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Interview with Dark Sun on Suomi Finland Perkele -magazine

While the first DS long-play “Feed your mind” CD (-97) was progressive, mellow and, of course, psychedelic, their following release, “Electric dreams -promo-99” CD featuring Nik Turner, ex-member of the legendary group Hawkwind, might be considered as a leap into industrial/tech domain by some. Now, two years later, Dark Sun release “Ice Ritual” live LP/CD, recorded at Tavastia Club, Helsinki, Finland (July 3rd 1999), with Nik Turner appearing on stage almost through the set. The union covered Hawkwind, of course!

Mr. Turner alone raises a lot of questions in my mind. I managed to get in touch with vocalist Yellˇ Gizmo (Rivendell), bass player DarkSanttu, and the latest DS recruit Yur Zappa (Dobermann, Dead Allison, Dream House..) in order to ask them to shed some light on the birth of their new record, and on the influences and backgrounds that possibly led the way...

DS –We┤ve got all kinds of influences in our music. Take Hawkwind, for instance. HW┤s been a beacon from the very start, I think.

Y.G. –Seems to me there is a lot of ambient and trance influences on “Electric dreams”. I think it is gonna have some impact on our next original DS release..?

Santtu played in doom metal groups such as Oppression and Exitus back in the eighties. Is doom metal (Sabbath, Pentagram..) in any way important in your line of growth?

Y.G. –VERY. Most DS members swore then also in the name doom, that┤s damn sure.

DS –In the late eighties and early nineties I played doom, and yes, it is a constant resource. I am someone who likes it sad and grim. Trouble and Candlemass rocked!

DS lyrics certainly give that away. Who amongst you writes the lyrics afterall?

DS –I┤ve done some, especially in the beginning. Yellˇ does most of the work nowadays.

Y.G. –The spectrum of musical styles I like is a wide one. Anything REALLY dark or glittering, melancholic or something filled with life, as well as beautiful is something I always hope for.

“Ice ritual” was originally released as an LP, now versioned to a CD. How did Nik Turner become involved with Dark Sun? Why was the CD version released “only” just now?

DS –That is a matter of economics.

Yur Zappa –Nik accepted our invitation to play together in Finland.

DS –We had these two gigs on tape, right? We were pretty satisfied with the HW cover songs, and so we thought whatta fuck. This release is a sort of documentary, a tribute maybe. Not so much an original DS effort. We ordered only 300 vinyl and 500 CD copies. CD version has a bonus DS track (Dream circuit). That was the absolute best situation at the moment.

The reason we released it in vinyl at first is quite clear: we┤re all vinyl freaks. The 7inch “Song the seamans bane” was a very fulfilling experience, but we just needed to go on and do a long-play.

Y.G. –Being a live LP it gives us trice the more satisfaction.

DS –How non-commercial can you get?! The second long-play release and already a live one. Ah-ah-ah..!

Y.G. –About Nik.. We met Nik in citu at the Hamburg Space Rock Festival 1997 and played a set together. Then again, in 1998, we talked by the phone and decided to go again and play the Jonkoping Space&Rock Fest-Ival in Sweden. Did that. And in 1999 we finally got him arond to come and play Finland, too.

DS –Back in ┤97 we were summoned to play Hamburg. The festival goes by a slightly different name every year, but the word is always space rock. We met Nik and asked whether he┤d like to blow a DS set. He was immediately with us. Ever since it┤s been this way. We had some studio sessions, too, when he stayed here. Maybe we┤ll release that material at some point. Mainly he played flute and sax, but he also read poetry..

Are you thinking about writing songs together with Nik Turner?

Y.G.–It has crossed our minds. Anyway, it would not be simple to do so, and thus maybe not so rewarding. You see, he lives in Wales with his family, and when he┤s not on tour tour with the multiple projects he┤s involved in, he┤s at home studying mythology or basking in the streets and getting stoned by a rain of welsh currency. I don┤t know.

DS –And he did the HW reunion tour as well.

Y.G. Plus he┤s got the appetite for food like nobody I have ever seen. Munchies-o-daddy. Ah-ah-ah! But he swims like a freaking professional! In balance.

DS –I asked Nik about HW & acid, and he told me the first years with the band were spent pretty much on the psychotropic frontier side.

Did someone try to book you after hearing about this soft collision with Mr. Turner & Hawkwind?

DS –SURE. Some crazy alright guy who owns a couple of clubs in Brazil wanted us there. So did many others. We played one gig in Finland, hosted by a motorcycle club who favour British bikes. It was cool.

You┤ve had a gig per month in general this far. What about right now?

Y.G.–Our current label in Danmark has given us an opportunity to play in Christianestad, Kopenhagen in the near future. But the deal goes under because they have some problems in the production department.

DS –They┤ve also contacted us all the way from USA. But there is no money enough for us to go and play. And get back. That┤s how it always is.

Y.G.–Yeah, Dark Sun music is marginal, and perhaps because of that there never was a bigger deal with us, not until today anyway.. There has been a lot of interest even from the more exotic directions. For the next release we may need a new deal, self-produce it or something. We┤ve had discussions of how we┤d go on and produce it ourselves.

You┤re not going after a couple of hits (with so many bands doing so) to get a certain deal?

Y.G.–We just want to play the music we want. We┤ll be needing good studio circumstances and climate.

DS –For instance the promo CD (E.D.promo-99) was recorded and mixed at our home studio. There┤s been a great improvement in the hi-fi technology in the past few years.

Other than You, any cool gigs going on that you know of?

DS – Spiha, Porcupine Tree, Ozric Tentacles, King Black Acid..There┤s really happening in the psychedelic scene, loads of excellent groups! For example, swedish group The Spacious Mind, rocks!

Y.Z. –Bevis Frond rules. But the latest from Marilyn Manson was a real disappointment!

Y.G. –There┤s a lot going on..

What┤s the story behind the name “Ice Ritual"? Secondly, how do you come across with a copy?

DS –We asked Nik whether he had a name planned for the album. He had. Hawkwind had a tour called “Earth Ritual”, and they also released an album called “Space Ritual”. The fact that back then he also operated and performed in arctic conditions led to this shivery solution, he told us. We said OK. The CD is sold at Oskun Divari, Hippie Shake, and Vasara&Moukari. The CD version includes one bonus track (E.D.promo-99 3rd track) also played with Nik.

What about the visual department regarding net page and album covers?

DS –net page is pretty much a DS family operation. Our guitar player Illy Asoma has been creating our album covers and posters all along from the start.

-end interview-

I asked them about their hobbies.. and first I got something like football, but then.. I heard that Gizmo works as a professional nude model for art schools.. and DarkSanttu and Illy run the Psychotropic Zone-club at Stella Star. The music is psychedelic from the ┤60s up to today, and even a little further. Starting from April livejams at club nights with artists from various groups playing together. More info in the net pages!