It was under a blazing sun at the Hellfest 2019 that I met Werther and Ritch from Dagoba. Two very nice people who know how to put you at ease in a few seconds. We feel them passionate about what they do and, despite a painful past, their desires are now focused on the future! “Black Nova” is, for them, a new start towards great things.

Hi, how are you? What do you think of playing here at the Hellfest?

– Werther
It’s a great honor! This is the fifth time for Dagoba. It’s always a great pleasure to be here and we have a lot of affection for this festival because it has marked our career. This is the first with Ritch and the new line up of the group. He already played at  the Hellfest with his other band, Déluge, two years ago but it’s a new challenge and a beautiful edition. We are very happy to be here this year and we will offer a show a little unique. We can not wait to be on stage.

– Ritch
Yes, it’s a pleasure to come back here. I didn’t come last year and I see that it has changed a lot again in two years. The infrastructures are incredible. The poster is completely crazy. I think today it’s going to be crazy. We come back from a big tour in Asia where we made China and Japan. We had 36 hours of rest for the jetlag but we have completely recovered! We slept well, we will start the appetizer quietly and then we will try to return all that. And then, in any case, I will stay to enjoy the weekend with all the friends. And as you say Werther: It’s an honor to come here.

On your Facebook page, you set “Black Nova” as the strongest album you’ve ever made. Is it linked to your music or to the themes told in your texts?

– Werther
Both. I think this album is a huge challenge for the group in the past, the history of the band and the splits that took place. It’s a challenge; not in the artistic sense strictly speaking where there was no breakdown of composition but I think there were comments that were more than negative and not justified. We have completely assumed what has happened and we are proud to put the group back higher than it was before. I think it’s the most beautiful victory but it’s without bitterness or regret. You need to go forward. And above all, we really could do what we wanted from A to Z that it is in scenic prod, on album, recording and mixing: on all stages of the album. We were finally in line with what we really wanted to do and we wanted to take a new direction: change typo, … It’s a new start!

– Ritch
I have been there for a good year and a half now and who listened to Dagoba since college, it is true that we really see that with this album there was a step forward monstrous compared to those before. At the level of production as Werther says, the typo, the staging, … there is a lot of maturity in this album. The guideline is really good and it’s a lot of good things for the future.

 

Is it due to a lived event or a different will?

– Werther
It is completely a lived event. There are metaphors all along the lyrics of this album. Things have been said publicly and we have preferred not to talk about it or to go into futile things like “Who said that, who said that?” The first sentence of “Inner Sun” is “Stabbed in the back”, stabbed in the back. We say what we have to say through music and texts. Shawter expresses it very well. It’s also a matter of putting an end and going back to other things. We are not in the past and the past is behind us. We have a real desire for a positive and a future, otherwise we would not have made an album, we would not have turned and we would not shoot as we shoot. We just came back from Asia so I think we’ve never had so many open doors, concerts, tours, opportunities and festivals so it’s behind us. Everyone has banana and that’s what’s the main thing!

What did you do differently on this album compared to the previous ones? Have you changed the way you work?

– Werther
Not that much. Ritch was not on the composition of the album but it has not changed so much since Shawter has a home studio. It’s just that we had fewer problems to make an album simply. When we get along well with everyone, it’s going faster.

How was the collaboration and the meeting with Jacob Hansen (Volbeat) for mixing and mastering and Seth Siro Anton (Septic Flesh) for the artwork?

– Werther
It is a desire to change the sound and to have, as for the typo, something new. Notably with his mixes with Volbeat but also with Epica, he is someone who is able to manage the symphonic parts and the electronic parts in a relevant way. We wanted a fresh eye on Logan Mader who did a great job. We wanted something new, different. I think the Scandinavian sound also fits Dagoba. There was a desire to have Jacob, new sounds and then it’s a shoe size too. Seth is someone we’ve been working with since “Post Mortem Nihil East” and who has a universe; he is very black. We are asked for different colors from where the post-mortem covers that is in the water. We always have this hyphen with the water: on post mortem there is water and on Black Nova too.

– Ritch
Frankly, I do not think so. The band has, I think, never been so high in Dagoba’s career. So there would be nothing to do again. No regrets! And precisely, as I said just before, the guideline is there now we must take it and refine it. So for the next one we will do this better, for the one from even better and always go higher and better.

– Werther
I think that we have to make mistakes. In fact it is not a mistake, it is a position and it can never be accepted and understood 100% by everyone. Honestly, we assume 2000% of everything we did. If it was again, I would do the same thing. I would have even anticipated some things. We went to the end of what we could at a time. There now, we let go of the bridle.

Which of your albums is your favorite song? and why?

– Ritch
So I’m a bit out of step with the real fans who have always loved “What Hell Is About”, “Post Mortem Nihil East” or “Black Nova”. Me, my favorite is the album “Face the Colossus” that I found, at the time, enormously avant-garde in terms of samples, etc. It’s an album that speaks to me and the song “Face the Colossus”, the second of the album, is symphonically incredible. I find it really powerful!

– Werther
At the composition level, there is something.

– Ritch
It goes in all directions; it’s ultra epic! I am very fond of video games, movies, knights and other things.

– Werther
It’s funny that you’re talking about this because in fact the cover was designed by Cecil Kim who was a designer of God of War. We were in a trip very epic: we wanted to mix metal with industrial metal very old style Fear Factory, Machine Head, … After opening up to something symphonic. The symphonic and epic side came from the video game side and we always had an audience that is a fan of video games. I see, for example, that on the last piece “Stone Ocean” full of people are referring to Jojo. So we always had that side there. There are also geeks in the group. And so you would be “Face The Colossus”.

– Ritch
Me it would be more than that yes.

– Werther
And I’m going to say “Inner Sun”. Because it’s more than a piece, it’s a new beginning and it’s the first of this new state of mind. It’s a thing that touched us a lot, which marked us a lot. The lyrics are pretty strong. So either “When Winter …” which is on the album “Post Mortem Nihil East” or “Inner Sun” because there are refrains that we could not do before and now we can do.

How was your tour in Asia? It was your first show in China, is there a big difference between the Chinese audience and that of other Asian countries?

– Ritch
Yes honestly it was for everyone. We had our guide of the hell backpack genre 1950 where you expect to have guys in tuk-tuk who come to get you with rice fields and everything. We arrived and we all took a wank. Why are there only 700-meter towers? What is happening?

– Werther
Overall, it was a shake. And it has nothing to do with everything one can understand from the Western world, from the European side. It’s a new developing market and it has nothing to do with Japan as well. It’s something new. There they have been open for seemingly few years … we met French expatriates who told us: “It’s only been a few years since the metal develops a little in China, really welcome groups a little outside etc.” I think it’s really a card to play on the future because it has become the world’s second largest power. We do not realize it but it’s really incredible! They are
billion. The concerts were madness. People are nuts; they are happy to see that. It was really amazing!

– Moi
What have we missed all these years?

– Werther
There is a bit of that but at the same time I think they were not ready before.

– Ritch
At the same time I would like to be in their shoes. It must be great to rediscover everything that has happened in fact. You know that you have 50 years of metal to catch up. With the Internet, every day is a discovery. Frankly, looking back, it must be very nice to be in their shoes.

You have visited the Great Wall of China, have you had time to visit other places / monuments?

– Ritch
What did we see in Wuhan? The temple of the yellow skull I think. It’s a seemingly mythical thing. It was incredible you had a view of the city … finally the city, on the gigantic megalopolis of millions of inhabitants. You know the city we never heard of, and you see it’s as big as New York and you say, “Okay …”

– Werther
We only made cities that we had never heard of, or we had not been interested in China but it was still very impressive. It was a cultural slap, musical and it taught us what the departure of something when you start a musical adventure. This was really the first fruits. Everything was to discover or rediscover. Still, we had our team and two guys from the crew but it was something to do! I resign 200% to do it again!

– Ritch
Similarly.

– Werther
After Japan, it’s very different. We did it two years ago. We already have a fanbase, there are already people who come to see us. It’s very different.

Do you have unusual or funny anecdotes about this tour?

– Les deux
We can not say them!

– Werther
We will say that we ate a lot of spasfon and the imodium worked full tube. Otherwise the hot pot we will say! The hot pot: we put a huge pot with spicy spicy spicy molasses. We tell you that this is the really low-end spicy thing ie the first level and only the first level you’re already dead. It was something what!

– Ritch
I don’t want to hear about it anymore! (Laughts)

– Werther
After four days you’ve got everyone saying, “No more spicy stuff in our life, it’s over!”

What can you tell us about Dagoba’s future?

– Werther
Alala, if we could predict the future! We are not tired anyway! Still a lot of dates before announcing albums or stuff like that. We still have a lot of dates since we have dates that are blocked until June of next year. We have a lot of summer festivals in August. Then from September we go back to France, Germany, … There are some interesting dates, festivals, indoor. We know where we are going, that’s clear! The big advantage is that this tour “Warm Up” in partnership with the Hellfest has done a lot of good to the group. It brought back a lot of people who came over to Dagoba and realized that it was cool and that we are still alive.

– Ritch
And fit more than ever!

– Werther
It was a beautiful partnership and we met beautiful people too. Do not think the Hellfest is just a huge festival, it’s also a very big family and the proof was we were on the road in April and we spent 15 days beautiful. It was a summer camp. We all fall into each other’s arms.

We arrive at the end of this interview and as always, we leave you the last words of this one.

– Ritch
Hoping to see you many because, in any case, we are hot. We have plenty to do, lots to say again. Music is always a pleasure, a sharing. So listen, dear readers, we welcome you with open arms and open cans too.

– Werther
See you very soon in concert on the Hellfest. We hope you will spend a magical moment as we are going to spend one. We have prepared a unique show and we can not wait to meet and see you in the pit. And above all, enjoy life! Quite simply!


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