Darkest Hour Writing New Album, Comment On Split With Victory Records

[Press Release]

Vince Neilstein of MetalSucks recently caught up with DARKEST HOUR guitarist and founding member Mike Schleibaum while the band was returning home from their tour with DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN. Excerpts from the interview follow:

So you’re just winding your way back home [from the DILLINGER tour]?

Yeah, we’re on our way back home. We’re on our way back to regroup and start writing… well, we’ve already started writing the record, but we’ll keep putting it together and make that the main focus. The last couple of shows are kind of the last shows we’re going to play for The Eternal Return. The last one is going to be at this kid’s house in Grafton, OH for free. He won the contest, and of course nobody at Victory did anything to help facilitate anything in that contest. So it’s like a year and a half later, but it almost feels like a good place to end the cycle anyway.

Let’s talk about E1 and how that came about.

When we were writing the Eternal Return we knew it was the last Victory record. We knew that things were going to be rocky with not resigning, so we had our tentacles out there. It wasn’t until after the record came out — and we’ve been on tour for awhile — that we started getting offers. I’m happy to say that the decade of turbulence on Victory Records . . . still surviving that, and we still had an offer from almost every label you would want to sign to. It was pretty obvious from the beginning who were the ones that we’re the best fit for. E1 is kind of new. They do have artists, but it’s not the first one that I would have thought of. After seeing all the deals and meeting all the people, they just really seemed like they’re the perfect place for us to go with a whole new start and being able to totally re-launch as a band and have our own identity. For so long we were tied to the way Victory markets bands and being in that role, you know? It’s nice now to be able to be an extreme, aggressive metal band that has its own identity.

Do you feel that at the end of the Victory contract, and especially on the cycle with the last record, that nobody there gave a shit about you?

It’s just not that simple. Victory has tons of bands, and they sign tons of bands every day and they have tons of releases. I don’t even know if they are at like Victory VR 400 [referring to the number on the spine of their 400th record release. -Ed.] now or something. So not resigning (and being there for 10 years) of course they’re going to cut their losses. Why continue to support a band that’s been around that long that’s not going to resign? Part of the vibe of The Eternal Return is dark and twisted as it is and how short and aggressive it all tied up with everything that had to do with the making of it. We knew that it was probably going to be the most tortured, artist defined release, and it is. When it’s all said and done, the catalog is there and it’s going to be really cool. It’s going to be a really cool record that fits with everything for sure.

Do you feel like in any way (now that you’re on a new label) that your music will change at all?

It’s pretty obvious having been a band for as long as we’re a band, and what Darkest Hour does and does well… I definitely think that the next record will be a metamorphosis of coming of age for our band. We had Lonestar joining the band, we wrote a record together, there was a lot of turmoil while we were trying to do it based on our situation, and we’ve come out on the other side a tighter and stronger band. I definitely think that that’s going to affect the music more than a new label. I do think having somebody who wants to be proactive and work with us (and not to fight us) will help us no matter what happens.

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