Dragged Into Sunlight is a collective of musicians based in the UK and known just by their initials. Not caring about genre limitations, while compiling different influences, they achieved a unique and extreme sound for each album.
Formed in 2006, Dragged Into Sunlight (DIS) are currently ten musicians, where five of them play live shows. Their first work, released in 2009 was a collaboration with Kas Mana called Terminal Aggressor, a very rare tape limited to 100 copies with just a 19 minute song on it, which has been re-released in 2016, ten years after it was recorded.
Their debut LP Hatred for Mankind from also 2009 has been well acclaimed. During the playtime of almost an hour, the listener is confronted with vocal samples from several serial killers including those from Charles Manson. In 2011 they released and distributed a very limited edition of a live album called OCCII, Amsterdam. They liked the audio and just copied the 50 CDs themselves. DIS returned in 2012 with their second LP Widowmaker a 39 minutes record, divided into three numbered parts.
(…) Where Hatred For Mankind focused on aggression, Widowmaker focused on themes of isolation. Whereas Hatred For Mankind felt like a frenzied and schizophrenic hammer attack, Widowmaker was minimalist and felt like the weight of the world dropping on top of you. [Slug Magazine]
The next step was again the spawn of a collaboration, this time with Gnaw their Tongues, which begun in late 2011. First just named NV, later known as Negative Volume, finally released in late 2015.
As they mentioned about this last one:
Dragged Into Sunlight embarked on its unholy collaboration of minds with these prolific cave dwellers. Only thirty minutes of recorded material from an excess of three hours were used. The purpose of the exercise was simple – to capture, digest and regurgitate Godflesh‘s 1989 Streetcleaner into a conceptualised nightmare.
I had the chance to attend a concert of DIS in late 2014, where they played a long European tour. The closest location for me was Frankfurt a.M. Not exactly the most beautiful city in Germany, with extremely rich – the major financial centre in Europe – and poor close together. For me, it is like visiting a depressing and also oppressing city without hope left. Maybe there is a much nicer side of the city, but it did not cross my way. The location looked abandoned, housed in an old workers house, probably build quickly after the second world war, maybe earlier. I saw downstairs and found out that this concert venue called Exzess was in a vaulted basement with a rotten atmosphere.
After the supporting band, a 80s style EBM, which was not bad at all, DIS entered the tiny stage. The show itself was pretty intense. Most of the time is dark and with lots of smoke, illuminated just with candlelight and a fierce strobe light. The band plays facing back to the crowd. It is like kind of a ritual of distance and eerie coldness, putting the audience into trance.
This kind of anonymous profile helps the band to be able to make music without external pressure or compromise.
We enjoy a separation between our music and varying professions, allowing us to explore what is essentially an exorcism of our daily frustrations. We are all fans of extreme music, and we know that audiences want what we want, to play as hard, fast, heavy and loud as possible. [Slug Magazine]
At the concert, I talked for a while with C (bass) and we finally agreed to have a small interview with T (vocals) who is mainly in charge of “public relations”.
On stage you use candles, skulls and of course big amps. How is your experience there? what do you feel when you sing barefoot and not facing the audience?
A dystopian odyssey. I feel my closest friends giving everything they have for something they love and as a result, I want to do the same. I drift into and out of a trance-like state. Footwear is unnecessary for time travel.
I told C that I am from Bolivia and he mentioned that a former member of DIS was also from there and we were both impressed since I know him! Anyway, I was wondering about how he got involved with you guys?
J was drinking in a bar over here in the UK and we began discussing old Sepultura. It was an odd encounter. He remains involved with DIS but retired from live duty to focus on his professional duties as a scientist of sorrow.
Since you all live in different places and come from different music projects, how often do you play together? Do you have a place to practice?
Dragged Into Sunlight is not a regular occurrence. We are usually all in the same room a few times each year. We practice in various studios across the UK dependent on who is attending, we are mostly in Leeds at the moment whilst work on new material continues.
Which are your influences? Do you guys have different music backgrounds and preferences? Is there a lot of argument within the band when it comes to songwriting? How does the process work?
There is never argument. Writing is a collaborative process feeding from an array of creative influence. Our influences range from prolific serial killings to works of art. Musically, Dragged Into Sunlight is an eclectic mix and draws on everything from harsh noise to intricate thrash.
Recently, the sound exhibits a lot of 90s death metal at the surface. Similarly to the release of Hatred for Mankind, which had some crippling doom parts before we went on to record Widowmaker, there is an older death metal influence on the newer material.
Who comes up with the idea for the music videos? They are disturbing as fuck!
Each effort is a very natural visualisation of the music that Dragged Into Sunlight creates.
You guys are coming back from a long US tour, your second time there, if I am not wrong. You also played at the Sommer Sonnwend (summer solstice) 2015, how did you like that? Did you experience major differences touring in USA vs. EU?
Correct. The first US dates were with Cough supporting in 2012 and the most recent US tour was with Primitive Man and Cult Leader in 2016. The Summer Solstice festival was a unique experience and our only show of 2015. It was definitely a long drive having left it too late to organise flights.
It has been good to visit so many different places and cultures. There are places in the US that sell 27 different flavours of pop tart whereas the EU is lagging behind with about 4. Breakfast aside, the drives tend to be longer but the roads are wider. Promoters tend to get better accommodation in the EU but the food is generally better in the US. So, in the most part, the differences are mundane and the people we meet on our travels tend to make the difference.
I have read you worked on the death row as you were living in Texas and how is that related to the use of voice samples on some songs. You said “those who manipulate, those very smart but at the end won’t be led out”. Did you meet people that are innocent? I assume that cases like the West Memphis Three, are not just an exception.
Not quite. There are some however the reality is that 90% of those prisoners held on death row are guilty. Death penalty advocates support the notion of an eye for an eye, not two eyes for an eye. In light of the above, the judicial approach is fundamentally flawed unless it is 100% accurate, which evidently, is not the case. More often than not, those archaic systems still pushing capital punishment adopt an ‘eat what you kill’ mentality driven by power, press and politics. Over and above high profile cases such as the West Memphis Three, miscarriages of justice happen everyday, yet one expects that it is an unlikely priority until you or someone you know is caught in the same web.
You are playing anonymous. Do yo have any opinion on NSA, GCHQ, mass surveillance and this whole intelligence baggage? Would you consider yourself political in anyway?
No. Dragged Into Sunlight has no political agenda or ties.
Can you suggest some “underrated” bands that our readers should listen to?
Venom Prison, Dialects and Conjurer had some strong efforts this year.
Festivals next year? Tours? (If you play like at e.g. Brutal Assault it would be awesome!)
Time will tell. We expect to confirm our tour schedule for 2017 shortly. Brutal Assault would certainly be heavy. Similar sized festivals in the UK feel that it is acceptable to offer bands cheap beer rather than fees. Those involved in Dragged Into Sunlight are a little long in the tooth to donate our efforts to vultures.
Last but not least, listen to them on their Bandcamp!