Here is a German band that I like. Check out ASH OF ASHES. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
What kind of vision did you have when you started and how has it changed over the years?
-When my former band HEL ended I thought I was done with this style of metal, but after a year or so I got hungry again and started ASH OF ASHES. Of course I wanted the music to be a bit different, I decided to sing in English and not in German anymore and I wanted to have some more Folk influences. I think the mixture turned out very good and I hope our new album „Down the White Waters“ will reach a lot of listeners.
Mainly I do this out of pure passion for the music.
Does location mean anything today? We used to hear about how it was all location, location, location back in the days if you wanted to make it big? That you had to come from a certain place to be sure to make it.
-You mean like in the 90s everybody liked bands from Norway? Well I was also a “victim” of this as a fan. It was just fitting so well with the Black and Viking Metal when it came from this location.
And if you’ve ever been to Norway you can understand why a lot of bands came from there. But there is good music from other countries as well, for example Sweden! 😉
What is it like to be a in a band and to get to tour all over the world? What kind of feelings do that bring about?
-Since ASH OF ASHES is a totally new project I can’t answer you that question. But I have quite some gigs with my other band ELANE in the past. It’s a special feeling to be on a stage and people looking up to you (literally). It’s some kind of magical atmosphere that is going on.
What kind of feedback have you had on your music, your latest album and in general? How important is feedback?
-The first reviews just came in and people really seem to like “Down the White Waters”. I was totally satisfied with the result myself, so it would surprise me if the feedback was bad.
The feedback I get I recognize and I always try to understand it, but it doesn’t really change my way of writing songs in the future. I always have a strong vision myself, but it’s still interesting, because sometimes reviewers see totally different aspects in the music, that I didn’t think of myself. But their descriptions still can be fitting, although it wasn’t meant that way by the composer.
How do you know that you have written a “hit” song? Is there a particular feeling you get when you know that this is the one, this is the big “make it song”?
-Hm, if I ‘d have had a hitsong yet I would probably sense it through my bank account hehe
But sometimes you feel a song has it all. I’m always happy when the perfect vocal line comes up, and sometimes it goes so fast that you don’t need to start thinking about it. On other days there is less creative potential there and that’s fine. You just need to let go for that day and try again on another one.
As I am no musician I will never got to know the difference of analogue and digital. Can you explain the difference to me? what are the pros and cons of analogue V/S digital?
-This is more like a question to a sound engineer, but you’re lucky, because I am one! It’s a big topic, but I try to narrow it down.
Digital sometimes has a bad image, because when it started analog was in its full glory you could say. Analog mixing desks and tape machines were the way to go and the first AD/DA converters, well some of them, didn’t sound very good compared. That’s why Digital got labeled as sterile.
But a lot has happened since the 80s, and I surely wouldn’t want to go back to the tape days. Recording into a computer is the better solution these days. Having great converters you have less noise and less distortion, which others might label as “analog warmth”.
So I would say high and analog and high end digital both is very nice to record in.
Maybe the problem is that a lot of term get mixed up, and of course I prefer real drums to a drum machine, but you can also record real drums digital into the computer and it’s still real.
What is it like to have people you never met liking your music and singing along to it at gigs
-It’s cool and a bit uncomfortable at the same time to meet people liking your music. Most of the time I’m playing I’m too focused on my job to get a lot of what’s going on in the crowd, but it’s special when you get people to move with your music, when they are really feeling it in that moment.
How important are lyrics to you guys? Do you have any messages that you want to get forward?
-My friend Thor, when he first heard the album he was like: “That’s storyteller metal!”
And I think he has a point there. We like to tell stories and create stories that match with the musical atmosphere to get people sucked into the music. We like to trigger their imagination, like I was triggered by f.e. “Hammerheart” from BATHORY. When “Shores in Flames” starts you can really feel the scenery. It’s a rare gift to make such soulful music I think.
I love a really cool cover but I get the feeling that today with all this digital uploading/downloading people aren’t that concerned about artwork. How do you feel?
-We’re still from the old days and like our physical albums. Personally I like to look through a booklet when listening to music. When you see all the work bands put in the artwork, so it matches the music, that is really the goal. When I download an album I don’t feel like having it, unless I buy a CD or LP. Then I have it and can also enjoy carrying it around on a mobile player. So it’s very important to have stuff I care about physically.
What does the future hold?
-When one album is out the work on the next one already begins, right?
I’ve already written two new songs. They’re not done yet, but I have many ideas in my head already. It should sound epic again and I hope it won’t take too long to have the follow-up album finished.