Absolute Darkness is a death/thrash metal band from the San Francisco Bay Area formed in 2015. Combining the influences of bands like Cannibal Corpse, Death, and Amon Amarth, and the Bay Area thrash sounds of bands such as Testament, Vio-lence and Exodus.
Absolute Darkness are:Ron Dorn – Guitar/Lead Vocals | Douglas Vetter II – Lead Guitar/Backup Vocals | Orson Sojo – Bass | Emad Dajani – Drums
How did you first get into music? Who turned you on to rock/metal?
Ron – I have been into various forms of metal since grade school. Music has always been an outlet for me, metal music especially. There is not any one source of my love of metal music, but many people have shared my passion for it over the years.
Doug – Since I was little my dad got me into bands like Van Halen and Rush. Over the years I branched out to discover many different genres of heavier music.
Emad – I didn’t have much musical influence at home so I was lucky enough to have great friends like Doug early on who exposed me to heavy music.
Orson – growing up in the 80s I would have to say my earliest exposure to music was through MTV. As far as getting into rock/metal, I started out listening to punk and kind of branched out from there
How did you become guitarists, bassists, drummers and vocalists? Are you proficient in any other instruments? Who are your main influences?
Ron – I took up guitar in high school and then bass. I stayed with guitar and bass until about 10 years ago. That’s when I took up drums and that breakthrough directly led me to writing my own music. Once I was writing my own music, I started writing lyrics and singing. Learning to play and sing at the same time was challenging at first, but now I have the hang of it. You need to know the song, both the guitar and lyrics…you can’t be thinking too hard about what comes next or it all falls apart. You need to just know it.
Doug – I started playing guitar at 13 and from there I was hooked. My main influences were Metallica starting out, Swedish bands, metalcore bands when they first started breaking into the scene.
Emad – I was always drawn to drums from a very young age but the opportunity just wasn’t open to me becoming a drummer yet. Once I finally saved enough money, I purchased my first drum set in my late teens. At that time, I was just starting to listen to Metal and was completely obsessed with double bass drumming and taught myself how to play. I also play guitar, record and produce music, and do live sound.
Orson – I started playing bass in high school and gravitated more towards Guitar later on. I’m not proficient in any other instruments, but would like to take up, drums, violin, and cello.
What was the first music bought with your own money and how did you acquire your first instrument? What is your most prized music collectible?
Ron – I had the LP for “Powerslave” when it was released and was REALLY into the album. I bought my first guitar at Guitar Center in San Leandro.
Doug – I bought Metallica “And Justice For All” while on a trip to see family in Colorado. My first guitar was an acoustic that was my grandfather’s and once my parents saw I was really interested in playing I got my 1st electric guitar a black squire strat for Christmas when I was 13 years old.
Emad – The first album I bought myself was “Americana” by The Offspring. I bought my first drum set with money I had saved and in my senior year of highschool. I bought my Orange Thunderverb 50 half stack from Larry LaLonde of Primus, so I guess that counts.
Orson – I can’t remember the first album I bought with my own money but it was likely a punk album.
Do you read reviews of music, film and food and if so, how often do they influence what you buy, watch or where you eat?
Ron – I definitely look at film reviews, things like Rotten Tomatoes and such. I don’t necessarily care what the ‘critics’ think, but if the critics and fan scores are very low, then that tells you what you need to know, the same if they are very high. If they are both mixed then I need to check it out and decide for myself. I rely less on reviews for music and food, though if something is getting great buzz, or being shit on from every angle, that can and will affect my willingness to try it out.
Doug – I typically don’t read reviews on music or film. I love having an unbiased 1st impression of whatever I’m watching or listening to. To me it’s the artists or director’s vision and it’s fun to experience it as is. As far as food I love to check out reviews and look into word-of-mouth restaurants. I just had some amazing food at a Peruvian restaurant that if you’re ever in the Bay Area you should check out.
Emad – I don’t read music or movie reviews. Just not my thing. I don’t like biased opinions when it comes to art so I choose to experience it for myself. I do read restaurant reviews. My job takes me all over the San Francisco Bay Area so I’m constantly looking for places to eat.
Orson – Sure I’ll read them, but I’m pretty dismissive of reviews. People tend to complain about the most absurd things, so they don’t impact my decisions, as I would rather form my own opinions
What have you been listening to lately, reading and playing?
Ron – I’ve been watching the anime Vinland Saga, a Japanese interpretation of Viking life. Really digging that. Been listening to the new Archspire, and the new Vio-lence
Doug – I’ve been listening to the new albums by Darkane, Psycroptic and Revocation. I am currently reading The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan. It’s a Wheel of Time book series a good friend recommended. I’ve been playing on guitar some tracks by Amon Amarth
Emad – I currently work in the Sound Department for the San Francisco Opera so I’ve been listening to a lot of Opera. As far as metal, I’ve been listening to a lot of Cult of Luna and Bongripper lately. Right now, on my commute to and from work I’ve been listening to the audio books for the Lord of the Rings series and I must say it’s so much better than the movies.
Orson – I typically stick to Death Metal. As far as reading I’m into Sci-fi from Jules Verne to Philip K. Dick
What songs by other artists do you know and have you learned entire albums by your heroes?
Ron – I have not learned an entire album from anyone. I’m mostly interested right now in creating our own new music. That being said, I did learn and record an unreleased cover of “World In A World” by Vio-lence, that was challenging not only on guitar but the vocals as well. I also learned “Twilight Of The Thunder God” by Amon Amarth.
Doug – I really gravitated towards the “Black” album. When I bought that tab book, I learned at least 1 riff from each song if not the entire song. I loved “Sad But True” and “Of Wolf And Man.
Emad – The other band I play drums in (Nahal) covers Slaughter of the Soul by At the Gates. We are going to be releasing our debut EP in the near future and that cover will be included on it.
Orson – “Dead Skin Mask” and “South of Heaven” are fun to play. I’m way too lazy and easily distracted to take on figuring out an entire album.
Does it bother you to hear artists express their opinions on subjects outside of music, such as, politics and do you like their art any less if you disagree with them?
Ron – It depends on their opinions to some degree. If I agree with them, I respect them more. If I disagree with them, at least if I strongly disagree with them, it can color my opinions of them for sure. That being said, people need to feel free to express their opinions. This band tends to wear its politics as a central theme to what we do. It would be hypocritical to be bothered when others do the same. Agree or disagree, they have the right to say what they want. If they lose followers because of their stance, that is what it is. I know if a hard right person reads my lyrics and decides to never listen to us again because of them, I am fine with that.
Doug – I kind of don’t look into that mainly because there is so much click bait, on the internet where the one liner on the article is pretty much all the info you need. I don’t really care to click on something that says “Johnathan Davis says he really doesn’t like”…. And you click it and “the” …. Is ice cream.
Emad – I believe everyone has a right to their opinion and a right to express it weather or not I agree with it and it’s not something that changes my opinion of their art.
Orson – Not really, everyone has an opinion. Some people like to express theirs and it has no impact on me, whether I agree with them or not. It may not affect how I feel about their art but I will likely not buy anything they release.
What do you like best about and hate most about social media?
Ron – I like being able to find and communicate with people that share my passions and interests. That being said, the ‘echo chamber’ can have its own challenges. People that tend to migrate towards conspiracy theories or might be drawn to more extreme ideologies can have that intensified and taken to a level that it would not have gone to without social media. The same thing that makes it great, can also make it dangerous
Doug – The best part is keeping in contact with individuals that are on the same frequency as me. The thing I hate most is that truth doesn’t exist anymore. It’s your truth and that’s all it can ever be because we’re pitted against each other. People need to look at the macro perspective and rise above it. I hope one day it will be possible.
Emad – Social media for me is a trigger when it comes to my mental health so I tend to stay off of it as much as possible. I don’t believe it is a healthy place for human interaction.
Orson – It’s a good way to stay in touch or interact with friends who don’t live nearby. Or find out about and keep track of events coming up. What I can’t stand is the pettiness of people willing to argue over stupid crap like a picture of a rock or something.
What kind of references or influences do you take from other mediums? Is there any particular book, film, or other artists that you are inspired by?
Ron – There are a lot of good films, shows, and anime that I watch. I am not sure how much of that inspires my music, at least directly.
Doug – A lot of influences I draw from is being a father. The world I’m raising my children and the struggles we face taking care of the ones we love.
Emad – I don’t compose music for this band, but I love writing music as a communal effort. My writing style is definitely more orchestral and layer driven and I am constantly looking for inspiration outside of metal.
Orson – I take a lot of my influences from music I like so Death, Grind, Thrash, Punk. I also have fun writing Industrial as well.
Do you still buy physical media or mostly use streaming sites? Which sites do you use?
Ron – I am very much into streaming these days, mostly Apple for music. I do appreciate physical media still, but don’t buy much myself.
Doug – I love streaming service however I enjoy pre ordering new album packages whenever available.
Emad – I very much live in the digital world. I personally don’t buy physical media and enjoy streaming music. Right now, for better or worse I primarily use Spotify.
Orson – I definitely prefer having physical media, and almost never use streaming sites, but when I do it’s either Spotify or Amazon.
Top 5 albums or songs released this year so far?
Doug – In no particular order
- Amon Amarth – The Great Heathen Army
- Psycroptic – Divine Counsel
- Revocation – Netherheaven
- Arch Enemy – Deceivers
- Darkane – Inhuman Spirits
- Cartilage- The Deader The Better
- Frolic – Fusion of Spirits
- Maentra – Kundalini Rising
- Castrator – Defiled in Oblivion
- Satan – Earth Infernal
The latest album from Absolute Darkness is entitled Failure Of State and is set for release worldwide soon via Sliptrick Records.