Jimi Mitchell – Dark Fantasy – Interview

Country: USA

Genre: Power / Neoclassic Metal

Interview with: Jimi Mitchell

Interviewer: Speedskullcrusher 

Hello , welcome to Acier Doux, what’s up with Dark Fantasy? Something to announce to our readers?

At the present time I am polishing up songs I composed throughout 2022 and 2023 with a few older ones too for digital release each month. Each of these songs are being released on YouTube, Bandcamp.com and eventually Spotify.
I do hope to eventually release a full album of songs too. Between 2022 and 2023 alone I composed close to 40 new songs and I still have other ideas in my folders which are not complete outside of that batch.

Could you make a little introduction of you and your band?

Yes of course. The name Dark Fantasy has been around since 1999. Back then it was a band of 3 young men wanting to play heavy metal music in a time when nobody in our town was playing metal. I wanted to take what I loved in metal and give it new life. However by 2002 the band was no longer a band once Jarrod Leach the other guitarist/composer left to pursue other musical adventures. The singer back then was my brother Aaron Mitchell who I still occasionally write music with. We actually have a song we are finishing up called Typhoon which I am hoping to release by the end of the year if not sooner. Currently this is a solo project with multiple musicians from around the metal world. Different singers such as Nick Seymore, Lean Van Ranna ( Kin Wagon vocalist), Sebastian Lehmann (Arge lead vocalist), Chris Bowe, Jean Pierre Abboud (Traveler vocalist), Claudia Pearl and there are others who will be mentioned later. I also have Phil Willis on bass (Serpents Rising) and a few songs also feature Jan Eckert ( Iron Savior, ex Masterplan bassist) as well.
This was originally meant to be a full album which celebrates Heavy Metal music. When I was writing the material for all these songs I am releasing I made a point not to hold back. Honestly that was something I did in the past when I was doing mainly Neoclassical instrumental shred guitar metal. Not this time around. I made a point to let all my influences I have gathered up over my lifetime and let them shine in one way or another. Some of the material is old school late 90’s style Power Metal. Some of it is Goth inspired metal, Some of it is influenced from Thrash, Death and Black Metal. There is of course lots of traditional NWOBHM influence and Neoclassical Metal moments too. It is all a big melting pot of metal goodness. I just hope people like it when this year is over because by December, I will have released 12 full length songs which could technically be a full-length album. I also plan to release a few covers too. So, it should be fun.

Do you feel closer to new Power Metal or to the old school Power Metal or to the Neoclassic Metal ? I would say your music is located somewhere in the middle of the three, yet without taking the more modern paths…

I draw more from the older Power Metal bands like Helloween, Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, Blind Guardian, Grave Digger, Rhapsody ( before they became Rhapsody of Fire) , Hammerfall, Primal Fear, Edguy, Avantasia and Iron Savior. I would also say Sacred Steel and Nevermore need to be in this list as well even though they are not considered Power Metal because I spent a lot of time listening to those bands between 1996 and 2006. I still listen to them all to this day both new and older material. I love metal and as for the Neoclassical side of things, yes I have listened to a lot of Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Stump, Tony Macalpine and Racer X with Paul Gilbert over the years. Each of those players had a part in shaping how I would play lead guitar. I am also into Norifumi Shima from Concerto Moon and Katsu Ohta from Ark Storm. Both of those Japanese players are amazing at what they do. Outside of Neoclassical I am heavily influenced by Dave Murray and Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden, KK Downing and Glenn Tipton from Judas Priest, Chuck Schuldiner from Death and George Lynch from Dokken and Lynch Mob.

When you compose new music: How do you know if a song is good and finished?

When all the parts come together, and I get the mix right. It also has to feel strong, and it has to make me excited. I write music from a fans point of view because I am a fan of so many kinds of Heavy Metal music. So, I make sure everything in the song feels right and sounds strong. I tend to think of what I would want from a great album. The material I have been composing is meant to be performed in front of a festival sized audience like Wacken, Bloodstock, Keep it True or Hellfest. The music is meant to be big and therefore would be best presented in that kind of setting.

Do you have an album in the making?

Yes, I do and it will be a continuation of what I have been doing. All kinds of Metal.

What could we expect?

Expect Metal. Epic riffs, melodic counter melodies and harmonies, shredding solos, soaring vocals, catchy choruses, thundering bass guitar, drums and atmospheric keyboard work.

Some bands sound quite different on albums and in live conditions, especially at the level of the production… What kind of production would you enjoy?

I love a production that is clear and heavy with a lot of anthemic riffs and choruses. I love for everything to be very clear in the mix so the listener can enjoy all the parts equally. I want the songs to grab you and take control of you like all great metal does. I love it when things go over the top.

Which albums attracted your attention lately? Which recordings (New or quite older) often come back in your playlists?

As far as new albums I have a few I have been checking out lately. I have been rocking the newest Gatekeeper album From Western Shores, Bruce Dickinson The Mandrake Project, Judas Priest – Invincible Shield, Tailgunner – Guns for Hire, Accept – Humanoid to name a few. My playlist on Spotify are filled with all the bands I have been listening to throughout my life. A lot of classic metal and stuff coming out now by both new young and older bands.

What are the future projects of the band?

To keep it going and to eventually get a record deal so I can get this project presented live around the globe. I am not going to stop making this kind of music. I will be doing this for the rest of my life. This is my life passion, and it is my goal to keep making this music and play it live when it is possible to present it with a good live production.

I let you conclude…

Thank you for taking the time to interview me and for supporting my music. It means a lot to me. For anyone reading this who would like to hear what I am doing be sure to follow me on social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bandcamp, Soundcloud and eventually Spotify. Stay Metal and keep the music strong.

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