The Dragged Into Sunlight Guide to Tour Survival

By on 7 April 2017

Dragged Into Sunlight have spent the last couple of weeks smearing their horrifically bleak black metal across various European soils; they’re currently on tour with Mayhem and are very much making their presence felt each night.

We caught up with these masked maniacs to find out what they deem necessary to survive out there on tour. Spoiler: the candelabra doesn’t get a look in.

1. Exceptionally Dark Humour

Touring is tiring and testing at the best of times and at the worst of times – the more exhausted you are the more testing it becomes.

Whilst it’s important to ensure damage limitation when you’re running late for a flight or load in, it’s even more important to remain in high spirits, which potentially links into the fact that no one is retiring here, so you may as well write off any notion of sobriety whilst you’re at it.

Over the years, the depths of our humour have seen an extended and darker reach, you know, the real elephant in the room thoughts that most don’t express because they’re normal…. Well, try spending 27 days looking out the window of a bus in between spells of tinnitus so loud that it’s basically a harsh industrial noise set played live to the theme of your life whilst rattling your mind to mush and then we’ll re-assess where the boundaries of acceptable humour really lie.

2. Cleaning

If you hear or see acceptably clean running water, get in it.

Whilst you should of course ensure that the area is free from needles and things, tour showers are few and far between, and on that basis, the mentality has to be primitive, acting now thinking later, as there are a lot of unknowns.

For example, you don’t know a) how long the acceptably clean running water will remain warm for b) how much acceptably clean running water there is or c) when you’ll next see acceptably clean running water, ie do you really require a towel or can you shake yourself like a wet dog for 45 minutes without further concern that you might smell worse than a homeless orgy.

3. Neck Support

You can come back from a lot of life’s ebb, ie at some point you’ll always sober up and everything will be ok. On average however, members of most extreme bands have the mobility of a pensioner after the 10 year mark and the thing about your spine is that it’s pretty important.

It connects a lot of things so firstly, you’re going to be sleeping in the shape of the letter Z whenever you can because you can’t always sleep in your bunk, and secondly, you’re going to be putting your body through a relentless marathon. The difference regarding the latter is that an athlete competing for 27 days in a row is going to do a lot more training than your average extreme musician, so at the end of day 12, probably around the 3am mark, when you’re standing looking at your accommodation, dishevelled, hungry, tired and probably drunk, thinking to yourself ‘I’ve probably seen rabid animals sleep on cleaner surfaces’, the comfort of a good neck pillow immediately becomes an essential to making the best of a bad situation, providing you with the ability to sleep wherever you want.

It really is the difference between feelings of complete failure and a glimmer of hope, preservation of dignity and unrivalled comfort. Only memory foam is real.

4. Data Planning

There’s no science to this essential, you’re going to need to communicate at all times, so as a bare minimum, you’re going to need some sort of collaborative work space to discuss details like places and schedules etc, and a data plan which doesn’t cripple your bank balance or eat data like it’s candy.

Nowadays, even if someone loses their phone (every tour), there’s still the possibility to check a social media account and play catch up if you end up out on a limb and separated from the rest of the tour party, so having a centralised record of your discussions is a tour essential.

Effective communication is a concept that is perhaps more widely recognised by those of us who have found ourselves locked in a crack den at 6am somewhere in Poland, but making ends meet is difficult enough without slipping up on losing members and items at venues or missing departure times.

Whilst it’s possible that most bands aren’t as disorganised, excluding whatever genre of tech metal is popular this week, the natural chemistry and selection of personalities that fuels most contemporary extreme groups usually renders at least one member totally useless so far as communication is concerned. On that basis, having every base covered is a preliminary step to getting things at least half right.

5. Listen to the Promoter

Generally, using your own scrambled mind after anything longer than 3 days on the road (when you hit it as hard as Dragged Into Sunlight) is a bad idea, so it’s important to defer to those around you. There’s always a promoter or rep on hand that runs around the same venue at a different show every day of the week and so, it figures that the same person knows the insides of the venue and logistics of the show better than anyone else.

Some venue interiors require a sat nav and whilst there’s a sense of challenge to finding your own way around, it soon grows old and morphs into a seething cauldron of hatred stemming from the countless hours you’ve spent wandering around aimlessly.

Within the 10-15 minutes of your arrival, you’ll meet the promoter or the rep, the one who usually looks more stressed than than the bands, but here’s the important part – they’re about to start talking really quickly and the more digits, directions, passes and information that you can gather the better.

The lesson appears to be that there is always a door that locks behind you. No matter what venue it is, the door behind you is always going to lock. Even when it doesn’t look like it has a lock. The issue is that once it locks, you are looking at least 25 minutes walking to figure out a work around. So, from experience, listen to what the promoter is saying with a very careful ear, and of course after that ignore everything or leave it to someone else.

6. Food

Never eat food before it’s cooled unless you’re playing punk shows for a month, in which case it’s probably for the best that your taste buds are annihilated. In any event, rushing through dinner is likely to burn the top of your mouth and even at the point of starvation, everything you eat for the next month will taste like the bottom of a shoe, and in addition, you get one meal a day as part of your show, making the most of it is fairly fundamental.

About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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