D.A.M.N. (Diary about my Nightmares) is a melodic death metal band from Braunschweig, Germany, which was formed in 2001 and has been touring all through Europe and leaving a brutal trail in their wake. Fronting this band is Antonie (Toni) Mrusek, whose talented growls and screams make her a perfect fit for this band. Toni's vocals and commanding stage presence have made her a favorite of death metal fans across the globe. She was kind enough to speak with us today at Metal Maidens.......
Greetings Toni and welcome to Metal Maidens.
D.A.M.N. was formed in 2001. How did the band come to be?
Toni: “We were friends that knew each other already in school and of course we all listened to Metal music and we were already playing in a band, when we were in school. After school, we moved a little bit away from each other without losing contact. After three years, we started to make music again with a new band. So the normal story.”
That is a pretty cool name for a metal band. Who came up with the name and what actually does it mean?
Toni: “Now it means "Diary About My Nightmares" and that is the name we are using. We were a little bit tired of people that wrote "Damm"or forgot the dots between the letters.”
Can you tell us about your bandmates?
Toni: “What exactly do you want to know? They all have their roles in the band and actually some cliches you have about guitarplayers, drummers, etc. fit perfectly. It is just not the singer, who is surrounded by girls - not the way it usually is…”
Do you all have a say in what goes on the final cut of the CD?
In most cases the singer writes all the lyrics, is that true for you?
Toni: “Yes. The others read them and sometimes give input about it, but in the end the lyrics are my job. They comment more on the way how I sing in the songs.”
Your first CD "Vermächtnis" was released in 2006 and did extremely well. In fact, as I understand, it has sold out. That is a pretty amazing achievment for a metal band and especially a death metal band. How do you explain the success of D.A.M.N. and why your music appeals to so many fans abroad?
Toni: “I think, one reason is that when we started it wasn’t that normal with a female singer. So that was I guess something that made the band appear somehow ‘interesting’ though. I of course think we make good music. Another reason is, that we played a lot of shows that time, so we had the chance to sell it to the people.”
The band has toured extensivley throughout Europe these last few years in support of your CD. Are there any plans to branch out and maybe head over to the States or Canada in support of your new CD?
Toni: “I don’t think so. We can’t really pay money to support a big band, that wants to go to USA and we neither have the money to go there ourselves.”
I have heard a few songs from your upcoming CD and I have been blown away by them. When can we expect it to be finished?
Toni: “It is supposed to come out in October.”
From the songs I heard, there is a definite growth in this CD compared to the last one and if at all possible even heavier than "Vermächtnis". Was this something the band tried to do.....get even heavier?
Toni: “Yes, though we didn’t give it a name. We wanted to have more compact songs and have just ‘the good stuff’ in them. We like our old songs, but I think we are on the way to finding our style now on the new album.”
There seem to be more and more women singers springing up in metal bands these days, which I think is great, but not a lot of them who can sing the way you do. Why do you think that is?
Toni: “That there are more girls or that they can’t sing like I do?!?? It is nice to hear, that I seem to have some skills beside being a girl. I mean it. When something is getting popular, people start to look at bands and wonder, if they are really into their stuff or just want to be part of the hype. I think, that is sometimes the same with female singers. Though I met a lot now, who are really good.”
What is your opinion of women in heavy metal today and do you think for the most part they are finally getting the respect and recognition they deserve?
Toni: “It is pretty sad, that they had to fight for this. I mean, we shouldn’t anymore be living in a time where women have to fight for getting the same respect like man. Respect is something you earn by doing something. And when someone denies to give you respect, because of your gender, ¬it is impossible to follow that thought. But I also don’t think that women can do everything as good as men. There are things were they are worse and things were they are better (and there are always exceptions to this…)”
What are some of the things, that piss you off about this business and how do you think we can fix the problems?
Toni: “First of all, bands that just copy others and even have success with that. Secondly, venues that don’t even want to pay the driving costs for a band and give them some beers and food and thirdly, pig-screams and wall of death. Solutions: Firstly, maybe the financial crisis, but I don’t really think so. Secondly, bands should insist of getting some money to pay their expenses. It is not fun to drive six hours in a car and then you have to pay it yourself and don’t get rehersal time. Bands, who do that, force other bands to do the same. You and your music are worth being paid and I am not even talking about earning a lot of money. And thirdly, waiting, this won’t be popular forever, I hope.”
Growing up as a child was this something you always wanted to do or did it just kind of happen one day?
Toni: “I am just a girl, so of course I wanted to become a singer, when I was six years old! But in the end, it just happened. I was trying this for fun and it worked and is still fun so I do it.”
How did you refine your growling technique. Have you been professionally trained?
Toni: “No, I learned it myself. You find out yourself after some time how it works and then you start to explore your possibilities. But I want to take some professional lessons now. I have to learn how to breathe and use my voice perfectly.”
In your opinion is it harder to sing clean vocals or growls?
Toni: “Clean, when I am not alone or sober; growls without music and a mic.”
Does your family support what you are doing?
Toni: “They don’t take it seriously, but I always have a place to sleep at my mom’s place and she is asking if everything went well and I get breakfast with eggs. I think, that is some kind of support.”
As far as death metal and heavy metal in general, what is the scene like in Germany and Denmark today?
Toni: “Since I live in Denmark, I realized that you have many, many bands in Germany and many fans that wear funny clothes. Seriously, in Germany you can see immediately, when someone listens to metal and it is a big scene. When you are popular in Germany, it is a big success somehow. But Germans also have to choose between many bands, so not every band can score, just because it is metal.”
Who were some of your musical influences growing up and what band would you love to be able to do a tour with?
Toni: “Hmm, it could be interesting to be on tour with my boyfriend, but maybe it would be a disaster, hehe. I don’t really have a name, but it should be a band where you can have fun with them and they are a little bit like we are. We met some really nice bands and had a great time with them. Influences,¬ I don’t know. A lot of music I like has nothing to do with what I do. There are some singers in metal, I really admire, but I also know that I can’t become like this (size does matter sometimes).”
Toni, do you see yourself as a role model for girls coming up in the scene, who want to follow in your footsteps and what advice would you give to them?
Toni: “Do you really think I could be a role model? Phew, I wasn't even one, when I was a teacher, hehe. But if I would be in the position to give advice, then my advice would be maybe that you shouldn’t get too much affected by what people say about you and what you are doing. It can really hurt and it’s not easy to ignore that stuff.”
What can we expect from yourself and D.A.M.N. in the near future?
Toni: “We just signed our first label contract on Unexploded Records from Sweden, so I guess we will continue making music and playing shows. We are very happy about it and excited what the future will bring. Besides that, I am working on getting healthy again, learning Danish and doing some more sports.”
How can fans get your new CD, when it is finished?
Toni: “I hope, they can buy it in stores. But there is always the chance to order it on our homepage.”
Is there anything you would like to add to the interview?
Toni: “No, that was a long one. Just thank you to everyone, who showed interest in us.”
On behalf of Metal Maidens and myself we want to thank you for taking time to speak with us today.We wish you and the band luck in the months ahead and also continued success with the new CD.
Toni: “It was nice to answer your questions!”
Antonie Mrusek- vocals
Andre Epp- guitar
Daniel Thunig- guitar
Mat Rahlmeyer- bass
Regi Sukopp- drums
Vermächtnis (2006 - independent)
Forbidden Anger (2009 – to be released)
Visit their official website at: www.damnmetal.de
or go to their My Space site at: www.myspace.com/damnmetal