Interview with Frank Breuninger (Dark Sky)

After releasing an exceptional record entitled Empty Faces in June this year German band Dark Sky are getting a lot of attention in the Melodic Rock world. Recently, their singer Frank Breuinger took the time to talk to Metal Express Radio about the new album as well as their future.

MER: First of all I would like to thank you for taking the time to talk with Metal Express Radio and your fans.

Frank Breuinger: You’re welcome!

MER: Congratulations with the fantastic new record Empty Faces. The album has been out for a week or so. How are the reactions to the album so far?

Frank: Well, most of the Melodic Rock magazines gave us pretty good feedback, which was really welcome. And I didn’t expect a big interest of the Metal magazines (Metal Hammer, Rock Hard) but important was the fantastic reactions of the fans which supports the band in all their efforts during the release of “Empty Faces”.

MER: Why did you decide to call the record Empty Faces?

Frank: After finishing the recordings we were still thinking about what we should do with the album title. At last we decided to use a song title as well for the name of the album and actually “Empty Faces” seems to match to the main message of the album. Together with the music and the album title our graphic artist Danny Busch created the impressive front cover and the whole art work. I’m very pleased with his work.

MER: Can you tell us about the song writing process? Was the entire band involved, if not, who writes the tunes, lyrics and so on? Did you write any of the songs in the studio or was everything clear when you entered the studio?

Frank: Usually Steffen (guitar) and I are responsible for the music. So, first we’re working at home on new riffs and harmonies and then we meet the complete band in the rehearsal room to practice and to find out how the songs should really sound. Finally I add the lyrics and melodies to finish the songs. All songs were ready when we entered the Bazement Studio, although producer Markus Teske is always open for any kind of improvement during the recordings.

MER: Can you tell us about the recording process of Empty Faces?

Frank: We recorded Empty Faces in the Bazement Studio in Hünstetten / Germany under the direction of mastermind Markus Teske who seemed to become a member of the band while we were living in the studio. It’s a familiar atmosphere in the Bazement and it probably helped the band to achieve a good result. We started in 2007 with a two week long recording of six songs and we finished the recording sessions in February 2008 after another two weeks in the Bazement. First of all we recorded a MIDI playback before we entered the studio. In the Bazement Studio it’s Steffen’s job to start in the morning with the guitar tracks while I have to wait until dawn before I’m ready to sing. We continue during the following days by adding the bass guitar and the keyboards and finally when everything is ready Uwe plays the drums.

MER: What is really annoying is that the lyric of a song is easily forgotten. What are the lyrics about?

Frank: Most of the Dark Sky lyrics are about things that I am preoccupied with. For example “Empty Faces”: You know, I’m a little bit worried about the increasing number of young criminals in Germany. So, my way to deal with the problem is to write a lyric about it. Or have a look at “Send Them To Hell”. Do you remember 11th of September 2001? Well I am still thinking about this terrible assassination and therefore I wrote this lyric.

MER: Listening to your vocal performance on this album is very enjoyable because you have the kind of voice that separates it from other vocalists in this genre. As a vocalist, how do you work with the vocal lines and harmonies for the songs?

Frank: Thanks a lot for your praise. Well, for composing new songs I used to start with the melodies and later I built the riffs and rhythms around it. But if Steffen comes along with a strong riff and good harmonies I first have to listen to the music and then I try to find a catchy hook line for the chorus and melodies for the verses. Every time before I enter the studio for recording the lead vocals I have to prepare myself in the rehearsal room by singing to the pre-production playback. Then I find out the difficulties and often I change a line in the last moment.

MER: Empty Faces is a great album featuring 11 strong songs. What is your favourite?

Frank: At the moment I enjoy listening to the title track “Empty Faces” most of all but what a surprise, I really like them all. Although “Slave of Time” is pretty hard to sing live I find this song very strong and therefore I’m looking forward to performing it at the first concert with the new set in July.

MER: Your tour list showed 4 upcoming shows. Will there be a tour in the time to come? Are there any other plans?

Frank: Well there are plans for a tour in the autumn but nothing is fixed yet so we have to wait and play the few concerts which are already confirmed. We are also in contact with an organizer for the support slot for a big event.

MER: The story behind a band name is always interesting. What is the story behind Dark Sky?

Frank: I’m sorry, there’s no story behind the band name but I can tell you how the band started. It was in the early 80s when a school mate who was a brilliant guitar player asked me to join him in a rock band. He wanted the band to be named Dark Sky and so we did.

MER: It is said that you were not the first vocalist of Dark Sky but have been with the band from day one. How goes that story?

Frank: Yes, that’s right. I started as the second guitarist in the band and later I became guitarist and keyboardist. But we often had trouble with former singers and they always used to leave the band at inappropriate moments. So finally I was fed up with that situation and therefore I decided to become the singer of Dark Sky when we reformed the band in the 90s.

MER: The music business today is quite harsh. In the 80s it seemed like every heavy band on the planet could get a record deal and fill venues all over the globe. Is it possible for you guys to make this band a living?

Frank: No, not in this life!!! Haha What do you think, is it possible? Well we will see and we will work it out. Thanks for the questions. Hope to see you sometime on tour


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