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Dawn Of Mankind

Nowadays you can pave an average street with all those metal and hardcore bands. Most of the time they all sound the same too. Nevertheless, sometimes there’s one that stands out a bit more. Sometimes by adding some unique elements. Or just because it sounds so good. That was the case when I heard the latest album from the Dutch Dawn Of Mankind, entitled 'Before The Heart Stops Beating’. Guitarist Wilrik had the time for a fine conversation.

By: Koen W. | Archive under metalcore

In 2018 the band exists for fifteen years, but still 'Before The Heart Stops Beating' is your first full album. Why did it take so long?
We have always been a group of five just doing what we feel like. Making music together, doing some gigs, have a beer and a laugh, but also having a busy career and a family. Making the music that all of us really dig takes time and that’s exactly what we did. No rush, no sweat, just having fun and producing killer music! When we released ‘Bones Of Contention’, our second EP, we had the idea to make a full length album. We wrote a couple of songs that had the right feel to it. However, due to some musical differences, our vocalist Nick had to part ways. After an extensive search we found in Sven the ideal partner to again make a five piece out of Dawn of Mankind. Unfortunately, we had to rethink the full length concept. Like everything we do it took us some time to do it right. But we are more than satisfied with the result.

Can you tell our readers in short lines something about the history of the band?
Dawn Of Mankind has always been about two important things: friendship and the mutual interest in brutal music. Originating from the mid 00's Eindhoven hardcore scene, we've always aimed for doing our own thing. The earlier years mainly revolved around playing shows on every possible occasion, putting our mark on the local scene. Our efforts resulted into the first EP 'Conquer The Demons'. Right after the release of our second EP 'Bones Of Contention' we started playing at a lot of different venues with lots of different local and internationally acclaimed bands. Eventually we started working on a new album, but things kinda got on the low with members focusing on activities outside of the band. Unfortunately, vocalist Nick decided to leave the band in 2014. With Sven (former Dependent) stepping in to replace Nick, the writing process for the first full length was immediately picked up again. Having fun together while making music was always the main objective. Even after nearly 15 years that formula has never changed. From now on however, we have our brand-new album 'Before The Heart Stops Beating' in the pocket!

No difficult and complex song structures but it all is kept truly simple and straight to the face. Is this still the result of the old school hardcore style where the band started with years ago?
Yes, that’s a good observation. Like we already stated we started out making old school hardcore / metalcore songs. That mindset has never changed and is still the basis of our new material. Less is more, and that also applies for our music. We do not want to make our songs unnecessarily complex. Over the years the scene has changed and Dawn Of Mankind has its own interpretation of that. We went from old school hardcore to more melodic. However, the overall goal is still to make catchy songs that have a hardcore and metalcore feel to it.

The first song on the record, ‘One Hateful Thursday’, sounds very different when you compare it with the rest of the album. It has something dramatic and sensitive. What is the song about and why did it end up different?
We didn’t write it on purpose like that. We just make music we like. ‘One Hateful Thursday’ started out as an intro song which we later on extended with more riffs and vocals to make it a full blown song. It still seemed as the right song to start off with. Not only for the album, but we also used it occasionally as an opener for gigs. Probably exactly because of the emotional load, energy buildup and explosive breakdown in the end.

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The rest of the album sounds like one big moshpit. Vocalist Sven Slokker let’s hear some enormous energy. He is only since a few years with the band. Was he the missing link where you was waiting for?
The most important part of the band is that everybody has the same mentality. Playing some songs, having a beer, doing some gigs… In that way, Sven definitely fills the spot, but we were also looking for some new energy and different approach. When we started working with Sven we immediately felt that this was exactly what the band needed. He brings along a lot of experience with his former music career with Dependent. Together with his attitude which fits perfectly with the band we knew that this would turn out to be very successful. The result ‘Before The Heart Stops Beating’ speaks for itself.

A big surprise is the technobeat in ‘Never Tought’. Techno and metalcore are two completely different worlds but in the song it sounds great. Whose idea was it? Are there some techno freaks in the band?
We were toying with the idea for quite some time. With the new album we also wanted to do some extra’s that you wouldn’t expect. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out! There are a couple of geeks in de band and it was one of them who came up with the idea to do a techno style breakdown in a song. We then came up with some riffs and overall sound for a song that later came to be ‘Never Thought’. We then asked Roel Houbraken, who is a good friend of the band if he could come up with something for the song. He blew us away with the first demo and knew that it would turn out great. Our producer Tommie Bonajo from Tomster Studios did a kick-ass job on the album and also with all of our ideas like a techno beat, piano and orchestra. Everything turned out exactly like we hoped. ‘Never Though’ for instance has a classic Dawn Of Mankind feel and breakdown, but topped with something extra. Perfect!

The album has an amazing clear production. It was like the drums were coming from everywhere. Why the choice for such a sharp production noise? A lot of hardcore and metalcore albums sounds less sharp and more monotonous.
Props go to Tommie Bonajo from Tomster Studios. Our music has a hardcore attitude and feel, but for this album we really wanted to have a brutal metalcore sound. For our ‘Looking Back’ single we wanted to try out a new studio to achieve this. After doing some research we came into contact with Tommie. When we heard the result, we knew that we would also record our full length at Tomster Studios. We are more than pleased with the end result. We still have contact, so stay tuned for more!

It almost a shame that no record label seems to be interested in the band. Are you still looking for a label or was it a conscious choice that the band did it all by themselves?
We never actively looked for any interested labels. So, it isn’t a conscious choice. We do things our way and never thought about it. With ‘Before The Heart Stops Beating’ we had a brief moment that we discussed it, but we were so far in the process of releasing it ourselves that again we didn’t contact any labels. However, we are always open for good opportunities. So…

How much time and effort do you put in the band? Is there any left for work, hobbies or relations?
All of us have very demanding jobs and careers. About half of the band have kids. This makes it sometimes hard to plan some things we need to do as a band. However, we try to rehearse as much as possible and aim to meet up at least on a weekly basis. Sometimes only for some beers and laughs :)

Are there a lot of shows coming? And are they kept local or does the band also want to play in other countries (like Belgium and Germany)?
We made a conscious choice to take it easy with shows while we were working on the album. Now that we released the full length we already did some shows and have a couple more on the horizon. We never did a show across the Dutch borders, but we are always interested in doing cool shows and gigs. It is not our intention to keep it local. It would be really awesome to go abroad!

I thank you a lot for your time. Do you have any last words or message to share with our readers?
Make sure to check us out on Spotify or iTunes, watch our video’s on YouTube, stay tuned for more news and like our Facebook page. Thank you Lords of Metal for the interview and the amazing review!

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