Darkane, with drummer Peter Wildoer (second from left)
Drummer Peter Wildoer has performed in jazz combos, has studied Afro/jazz/fusion percussion and has mastered the art of improvisational drumming. When not offering music clinics to other drummers, Wildoer teaches mathematics and music in Sweden. He’s the textbook definition of “culturally well-rounded.” Musically, Wildoer would be at home playing any genre of music, on any stage.
What Wildoer most enjoys playing, however, is extreme metal, as a member of melodically brutal Darkane.
“I think it’s pure energy,” Wildoer said. “I just love the energy of metal music.”
Metal suffers from a “This Is Spinal Tap” misconception – a general belief that metal is simple music made by simple minds. But Wildoer said when people who aren’t metal fans see Darkane’s live attack, they at least gain an appreciation for the intricacies of metal music.
“When they see it live, they often get that performance is not easy,” Wildoer said. “It takes a lot of hard work to play this kind of music.”
Darkane are currently touring the U.S. in support of the just-released “Demonic Art,” which landed on Billboard’s Heatseekers (top new artist) chart in its first week of release.
The band will play Uncle Pleasants in Louisville on March 18, with Soilwork, Swallow The Sun and Warbringer. Tickets are $15 and are on sale at www.ticketweb.com.
Sweden is a hotbed for uber-talented metal bands, but Darkane’s technical precision, musical intelligence and raw, bare-knuckled power put them on equal footing with In Flames, Soilwork and other Swedish greats.
Jazz and metal may seem incompatible, but Wildoer sees a connection that both metal and jazz purists have probably never considered. Namely, jazz and metal are the freest genres of music.
“In metal music, you can do whatever … you can even incorporate reggae if you want,” Wildoer said. “As a drummer, you’re often very free to do what you want to do. In old jazz records, like John Coltrane, you can find the same energy.
“(Jazz was) the metal music of the ’50s,” Wildoer said. “They were the rebels of their time, like metal music is today.”
The band’s first four albums were recorded with vocalist Andreas Sydow. When Sydow left the band in late 2007, the remaining members immediately tapped Jens Broman to handle vocals.
For a band that was flagging in energy at the time, Broman proved to be an inspired choice, Wildoer said.
“After 10 years, we kind of needed an injection, and Jens brought that,” Wildoer said. “It was hard to get started (recording “Demonic Art”) and Jens really injected that fuel into the band.”
While Darkane and Sydow parted on good terms, Broman’s intensity as a frontman has added a new dimension to the band, Wildoer said.
“Compared to Andreas, (Jens is) a bit more aggressive sounding,” he said. ” … Especially live, Jens has a very strong voice … I think Jens has a very good strength. Jens was the perfect pick for us. He has grown into the band.”
Most of Darkane’s music is written in collaboration between Wildoer, guitarists Christofer Malmstrom and Klas Ideberg – although Broman also stepped up to the job by penning lyrics for two of the songs.
“Klas has his own riffing style and Christofer has his. I put in my own thing, and that’s what makes Darkane,” Wildoer said. “Demonic Art” is the band’s fifth album, and is a clear indication that Darkane has found the signature sound that began to emerge on 2005’s “Layers of Lies.”
“To me, (“Demonic Art”) seems like a natural progression from ‘Layers of Lies,'” Wildoer said. “It’s faster and more furious, but I think it is a natural evolution.
“Definitely there’s a Darkane sound on the last two records and we’re very happy with that,” he said.
When not recording with Darkane or performing with other bands, Wildoer engineers and mixes other bands in the studio.
“I’m very interested in recording. I love being in the studio, man,” he said. “But being (on tour) and meeting people, that’s very nice. That’s the coolest thing about playing music.”
On occasion, Wildoer meets other drummers who cite him as an influence. The experience is humbling, Wildoer said.
“To me, I’m just Peter from my little home town,” he said. “It is so weird to have traveled all around the world. I’m more than honored to be able to do what I do. It’s a privlege to travel around the world with my music.”
For aspiring drummers, Wildoer offered some advice.
“When you’re a beginner, you really haven’t (realized) how much you have to learn,” he said. “… The more you get to learn and get to hear different drummers, the more you realize how much there is to learn.
“Create your own personality musically,” Wildoer said. “There are people who are more technical, but to me, I think personality (is key).”
The tour with Soilwork has been great, Wildoer said, which stands to reason: The two bands have a long connection – Soilwork vocalist “Speed” Strid added vocals to the first Darkane album, and Soilwork has recorded in the studio where Darkane takes up residence.
But the tour has also been grueling, with show after show and no break from traveling or the stage. That’s all right with Wildoer, since Darkane are still working to prove themselves to American audiences.
“We’re not that well-known, but I think have a kind of appeal,” Wildoer said. ” … I think (the tour) is a very good package. I’d say (audiences) are in for a treat.”
Speaking of the Darkane/Soilwork tour, you can read a recent interview with Soilwork guitarist Peter Wilchers here.
For more info about Darkane, including full songs from “Demonic Art,” visit www.myspace.com/darkane.