DORDEDUH took a whole nine years after their debut – now they have released „Har“, an extremely remarkable second album. Songwriter Edmond „Hupogrammos“ Karban explains where the change in style comes from, why the album has been so long in coming and why he hopes that the announced show with NEGURA-BUNGET material at Prophecy Fest will be the last time he has to play songs by his old band.
Thanks a lot for taking time for this interview! How are you doing?
Generally speaking I’m fine, thank you very much. Right now I’m into a marathon of writing interviews and unfortunately it is not one of my favorite things to do. But on the other hand I put all my attention into it when I do them to honor the listeners and the interviewer.
How are things going with Corona in Romania at the moment?
Right now, things got a bit more relaxed, the mask is not mandatory anymore on the streets, it’s only for indoor and crowded places, but my impression is that this relaxation came a bit too early. I just heard that events can take place under certain regulations and with a limited number of people and I hear some rumors about some festivals that may take place. But it’s too early to make any predictions.
Did you have to cancel shows due to Corona – and if yes: do artists get financial support from the state to compensate for this?
Yes, we had a couple of shows canceled, but not too many. The pandemic situation caught us in the studio, recording the last parts for the album. 2020 was prepared for the production of the new album, not that much for live events. And no, I don’t know any artist in Romania to receive any compensation for lost events. I know that there was some money proposed for the cultural sector, but very few musicians were eligible for receiving something. I actually don’t know anyone receiving something from the state and I know a lot of people from the cultural sector.
It’s been nine years since your last album – what has happened in the meantime, why did it take so long before you hear from you again?
It’s mostly because of the transformation that took place in my life. I became the father of three boys and family became my priority in my life. After I got more used to my new status, I slowly turned back into playing music and soon I slowly started writing again for Dordeduh. As soon as I had something consistent I presented it to my colleagues and we started working for the new album. And here it is. (laughs)
„Dar De Duh“ was released via Prophecy’s sublabel Lupus Lounge, the new album is now released via Prophecy directly. What difference does that make for you?
It was a marketing decision that Prophecy took, most probably because the album went too far away from the black metal spectrum of Lupus Lounge.
The album is titled „Har“ – what does it mean, what is it thematically about?
“Har” means “grace”, having grace, having a connection with the divine. Thematically it’s about connection with our inner core, but also with the source of life that keeps everything connected. It is about regaining the lost cosmic memory that could and probably should be accessible to humans. It’s also about the journey of deep inner transformation to regain this connection and memory, to attain oneness with the universe.
In general, the lyrics are all written in Romanian. Does it hurt to know that only a fraction of your listeners can read and understand the lyrics?
No, it doesn’t hurt, but it’s not the ideal circumstance for most people if one wants to tune into our message. But on the other hand it turns the audience to dive more into the music, to feel the music and not think that much about it, which is exactly the point where we prefer to have our listener.
The cover is very modern – at least compared to the nature photos on the debut or also on Negura Bunget. We see man, fire, water and earth – but what exactly is the image supposed to symbolize?
We allowed Costin Chioreanu full liberty to come up with what he believes would suit the album the best. The message of the album is related to a journey that takes a deep transformation process towards human elevation and I think the cover represents this idea very well.
The album has turned out to be shorter than its predecessor with about one hour playing time – was that a conscious decision, do you feel 80 minutes is too long today?
If one counts the bonus tracks, it has approximately the same length. But we were not taking a decision regarding the length of the album according to our previous album. The songs turned out to be like that and we didn’t think in terms of how things should be nowadays, or following a trend. If we would have followed a trend, I guarantee you that we would play completely different music nowadays.
Musically the album also sounds a bit more modern and stylistically more open: It has heavier passages than the predecessor, but at times there is also a bit of post-rock. Did you approach the songwriting differently, do you listen to different music by now, did you specifically want to do something different?
We didn’t plan that this album should sound in this or that way. This musical expression is representative for us today, so we wrote the songs accordingly. I’m sure the next album will sound probably very different compared with this one and it will represent the way we will be expressing musically then.
The fourth track reminds me with the percussive vibe a bit of the band Heilung, which is currently experiencing an extreme hype. Did you follow that, can you explain why these atmospheric bands like Heilung or Wardruna are so popular right now – and do you think that could also benefit DORDEDUH?
It was definitely not because we wanted to copy or to be hype like Heilung or Wardruna. (laughs) If you take a look in our history, you’ll see long intros made for songs written in that vein back in the 1990’s like “Bruiestru”, “Plecaciunea Mortii”, or self standing songs like “Cant De Sursur” from “Inarborat Kosmos” in 2005, “Norilor” from “Om”. In DORDEDUH as well, we always had a ritualistic part in our songs. This is something that we have done for more than two decades.
The artbook edition includes a bonus CD with two songs – an extended Version of “Vraci De Nord” and the track “Nord”. Were they written specifically as bonus material, or did you maybe even take them from the album to have material for a bonus CD?
We wanted the bonus CD to represent something special for the listener. The extra parts were made on purpose as a bonus and it’s just a dedication for all the people who resonate with our music.
For Prophecy Fest, besides the performance of DORDEDUH, a performance of „NEGURA BUNGET performed by Hupogrammos, Sol Faur and Dordeduh“ was announced. Now the homepage says „DORDEDUH perform NEGURA BUNGET“, which sounds a bit more restrained, I think. Is this a reaction to the fact that many fans had expressed themselves critically about this revival without the late drummer Negru?
It was a title that Prophecy came up with and as soon as I saw it I asked to be changed to the actual one. So, no fan reacted critically, or anything like that. I just want to have things aligned straight, for no misunderstanding.
How do you see it personally – how does it feel to play NEGURA-BUNGET songs without Negru, maybe even knowing that he would not have agreed with it? Before his death, a reunion wasn’t really an issue, was it?
Everybody can play any song live as long as one doesn’t sell it and publishing rights are paid. Being the songwriter of all the songs we ever released with NEGURA BUNGET, playing songs without Negru, some of the songs finally sound like I envisioned it in the first place. A Reunion was never an option for us and it would have never been one.
Will you play more shows under the name NEGURA BUNGET or at least using the name („DORDEDUH perform NEGURA BUNGET) in the future or will it remain a one-time thing?
I will never play again under the name of NEGURA BUNGET. The story of NEGURA BUNGET ended in 2009 and I hope very much that this will be the last time when we will perform NEGURA BUNGET songs.
Would you like to revive the band, to use the name again, maybe also release new music? What about the rights to the name and especially the logo, now that Negru is dead?
NEGURA BUNGET is a closed chapter for us. We have no interest towards NEGURA BUNGET whatsoever.
Is SUNSET IN THE 12TH HOUSE, the other project you are involved in, still active, and if so, do you also have news to report?
Yes, it is still going on. It was on hold for a couple of years too. I don’t know what future this project will have. It depends very much on global stability, if music will still be something that we can do, or we will be concerned only with surviving.
Besides the music – did you use the concert-free time to get a new „Corona hobby“? What do you do with all the free time that has been created by the loss of shows?
I was not that fortunate with the pandemic situation… quite the opposite: Nearly all the income of my family was gone, so we had to adapt very quickly to reshape our lives around the newly created situation. No “corona hobbies” for me.
Thank you very much for the interview. Let’s wrap it up with our traditional brainstorming:
Last album you listened to: Bölzer – Hero
Prophecy Productions: Fauna – Avifauna
Rainy days: dislike them
Heavy Metal: different era
A food that always makes you happy: cashew
DORDEDUH in 10 years: back to the roots
Once again thanks for your time. The last words to our readers are yours:
Thanks for the support and interest.