They’re Australia’s modern-day version of KISS. The band that makes hate sound like fun.
With enigmatic frontman Jesse Dracman just named one of Australia’s best heavy vocalists, Gold Coast’s industrial rock juggernaut Darkc3ll is poised to unleash their new album Haunted Reality on the world.
The album is out 31 October and the band’s national tour starts 11 November and Jesse himself, dressed in a Davey Suicide shirt, took the time to sit down with Blank’s editor Samantha Morris to chat about the past 18 months and what the future holds.
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“Every band dreams of that one album that they aspire to make – I think this is it,” Jesse said of the release of Haunted Reality. “This is that album.”
It’s been 20 years since Jesse released his own EP with a similar theme and he says he’s learnt a lot.
“I’ve become a better songwriter,” he said. “I also have an awesome band. I’m writing the music I’ve dreamt of.”
“This album is the first proper collaboration between the four of us – all four members contributed to this,” Jesse said.
The song writing process for Darkc3ll is principally between guitarist Matt Shorter (AKA Post Mortem Matt) and Jesse, who says he comes to the table with lyrics and melody in his head, hoping that Matt will decipher it like the DaVinci Code.
“I’m the Rubik’s cube of the songwriting duo,” Jesse said.
“Haunted Reality is exactly what the title says: a collection of tales of all things haunted in this world. The reality.”
Jesse tells me about the rest of Darkc3ll. Rit (otherwise known as Derelict) is on bass and Jay (Macabre) is on drums. Jesse says they’re two “of the coolest cats, man.”
“We’ve got a band who doesn’t have that typical rockstar ego about us,” he said. “In my opinion, we still have our feet on the ground. We don’t walk around with bragging rights. We just kind of let our music do the talking.”
“That makes me especially proud, considering everything we’ve accomplished to date.”
And Darkc3ll’s accomplishments are many – starting from their very first show as Darkc3ll which saw them supporting Norwegian electro-industrial giants Combichrist.
Since then, they’ve been on the Soundwave Tour, self-funded a tour around the USA and supported a bunch of international artists like Wednesday 13. They’ve independently released three albums and an EP and had their music played on national and international radio, Channel V and even Bondi Ink.
Haunted Reality then is just a continuation of that journey. They started the recording process in February this year and wrapped up in September. The album was recorded at Matt’s Home – RTD Studios on the Sunshine Coast. He handled all of the production and engineering.
This album will be the first that Darkc3ll has released on to vinyl.
“People had come to us and asked if we were releasing on vinyl at all. One day we put the question out there and we got a good response,” Jesse said.
So we set up a pre-order system for the new album – for both CD and vinyl – and we did bundle packs for posters with that amazing artwork done by Morbid Carousel.”
“We’ve done enough presales to pay for all the vinyl and CDs. It’s a really good feeling,” Jesse said.
“We have a few dedicated fans in the US that we made when we toured.”
“They’ve stuck with supporting us and buying everything we put out.”
“We know our fan base has a pretty far reach as well,” he said. “Mexico, Russia, NZ, even the UK.”
The volume and geographical reach of presales and the number of views for the video that accompanies Preacher – the first single off the album – is a good indication of the number of fans Darkc3ll have locally as well as abroad.
Check out the video for Preacher below:
And those fans are pretty hands on when it comes to helping their favourite band. They helped fund Darkc3ll’s tour to the USA and now with an Australian tour imminent they’re working the streets putting up posters in their hometowns to promote the gigs.
The tour to support the launch of Haunted Reality starts 11 November in Rockhampton before taking in Gladstone, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Woy Woy, Newcastle, Sydney and Melbourne.
When Darkc3ll hit elsewhere for their Gold Coast show (25 November), they’ll have The Wrath and Chelsea Rockwells in support.
“I haven’t paid elsewhere before. It’s been on my bucket list. I’ve partied there since I’ve been on the Gold Coast and I used to do a lot of after parties there for touring acts, it’s quite a buzz,” Jesse said.
For the band’s Melbourne shows they’re bringing Nero Bellum (Psyclon Nine) over from the USA.
“They’re a huge underground industrial act,” Jesse said of Psyclon Nine. “Any eyeliner wearing freak will know who the hell they are.”
“He’ll do a modular synth set – which is a bit of a thing in the States. We’ll give him his first taste of Australia.”
So after the album is launched and the tour wraps up, what’s next for Darkc3ll and for Jesse?
“We’re already talking about the next album,” he said, a little too eagerly. “I’ve already started writing the next album. It doesn’t stop for us.”
“We’ve been sitting on these songs for a little while and we just want to keep the energy going.”
“This album is a big accomplishment for us because it’s the album where we believe we’ve found our definitive sound. The sound that we want. Which we kind of had shades of in previous albums, but this album has come full circle.”
They’re locked in for Legion Festival, doing all three dates in the near year and they’re looking at doing a round two album tour to take in some places they couldn’t organize for this one. Places like Adelaide and Perth.
Jesse also has a manuscript he’s about to self-publish. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak. It’s a diary of the band’s tour through the USA last year. Parking their tour bus in Walmart’s, sneaking over the border into Mexico, playing shows to four people (but also sold out gigs at places like Whisky a Go Go, and long, long stints in the RV otherwise known as Rock Vomit.
“I’ve made a conscious decision to release it at Xmas,” Jesse said about the book.
Titled Lost My Mind (in ‘Merica), it covers the highs, lows, sights, sounds, people, food and booze when one band take one RV across the Midwest of the USA to spread the Darkn3ss.
Keep your eyes peeled.
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Darkc3ll play a hometown show for their Haunted Reality tour on Friday 25 November at elsewhere with The Wrath and Chelsea Rockwells in support.
IMAGE (c) Dan Maynard Photography