Just as with Swedish Sin or Swedish meat balls or IKEA everybody should know of Swedish doom. Where had we been without Candlemass. ALASTOR might be Swedish but their sound is far from Candlemass. Give em a listen a decide for yourself. Answers by H. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
We all come into music with our own baggage. We want different things from the music. How does the vision you had for the band when you started compare to the vision you have for the band today? What is this band really all about? What do you want with your music?
-When we started out as Alastor we all had a pretty clear view about what we wanted to do, namely to play as much as possible and to take our music out of our rehearsal and out to the venues. Nothing has changed there since we started. There are a lot of different reasons as to why we have chosen the paths we have as musicians but I think that we all use music as a mean of distraction from the mundane chore of everyday life.
Is there a difference in people’s attitude towards you if you don’t come from a cool place like LA or NY or London? Does it feel like you benefit coming from Sweden?
-We haven’t given that much thought although I definitely think that there’s something to that question. A band can easily be judged depending on the city it comes from, just look at the hardcore scene in Umeå in the 90s and the impact it had on its bands. I can’t really tell if being from Sweden has had an impact on Alastor though.
How important is that I as a fan can identify me with what I hear on your album? Can a band be too obscure for the listener to get it?
-Well that depends on what your goal with the music is. If your goal is to sell a lot of records to be able to afford mountains of cocaine and fancy cars then you can’t be so obscure that the listeners don’t get your music. If your goal with music however is to explore yourself as a person and musician then it’s only the musician who can decide where to draw the line. Of course we want people to enjoy our music and if someone can relate to it then that’s just a bonus. First and foremost we do this because it’s what we want to do.
What is the biggest challenge in the creation of an album? How do you write the really cool songs?
-I think that one of the biggest challenges is that the making of an album or a song becomes so personal. The songs really do become a part of you and it’s really easy to doubt a song. Does it fit with the rest of the songs? Is it good enough? Those kind of questions often circulate when writing new music. Whenever I try to write songs I’m rarely able to come up with something decent. The songs often just manifests themselves when just playing around with my guitar at home.
I saw Dave Grohl’s documentary about Sound City and it made me wonder what it is about analogue recording that you don’t get with digital? Have you ever recorded analogue?
-I think a big part of the analog appeal is that it is hard. Recording something analog is very naked and honest and it really puts the musician on the edge of a knife. In a way I like the whole digital revolution and the fact that almost anyone can be a musician without the need of fancy studios and expensive sound engineers. We have not yet tried to record anything analog with Alastor although it would be very interesting to do so. Maybe sometime in the future.
What is it like to sit there with a finished album? What kind of feelings do you have once you let go of the recording and it is no longer in your hands?
– From the moment that the recording is over there is both a feeling of both relief and doubt. It can be very frustrating to know that your work is done and that there is nothing more you can do but to wait for the sound engineer to work his/her magic. You always feel that there is something you could have done better but I think that’s healthy in a way since we evolve as musicians and become better over time. It’s a very strange feeling to listen to a finished song and an even stranger feeling to hold a copy of a CD with your own music and artwork in your hands. All the hard work and hours of sweating and bleeding encased on a piece of plastic, it’s a very surreal thing really.
How important are the lyrics and what message do you want to purvey?
-Alastor’s message is a message of both things of this world and things beyond. Many of our songs are about the life that we go through and the struggle we face on a daily basis. It’s not a happy message but we would be lying to our listeners if we wrote love songs about how happy we are that we are alive.
Ever since I first got into metal the art work has been a main motivator in buying a record. What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
– To me the artwork is at least as important as the music itself. I would always sit and look at the album covers when I listened to a record as a kid, some of them I could spend hours looking at or trying to copy them myself in my drawings. If the music is a painting then the artwork is the frame that encases it.
When you play live do you notice a degree of greater recognition from the fans with each new time you pass through town?
-Well we haven’t played that many shows as Alastor but some weeks ago we played at a festival in Malmö together with lots of great bands. It was the first time we played live since the release of the song ”Black Magic” and when we started playing it people actually came up to the front and sang along with the lyrics. It was really flattering and insane at the same time.
What do you see in the future?