2021 has ben a pretty epic year so far made even more epic with the latest album from Duskmourn. This duo have released “Fallen Kings And Rusted Crowns” to much praise thus far and deservedly so. We reached out to Walter Deyo and Bill Sharpe and they both answered some questions for us regarding the new album, the very successful Kickstarter campaign to get it completed and a few other items of note…. check it out….
Fallen Kings and Rusted Crowns
Congrats on your latest album “Fallen Kings And Rusted Crowns”….what has been the response so far to it?
“Thanks for taking the time to interview us! The response so far has been extremely positive. We have gotten more feedback overall this time too as we are starting to reach more listeners. It was also cool to be added to the “New Metal Tracks” playlist on Spotify which has around 500k followers.”
Before we delve into the music, can you discuss the album title and the artwork? How did you arrive at the title and what inspired the cover?
(Walter) “Actually, answering this question does delve into the music a bit. So the title track “Fallen Kings and Rusted Crowns” was the first track written for the album…and we knew at it’s core this song summarized all of our previous releases into one track.
I had a pretty damn good idea of the vision that Bill had when writing the song. Since we knew it had the most traditional Duskmourn sound, we decided to name the album after it. It also sounds epic as hell, haha!
The cover was totally inspired by the lyrics of Fallen Kings, however it does visually represent other songs on the album. Big shout out to Julian Bauer! He did an incredible job with the artwork by using his creativity to visualize the lyrics. He also did some really cool stuff for our booklet and it’s worth checking out!”
Going back to your previous album “Of Shadow And Flame”, what direction did you have going into the new album as far as concepts, sounds, lyrics, etc….? Are there tracks from “Of Shadow…” that may have impacted what your new album would become?
(Bill) “We try to keep an open mind and not let our previous albums influence us too much. However, there definitely were certain parts of songs off of “Of Shadow and Flame” that we were really happy with and wanted to create a similar atmosphere this time. One example of this would be the slower harp part in “The Frozen Mire” flowing into the following part. Overall, our goal is to write the best songs and lyrics we can at the time that inspire us while staying true to our style.”
I feel that there is a lot more progressiveness as well as catchiness to the tracks here…. was there any sort of openness to taking your established style/sound into some new territory? Were you also mindful of not diverting too far off the path?
(Walter) “Overall, we’re metal fans just like everyone else. Sometimes we’ll get into moods and delve heavy into specific sub genres for awhile. This time around I think we were listening to a lot of melodic death metal and Amorphis which may have shaped our sound for this album. Not saying we were trying to be an Amorphis tribute band or anything. Mainly focusing on the way their songs flow and are structured. That would explain the catchiness, haha!”
(Bill) “Yes, we paid closer attention to detail this time and tried to make every part of the album as interesting and intricate as we could without going too progressive with it. We are always mindful while writing and asking ourselves “does this sound like Duskmourn?” I wouldn’t say we took it to a new territory, but we tried to improve upon what we already established.”
Did the track writing change or differ from your previous tracks? Did you try anything new on approaching songs from a music of lyrical perspective?
(Walter) “I put more focus on the lyrics as a whole since we knew we wanted them to be a little more in the spotlight. There were a ton of revisions and iterations this time around. I think the lyrics do a really good job of narrating actual stories as opposed to just describing them.”
(Bill) “The way we write both music and lyrics stayed the same basically. There were a few riffs from “Among the Ruins” that we worked on together but mostly everything was written on our own. This goes for both music and lyrics. Since we live pretty far apart, this is just easier and more productive for us. With the lyrics, we went through many revisions which was different this time around as we put a lot of focus into the lyrics and vocals.”
Are you also on some level trying to distance the “Tolkien” association to your style of music? Or maybe be more subtle with the LOTR references?
(Walter) “I don’t think so. I wouldn’t call Duskmourn a Tolkien metal band though. Every song both musically and lyrically usually starts with inspiration from a piece of his work. From there it’s transformed into a Duskmourn song. I think if someone is looking for Tolkien in the music or lyrics they will totally find it. We’ll just leave the true Tolkien metal to Summoning.”
I have always thought of the two of you doing everything on the albums….how did you arrive at having Kevin Paradis perform drums on the album? Did you have “tryouts”? What was it about Kevin that stood out? Did he have input into what the drum tracks would become?
(Bill) “There were a few difficulties we encountered this time with the drums. First of all, we no longer had access to the recording space we normally used to record acoustic drums. Also, I injured my leg pretty badly last year and was unable to play. Since we didn’t want to postpone the album, we started looking for a session drummer and quickly came across Kevin on YouTube. We decided to contact him about remote session drums and this turned out to be a great decision for us.
It only took a few videos to see he is an awesome drummer and he was able to play things on the album that I never would have been able to. It took the songs to a completely different level. We presented him with the main idea for all the drum parts with demos and then he took over from there for the recordings adding his own style, fills, ideas etc. There were parts here and there that he changed quite a lot and we ended up really liking the result!”
You also had Andrew Schuman from The Dread Crew Of Oddwood perform mandolin on closing track “The Harbinger”…how did this come about?
(Walter) “I actually met Andrew at the NY Renaissance Fair back around 2013 or 2014. Man time flies! Anyway, I was watching the Dread Crew dudes absolutely shred some heavy Mahogany and it was a blast. After, Andrew and I were dropping our folk metal knowledge on each other because he saw me wearing an Equilibrium t-shirt. We’ve been friends since!
(Bill) “I met Andrew a few years later at the same Ren Fair and was instantly a fan of his band! When writing “The Harbinger,” we realized that song had some melodies we felt could be really enhanced by the mandolin, so we contacted Andrew about playing those parts. I think it turned out great and it was really fun to work with him.”
The sound is as skull crushing as ever……how did Iguana Studios become your choice for the final product?
(Bill) “We’ve always been happy and excited about Christoph’s work with our music and this time was no different. We discussed our vision for the final product to land somewhere between atmospheric production and modern metal production to try to get the best of both worlds. We think he was able to pull this off perfectly.”
You had another incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign for this album as with previous efforts… is there any secret to how you do it? Combination of perks and pricing?
(Walter) “I think the secret is to offer up as much teaser content as you can. We launched the Kickstarter after we already started the mixing process so our backers could hear some good quality samples. It also proves that the album is already recorded and there is less of a possibility of “taking the backers money and running”.
Another thing is to not overprice anything. Offer your rewards at pretty much what you plan on charging for them on your store or at shows. People of course will appreciate that.”
Multiple US folk metal-based acts have been signed recently (Æther Realm, Wilderun, Windfaerer, amongst others) Have any offers been made for you to be on a label yet? If so, why haven’t you pursued it or if not, is it not really a big deal at this point for you?
(Walter) “We were actually approached by a label in 2019 but the deal didn’t seem like it would benefit us that much. So far we’ve been able to successfully self manage so we decided to keep it that way. We’re 100% open to the idea of joining a label, it just has to be right for us.”
Any closer to going live and doing some touring?
(Bill) “No current plans, but this is still something we’re interested in doing if the opportunity arises.”
Favorite tunes from 2021 so far?
- Tribulation – Where the Gloom Becomes Sound
- Fear Factory – Aggression Continuum
- Bloodbound – Creatures of the Dark Realm
“We want to thank everyone who helped support Fallen Kings and Rusted Crowns. We also want to thank Christoph, Kevin, Andrew, and Julian for their contributions on this album. It was a long time in the making and the end result is something we’re beyond happy with.
If you want to further help support Duskmourn you can buy the album directly from us off our store https://duskmourn.bigcartel.com/ or digitally on Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, etc. Don’t forget that we’ll have 12″ vinyls available for purchase towards the end of the year!”