On friday the 28th of July 2018, I got to meet one of my personal favorite bands: Equilibrium. I had about 20 minutes to talk to Robert “Robse” Dahn, René Berthiaume and Dom Crey. I used this time to talk to them about the past, present and future of the band as well as Dom‘s appearance in a saga (Pilgrim 3: Die Geächteten).
Would you say Equilibrium had enough chances starting out? Since folk metal is quite a specific subgenre..
René: Yeah, well actually, when we started Equilibrium and started touring there was a peak in folk, viking, pagan, whatever you like to call it metal. I think that you could say we were starting out at just the right time because it was something new but not something totally unfamiliar. Nowadays I wouldn’t call ourselves folk metal though. We have some influences of this in our first album but now it’s more personal. The music is also influenced by more than just folk but of course this remains a really big part of the band.
Seeing as you initially started out as a sextet that was meant for only one show, how has that unexpected journey been for the band?
René: That’s right. We started out playing cover songs of bands like Dimmu Borgir, the old Hypocrisy and Iron Maiden. At this time we also had a live keyboard player but over the years the music’s developed as well as the line-up.
Robse and Dom, were you guys fans of the band before joining up with it?
Dom: I must admit I wasn’t really a big fan of Equilibrium before, since I was more into melodic death metal and really technical stuff. It all boiled down to personal taste. Now that I’m in it though, it’s grown on me and I really enjoy it.
Robse: Nah, I wasn’t that big a fan before I joined. But just like Dom, the music grew on me.
René took responsibility for the recording, the mix and the production of Armageddon. How was that experience?
Dom: Well, for the band in itself nothing changed. It was the same old Equilibrium process of writing music. So in that way there wasn’t much difference. Everybody is allowed to pitch in since René lets us hear the album during the whole process.
Dom, I heard that you’re starring in a fantasy saga. Have you had time to read it yourself?
Dom: I am about to. With all the touring I haven’t really had time to pick it up. It’s kind of crazy though because I didn’t know about it at all. One day someone came up to me and said: “Hey Dom, you’re part of a fantasy saga”. After all, I saw my name there and it’s a pretty big honor.
Does the band play a part in the book too?
Dom: Well, the whole person is created after me but there’s no real mention of Equilibrium. But metaphorically there is mention of it in the book.
After seeing Abbath roll down the hill, I was wondering if you have a most memorable fail you’d be willing to share?
René: Well, it wasn’t me but I remember our first singer went so far in his growling that he sometimes turned purple on stage. It even went so far that at one show he fainted and literally fell off the stage while doing one of his growls. Funny thing is that you can even find it back on youtube since the camera panned to him right before it happened.
What is the emotion that you try to awake through your music?
René: The most important emotion for me is hope. I really enjoy writing music and even though some of the music is darker, I want hope to be one of the main characteristics that shine through it. No matter how dark it gets, there’s always going to be a positive message in there, somewhere.
I think we have time for one last question. If you were to have a one question interview with yourself.. What would you ask?
René: Woah, hard question. I guess that’s why you gave it to us? I guess I would ask what everyone’s drive was when they were younger to become a musician and what the impact was from fulfilling that goal. Because, even though I already know the answer from my band members, it is something that I would like to know about other musicians too. For me it was when I was in school and we did these mini playback shows. I couldn’t play any instrument but we rented some guitars and then we played some Sum41. Even though I’ve never really been a fan, it was fun to get up on that stage and having a cheering audience and yeah, that got me into music. Of course later on I rolled into the metal scene and that’s led me to where I am now.