With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to ANCIENT ALTAR . Anders Ekdahl ©2018
What fascinates me is how you can still come up with new combinations of chords to make new songs and sounds that have not been heard before. What is it that fascinates you into coming up with new songs and albums?
-It’s really just something within myself that drives me to create. Hitting that magical combination of notes in which you immediately get this feeling that you’re onto something, is indescribable. There will be times that I come up with a riff that strikes me in just the right way, that I’ll play it over and over for a couple hours straight. It’s really a small part of the overall song writing process, but sometimes, all that’s needed for a good song is that one little spark.
How is this new recording different from the previous? How do you take your sound one step further?
-This was our second recording with the lineup of Jesse, Etay, Scott, and myself, and the experience from that first recording together really helped us to go in with a clear focus on how we wanted the finished songs to sound and feel. With this record, we also started utilizing melodic vocals a little more, expanding our sound. This time around, we went to Greg Wilkinson at Ear Hammer Studios, and having him behind the board really added to what we were going for with this record.
When you write songs about the topics you do what kind of reactions do you get? How important is it to have a message in your lyrics? What kind of topics do each song deal with? Is there a red thread to the songs?
-Scott and I have always tried to write thought provoking lyrics, and we both feel that our message and content is important to what we are doing. We live in a world that seems to be on a course towards self-destruction, and it’s hard not to feel the helplessness of that just going about your daily life.
On this EP, Cosmic Purge is about the cleansing of the universe and starting over from scratch, and Foie Gras deals with the consequences of our creations turning on us. The overall thread through these two songs is the concept of “the singularity” (the Big Bang, and AI), and how no matter what, everything comes down to one singular point.
Whenever I think of you I cannot help wandering off to different bands. What bands/sounds do you indentify with?
-We all have multiple influences, but no matter what we bring to the table, we’ll always be a doom band. I wouldn’t say that we identify with anyone in particular, but as far as bands out there creating new music, Yob and Bell Witch are probably at the top of my list personally when it comes to innovative doom.
How did you go about choosing art work for this new album? What was important to have in it?
-The art for this album was something I came up with based on the content of the record. Both Cosmic Purge and Foie Gras both deal with the concept of “the singularity” in one form or another, and I wanted that to be reflected in the artwork. The cover was a collaboration with myself, and my daughter Haylee, with me drawing the piece and my daughter painting it. I have my own interpretation of the cover, but I prefer to let people decided what it mean to them.
Something that scares me a bit is this I hear from more and more bands that they aren’t that bothered with art work anymore because people today download rather than buy physical. To me the whole point is to have art work that matches the music. I don’t know how many times I’ve been disappointed by weak art work to an otherwise cool album. What’s your opinion on this subject?
-I feel artwork is almost as important as the music itself. Why bother going to the trouble of putting time, money, and everything else that goes into creating a record, if you’re not going to provide people with the full package? Since the beginning of the band, we’ve purposefully sought out artists that we like for album covers and shirts, and we will continue to do so. Not only does it add to what you are as a band, but it also supports talented artists who deserve to have their work seen.
How do you come up with song titles? What do they have to have to fit the songs?
-That’s probably the hardest aspect of song writing for us. Since we’re a bunch of goofballs, we give all of our songs food based names until we actually come up with a real name. But, sometimes a stupid name actually turns into a permanent name as is the case for Foie Gras. It went from a place holder to the idea that we will be fattened for slaughter.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-Maybe that’s a good thing…I don’t know. Music as we know it today isn’t even what it was ten years ago. It’s so easy to create and share, that there’s an over-saturation of mediocre music out there, and it’s getting to the point where everyone and their mother has a band. I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing (I think EVERYONE should learn an instrument), but we’re at a point where mediocrity gets rewarded, and it makes things boring.
How much of a live band are you? How important is playing live?
-Playing live is just as important to us as a band as practicing and recording. We were playing locally and touring quite a bit with the lineup on this record, but we’ve had some lineup changes that caused us to have to refocus. We have a few things coming up that we can’t mention just yet, but we plan on playing live as often as possible over the next year.
What lies in the future?
-Along with our new drummer Geoff Summers (ex-Batillus, ex-A Storm of Light), Scott and I have already recorded a song for a split 12” with the band Cosmic Reef Temple, we’re currently in the process of writing our next full length record, and we’re discussing hitting the road with some friends of ours for a west coast tour. As always, even if we’re quite on our end, we’re constantly working on new ideas and new material, and we don’t have any plans of stopping any time soon.