Not being at all familiar with AJANA there was only one way to get to know more about them and that was to interview them. So here it is, my interview. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
How important is the band’s name in giving out the right kind of vibe?
-For me it was important to have a name that sounds beautiful and has something of a mysterious aura. Ajana came to my mind quite early before I actually started the project. I heard that name somewhere (I can´t actually remember where) as I was a child and so it followed me for years. You can´t tell the band´s genre by the name which is a thing I like. Those “typical Metal Band names” wouldn´t fit Ajana´s music and concept.
What was it that made you want to do the band?
-Ajana is not a typical band in that sense – it is my solo project. In the studio I work together with guest musicians who recorded the guitars, bass and drums. I do all vocals, keyboards, programming and also tin whistle and bamboo flute on the latest album “Dualismus?”. I also write and arrange all the songs and the lyrics myself.
I started Ajana in 2003. I always felt that I need to express myself creatively, be it writing music, lyrics or doing art. I had a quite hard time personally back then and music helped me through all this. So through all those years Ajana constantly evolved and became what it is now. I recorded my first EP “Ruins” in 2010, the debut “Home In Decay” in 2012 and my latest album “Dualismus?” in 2015. I´m already working on a follow-up.
What is your definition of the metal you play?
-That´s a hard question. I don´t like that pigeonholing where every band has to fit into a sharply defined genre. You could rather describe my music as progressive Doom Metal with various influences from outside the Metal genre. I get inspired by Jazz or classical music as well as experimental stuff. I don´t want to limit myself to only one genre so you can find a variety of musical atmospheres on my albums. On “Dualismus?” you can find doomy parts, blasts, jazzy arrangements, Latin percussion, a capella arrangements and many more.
How do you arrange the tracks? Is there a method to how you arrange the songs on a record?
-That depends on the song or idea – sometimes an idea comes to my mind and I start playing it on the keyboard. Sometimes I jam a little and a new songs evolves from that or I take old song fragments and rewrite them. After I wrote down the song I write the score for all instruments in Guitar Pro and hand out the score and MIDI to my guest musicians. I started learning about music theory quite early so that also is a big help when it comes to arranging.
Where do you find your inspiration to create?
-Life is my biggest inspiration, Ajana is extremely personal. I “digest” problems in music, it´s somehow like a therapy for me. Besides that philosophical questions and issues can be found in my work. Both are interwoven in the lyrics.
How important is the graphic side of the band? How much thought goes into art work etc.?
-The graphics and artwork are very important for me. They always have to support the album´s concept. On “Dualismus?” I painted the front and back cover and did charcoal drawings for the booklet. On the first two released I worked with (manipulated) photos. Some “true” Metal fans maybe won´t like that kind of art as I don´t use that “typical” Metal imagery but that wouldn´t do justice to the music and lyrics.
Do you find that there is a greater freedom in working with digital than working with physical?
-First of all it´s the best way to release if you don´t have a label that supports you. I released the albums by myself and offer them on Bandcamp. As a relatively unknown and unconventional band that doesn´t tour it´s hard to sell albums these days. The production costs would be much too high to compensate them through the sales. So I decided to go the digital way. Nevertheless it would be cool to have a nicely done CD or even vinyl.
Are there any limitations to digital? Can you do everything you like?
-A CD is limited to about 80 minutes playing time – so speaking in terms of time a digital album doesn´t have that limitations. Unfortunately many fans don´t want to invest in a digital album and prefer a “real” CD to hold in your hands. I totally understand that it´s something entirely different than a digital album. But who knows, maybe there will be physical releases of Ajana in the future.
Is there a scene to speak of for a band like yours? Where do you fit in?
-Well, that´s a hard question again. As you can´t really categorize my music I don´t feel that I belong to a particular scene. It´s music for open-minded people who like to discover something new and unconventional.
I don´t really like the Metal scene like it is now. The music seems to become less and less important and for some it´s all about showing off at festivals, wearing silly costumes and just “consuming” the music that´s currently up to date and trendy. Where is the real passion and enthusiasm for music? It´s a sad development. In the business itself pay-to-play, pay-to-release and other practices become more and more important. Not the good bands get the attention they deserve but those who pay the most. Money has become more important than talent, passion and the will to go new ways.
What does the future hold?
-As I´m always working on new ideas there will be a next album in the more or less near future. Besides from that I´m working on some other exciting ideas that could result in a different kind of release, be curious. A big dream of mine would also be to play life gigs with Ajana but as I don´t have a full line-up and won´t do any pay-to-play stuff it´s a hard thing to realize, especially in a music scene like it is today.
Thank you for the interview and all the best! Check out my latest album “Dualismus?” on Bandcamp!