The German melodic hard rockers Dark Sky have been around for a very long time, but has only been releasing consistently in the past few years. We had the chance to speak with lead vocalist and founding member Frank Breuninger on their most recent album "Signs of the Time" and get to know their vision better on his own words.
Read the interview below.
RockOverdose: Congratulations on the release of your latest album, "Signs of the Time"! Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the album's title and its overall theme?
DARK SKY: Thank you! The album was created at a time when a lot of things around us were very strange. There was the pandemic, and there were all the restrictions that made life very difficult, and not just for us musicians. We reflected these impressions in a few song titles and also in the album title. Of course, this also reflects how frustrated and worried we were and are about some developments.
RockOverdose: How has your sound evolved or progressed since your previous album “Once” (2018)? Are there any new elements or influences incorporated into "Signs of the Time"?
DARK SKY: I think the new album is something of a reboot for the band. After the pandemic, I had to put together a completely new DARK SKY line up because all of my friends in the band had gone into musical retirement. This time I'm also working very closely with our producer Markus Teske from the Bazement Studio during pre-production. This resulted in new and interesting influences overall, which gave the new album a slightly different sound.
RockOverdose: Could you highlight a couple of your favorite tracks from the album and explain what makes them special or significant to you?
DARK SKY: That's difficult, because ultimately all the tracks on the album are my current favorites 😉 But of course the title song "Signs Of The Time" is important as an overarching album theme. “Heroes On Ice” with its ice hockey theme is important to us. Ultimately, my whole family was involved in the music video of the song, on the ice, behind the camera and off the camera. But a song like “Forgiveness” with its serious topic of “child abuse” is also very significant for the album.
RockOverdose: Being a German band, do you find that your cultural background influences your music in any way? If so, how does that manifest in "Signs of the Time"?
DARK SKY: I don't think that cultural background plays a significant role for us. After all, we are an almost international band, with musicians who don't have their roots in Germany.
RockOverdose: What was the process like for writing and recording the album? Did you face any challenges along the way, and how did you overcome them?
DARK SKY: Well, at the start of pre-production we were of course pretty blocked by the pandemic restrictions in Germany. After pre-production, we recorded the songs in Bazement Studio with our producer Markus Teske. Our drummer Steff Grimm recorded the drums at home and then sent the audio to the studio, and guitarist Jadro also recorded some guitar stuff at home and sent it to the studio. For me it was a very big challenge to sing a song in Czech language (Stin katedral). That wouldn't have been possible without the coaching of my Czech wife, but finally we were really satisfied in the end.
RockOverdose: Are there any standout moments or experiences during the creation of "Signs of the Time" that you'd like to share with your fans?
DARK SKY: It's always a great experience when an album is created step by step and at the end the finished product sounds from the loudspeakers. There are many small and big moments in which you think: "Wow, that's really good!" I'm also very grateful that our producer is someone who really has the ability to get the best out of us musicians.
RockOverdose: How do you approach the lyrics in your songs? Is there a particular message or theme you aimed to convey throughout the album?
DARK SKY: The lyrics are always an important element to support the song and vice versa. This means that the mood and theme of the text must match the sound. As already mentioned, we discussed current developments around us but also processed Christian themes and autobiographical things in the lyrics. By the way, on this album I worked with Andi Schnitzer (ex-Kissin Dynamite) on the lyrics of two songs.
RockOverdose: In terms of musical style, do you feel "Signs of the Time" stays true to your melodic heavy metal roots, or did you experiment with new sounds and techniques?
DARK SKY: The new album is certainly a typical DARK SKY album in many ways, but we actually went new ways this time. On the one hand, we worked with external composers (for example Hannes Braun from Kissin Dynamite), but on the other hand, as already mentioned above, this time I involved our producer Markus Teske much more in the songwriting process. This automatically resulted in new stylistic elements that were good for the album.
RockOverdose: As a band that's been around for a while, how do you keep your creative energy and enthusiasm alive? Is there anything specific that keeps you motivated and inspired to continue making music?
DARK SKY: Ha, ha, previous companions of the band have actually asked me that too. I think it's the joy of creating new, good melodies, the joy of making music together and the persistence of always going one step further.
RockOverdose: Have you had the chance to perform any of the songs from "Signs of the Time" live? If so, how has the audience response been?
DARK SKY: Yes, we have already had a few concerts where we of course also played songs from our new album. I think the new songs are really well received live. And it's also nice to see that the music videos for the songs are well received.
RockOverdose: Looking ahead, what are your plans for the future? Any upcoming projects or tours that your fans can look forward to? Thank you for the interview!
DARK SKY: Yes, there are already some very exciting festivals we will be playing at in 2024. I think we'll be able to say more about this at the beginning of next year, but the fans can look forward to a real treat.
Thank you for the questions and hopefully we'll see each other at a festival or on tour in 2024.