In a world were there are so many bands to keep track of I want to bring my two cents in presenting you to this interview with HARDLAND. Answered by Aeilko. Anders Ekdahl ©2019

You have one of these names that tell me that some thought has been involved in the choice. How hard was it to come up with the name?
-Coming up with a great name, one that doesn’t exist already is really difficult. Especially when you want the name to go with a great logo/art work as well. We even had a quest on our facebook page for people to help us come up with a great name…they could win a signed CD plus a meet and greet with the band. But all the names that came up didn’t fit well….until I (Aeilko) came up with the name HARDLAND. We checked it online and after we found out it didn’t exist yet, we immediately trademarked it, as also the artwork. At first we thought of Heartland, since the band comes from the heart of the Netherlands…but that sounded too much Country-ish…HARDLAND fitted better with the Rocksound that we created!

The competition is a killer these days so please tell us why people should buy your latest album?
-Competition is great, it keeps you sharp, fresh, always looking for something new. We’re not afraid of a little (or a lot of) competition at all. It also provides the consumer with more options to choose from. The more reason for us bands to come up with something spectacular! We know ourselves and believe in what we do. We have a great love for all the great sounds of the 70’s and 80’s and have blended that into a whole new modern sound with killer songs! These songs also vary a lot within the band’s style. Simply because we are inspired by so many different but awesome great artists and styles before us. If you love melody, if you love solid Rock, if you love to be musically surprised, or by a multilayered mix, HARDLAND is exactly what you want to embrace and love!!! The album was mastered in Abbey Road by Sean Magee, who also worked with bands as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Rush and Deep Purple…and now..HARDLAND!! That right there tells you something about what quality to expect. And as a bonus we added a DVD to our CD in a beautiful digipack! More reason to go and order yourself a copy of this great album via https://www.lo41records.com/shop-hardland/

Do you notice that there anticipation for you to release an album? Have you built a large enough following for people to eagerly await a new album?
-To be honest…we never really thought about releasing an album in the beginning…but once people heard our music they got so excited that they basically forced us to release it…And to this day we do not regret that one bit!! We are absolutely thrilled with all the great reviews we have received so far on both our albums and we notice that our audience (fan base) is growing every day….A large enough audience? Not yet, can there ever be a large enough audience? We believe that with all the hard work we put into it and the love we receive from all over the world that it is just a matter of time for us to become one of those great bands of our time. Just check out our music and let it speak for itself…

When you started the band did you do so with a clear intent of what kind of music you wanted to play? How hard was it to come up with a sound all your own?
-Well, in the beginning there was no band or an idea of starting one. The two founding members (Aeilko and Paul) were working on a recording project of a local Dutch band we had recorded. As we were transferring everything from the recorders into the computer it took quite some time in those days…we’re talking around 1999/2000. So to kill the time while waiting on the computer to render the data we decided to start writing a song together. That turned out to be the first song of what would become many years later our first album. Since then we continued to write songs together every now and then and in 2016/2017 we had almost 150 songs recorded…we heard 10 songs that really fit well together. Writing these songs came natural…we got our inspiration from all those great artists and styles that we loved from the 70’s and mostly the 80’s. Varying from Led Zeppelin to Pink Floyd and many others to 80’s wave bands as Tears For Fears, Talk Talk and Tubeway Army. Coming up with our own style and sound was easy…it came natural as we tried to pay tribute to all these great artists in our own way…As we both are also producers and soundtechs we naturally crafted our own sound. But to make sure it would go beyond our own homes and stereos we asked a friend of ours (also a gifted technician) to listen to our pre-mixed tracks and gave him carte blanche to change whatever he felt right to do. We trusted him. We knew he had the same musical DNA as we had, so it wasn’t hard. What came out of that is what you hear today on our albums. That’s how we work. We always try to create multi-layered mixes to give the listener a chance to hear something new, everytime they play the album!!

Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
-Wow, that’s a deep question!! …Personally I believe that regarding to playing in a band is a whole different dimension than to record or write music by yourself or even with friends. If us being a band now can lead up to or be a part of a bigger movement or something… I honestly don’t know…I ‘ld love to believe so though!

When you play the sort of music you play do you feel that you can have whatever you like as art work for the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
-Wow, another deep and interesting question…To us, cover art is part of who we are, part of the music and is therefore very important. We believe in some sort of concept….what do you want to say with your music, or your artwork…if the music tells the listener something completely different than the artwork, it has failed. When we were looking back at all our recordings and finding out that these 10 songs were there standing out together, the first song we listened to back than was a song called Hot Gypsy. A lyric that I had written with a friend back in the 80’s but never used for any kind of recording. Listening to that track I had all kinds of visions on how to translate the song into artwork, into video, It all became very clear how to match these two. A friend of ours is the very well known and highly respected illustrator Frans Mensink and he was willing to work on our creative ideas around the gypsy theme and came up with the album cover and some of the posters we have. Of course…when you start with an illustrated cover art on your first album it should stick with you…we’ve embraced that theme fully as ours now. Like Eddy on the Iron Maiden album covers we have chosen this Gypsy theme as our mascot!! And going by people’s reactions, we made the right decision!

I have a great fear that the change in how people consume music today will eventually kill music as we know it. What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
-Interesting…No I don’t believe digital is killing music…it’s the way how certain people have gotten the vast majority of music consumers to want things for free now…all these free streaming and illegal download sites…that’s killing…not the simple fact that it’s available digitally…that is just another way of delivering the goods…like we used to have 8-track, cassettes, vinyl, CD’s. you name it…every so many years they came up with a new version of how to deliver the music…and even the video…I don’t mind the streaming facilities, I think they are awesome. I just have a hard time believing that the owners of Spotify and iTunes justify the fact that the artist, without whom they had no content on their streaming devices, are signifigantly underpaid for their rights of their music. Of course…the person that came up with that whole concept of streaming is a genius and it’s ok to give him his share of the musical cake…but right now the artists are being left the crumbs while these streaming companies take all the money and run. THAT is what’s wrong about it, I believe. But again…I’m 100% in favor of digital. To me it’s not a matter of what’s best…to each their own personal taste…one prefers vinyl, the other CD’s, another person likes streaming…whatever suits the consumer, works. And it will always continue to change and evolve…I just hope that the organisations that handle the artists rights stand a little stronger and gain more out of it all for the artist. It will only lead to more beautiful music….what could possibly be wrong with that….artists create music…streaming companies don’t…they are just some sort of highway to the consumers ear…but technically that “highway”could be anything…but there’s no substitute for the things that music does to the human soul, the brain, the heart….ok, I rest my case here. (haha)

Is the era of great arena tours as thing of yester? What kind live scene is there for bands like yours? What does the touring circuit look like today?
-No, Arena tours, will always remain to exist…there’s always going to be artists that sell those venues out. In any kind of style. For smaller (or even beginning) bands it’s hard finding the right places to play. All a matter of the venues needing as much crowd as possible to be able to maintain…and beginning bands or smaller bands can’t come up with these numbers of people, so they have to be creative…group together on Festivals etc. Especially in the Netherlands it is hard for our style of music, Dutch people love the more louder Metal kinda bands…in fact we have a few well known bands like Within Temptation, Delain, God Dethroned that do very well…but bands in our style have to be creative and when you are and make sure you are on top of your game you will always succeed. But it takes, like for every other band, a lot of hard work…like AC/DC used to say….it’s a long way to the top if you want to Rock n Roll!!!

When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
-Right now it is still a party to us…it’s our biggest joy to play live in front of people, giving it everything we got!! But…as we are always trying to become bigger and better, we are also thinking about and working on a more sophisticated performance. But something like that takes time, creativity and most of all money…and that last item is something that new bands are mostly struggling with. So how to do the most with your performance on a very “creative budget”!?

What would you like to see the future bring?
-Our biggest dream is to create as much interesting and great music as possible and play for as many people as possible. All over the world!! And in the meantime, enjoy every bit of the journey!
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