OPUL was a new acquaintance for me. And since I have a fondness for discovering new things I sent them an interview. ©2015 Anders Ekdahl
Why does the band exist?
-Opul is my solo project that I dabble in when I’m not playing with East of the Wall. I have more musical ideas and desires than could ever be covered by a single band (even one as ambitious and varied as East of the Wall). So it’s an outlet for writing, and it’s also an opportunity to hone my recording and production skills, as I try to do as much of that as possible on my own.
What experience do you have from other bands? What do you bring with you to this new one?
-I’ve been doing solo projects for years, so it’s not new per se. But I always bring something from the bands and people I play with to my own individual music. It would be impossible not to. However it usually does end up being quite different from any of the more collaborative music I do. Mostly it’s more straightforward than East of the Wall.
When you formed did you have a clear vision of what sort of metal you would play? What bands were your guiding stars?
-I don’t really develop a vision of where I want my next project to go until I write something that I think goes somewhere specific. For example, with Levels, it was the first 3 riffs of the album that really set the tone for me. Once I had those, I realized that it had a very definitive feel for me, and that I could try and keep that feel in mind in completing that song and writing a few more tracks. I think it worked! If I go into a project thinking “this is what I want this to sound like,” I don’t think it would work out as I’d planned. So I sort of trust myself to get somewhere good at the outset, and then build from there.
The only exception was my EP “The Assailant”. I basically went into that attempting to write something very close to Time’s Up and Burnt by the Sun, which are 2 of my biggest influences. Whether or not the end result REALLY sounds like those bands is up to the listener to decide. But there’s definitely a thematic consistency throughout that EP.
Is it important to have a message even when you don’t have lyrics? How do you get your message through?
-I don’t know that I’ve ever been that great with messages in music. I sort of admire when an artist can say something poignant through their songs without it coming off as preachy. As that’s not my strong point, I tend to stay away from it. However if I find something is coming through in the words I’m writing, I’ll try to work with it and accentuate the idea, much in the way I’ll work with a musical theme or feel, as I had mentioned. Unfortunately I don’t think I often do a very good job of it on the lyrical front. Lyrics are there mainly because I think people need words to latch onto. I usually don’t do better than effecting a general motif or overall idea.
Is it important that your art work has a message or can it just be nice to look at?
-I’m not a visual artist in any way whatsoever…but I know pretty quickly whether or not I like something. So I generally just like something awesome to behold. I don’t need to have a message in the artwork, but I like it when you feel some connection between the music and visual art. And whether it’s East of thew Wall or Opul, we would’t keep working with the artists who we work with if we didn’t believe that was happening.
How important is image? Has the thought of what image is changed with the times?
-I am sure that image is very important. But with a mug like mine, what can one do?
How fierce is the competition in establishing a new band, to build a name?
-It’s pretty tough! Especially in New Jersey and NYC, where there are a TON of bands, and a lot of them are really good. These days I’m pretty impressed with many of the new and local bands I hear. Innovation and proficiency are at levels that I didn’t think possible 15 years ago…or maybe I just wasn’t at the right shows! There is also the ever present plethora of cover bands in our area. The market for cover bands is understandably huge, and that’s hard to compete with.
How important is visibility, to be seen in the right places?
-It’s hard for me to comment on this, as I am probably not seen in any of the right places. I spend the free time that I have with my family, writing and recording music in my basement and with my band, and playing gigs when possible. So other than that there is not much time at the moment to hang out and haunt the local spots.
Has social media still the same impact on spreading a bands name today? Which social media is the best?
-There are articles, books, theses, and degrees on social media. I just post stupid jokes and links to my music and gigs so I’ll leave the theories to the experts.
How much touring can you do in smaller venues before it becomes stale and counter productive?
-I love small venues! I’ve only played a handful of larger places and I didn’t get the greatest vibe on those stages. Honestly, my favorite shows have been in halls with no stage. You usually have the most receptive audience, with lots of folks who aren’t old enough to see you at a bar. So there’s great appreciation there, and you meet people you wouldn’t meet playing a festival. I’ve certainly played my share of depressing gigs, where the only paying audience member is a friend who used to be in the band. What can you do but play like the room is full and have a good time?
What does the future hold?
-More music! We’re working on new East of the Wall music..about 4 songs into the next record. And I haven’t really started my next Opul EP yet, but I have ideas. I’m also working on a super secret acoustic duo! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while…somewhat straightforward and simple, which translates to easy to execute.