern politics. I also wanted something that showed how timeless these struggles are. There are loads of really nice references in there, there is a man who looks like he is about to throw something dangerous, but when you look he just has a burning branch, then there are some more seemingly innocent characters in the foreground, but on closer inspection they seem to be plotting something quite serious. There is a man holding up his tattered clothes which Chance put in as a William Blake reference.
What was it that prompted you to deal with this kind of music, a favorite music band or any event?
We have all been listening to black metal for a long time I guess, and that is the music we know how to play. Although we have all done other bands, we have always played in fast heavy bands.
What are the feelings that spring when creating music or when giving live shows?
I love the live shows, that’s what it’s all about for me. I really like sharing these ideas with a crowd full of people who also agree and understand what we are talking about. We were told that talking about anti-fascism and anarchism in black metal would make it impossible for our band to get shows or do anything, but people actually seem to really appreciate us saying the things we do. It feels very triumphant to talk about such important things whilst playing these songs and it is meant to motivate people to take action.
A humble view that I have as a listener is that black metal is the most honest kind of music, I see that artists or bands are more indirect. Your opinion as Dawn Ray’d?
I don’t know if it is the most honest or not, but yeah, it is a very emotionally open and honest genre in a lot of ways. One problem however, is that there are a lot of people who tolerate right wing ideas too much; I know a lot of left wing bands that don’t want to connect their band with left wing ideas in case it somehow damages their band. That is a form of dishonesty I think, and something that needs to be addressed in my opinion.
U.K has a very great musical tradition, especially in the hard sound, what you represent do you believe that’s going to be the new ‘’punk’’ from aesthetic point of view?
I’m not sure, but we do consider ourselves to be a metal band but also a punk band. We are punks ourselves at heart! This world is fucked up and heading down a terrible path, and we all need to resist authority and fascism where ever we are, in music, at work, or in our community. These ideas don’t just belong to punk. Black metal is meant to be dangerous, it is meant to be rebellious and anti-state. The current conservatism that a lot of bands have only serves to protect the state and capital, to be conservative or right wing is one of the least rebellious things you can do, anarchism is the true politics of black metal as far as I am concerned.
I imagine beyond the good reviews I guess there will be the bad ones as well, do you mind these at all?
Honestly the only negative reviews we have had have been because of the politics! If you don’t believe that fighting racism is important, or if you don’t believe the only way to stop climate change is to destroy capitalism then your opinion means nothing to me to be honest. We are here to draw a line in the sand, and I have no interest in making music for people on the wrong side of history.
What do we expect in the future from Dawn Ray’d?
We are writing new songs at the moment and have some big tours planned for 2019, we will be going to furthest from home we will have been yet. We also have a tour coming up in a few weeks with Vile Creature in America which will be cool. Playing a lot of shows and writing new records seems to be my plan for the foreseeable future!
Thank you very much for your time, close the interview as you want your last words belong to you guys!
Smash fascism, smash capitalism! Fuck all the nazi bands, and shame on all the other bands who wouldn’t speak out. Thanks a lot for speaking to us!
Photo credits: Rob Adamson