Jesse Haff - Daylight Dies - Back
Interviewer: Jeffrey D. Adkins

Daylight Dies have been mesmerizing metal heads for several years now and there is no sign of them slowing down. Over the last couple years they have played shows with legendary bands such as Emperor, Moonspell, Katatonia and Candlemass and have made a name of their own among the best in metal.

Continuing on their success of their 2006 release "Dismantling Devotion" Daylight Dies went to the studio to record their new album "Lost To The Living" in the December of 2007. Doom, death, progressive, dark all help to describe their sound, but ultimately they are undefined, yet brilliant.

Jesse Haff, drummer and one of the found members of Daylight Dies has aided in developing the band's sound since the inception in 1996. Read on as I talk with Jesse about the band, the new album ěLost To The Livingî and CD release party in July, recent touring, his equipment, and much more.

Follow "The Morning Light" through the darkness and "Strive To See" "The Line That Divides" the remarkable Daylight Dies from everything else "In The Silence"...

Metal Fanatix: Hey Jesse! Thanks for doing this interview! How are you doing today?

Jesse Haff: Thanks for the interview. I’m doing well.

Metal Fanatix: What has Daylight Dies been up to?

Jesse Haff: We just [got] off a three-week U.S. tour with Candlemass and have been recuperating since then.

Metal Fanatix: I’ve read that you guys are having a CD release party for your new album "Lost to the Living" on July 12th at the Local 506 in Chapel Hill, NC. Is anything special planned for that night?

Jesse Haff: We will play one of the longest setlists we’ve played in a long time. We’ll play several songs from the new album and a bunch of old songs too. Our friends in Soulpreacher will also play and their music will compliment the mood for sure. The venue itself is small and comfortable; it’ll be a very personal vibe.

Metal Fanatix: We love your new disc here at How has everyone’s response been so far to "Lost to the Living"?

Jesse Haff: That’s killer to hear. Since the album was just released, I’ve only seen a handful of reviews. All have been extremely positive. So far, so good.

Metal Fanatix: How did the writing and recording process go? Was it relatively normal from your previous efforts? Did everything go as planned?

Jesse Haff: We began writing immediately after getting off the Moonspell/Katatonia tour in November 2006. The writing process began as normal, where Barre, Egan or I would write some riffs, and we’d get together and jam on them. But as the writing process progressed, we refined our method somewhat. For the last couple songs, “The Morning Light” for example, almost everything was written before we even jammed on it. Once we did get together, it was a nearly completed song, and I could define rhythmic details, or put my own style on it. It ends up being a much more efficient way to write than sitting in a room jamming on the same riffs over and over.

Metal Fanatix: Jesse, you guys can generate an amazing doomy presence in your music. Is there a special technique you use to create the music you write? Is it something you’ve had to work on over the years or has it just come naturally?

Jesse Haff: We have never intentionally gone for a “doomy presence,” or even tried to be a “doom” band per say. We’ve really just striven to write metal that was dark and based on life experiences. This is the kind of music that comes naturally to us, it’s not contrived if that’s what you mean.

Metal Fanatix: What is the band’s true feeling towards the album's title? How did it come about?

Jesse Haff: “Lost to the Living” implies the blind inertia that work and routine can cause over time. Many of the lyrics deal with this subject, or the subject of ‘loss’ in general. The loss of youth, the loss of a loved one... the loss of the hunger for life from falling into the rat race.

Metal Fanatix: The song-writing on "Lost to the Living" sounds much more complex than your other two albums. I love the clean vocals by the way, very Katatonia-like! Was this album more difficult to write ?

Jesse Haff: This was the fastest we’ve ever written an album, so I wouldn’t say it was more “difficult” than the other albums. We are proud of “Dismantling Devotion” but have high expectations of ourselves musically. We only want to do something that’s going to be as good if not better than what we’ve done before. I think we had an idea of what we wanted to do with “Lost to the Living” from the beginning and just worked steadily right up until the day of recording.

Metal Fanatix: Do you have any favorite tunes off of the new disc? What are they? Is there a particular reason?

Jesse Haff: “The Morning Light” is a current favorite. “Less is more” is a mantra we always strive for and “The Morning Light” achieves that. It has an organic character and is probably one of the more simple songs on the album. Every note and chord change is important.

Metal Fanatix: What do you think of when I mention the following tunes?

Jesse Haff:

Hollow Hands: A song from the early days, we used to always play live and haven’t since 2003. Shape-shifting rhythms and a great hook. Really love this one.

Dismantling Devotion: I’m really proud of the song “Dismantling Devotion,” as it’s the first song I wrote almost everything for. Obviously my main duty is drums, but I always write a little guitar on the side. This one ended up being all my riffs. It was really different – extremely atmospheric and drenched in bittersweet melancholy. We weren’t sure how people would react to it. It seems like it ended up being a favorite for some people.

A Subtle Violence: The second song we wrote for the album. Musically, we worked over this song endlessly. It is dense with ideas and the arrangement ended up being really interesting. It’s got a bit of everything in it.

Woke Up Lost: This song ended up really different than anything we have written before. You end up in a totally different place than where you began.

Metal Fanatix: You guys recently finished up a tour with the legendary Candlemass? How did that go?

Jesse Haff: Some great shows, but most of all, great guys. Obviously it was an honor touring with them, and it was flattering to hear that they liked our music. We had a blast with them and the crew, we’re lucky to have toured together.

Metal Fanatix: Jesse, what is your most fond memory from all the touring that you’ve done?

Jesse Haff: Touring with Katatonia was great, as they are long time personal friends. Touring with friends is the best you can ask for, because you have a relationship beyond the business of the tour. Our first tour ever was in Europe, which is very unusual for most bands... so that’ll probably always remain especially fond.

Metal Fanatix: What is most unusual item you’ve asked for when on tour?

Jesse Haff: We’re not big rockstars, so unfortunately most of what we ask for is completely ignored. We’re thankful if we have water, you know? Although on one gig this tour, Nathan kept saying “where is my Vodka” in a Russian accent over and over – for no particular reason – and 10 minutes later we had a bottle of vodka in the dressing room. We were blown away and decided to try that again... but it never worked.

Metal Fanatix: Is there anything special you do for warm-ups before you play a show?

Jesse Haff: I try to unwind from the stress of touring. There’s no special rituals.

Metal Fanatix: How long have you been playing the drums? Have you ever played, or been interested in playing in another instrument?

Jesse Haff: I’ve played the violin, saxophone and a little piano too. I had a muppet babies drum set when I was around 10, but I didn’t seriously start playing until about 15. I focused on drums pretty much exclusively from then on out – just a fiddling around a bit with guitar and piano.

Metal Fanatix: Jesse, tell me about your drum set? How many pieces? Is there anything that you would consider unique about your set?

Jesse Haff: It’s a Sonor S-Class. It’s 6 pieces – 10”, 12”, 14” and 16” toms, 22” kick and 14” snare. Instead of the Sonor S-Class snare, I use a Ludwig Supra-Phonic. I got it when I was like 16 or 17, and I’ve never found another snare that’s sounded as good. It’s incredible. Then I have a bunch of Zildjian cymbals, but I suppose those details aren’t too interesting.

Metal Fanatix: What do you think about natural/folk instruments? Do they influence you in any way?

Jesse Haff: I love acoustic instruments. We have woodwinds and strings on “Lost to the Living” instead of keyboards, it adds a much more organic sound.

Metal Fanatix: I saw on your website that your favorite drink is “Daylight Dies beer”. Is this a home brew from you guys? Where can I pick it up?

Jesse Haff: Yeah, we brewed beer several times and made “Daylight Dies beer” labels. Of course you can’t pick it up, we only make a couple cases for ourselves.

Metal Fanatix: What do you do for fun or to relax when not blasting the drums for Daylight Dies?

Jesse Haff: I love traveling, sitting in a dark room with incense and headphones, looking at porn, the usual.

Metal Fanatix: Well Jesse, we’ve come to the end of this interview. I want to thank you for taking some time to answer our questions. Is there any last thing you want to say to the Metal Fanatix of the world?

Jesse Haff: Thanks for the interview and take care of yourselves.

Metal Fanatix: Have a great CD release party! METAL!!

Daylight Dies' "Lost to the Living" was released in the U.S. on June 24 and the UK and European release date will be July 14 where all metal excellent metal is sold.

To keep up with all the latest news & much more on Jesse and Daylight Dies check out the following websites: - Official Daylight Dies Site - Daylight Dies MySpace Site

© Jeffrey D. Adkins June, July 2008 Not to be re-printed in any form without written permission.