A HILL TO DIE UPON

A Hill To Die Upon is a band that I’ve been aware of for a while now but never really bothered to check out until now. Anders Ekdahl ©2011

How did the band come to life? Was it a group of friends sharing the same desires or was it more like a single guy’s idea that turned into a band?
-Adam and I (Michael) are brothers. Our parents made us play instruments, which we are very thankful for, and so it was the most natural thing in the world to just start a band. We had half of it already. Really, more like two thirds now. And we always loved music, so we loved it right from the start.

I guess when you start a band you have a pretty good idea what kind of metal you’d want to play but what was it turned you onto the music you play?
-We did, but it has changed so much over the last seven years. We wanted to start sounding like this, but then we wanted to sound like that. Now we sound like what we sound like. It’s really all about trying to find the sounds that best communicate what we are trying to say at the time, where we are as musicians, and, mostly, what we want at the time. So, necessarily, this changes all the time. The focusing process, for us, is getting less and less extreme as we hone in on the particular sounds and vibrations that is the language we are trying to learn.

You have one of the better band names I’ve come upon lately. Is there a greater significance to the name?
-Thank you. On the significance, yes and no. It is not Golgotha or a reference to a Metallica song, but more the idea that history is won, lost, and written at high elevation. It might sound moot, but we think it’s fairly significant. Hills are often the best military option, they are religiously significant. It’s where we go to find god. So it is about Golgotha, but in a less direct way. I think it may also hold significance for us because we live in Illinois and its very flat here.

If you look back on the records you’ve released do you now see a thin red line that didn’t appear consciously when they were released?
-Our whole history has been scraping by and pulling things together even though we never thought we could. It all looks easy looking back, but it was really tough at the time. It helps us now, knowing that things always work out and how it will look later.

Each record you make is a mark of the time it was created. How do you view them today with the hindsight you possess now?
-Our first album, “Infinite Titanic Immortal”, marks for us our becoming a signed, “legitimate” band. We also feel that it was not artistically focused. It contained songs written over a four year period and stretch two or three different eras of our history. “Omens”, our second album, was written over a two year period where we were very active and focused. Therefore, we feel it holds together as a better album in every way. We are proud of “Omens” and proud that our last work has been our best. That is, of course, until we release the next one.

Had I not been searching the web for specialist sites I would not have come upon your band name. Have you been bad at promoting the band outside of the inner circle?
-Yes, our promotion has pretty much been in the hands of those who wish to promote us the old school way: word of mouth. We have done a little and been in a few magazines, but shows are the biggest way we promote ourselves.

Do you see any limitations in releasing albums on a label that might not be too well known outside of the initiated?
-Of course, Metal Blade or Century Media could have done more for us, but we aren’t complaining. We are a small band. Bombworks does a lot for us and we are very grateful. We see it more as an opportunity.

Do you yourself limit the promotion of the band because you haven’t found the right sources/channels or are there outside obstacles that you have a harder time to force?
-Honestly, the band takes so much time and effort it is simply something we haven’t been able to focus on. I’m sure in the future it will be more of a priority.

Playing the kind of metal you do have you ever been called traitors by the “true” followers? What can you do when that happens and what is your take on what is “true”?
-We don’t have time for elitism. Metal is about doing what you want, so the idea that metal would restrict us in any way is absurd.

I guess you have greater visions for the band. What is there left to achieve?
-Everything! As I have said before, we are a very small band, and we have are whole career ahead of us. The spring of 2012 will be huge for us. Even though we don’t promote that much, I bet you’ll hear rumours.

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