Martin V. Kester aka ‘Losttrooper’ is already active under the Dunkelwerk moniker for several years now. He this year released his fourth full length album entitled “Waffengang” on Alfa Matrix. The German project is considered as one of the latest real ‘endzeit’-electro projects. Even if I think that the sound of previous albums were darker, the main theme inspired by defeat and misery plus their impact, is really ‘endzeit’-minded. I asked a few questions to Martin about this new opus and his fetish theme…
“Waffengang” can be ordered straight from the Alfa Matrix label.
You can listen to the album whilst reading the interview:
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Dunkelwerk is a project releasing new albums at irregular basis and which doesn’t play live. It feels a bit like a ghost-project emerging each time again from the depths, but what’s the explanation to this situation?
Losttrooper: I don´t have much time for music. It´s my hobby. It´s also true that I work slowly… I work on a track, then I don´t make music for two or three weeks. When a track is finished I’ll wait one or two months to listen to it again. I’m asking myself if it’s still good or if I’ve to change some elements. Dunkelwerk is not a constant workflow. For me it is unimportant if I need 2 or 5 years to release an album. So far the results were worth every year of waiting in my opinion. But I know that this is a little nightmare for every music label. Years of silence, no live performances and only a few social media activities… No one knows exactly why Dunkelwerk sells some CDs at all. But wait… I know it! But I don´t tell it… Something like ‘strong focus’ or ‘attitude’…
Q: Compared to previous albums I experienced “Waffengang” as less dark, but more elaborated, refined and accomplished. What kind of album did you’d in mind and tell us a bit more about the different aspects of the writing and production?
Losttrooper: I don´t know. For me “Waffengang” sounds dark as hell. The German lyrics are full of death, defeat and misery. The making of “Josef Ritter von Gadolla” is a good example of how I (sometimes) work. I was in Gotha (German city) and suddenly I stood in front of a memorial tablet, which told the story of this person. I read it and it became clear that it would become a theme for a Dunkelwerk song. Other tracks are the result of one very strong sample I found in the darkest speech and sound archives. ”Waffengang” starts with a beast of a sample and the rest of the composing was craft.
Q: How do you see yourself evolving as musician from your very first work “Troops” (2005) to “Waffengang” (2019) and what do you still want to accomplish in the further years?
Losttrooper: In my opinion I´m not a real ‘musician’. I can’t read music. I can’t play the melody I composed one week ago. Strange. I only have this little talent to find good melodies and combine them with noise and dark sounds. I often hear that the music of Dunkelwerk sounds very German. I don´t know. I´m happy that the vocal work starts to get better. I´m not a singer. That´s the disadvantage I have to deal with. I also don´t want to pitchshift or hardcore-overdrive my voice that no one can understand the lyrics. Future? I don´t care. Maybe it would be a good idea to leave the battlefields a little bit. Maybe I should get rid of concept albums. Who listens to albums anymore? Most people listen to personal playlists and don´t care about a concept album at all. However I will focus on defeats and misery. Trust!
Q: You say you’re not a singer and it sometimes feels a bit like you don’t feel comfortable with the vocals, which is also accentuated by the cinematographic side of the album while your early work was instrumental. What’s your perception?
Losttrooper: The vocals are important to explain the difficult Dunkelwerk theme. That´s the reason why I started to ‘sing’. It would be MUCH easier for me to stay instrumental, but to be honest it would be boring. So I fight my vocal war release after release.
Q: The main concept remains ‘the moment of total defeat; no glory, no victory just the sweet smell of discomfiture’. This theme is often always related to the horror of WWII, but what fascinates and inspires you in this dark vision of life and how does your sound has to cover this theme?
Losttrooper: For me the war setting is a metaphor. Defeat and misery can be found in many other settings. WWI and WWII are kinds of melting pots for all these terrible things. In the abyss of Dunkelwerk I deal with something far away from war. I know defeats and I know misery in a different way. No bombs, no tanks or troops….but losings and darkness.
Q: You’ve always used a lot of samplings, which because of their origin, might sound a bit controversial. I can imagine that’s precisely why you clearly indicate on your Facebook page and the back cover of the album, Dunkelwerk ‘has NO use for ANY fascist train of thought!’ Did you already encounter some negative feedback about the ‘image’ of Dunkelwerk and the controversy it might create? Controversy also is a way to provoke some reaction so it might become a marketing strategy as well. What is it really all about?
Losttrooper: So far most people understood what Dunkelwerk is about. Not everyone likes the way I do it. That´s ok. I make clear statements and don´t play the typical ‘Let´s say nothing’ promo game. I wrote these songs because the stories are promptings of my heart. I don´t sit here and think ‘How could I shock my little sister or my mother?’. Other bands work this way. I sit here and listen to very old recordings from the war times and suddenly there is this little girl singing this “Maikäfer”-song. And I know she died by VERY terrible circumstances. All what is left are her words and I used them with MUCH respect. Some fans told me that songs like “Sternensoldat” (from “Troops”) or “Pulverland” (from “Waffengang”) left them with some tears in their eyes. This IS endzeit electro with an attitude!
Marketing strategy? Hahahaha….I know the sales rates. If this is a marketing strategy it is a bad one. There might be some reasons why no other German ‘endzeit’ projects are around anymore. I quite often hear: ‘:Wumpscut: dead. Retrosic dead. You are the only one doing this stuff!’. In my opinion this fact is very sad and marketing wise unfavorable. Take this great “Endzeit Bunkertracks” series by Alfa Matrix. It collects all kinds of ‘dark evil’ music. Dunkelwerk is on it but I hardly find other bands on it doing music close to Dunkelwerk. Normally I should ask myself: is it a good idea to go on the way I do? I don´t care! I follow my heart and don´t care about marketing. You can make more money with every average EDM track. You better sell some lemonade at the street that makes more sense than booting your audio PC to start a new dark-electro song. The 90s are over! When a band like :Wumpscut: stops making music you know what time it is! It´s time for EDM or the comeback of Eurodance, but it is definitely not the time for dark-electro, synth-pop, hellectro or any other alternative gothic stuff. SAD! But who cares? We go on! Besides this I´m a big fan of Eurodance. I collect this stuff! So this situation is not only a catastrophe for me. Ha!
Thanks for being interested in Dunkelwerk!