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Last Dusk - Interview

Interview with: Carfax Haddo
Conducted by: T.V.

Last Dusk, one of the driving forces of Costa Rican goth music scene recently released their long anticipated debut album titled Memento Mori. The album is for now self-released and available only in digital format, but things are about to change as Last Dusk inked a deal with Deepland Records from Brazil. The band was formed out of the ashes of the mythic band Draconian Incubus by well know figure inside goth rock scene, Carfax Haddo, in 2010. They debuted with the EP named Trismegistus in 2012, but due to some very bad luck with line-up and by finding really devoted members the band was in some kind of a strange stance, with only two members Carfax and drummer Stephanie Sabat remaining, but soon the things changed and the band finally got stable in early 2016 when bassist Javier MT and guitarist Melissa MT joined the band. Now it seems that there are no obstacles for Last Dusk and this band which is truly breathing the essence of goth rock, everything dark and horrific, will only get bigger if the chemistry inside remains like it's now. Last Dusk are a must for every true fan of anything tinged gothic and if you haven't already heard of them than shame on you, they are not bringing anything new into the genre, rather than that they are on a mission to discover where are the limits of true, dark and unpretentious goth music. I had to ask Carfax Haddo about some details about their debut album, but as you'll read the conversation went in many other directions. Discover everything about Last Dusk in this in-depth interview.

T.V.: Hi Carfax! The debut album is finally out! Congratulations! But, I wonder why it took you over six years since you formed Last Dusk to release it?
: Hello Tomaz, thanks for the honouring and for your interest. I had to surpass some "obstacles" and reform the band several times before finding the closest sound to that I'm chasing, also at the begging Last Dusk was projected to be only a studio band, then I heard the stage call therefore finding musicians to play in this country is a hard task, at least for this kind of tunes, now after this release there´s no stop.
T.V.: You've choosen quite a significant title for album, Memento Mori. Ok, it was used by other bands before, but tell me, is the primal idea and message behind the album to make the listener aware of his mortality?
: Yes indeed I took an old idea, a primal fear that we all use to forget or disregard, an idea that no one can escape, it was haunting me and I needed to reconcile, is not only about mortality is about vitality too of course, it´s all about the fleeting nature of life, this concept emerged after personal experiences and logic and growing up, it is indeed the primal idea of this album, the message goes to the listener and the performer at the same time, despite legends and myths are fascinating, we are not vampires nor gods.
T.V.: I was quite impressed by the cover artwork as well, pretty intriguing and I believe that there's a hidden message in it which must be in some kind of a connotation with lyrics. What can you tell me about that?
Carfax: This cover art is actually stolen and used without permission, I simply took it and used it, not with intention to annoy or offend the author, I got impressed too by this piece and is because the admiration I have for Joel-Peter Witkin (censored and copied thousands of times…even in my country by local artists) this artist whom I´ve never met in person or never contacted in my life, to me in his work is embodied everything I wanted to express in the album, yes you can say “embodied” cause those are real human body parts captured in his camera, the hidden message is obvious at the same time.
T.V.: But the initial version of the cover artwork, the one with skulls when the album was announced, was a different one. As well was the tracklist different. Why did you changed all that right before the album release?
Carfax: That is true and changes just happened and I hope it always happen that way, I am satisfied with final results and I'm glad we did not run too fast with the release.
T.V.: But still, on the first tracklist there were mentioned tracks like "Black Spider", "Crossroad", "Wanderlust" and "Babalon", which weren't present on the actual album. What happened with those tracks?
Carfax: Some of those tracks were only demos and they need to get finished and arranged, probably soon those tracks will see the light in another album or EP, and other were the alternative name of the actual tracks or studio "nicknames" instead of using just numbers.
T.V.: Ok, I understand! The album shows quite a progression if compared to your first EP Trismegistus which came out in 2012. You even made a new version of the track "Evocation", which originally appeared on that EP. Is this because you were not satisfied with the original one?
Carfax: Thank you, yes progression is the fuel for this band, I think the original one was too flat and boring and has those drum breaks which were too childish and warned from the chorus part, being honest it was disturbing to me, really needed to make a new version and save that lyric which was the first I wrote in my life... many many years ago.
T.V.: In times of Draconian Incubus? And how do you look back at those days?
Carfax: Yes I wrote "Evocation" lyrics in those days, we even made a version of it but never recorded it. I never look back at those days to be honest, I remember very few of it and I try to keep it as a long gone good memory. Anyway it was childhood and since then the warning of being mortal prevent me from living in the past, "old victories do not impress me anymore" (quoting the song "Oblivion").
T.V.: But still you can't deny that Draconian Incubus was one of most significant goth bands coming from Latin America and for many of us the first introduction in Costa Rican alternative scene. So, how would you compare Draconian Incubus with Last Dusk and where do you see main differences between those two bands?
Carfax: Yes indeed, Draconian Incubus was all that and more. I can´t really compare past to the present, would not be fair to any of bands, musically both bands have very different purposes, influences and environments, despite being in the same "genre", now that you ask, I can figure two different panoramas, I bet Draconian Incubus, - if still being alive - could be much more rich and mature in sound now, just like Ariel Maniki And The Black Halos, Psicosomática and Last Dusk are today, the other would be there´s a high probability that today´s Draconian Incubus could be stuck in a muddy comfort zone and fade into total oblivion.
T.V.: Ok, I see. Please tell me if Last Dusk finally got a stable line-up now, who are the members and what's the chemistry inside the band now?
Carfax: Finally we do, after learning to be really selective and demanding, here's the most prolific and eduring crew until now in this band, I'm very grateful to this guys, the proud family are: Stephanie Sabat (drums), my only love and hero, fearless warrior who believed in Last Dusk when rats left the ship right after they tried to sink it at the end of 2014, she is the incarnation of true Will and loyalty. Melissa MT (guitar), young and wide open minded musician, who appeared in the right and fair moment to rock us with her great skills and experience. Javier MT (bass), old and great friend, a polite gentleman who recommended us with his guitarist sister and after that he became our keyboard player and after that he finally got his real place. Bass playing is his speciality and to be honest he's the best bass player I ever played with.
T.V.: That's good to hear and I really hope that this line-up is permanent. If I remember well you were the bass player beside vocalist in the beginning. What changed your mind to concetrate only to vocal duties?
Carfax: I truly hope the same, yeah you have a good memory, I love bass playing, I started like that in music, but here I only wanted to move freely on stage, I miss the bass but I don't worry at all cause I know it is in the best hands now.
T.V.: And is the music of Last Dusk composed just by you or is a team work?
Carfax: It is a team work, some compositions are based on my sketches and some on theirs, always using my lyrics, fortunately we all are always full of new and old ideas and own repertories to share. Also some songs came from thin air at the studio, i.e. "There's A Thing In The Garden...", which started with Stephanie drumming latin bolero and Ariel at bass jamming live in studio and all I had to do was just the lyrics on my hand and then I started singing over their live playing, no cuts, one take and then we had this masterpiece at first play, we kept the track that way and months later Melissa jammed over that track, it was really magical how the thing that lives in that studio took living part on the song, a milestone moment in our history. And I can't forget to mention my friend DJ Mark Musolf, who I met at The Butler Pub in Reading during Sacrosact 2015 weekend, later I listened to his beautiful music and he gave us the oportunity to record his song "The Devil's Flower" as part of Memento Mori album, this song is Last Dusk's first collaboration and a perfect way to stay in real touch with this talented and beloved friend.
T.V.: Cool, "The Devil's Flower" is my favorite song on the album! But there's also a nice cover of Das Projekt' track "The Broken Altar". Is this Brazilian band an influence to you that you decided to make a cover song?
Carfax: Actually this awesome band is almost new to me, I learned about them maybe just 2 years ago and I love it, it happened that we had the honour being contacted directly by their singer Marcelo KPTA himself who invited us to be part of their 25th anniversary album. It was a challenge to us and we accepted of course, the final product went beyond my expectations.
T.V.: Indeed is a good thing this cover. Now, the goth rock music that Last Dusk plays is not an usual one. There's a notable presence of horror rock that adds some kind of a cinematic feel to it. From where does this influence come from? Are you a big fan of horror movies?
Carfax: Thank you, I'm my self a bit strange and unusual haha, yeah I am guilty of that "sin", I love old horror movies indeed, collect them of course, but who doesn't? They do have influence in my music and also horror tales and novels do, same as some acts as Jacula and Devil Doll, but I guess that is too obvious and predictable.

T.V.: I noticed that influence very well. The album was produced by Ariel Maniki and I wonder how it was working with him and if you are satisfied with his job?
Carfax: Have you ever been far from a beloved brother or family member and later share with them again after years of no contact? Ariel was Draconian Incubus guitar player and founding member, also a pillar in music to me, one of my few and oldest friends, you must know he was the first person that introduced me into real 'Goth Music' and also taught me most things to play, haha a very disputed title by others that ridiculously want a piece of Costa Rica´s goth history without earning it, years before Draconian Incubus ever existed or was imagined, I met him once he was playing in his own goth rock band called La Marioneta, we became friends, I even became part of that band but never played live, and now it was all the same back again, like in the old days and even better than that, adding the experience earned by both in separated ways, if in the past between us it was all fluent and easy nowadays it goes far, I am really satisfied with his job and I can´t wait to enter his studio again.
T.V.: I know that he was a member of Draconian Incubus of course. As you told me that he introduced you to goth music I wonder what really does the word "Goth" mean to you?
Carfax: Despite all the modern and forced missuses or/and the old historical "correct" uses of the word, to me "Goth" is nothing else than goth rock and living it, no need to explain it pretentiously and deeply, it does not mean that I do not love or listen to all kinds of music.
T.V.: And which goth or maybe even not really goth rock bands influenced you the most?
Carfax: Alice Cooper changed my life and I can´t live without Queen, Black Sabbath, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Caifanes, Angeles Del Infierno, Rata Blanca, The Clash, Iggy Pop, Bach, Mozart, Hector Lavoe, Camilo Sesto, Serrat, Judas Priest and The Doors, Vivaldi, to name some who were my childhood heroes and still. Then Nosferatu, Christian Death, Heroes Del Silencio, Corpus Delicti, Two Witches, Big Electric Cat, The Spiritual Bat, Fields Of The Nephilim, The Sisters Of Mercy, Madre Del Vizio, Siouxie And The Banshees, Bauhaus, The Mission, The Wake,... made my personal goth world. Of course there are a lot of other obscure  genres and artists that influenced me but I don´t want to bore you, music is vast and I can´t close my ears to one only thing, or take my self too seriously, holding a pose can be exhausting, still I want to be buried in my vampire cape and boots when I die, and that doesn't change my sense of reality.
T.V.: Impressive list of bands, really! Before you said some words about Costa Rican scene. I'm seeing it's growing pretty strong lately...
Carfax: I find it very positive that you are seeing that, because I know you say this because of today´s bands. Costa Rican goth scene was monopolized for a long time, it was ok in that moment, then it was suddenly replaced by rave parties under the name of "goth", then I ran, I ran so far away, then we worked in silence, that´s why I call ourselves the "Silent Wave", nowadays things are pretty different, yeah, there are very good bands in here which I mentioned  before, like Ariel Maniki And The Black Halos or Psicosomatica, I hope you like them.
T.V.: Are there a lot of chances to play live in your country for a band like Last Dusk?
Carfax: Working hard and searching, yes! Like anywhere else, we have lots of options to play gigs and even making festivals, of course you will find same problems like everywhere, good venues bad venues, bad sound, excellent sound, usurious organizers and also the good ones, just need to be clever to find good clever deals.
T.V.: Yes, just like everywhere. Last year you had a chance to play in Europe for the first time, on the prestigiuos Sacrosanct festival in UK. I think that was quite an experience for you?
Carfax: I double your words and must say that Sacrosanct is the real thing, it was baptism of fire to me, the essence of goth rock is in there, I am not saying this because it was the first European festival I´ve ever been, or because the audience loved us and we loved them back, it's just because it has all that I need, nothing massive or trendy, great bands from different countries, welcoming folks with great taste and heartbreaking home warmth, I hope to repeat some time in this life as a band, I will be back next year as a fan, I miss that ambient and family. Sacrosanct is the example of perfect organization and caring for bands and audience, which all we know is hard to find these days. And special thanks to Damian Gibbs at Deadfall Management for believing in us and making this possible.
T.V.: That's nice to hear, really. Recently you even inked a record deal with Brazilian label Deepland Records. I believe that now we can expect a physical edition of Memento Mori soon? What are you hoping to get out of this deal?
Carfax: Some say or may believe or desire we should had a course, I do know all the opposite, we are a very fortunate band, not for "luck", just for our hard work, I love all the physical music formats, Marcelo KPTA vocalist for Das Projekt and Bruna Rocker kindly offered us a very special deal at their Deepland Records to release proper CD's not CDR´s of Memento Mori by the end of October this year. We hope this helps us to get known out there, an overwhelming legion of Brazilian fans are now supporting us thanks to this deal, and ink is still fresh, we are really grateful to them.
T.V.: I know it's soon to ask, but what can we expect in the future from Last Dusk?
Carfax: It's not soon to ask, we are not boring or pompous rock stars, you can expect a second album for next year, you can expect we keep on touring to, I do not have plans to stop and I don´t know how or need to stop music affluence.
T.V.: So I believe that new tracks are already in preparation? Will you take the same approach like on Memento Mori?
Carfax: You are right! They are in preparation, I love they way Memento Mori went, it was the result of experimenting so I will keep on that path, new ideas and concepts are born, there are also some demos at hand, I have many old musical whims to accomplish and that is part of the purpose of this band, that could twist that approach a bit without losing the north or fall in shallow trends. I know that´s why it keeps fresh and keeps somehow it´s own personality, I am sure obscure music lovers will be pleased as the band do.
T.V.: And any chances to see you come back to Europe anyday soon?
Carfax: Nothing settled yet, we are always interested and opened ears to new offers, we are trying to make it by our own also, same for Latin America, there are plans for visiting Perú next year.
T.V.: Hope to see you someday playing around Europe and of course in my vicinity. We talked a lot about different things around your band, now please tell me who is Carfax in private life?
Carfax: I hope the same too, I would love to play somewhere in there again and hopefully meet you in person, I would love to play somewhere in Latin America also. In private life I am a shy music nerd and have a normal job as receptionist, have no children, I hate soulless music, politics, religion´s corruption and illegal drugs and what they all do to innocent people, I'm a library mouse, I'm 34 year old, a retired bullies punching ball, not a vegan, not a christian, film collector, I love my girlfriend, I love to travel, since very young wandered my whole small country, I don´t do sports and yeah I know I should do.
T.V.: Ha, cool, quite similar to my style. I always wondered how it's living in Costa Rica?
Carfax: Cheers! Glad to know that. In this week Costa Rica has been very dusty, Nephs fans would be happy here now with Turrialba Volcano spitting all the ashes over their outfits, The Western Heroes drowning in glorious Lovecraftian dust. Life in here has been great to me, yeah of course there was a lot of shit while growing, but come on! I am here and now! This country is one of the most expensive places to live in Latin America but at least we can still walk safe in most of our streets during day and also drink water straight from the sink, here can be a paradise if you are looking for it or can be hell as well, is just a perspective thing, there´s lack of job for snobs and plenty of opportunities for the needed, the gap between rich and poor is getting larger year by year but that may sounds familiar, being honest I can´t complain with life in here, is not the same country as 25 years ago, but I needed to grow and I don´t have a time machine to go back, same annoying Sunday football violent fans in here as everywhere, as an artist I may chose the un-popular way to express but well that´s me and I don´t need to change it, beside that our rock scene out of “goth “can be very welcoming too, we have half the year in flood and half the year hellish sun with stupid fluctuations of both, we have wonderful beaches (haters gonna hate), volcanos, caves and ancient archeological sites, we also have cold and high places not all is sand and sea, best food is in here without a doubt, must people from the capital believe they are the best and their home place is the whole country, but that´s a global thing too.
T.V.: Huh, in a way you teased me and I think it would be pretty interesting to live there, miles of sandy beaches, haha, love it..., pretty gothy thing isn't it? But ok,... if I'm not mistaken you also run Merciful Nuns Costa Rican Lodge? Are you a big fan of the band? What everything you do in that regard?
Carfax: Teased? Oh was teasing my self about the Nephs. I love Fields Of The Nephilim and also joking myself about it, yes I do run the Merciful Nuns Lodge in here, it's kinda running a fans club like in the old days with all the exclusivity and "secrecy", I am a big fan of them indeed, my work is spreading the word in Costa Rica, once we made a release party for Meteora VII with raffles and I also spread their music in independant radios and my own radio show, which is difficult even for my own band, people are not used to this kind of music, we are monopolized by metal diffusion which I don't complain, metalheads in here are the best audience for all kind of obscure music, we just need to get in touch closer to them. Lodges format has changed and got centralized in one Grandlodge but I am still authorized to run Costa Rica Lodge and I will be running it while I am useful or until they want. I love not only their music, also all of their album concepts, it's all about certain things that always called my attention through old books, also Near Earth Orbit vision of the future got me on my chair border, to me seems to be all historically pararel to Garden Of Delight.
T.V.: Well Carfax, I think we covered quite a lot of things around Last Dusk, yourself and Costa Rica. Tell me if you enjoyed answering this interview and is there anything else that you would like to add in the end of it?
Carfax: I really enjoyed this, had fun, thank you Tomaz for your support, to be honest I hate interviews, but I always knew yours would be a clever and interesting ones, thanks for this opportunity and honour, I am really surprised that someone is still reading my words at the very risk of boredom, and I appreciate that too, support your favourite bands, buy CDs and merch, go to concerts and keep supporting Terra Relicta, live fast, prosper and die old!

Last Dusk links: Facebook, Bandcamp