DARK ZODIAK- Powersinger Simone Schwarz in interview
Facemelting Death Thrash Metal from Germany
DARK ZODIAK (Facebook ) will release their new album „Ophiuchus“ on January 30, 2021. I I think it will definitely be a first dark highlight in 2021. The review will be here at `metal-heads.de´ at the beginning of the year, of course. DARK ZODIAK unleash the darkest spirits of metal and create a dark combination that could be casually described as blackened death-trash-metal. So the house of ZODIAK is haunted by mighty evil. However, I can promise you that it will be massive and brutal. But first I would like to know more about the band and their album. Simone as the vocal elemental force of the band has kindly answered the questions of `metal-heads.de‘ directly. So here we go!
Origin of DARK ZODIAK
MH: I always associate the name ZODIAK with this famous serial killer from the 60’s and 70’s, about whom movies have already been made. However, when I look at the slightly different spelling, the cover and the title „OPHIUCHUS“, the band name has rather a different connection. Can you tell us what the band name and the title of the new album are about?
Simone: Actually, we are not so astrologically inclined, but in the name finding „Zodiak“ sounded somehow good. The „Dark“ was supposed to make the band name a bit more genre-typical. According to your first words, I think we did a good job with that. By the way, the spelling with ‚K‘ should mark a distinction from these Zodiac murders and also other similar band names.
Ophiuchus and romantic nights
MH: How did you come up with these things?
Simone: Well, if you have the zodiac already in the name, the mysterious 13th sign of the zodiac is a real invitation to pick up the theme. I had this in mind for a long time, because the mythology behind it appealed to me right away. To be intelligent and privileged, to mean well, but to overestimate oneself immeasurably, to want to play God and thereby plunge into misfortune…this theme never goes out of fashion.
By the way, you can see Ophiuchus, the 13th sign of the zodiac, right now in the starry sky. So get out and enjoy a romantic night! As a lockdown alternative!
The rural village Eggingen
MH: You come from Eggingen, a a rural village in southern Germany. How did DARK ZODIAK actually find each other there?
Simone: As you suggest, Eggingen is not exactly the hub of the world and musicians are not really lining up there. Dieter wanted to form a new band in 2011 and therefore started an ad online. In the meantime, only he and guitarist Charly are left from this original line-up.
MH: Do you all come from the little village?
Simone: None of us, haha…but we have our rehearsal room there.
MH:What is your relationship to each other? (With Simone and Dieter this is easy😉)
Simone: Haha, or even more complicated!…No, without joke, that has of course advantages, you have super nice concert weekends together, you know each other very well, know the concerns of the other, often have time to work on something together…it stays in the family!
But exactly there you have to be careful that there is no mixing between family and band.
DARK ZODIAK, a motley crew
MH:Just tell us a little bit about yourselves!
Simone: We are all a motley bunch, didn’t know each other before. And we have become extremely good friends. With the new addition of Steffi we have another couple in the bunch, Charly’s wife Rosi is always with us anyway and we feel like the Zodiak family right now. We miss our rehearsals and especially our concerts and weekends together at the moment incredibly!
MH: Now you’ve grown out of your teens a bit longer and you haven’t just been making music since „yesterday“. Where have you been musically represented so far?
Simone: Dieter has been doing metal since „the day before yesterday“, always had bands (SinNombre, Source of Silence). We are both still so 80s Metal original. Steffi has enjoyed an education in classical music. Steffi and Benni have also been making music in bands for a long time (most recently Ouzo), but came more from the rock or gothic scene. And Charly was an absolute thoroughbred bluesman, then singer of a power metal band (Spellsinger) for a few years…yeah, and that gave such a gritty, happy mix over the years!
The harbingers of the storm
MH: You have released the title track „OPHIUCHUS“ and „2020 A.D.“ as the current single. We have already learned something about the title song at the beginning. What about „2020 A.D.“, which seems to be a reckoning with the expiring year 2020?
Simone: „2020“ AD is red-hot!!! It was created during the first lockdown phase in spring. The theme was already extremely imposing on a songwriter. I told Dieter my ideas that these strange happenings and rules are rolling over us like a steamroller. And Dieter has then musically implemented this steamroller. Now the thing is just again red hot and we bring therefore on 16.12.2020 still the suitable video to it out. There you can see a little bit how this extraordinary year was for Dark Zodiak as a band, but also for each of us personally…and we have involved a lot of fans, INDIVIDUALLY of course. Furthermore we have the single „Do more – say less“ at the start, the title is self-explanatory.
Developments and goals
MH: „OPHIUCHUS“ hits the ground running with its 7-minute playing time. A very dark monument, which is very varied and creates a dense atmosphere. The song is introduced by a horny fat bass, which is a formative and supporting element in the song. The quieter melancholic middle part is super integrated into the overall concept and loosens up the otherwise massive performance skillfully.-
How will the new album „OPHIUCHUS“ differ from the last album „Landscapes Of Our Soul“?
Simone: Stomping rhythms that almost force our fans to headbang, parts to sing along and the gloomy atmosphere, so things that have been very well received so far, we have retained.
As innovation I would say: We go more pedal to the metal! We have songs on it, I’m already looking forward to the boiling mosh pit!
MH: What elements were still tweaked or what was changed or added to the sound?
Simone: Since Dieter is our composer, I find the overall work very coherent and polished. The sound comes this time a bit more pure in the face. And many horny bass parts, which complement the guitars nicely, run through the entire album and I mix in my deep grunt growls a few more Pigsqueals. We hope, a „beastly“ successful mixture!
MH: What musical goals did you want to achieve with the new album?
Simone: Conjuring up the creative flashes on instruments, putting some „Brees“ under, going full throttle and topping the last album. And of course please our fans and make the listener (and spectator and fellow revelers) just have fun!
Raw power singer Simone
MH: You are on the microphone and really deliver a great show and throw vocally really what in the scale. One can literally feel the energy and power that comes with your voice, whether you’re moving in the darkest depths or sometimes breaking out into the higher sound regions.
Your range and control over your voice is phenomenal. The lyrics come across clearer than one is otherwise commonly used to with this style of singing. When DARK ZODIAK was founded, was it immediately clear that Simone would set the tone?
Simone: First of all, thank you for this heartwarming assessment!
At the beginning of the band I wasn’t there at all and didn’t know anything about my talent.
of my talent. The first singer of DARK ZODIAK was Lucie Wehrlen and she convinced the guys that the band only wanted a female growling singer. So when Lucie quit, I just gave it a try and voila….
MH: How did your style develop?
Simone: Dieter has always been the thrasher in composing. Overall, I think we’ve become more racy and gritty with each album, my voice pushing the death metal part even further. With our latest record we all feel quite comfortable.
DARK ZODIAK are going for action
MH: During my research I was able to find out that you are a mega-motivated live band and that you bring the atmosphere to the boil. The contact with the fans even goes so far that Simone goes directly into the audience to heat up the people there. Is that part of your standard program or are you just spontaneous and things happen depending on the situation and feeling?
Simone: Well, enjoyment of playing, contact with the audience and hopefully creating a good atmosphere are part of our absolute standard program! To get from the stage into the audience, I sometimes hire a nice gentleman from security, who helps me from the stage over the trench and the barrier.
In addition to that, there’s whatever comes up or comes to our mind. That feels authentic, real and really good!
MH: Is it safe to assume that a performance by you is not up to the normal standard and that there might be one or the other surprise?
Simone: Sure, you think about some things for the performance in advance. But if you don’t just want to perform well, but really want to party together, then something always comes up spontaneously and then we also like to be surprised. Last year, for example, we played at an open air, only the stage was covered. During our show a mighty thunderstorm came down (I was asked afterwards if I had ordered it or conjured it up, haha). Then we spontaneously brought all the fans who somehow fit on the stage up to us and rocked together…Those remain the most unforgettable parties!
DARK ZODIAK stories for a good laugh
MH: Tell us about the most bizarre and funny stories that have happened to you so far in the band’s history!
Simone: Well, there are anecdotes like the young girl from the front row…she had been throwing hand signals and eye bumps at me for half a concert and then finally climbed up on stage to tell me that I had my fly open…we laughed together all the way to the last row!
Or after another concert we wanted to party a bit at night in the hotel and meet in Steffi’s and Benni’s room for that. By mistake I had given Dieter a wrong room number and this poor wretch knocked on this door at 2.30am. There has opened him a very astonished old lady with flowered nightgown and sleeping cap…she almost took the homeless-appearing guy with her…delicious!
MH: What kind of feeling will it be when next year, hopefully, live performances finally start again? I could imagine that all the pent-up frustration will put a lot of pressure on the tank, which will be released with full force at the concerts.
Simone: Oh yes, the steamroller will roll and we will have the fun of the century!!! And we are looking forward to so many dear fans and friendly bands that we have not seen for so long.
As soon as we are allowed again it will be ultimate party!!!!
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- Cover: DARK ZODIAK
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- Dark Zodiak Bandfoto + Logo: DARK ZODIAK