With the inaugural Dublin Doom Day fast approaching on Saturday, September 12th, Metal Ireland’s Lorcan Archer sat down for a few words with the event’s organizer, Mark Leigh.
Leigh has already built himself a name as one of the individuals behind Ireland’s biggest underground metal weekends of the year, the Day of Darkness festival, which began in 2001 to grow into a full weekend event and one of the high points of the Irish Metal calendar.
However, with that event in hibernation for 2009 for a variety of reasons, the man has turned his hand to a major all-dayer in the capital this September, with the cream of Ireland’s Doom bands supporting a hefty line-up of international names.
M.I. – The obvious first question; why did you decide to put on specifically a Doom Metal festival in Dublin?
M.L. – I’ve been listening to Doom since as long as I can remember. I’ve always wanted to put something on, down the line. And with DOD being on a bit of sabbatical this year, it was something for me to do. It’s been quite easy to organize. To be honest, your average doom band can be a lot less stressful to deal with than a lot of what goes on at DOD. They know their way over on the plane. They’re easy going, it’s so easy to get on with them.
Obviously from the Irish perspective there’s so many talented bands out there now, Doom bands in particular. That made it very easy for me to pick them out. Esoteric and Saturnus are both bands that have never really played in the Republic of Ireland.
The Lamp of Thoth have also never played over here, but they’re somewhat newer on the scene. It’s good to give people the chance to see them. Simply enough, I’ve been a long term fan of bands like Esoteric, and want to give people the chance to catch them. If you look at the DOD lineup, a lot of the bands haven’t played Ireland, and we’ve always tried to give them a chance.
M.I. – Most people know you from your work with Day of Darkness. Was that the first event you promoted?
M.L. – Well, DOD was first held in 2002. I had done a few local gigs before that, and we all started at that level. You have to start somewhere. There was nothing approaching a metal festival in Ireland in that point to be honest, so I suppose we did pioneer the idea in some small aspect. Nowadays though everyone seems to be calling their gig a festival.
I do seriously think something needs to be going on for more than one day for it to be called a festival. If you want to be technical about it, a proper festival is supposed to be a three day event, in my opinion anyway. We were probably skirting around it a bit calling DOD a festival. But people will call their events whatever they want though, so good luck to them.
M.I. – Obviously we’re at a very early stage, but could you see the Doom Day becoming a yearly event if enough bodies get through the door?
M.L. – Well like you said, this is the first one. I need 170 to break even, but to be honest, and if I get 150, there’ll be another Doom Day. I think it’s something we can build on. I’m hoping for some foreigners, but there’s actually a Doom festival in Madrid the same weekend (Madrid is the Dark Fest, 11th and 12th of September featuring Isole, Novembers Doom and Saturnus, who’ll be putting in a swift performance before jetting into Dublin for the next night).
There’s a few European guys into Doom I know who are already going to that. As you know yourself, you do find a lot of foreigners travelling to niche gigs like this, but I have sold tickets to people from Germany, who will be coming anyway.
M.I. – The gig is being held in the heart of Dublin and thus is very easy to get to. Is this something that might be considered for DOD should it return? (Please note: the original venue of The Scene has closed on very short notice since this interview was held, with the event now scheduled to take place in the smaller but tried and trusted environs of Fibber McGee’s.)
M.L. – It is easy to travel to, and that’s something we might bear in mind for DOD 2010. We’re not planning yet, but we have it in mind to go ahead. It’s more about time on the organizer’s parts. Financially, we all have good jobs and can soak up damage, which we have had a lot of over the years. It’s a passion so it’s something you love to do. I feel gutted this year it couldn’t go ahead. We had to revaluate things rather than lacking the financial cost.
M.I. – But in any case it’s not looking like DOD will be in the traditional venue of Pedigree Corner in Laois come 2010?
Now you’re on the ball. It would be safe to say the Pedigree Corner will most likely not be the place where it’ll take place. Again though, nothings concrete.
M.I. – In the past, the DOD crew have put on seperate once-off gigs in Dublin over the years. Were they mainly an attempt to make back some of the money lost?
M.L. – They were fundraiser gigs. We only ever broke even once doing the festival. From a financial point, it was probably madness. But we had to try something to regain some of our losses.
If it does happen, it’ll be different. We’re a small country, and we have such a small population of metallers, and holding it down the country probably doesn’t make the best sort of sense. In hindsight, it hasn’t worked out.
It was very enjoyable at the start when we were small scale, but when you’re handed a schedule and a logistics book on Thursday night, the fun goes out of it very quickly. I only saw one band last year, I think it was Nifelheim.
M.I. – Good choice though, they were excellent.
M.L. – I made a point of seeing them. Especially when I was after them all year. I’d love to see them in Dublin again. In regards to the future, If there happened to be a Dublin Doom Day in 2010, I’d love to get Hour of 13 over.
M.I. – Finally, what bands are you looking forward to on the day the most?
M.L. – Saturnus in particular are fabulous live. They aren’t really well known considering how long they’ve been going, as you know yourself, but I saw them supporting Agalloch in Belgium in 2006. I was wildly disappointed by Agalloch live. But November’s Doom and Saturnus played beforehand, and I never thought I’d say so, but November’s Doom were brilliant. But Saturnus completely blew me away. That performance and the fact that they contacted me to say they were available to do it made them an obvious choice.
I have never seen Esoteric live, but I have heard them! I got a phone call from Germany a few weeks ago at one in the morning from a friend holding up the phone while they were playing (at Hell’s Pleasure). They have a decent profile here, and sell a few records, so hopefully people will head in. It should be a great night.
Dublin Doom Day : Chapter 1 takes place in Fibber McGee’s on Parnell St, Dublin on Saturday, September 12th. British’s most warped sons Esoteric headline proceedings, along with Saturnus, The Prophecy and the Lamp of Thoth.
Irish talent on the day consists of Wreck of the Hesperus, Graveyard Dirt, On Pain of Death, Council of Tanith, Utopian Ruins and Dwell in Sun. Tickets are priced at €20 and are available from www.tickets.ie, Soundcellar and Sentinel Records.
For more information, visit Dublin Doom Day Myspace.
Interview by Lorcan Archer, Photos by Emmett Connell ::: 18/08/09