Thursday, March 24, 2011

APPALACHIAN WINTER - Interview with D.G. Klyne (POST 100!!!!)

Welcome to Transylvanian Forest E-zine D.G. and how you been?

1) When did your band start and why?

Wow, you're not fucking around here!  Getting right to the tough ones right off, I see!  It's kind of a hazy thing as to when the project was really started.  The first song, "Into the Abode of Wolves" was written late in 2007.  The following early months of 2008 is when the name "Appalachian Winter" hit me, like a ton of bricks dropped from a ten story height.  The feeling was there when that first song was written, but it did take some time to pass before proper words and imagery could be generated, and since those things really drive me as a musician, it's probably best to say the project began in early 2008.  So, I really could have just shut my jaw right off and said early 2008 without the rest of that nonsense.  Man, I hope you're a patient fellow with patient readers!

With luck, I hopefully can say why a bit more concisely.  I'd already been a musician for well over a decade before Appalachian Winter was realized.  I had projects before, both with others and by myself, but I consider them to mostly be failures, or works leading towards something else.  Before "Into the Abode of Wolves," I had three solo albums planned and all of them blew up right in my face because I had no rhyme or reason as to why I was writing the music.  So, to say I was in a rough place would have been an understatement!  I remember considering hanging up my hat with music all together, but before that became a too serious consideration, "Into the Abode of Wolves" exploded out of me.  I'm still clueless as to how it happened, but the feeling of being onto something good was there, and it didn't leave.  It still hasn't. It's become a need for me to this stuff, rather than a passing want.  Yeah, that wasn't even close to concise!

2)How many albums do you have in your discog, and where can people pick these albums up at?

Right now there are three complete albums, which can be had at There's also a folder for the new album there that is updated as I finish songs for the next release.  Apologies in advance for the pop-ups, but life makes it hard for someone to just throw free music up on the web.  Oh, yeah, this stuff is FREE.  Seriously.  I used to be able to print out physical copies (also free), but that's a painful process even when everything works right, which none of it does right now!  So I won't be able to that for a good while.  Your best bet if you want my music is to download the stuff.

3)How long have you been a musician for? and is it true you do ALL the music yourself?

Well, I feel like calling me a musician is a bit like calling a psychopath who smears his own shit on a canvas a "painter."  It's cute and everything, but not quite realistic, I feel!  I've been playing guitar badly for over fifteen years now.  Of course, since then I've added to my now large repitoire of badly-played instruments.  I'm seriously no virtuoso!  I luck out by being able to combine simple elements of musicianship into something big sounding, or something like that.  And yes, all instruments you hear are done by me and all music is written by me!  Aside from the basics like Guitar, bass and keys (all badly played, remember) you'll also hear me exquisitely butcher such instruments as bouzoukia (Irish and Greek) a nylon strung harp, a bodhran, mandola, mandolin, Jew's harp, an octave mandolin, and probably something else I'm forgetting.  Oh, and the drums your hear (except the bodhran) are voices on a keyboard, as are the brass and strings, flutes and such.  I'm hoping to add a mountain dulcimer (imagine that!) and a banjo to the general cacophony soon.

4)I really like your album SILENCE BEFORE THE GREAT MOUNTAIN WIND, how was the recording process for that? and what inspires you the most about it, themes, ideas behind it all?

Well, that's the first album I have as Appalachian Winter, so the inspiration part for the whole of that album was me writing the song "Into the Abode of Wolves," and then shitting myself over having done something that kinda maybe didn't suck too much for once!  I mean, seriously, the rest of that album fed off that song so much that it probably could also have been named "Into the Abode of Wolves" or "Danny Klyne has Wolf-fetish for Reasons even he doesn't Understand."  Well, okay, that last one could be a name for any album by Appalachian Winter!  As far as recording, I wasn't new to it, so I could say relatively it was a smooth process, because all I needed to know I discovered before that album commenced.  Just remember, when I said "relatively smoothly," "relatively" is the important word in that sentence!  When I'm involved, nothing goes smoothly as per most (sane) individuals' expectations!

5)How does the recording process work for you? and what machines, and programs, and stuff do you use to get all that great sound? Dont name too much, somebody might rip you off hahaha

Oh dear Jesus!  Okay, here's a "smooth" night of recording for me:  Boot the computer, open Sonar (Sonar X1 is my recording software), have Sonar fuck shit up, scream at Sonar, plug in guitar, break two to three strings WITHIN MINUTES OF EACH OTHER because I play with the force of a retarded ape on cocaine, throw guitar across the room, pound things, and break stuff.  I wish I was exaggerating! Thankfully, the couch on the other side of the room catches the guitar!  As far as equipment, I've already named Sonar, but other shit includes a Yamaha PSR 1500 (that's where drums and orchestration comes from, and it's amazing how reverb can make that stuff sound real), a Peavey JSX on ultra setting (you can find my sound by going to Grail Tones, just google it) an Ibanez five-string bass that is put through a little Tech 21 processor, and a shitload of FX presets in Sonar which make up my mastering technique (translation: "I'm a shitty audio engineer").  If someone likes my sound the sound and uses it, that's fine.  I shudder to think what my setup could do in the hands of someone who is actually talented!  Shit, I forgot, a Dave Mustaine signature is my weary and abused battle axe.  I really need to learn to not throw it across the room and expect the couch to catch it.  It's a good Goddamned guitar.  I'd be nothing without it.

6) How does each album differ you think from the next? and what do you personally think of your music? I think your very underrated my friend, and a great musician! So please, dont bash yourself too much hahaha

Oh!  I sense you've noticed that I'm a bit critical myself and this project!  I do have a habit of leveling criticisms against my own projects that other people find to be a bit rough, but that's part of the process for me.  You know, never being satisfied and always needing more.  Also, I do find genuine weaknesses with what I do, and have no problems pointing them out to myself or having them pointed out to me.  I go by a rule that states, "If someone gives your work a strongly favorable review, (say, four out of five stars) and also takes time to tell you about what they feel are shortcomings, it is your best interest to shut your mouth and hear that person out."  I'm not trying to give anyone the run-around, or put out a false sense of modesty; everything negative I've said about my project I believe to be true.  There is also the flip side.  I do love my project for what it is, even with the flaws it has.  It's like being the mother of a retarded baby.  Maybe its eyes don't line up quite right when it looks at me and the only skill it'll ever develop is the ability to toss a bowl of Froot Loops over its head at the breakfast table, but it's my retard baby and I love it.  Nothing will take that away from me.

I'm always kind of shocked that others dig this stuff.  I mean, I do try to be the best I can be, but it's always a surprise when someone tells me that they like Appalachian Winter.  Not to say the surprise isn't pleasant!  And I do appreciate your compliments!  I don't feel underrated, though.  The fact that the few others who like this stuff take the time to tell me makes me feel justified, which is a first for me, both musically and at all in life.  It gives me pleasure knowing that others, no matter how few, also find something of value in my work.

As far as each album and the differences, the project started out with the goal to make black metal, just like the song "Into the Abode of Wolves."  But that's been changing.  I've been trying to sneak in more orchestration, and the album in progress now should be the most symphonic yet, unless I have a stroke and subsequently fuck everything up.  Also, the songs for Appalachian Winter, are almost always written on the keyboard now.  Now I find the exact genre of what I want to do to be far less defined.  But there will probably always be black elements somewhere, and almost certainly orchestration, but chord progressions and melodies are my bread and butter, and those will remain consistent far into the future, because they are the heart and soul of Appalachian Winter.

7)Do you sing on most of your songs? Like all the operatic/clean vocals? or? Did you need lessons? or you just "do it" haha

All voices you hear are mine, believe it or not!  Which is weird, because I hate my voice.  I started doing the rough vocals because I hated my voice and wanted to kill it (I still do).  I'm self-taught vocally.  I started trying vocals (rough and clean styles) long before Appalachian Winter came around, so it only looks like I came out of the gate with all guns blazing.  The truth is, it took a LONG time for me to become able to do anything at all with my vocals.  It took even longer to realize you have to feel what you are vocalizing.

8)What bands influence you?

Stuff like Moonsorrow, Ensiferum, Alestorm, Wintersun, Elffor, Falkenbach, Turisas, Korpiklaani, Finntroll, Vintersorg and Therion.  I really favor folk metal.  Other things one might not normally expect, like Enya and Kitaro also give me cues.

9)What underground bands you like to name you enjoy, and respect the most?

I find Dark Metamorphosis to be fantastic, and one of the few examples of USBM that I can enjoy.  There are many compelling artists over a wide range of genres who are excellent. Loell Duinn (forgive my possible bad spelling) is an excellent band, Draumar amazes me with everything does.  I'm also quite fond of Hoyland, Sever the Reality, Melankolia, The Sepia Raven, Gil Galad.  I have serious respect for Immundus.  There are many projects that no longer exist that turned my ears as well.  Most of those were headed by younger composers who tend to ditch projects as they continue to develop their ideas and ethics regarding what they want to do.  I can't blame them because I am doing that as well, and I'm an old fuck!

10)Whats on your to do list this year?

Easy, MAKE MORE MUSIC!  Much more.  I always need more!  Though what I probably should be doing is enrolling in an anger management course. 

11)Is there another album from A.W. in the making??? I hope so!!!

Your hope is not in vain!  There is the one I'm working on now.  At the latest, it should be done this summer.  It'll be self-titled.  Plus, I have one more beyond that planned (for now).  I'm confident I can go beyond five albums and still keep this project fresh, though there most likely will be more beyond that.  I might put the project on hiatus after the fifth album to get other stuff done (other music projects), but that's not set in stone.  I think I may have a need for Appalachian Winter, just to keep me in the right frame of mind.

12)What do you think of all these sites online, like myspace, facebook, ect?

My experience with them is they usually start out great, and then the site designers break fucking everything for no apparent reason.  You remember how they fucked Myspace up?  I now see the same slow process playing out on Facebook.  If that Zuckerberg guy is the genius that everyone portrays him as, he should learn that broken sites do nothing but encourage people to leave.  That's why I left Myspace.  It's sad, too.  These social networking sites do wonders in my opinions.  Meeting people and trading ideas globally is a wonderful thing, but the platforms we have in sites like you mention should be more stable.  I had a great time on Myspace!  It's just too bad.

13)Got a twitter??? XD

Nope!  I can remember all the intervals in a scale, I remember which ones are perfect (1,4,5,and 8) which ones can be made major or minor (2,3,6 and 7) and how to diminish and augment them.  I know that C is to Em as G is to Bm and A is to C#m,  but remembering one more password to one more social networking site is way too much for my peanut brain to even comprehend doing.  I don't understand it either!

14)I really like those 3 cds you gave me man, Winter Eternal is a favorite, and so is I Become The Frozen Land,  I probably could not have survived this hellish winter without them! haha But now its spring, so does that mean spring, summer time, is break time for A.W. or just another time to start making fresh music that reminds us how cold and bleak it really gets??? or something like that hahaha...

Thanks!  I'm happy you enjoy them!  It's weird because my school schedule has usually meant that summertime was the best time to make those those albums.  But since the classwork part of my degree is done, I find I can actually write and record during the colder months.  And I know what you mean about this past Winter being Hellish!  I've fought some serious depression this past season.  Winter is not my favorite time of the year.  I usually take breaks in between albums, usually from the end of summer when they're done until late fall when the first snowfall hits, but I might not wait so long this time.  The first two albums really took the wind out of me, but I really felt like I could continue right after I Become the Frozen Land was done, and I kinda regret that I didn't.  Even during the nice days of summer I get a chill knowing what the world will be like in six months, so I can write year round.

15)What do you compare your music too mostly, just for fun, because there is not a whole lot of bands I heard lately,  that resemble your colossus sound! You should be proud of that. I always compare it to Astral Winter whenever I cant think of a band that sounds like yours, have you heard their tunes? and what do you think of your musics originality so far?

It's a good question.  I try not to compare myself to other musicians because I don't want to wind up being a clone of them or carrying their baggage.  Others have compared me to my two favorite bands in the whole world, Moonsorrow and Ensiferum, so I guess that's a bit unavoidable!  But those are really good bands, so there's no way a comparison to them can offend me.  It's actually something I find heartening, despite the fact that I don't want to resemble them too closely.

And thanks for directing me to Astral Winter!  Oh my God.  I just heard "Winter Enthroned," and it blew my face off.  I'm listening to his cover of "Sleeping Stars" and it's making something deep inside me smile that hasn't smiled in a long time.  That guy has got something amazing and wonderful going on!  And that artwork is stellar!

I am rather divided on the concept of my own "originality."  While I'm certainly trying different things and taking risks (I've done that on all three albums so far), also there are times when I think, "Jesus, does this world really need another black/folk metal band with themes revolving around winter?  Am I really adding anything here?  Has this not been done billions of times before, and better?"  But then there are times when I realize that even though the themes I have might be beyond cliched, I am bringing at least a different approach with the music and message I have.  It's something I think about every time I write.

16) Whats your area like? And do you ever plan to gig soon???

Even though I see the United States as mostly a cultural black hole, regional areas still have some flavor.  My part of Pennsylvania is lucky in that regard.  There's a distinct accent out here (you might know it as "Pittsburghese") and the community I live in has insular properties and a culture of its own.  That said, it's really difficult to get people together to do something other than drink on the weekends or rape goats during the work week.  Most people have no concept of extreme metal other than the TERRIBLE fucking bands that play atonal garbage at the bars every now and then.  It's not to say that atonal metal bands suck, just the ones from my area.  Shit like what those people do actually helped kill death metal for me.

Appalachian Winter will probably never gig.  It's too hard getting people together, and groups larger than three always seem to impode around me.  If I have the choice of dealing with people's bullshit or sitting at the keyboard and writing, I'll choose the keys every time.

17) Got any side projects at all?

Oh, If only I had the fingers to count!  I've considered Appalachian Winter to be a side project until recently.  It now takes a close second seat to a project I'm working on with two other fellows.  I don't feel right announcing the name yet, because we're in the beginning stages and we're working out how to do things.  I have a cheesy 80s synth metal project called F-14 Tomcat.  There's another I've started recently called Rhythms of the Wind which is still being defined.  I'm in an experimental recording outfit called The Stereoplanetary Audio Construct and have had a little something to do here and there with other various solo projects, since I live in and run a slap-dash recording studio.

18)Hows things in your personal life? anything else that of that sort.

Without giving too much away, one could say "busy."  Aside from music, I'm pursuing a Ph.D. in English literature.  I have good friends and family and a good life, but I am a bit of a hermit because of my music demands and my studies.  I do pay a psychological price for being the way I am, but I think we all do that.

19) If there is a band you like to collaborate with, dead, or alive, who would it be???

Moonsorrow, Ensiferum, basically all the ones I mentioned before!  Not that I'd be of any use to those people!

20) Thanks for your time brother, really like the tunes, and I spread and advertise your stuff like a disease hahaha any last words? Shout outs? people, friends, family, fellow bands you like to thank, and all the people that have along the way??? You rule D.G. !!! See ya hopefully soon! -D -l-

I guess I'll holler at my bandmates for other projects, Jason, Mike (Construct), J.J. and especially Randy and Mike (Melankolia) for wisdom, support and encouragement. Lots of other people like Andy (Draumar) Torr, Tim, Suicidal Sovereignty Records, you for those three awesome reviews, to everyobody who reads this and everyone who encourages me with comments and the awesome people who upload my songs to YouTube!  And thank you again for taking the time to interview me.  All the best, and be well.

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