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Dungeon - 2002 Interview with Lord Tim


INTERVIEW: Dungeon (Oct 2002)
Power crisis down under, with Aussie metallers Dungeon.

In The Spotlight - Dungeon
Interview with - Lord Tim
Written by: Luigi Cisaria (October 20, 2002)

Oct 2002: With their new album 'A Rise To Power', Australian melodic metal band Dungeon has raised the bar more than a few notches since their previous effort 'Resurrection'. At the same time they have firmly stepped into world class metal territory. When I caught up with the band earlier this year they were already excited about how things were going. The band lineup includes: Lord Tim (Grose) - vocals, guitars; Stu (Marshall) - guitars; Dakk - bass; and Stevo (Moore) on drums. Now that the album is available Tim confirms that they're pleased with how it turned out.

'Yeah pretty much.. when we talked to you last, the album was essentially done, barring a few mixing decisions and mastering, so we had a fair idea at that stage how it was gonna turn out. The mastering took us by surprise a bit though.. I have to say. We were pretty happy about how it sounded before then, but Steve Smart at Studios 301 took it up another notch. Overall, it's turned out great. There's a few things I'd like to do differently on the next album, mix and sounds-wise but for what we spent on this one, I'm absolutely stoked about how it all turned out.'

One headache for Dungeon in the past has been their relationships with labels. Not their fault really. One label dropped them cold after an executive shake-up and another simply went out of business. An important factor for Dungeon deciding on a label would be their ability to get the band noticed overseas. There were a few offers on the table, and having given them all due consideration, the band signed to Australian based Metal Warriors. Tim explains how and why.

'Metal Warriors had a proven track record in Europe. They put together the monster tour with our pals in Vanishing Point alongside Gamma Ray and Sonata Arctica, so if they had such tight links with labels and festivals, it would be one less headache for us. Instead of us approaching overseas labels and promoters ourselves and hoping for the best, we had a professional team with established contacts working for us. So when it came to deciding which label to go with, we weighed up all of the pros and cons of each of them, and Metal Warriors came out on top.'

Having had label problems previously it was only natural that the band were cautious, but so far the relationship with Metal Warriors has been a good one. If it hadn't been for other obligations, Dungeon may have been with Metal Warriors much earlier. Tim agrees on this one. 'Ironically, Metal Warriors had been wanting to sign us since we recorded Resurrection but it was only now that they had the chance. We were a little skeptical of them at first, but I have to say I couldn't imagine being signed to a better label - they really know what they're doing and most importantly, they're fantastic people to work with.'

there are so many good bands proving that Australian metal is definitely up there with the best in the world..


With any style of music, especially melodic heavy metal, production is an essential part of an album. Just listen to the likes of Rhapsody, Edguy and At Vance. Sure, these bands are talented but they also have the recording budget to give the songs the treatment they deserve. Dungeon on the other hand, did not have that luxury.


Dungeon - A Rise To Power (2002)


'The drums and vocals were recorded at a place called RandR Recordings' says Tim, 'which is essentially a garage converted into a studio (with awesome mics and console, etc.), while everything else was recorded and edited at my SLS studios which is essentially a bedroom. What I'm trying to get at here is that its not where you go and what gear you use, it's how you use it. We were very meticulous in every detail on this album and wouldn't settle for anything less than our best performance. Having no time restraints for mixing decisions, edits, overdubs, etc also helped - it meant we could take our time and live with the decisions we made for a while instead of having to do everything inside a certain time-frame or budget.'

For Dungeon to have achieved the excellent sound on 'A Rise To Power' considering their limited budget, is remarkable and a testament to their hard work and uncompromising attitude. Plus it's amazing what you can do nowadays with a PC and audio engineering software. 'The entire album was recorded on a Celeron 466 PC, which is worth about $500 these days' says Tim proudly. 'I used the excellent Cakewalk SONAR audio sequencer, which is similar to Pro Tools in a lot of ways.'

Equally important as the quality of material and production, is promotion. No matter how good your product is, if no one knows about it then you've wasted your time. Dungeon are not lost on the role that good marketing plays in the success of a band and they have harnessed, to great effect, the huge potential fan/customer base that is the Internet. Their website www.dungeon.ar.com.au is one of the most comprehensive band sites you'll find. Tim emphasises how their website has contributed to the promotion of Dungeon.

'In a HUGE way!' he says. 'We've made sure to brand every bit of promo and merchandise we have with the web address. People know it exists and because it's fairly easy to find online now, it works the other way round too - people find the site and that leads them to buying our albums and merchandise.'



'I think a band is insane not to have a website these days - it's a 24/7 online business card and store! But probably the best thing on the site is the discussion forum - we get to hang out directly with the people who come to our shows and buy our albums. Those people are THE MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE and we're always available to chat, answer questions and hang out with them.'

Tim is not exaggerating when he says the band is always available to chat, etc. Dungeon are constantly on their discussion forum and happy to get involved with the fans. If you hang around the board even for a little while it becomes clear that Dungeon hold their fans in high esteem. I asked Tim about the importance of having a good rapport with the fans.

'It's crucial. We've been known to say again and again that our fans are the most important people in the world. We all stand by that - these are the people who buy your albums, shirts, posters, etc., come to your gigs, tell their friends about you and just generally appreciate what you can do and show their support in any way they can. You can't buy loyalty like that! There's nothing we hate more than rockstars who think they're better than the people they sell their records to. At gigs, you'll always find us hanging out with everyone, sometimes even dragging a few people up on stage to sing a song or whatever. We really don't make any distinction between 'us' and 'them' - to us it's a hall full of close friends and we just happen to be the ones with the instruments! I think that people can see how much we respect them and we get it back. We try to keep this idea going on the Internet with our discussion forum or chartrooms or whatever. We're just 4 dudes, we're happy to talk to you!'

As well as being available for their fans, Dungeon is very accommodating to the media. With such an impressive product it's not surprising that magazines, both in print and on-line, are clamoring for an interview about the new album. In fact it has been so hectic that Tim can't recall doing one of them. 'Yeah, during the first 2 or 3 weeks of our tour, it was insane! I remember reading an interview with Kerrang that I did with them recently, and I swear I couldn't remember doing it (I was later reminded I did it first thing in the morning on our Adelaide leg of the tour, so that would explain it! HAHA!). I think all up, between us we must have done at least 20 or 30... The media response has just been amazing too - the reviews we've been getting have been nothing short of glowing, so we're not exactly upset by that!'

GLORY-DAZE is part of that enthusiastic media response but, as you'll gather from my review, I was taken aback by the song 'Traumatised'. Extreme vocals aside it's a cool track, but that type of vocal doesn't do anything for me. That is not to say the band shouldn't try something different. Overall though, the response from the fans has been positive? 'For the most part, people love the song! I can understand why fans of melodic vocals wouldn't get into it, and I respect that but yeah, the reaction to that has been very positive so far'

'The main reason for the vocal, besides being appropriate for that style of song was a suggestion of Stevo's. He had originally written the song for his previous band, Addictive, so when he brought it to Dungeon we knew it had to have more of an 80s thrash vibe rather than a power metal thing. Both being big fans of Kreator, he suggested I do something like that - I did, and it turned out great considering I'd never really tried that style of vocal before.'

'Live, I have to say it's a challenge to do without hurting myself since it's a totally different technique to everything else in the set. It's not something I could imagine myself doing fulltime as a vocalist but I like the idea that I'm able to do something different vocally. Who knows what we'll try out on the next album?'

Dungeon are one of many Australian metal bands riding the crest of the wave that is the burgeoning Australian metal scene. As Steve Janevski from Black Majesty pointed out in a recent interview, there is a strong camaraderie among the bands, which has assisted the resurgence of metal as a credible musical genre in Australia. Tim reiterates Steve's sentiments.

'With the exception of the public liability insurance fiasco that's pretty much destroying public events including cancelling this year's 'Metal For The Brain' charity festival, the scene has never been healthier. We have a plethora of international acts coming over, metal festivals going off all over the country and there are so many good bands proving that Australian metal is definitely up there with the best in the world. What's even better is that there's a lot of respect between bands too, so everyone is more than ready to help out another
band or tour with them, etc.'

As Tim mentioned, the healthy state of the Australian scene has attracted a number of high profile melodic metal acts to Australia, perhaps with an eye to establishing their name in a steadily growing market. The likes of Yngwie Malmsteen, Nevermore, and Mayhem have already travelled many miles to bring their live shows to Aussie metal-heads, with Dungeon providing support for those tours. In recent times German melodic metal gods Edguy made the trek 'down under'. Tim recalls the tour with great fondness and is looking forward to future events.

'Yeah, it was a great tour. Edguy are the coolest guys - no rock star egos, no assholes... they're just 4 of the nicest, easygoing guys you'll ever meet. So, combine that with their pro show, awesome crowds, us signing our contract with Metal Warriors live on stage during the tour, working with the Metal Warriors production crew so tightly for the entire tour.. Yeah this was a tour that I'll always remember as being one of the highlights of my career!'

Dungeon have a few more events planned for the near future. 'Coming up we have a national tour with thrash legends Destruction, then a few more gigs before the end of the year. Hopefully by then a lot of the contracts we've been looking at lately will be signed and 2003 can be kicked off properly! Regardless of that happening or not, there's already sketchy details of a few tours being planned that we'll be involved with now, so whatever happens, I'd say we're gonna be busy guys for quite a while to come.'

There's even the possibility of the band crossing the ditch and playing some gigs in New Zealand, provided it's economically viable. 'We would LOVE to' says Tim, 'but we'd have to make sure we could cover our costs if we did tour there. At the end of the day, Dungeon is run as a business - we have regular meetings, band bank accounts, ABN numbers, and monthly profit/loss reports... the whole nine yards! There's no way a business can continue to operate if they run at a loss. So if the interest is there and we can make it over without going broke, we'd be honoured to visit 'the neighbours' for some shows.'

From Tim's previous response you can see that Dungeon have their feet firmly planted on the ground. Not only do they have what it takes musically but they're also smart businessmen. Though they don't take themselves too seriously (just visit the noticeboard), each of them take Dungeon immensely seriously and have a quiet confidence that gives you the impression that they are destined for a very rewarding future. Don't be surprised to see them rubbing shoulders with Gamma Ray or Blind Guardian soon. Hopefully we'll get to see them over here in New Zealand before they become big rockstars and refuse to tour such a small country!

Resources:
URL: www.dungeon.cd

Images with kind permission from the team @ Dungeon.

Related Articles
Dungeon - 1999 Resurrection
Dungeon - 2002 A Rise To Power
Dungeon - 2002 Interview with Lord Tim

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