With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to ASPIDIUM. Interview with Kurt Jason Kelderer. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
A band name says more than thousand words, or does it? How important is a band name to get people interested in your music?
-Of course, you should think about how to name your band. Nevertheless, I think that you can’t always deduce the music style from the name of the band. If the meaning of the band’s name can’t be deduced directly, it surely arouses interest. I chose the name Aspidium for my band, because it is a fern, which doesn’t need any colourful flowers or special fruits, it simply impresses by its size. Also we from Aspidium like to convince with our music without much ballyhoo. The ferns are a very old plant species, which has been around forever and will be present for a long time, just like metal music. Aspidium is also a medicinal plant, which is used for gout or rheumatism and as a worm cure. For many, including us, music is a kind of remedy. Music helps us through bad times, helps us to overcome certain things and in a way the process of creating the songs was our worm cure, our way to deal with certain negative things in our environment.
When you finish a recording and then sit back and relax, what kind of feelings do you get? Are you glad it is finished? Does the anxiety grow, not knowing if everybody will like it?
-After finishing the recordings I am happy and satisfied that everything turned out as I had imagined it would. However, at the same time I’m a little bit sad that the songwriting process is finished, because it’s incredibly fun to work on new songs. Waiting for the finished product, the final mix and the finished artwork is a feeling almost like waiting for Christmas. When I hold the finished album in my hands for the first time, it’s always a wonderful feeling. Of course you are curious about the reactions of the fans. How is the album received? Did I manage to transport my feelings in my songs? Of course, not everybody will like the CD. Music is a matter of taste and my music is anything but mainstream. I certainly don’t want to be everybody’s darling, that’s not what the topics I pick up are about.
What is it like to be in a studio recording your music? What kind of feelings and thoughts race through your heads?
-Recording the songs in a professional studio tickle the last 10% out of the songs. At the Sound Control Studio with Lukas Flarer in Merano / South Tyrol, I have already recorded the debut album Manifestum. Lukas understands completely what I like to express with my songs, how the particular atmosphere of the songs should be. During the recordings, full concentration is required, the timing has to be precise and repeatedly we work on even the smallest details to get the best result.
Today I get a feeling that the promotion of a band lands a lot on the bands themselves so how does one promote oneself the best possible way in order to reach as many as possible?
-Since there is no label standing behind Aspidium and the second CD is released as a self-production, we have to manage the distribution and promotion on our own. Metalmessage supports Aspidium with the promotion, for which I am very grateful. Smaller bands without a big label or management behind them have to come up with a bunch of ideas and spend a lot of time, enthusiasm, passion and heart to draw attention to themselves and deliver their music to the fans. However, in the metal scene we have a good network. The smaller bands stick together and organize concerts together as well. The cohesion in the community is very important to raise popularity. The internet and the support of many webzines is especially important for us smaller bands.
Today we have all these different sub-genres in metal. How important is that you can be tagged in one of these? Why isn’t metal enough as a tag?
-I am not really a big fan of these distinctions but the first thing you are asked about when someone gets to hear you play metal music is what kind of metal? For many people even the answer Black Metal or Death Metal is not enough anymore. With so many sub-genres, I am often at a loss. In the end, there is only good or bad music, music that I like or dislike. I don’t wanna let these distinctions restrict my creativity.
What importance is there in being part of local/national/international scene? Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of something bigger? I know it does to me knowing that in some slight way I was a part of the Swedish death metal scene in the 90s.
-For me it is important to be a part of the music scene. Not to polish up my ego, but to be networked with other musicians and my fans. As I mentioned before, it’s hard for unknown bands to get gigs, relationships are essential and it’s an advantage to be part of a community or part of the scene. If I can touch others with my music and bring them joy and a good time, that makes me truly happy. Moreover, the hours spent together in the rehearsal room or on stage with other musicians are fun and yes, if you can share your passion for music with others you already feel like you are part of a big community.
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?
-I still come from the time when people didn’t buy CDs or LPs on the internet but at the local record shop. There the artwork and the cover played a very important role. Nowadays it’s maybe not that important anymore, because many people buy the music as download and don’t have a CD in their cupboard. You have to ask the younger generation of fans about this question. I personally care a lot about a good cover artwork. Thus, I’m very glad that I could win Daniel Hofer from Archetype Design for Harmagedon again. He has already designed countless covers and shirts for various bands, among others for Graveworm.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? With the ability to upload your music as soon as you’ve written it the freedom to create has become greater but are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans now that every Tom, John and Harry can upload their stuff?
-It is probably much easier to have a label behind you. You got someone to take care of the marketing, help you getting gigs, etc. Without a label, you have to manage everything by yourself, but the advantage is that nobody tells you what to do and you are able to unleash your creativity. The possibility that everyone can simply upload their music on the Internet has advantages and disadvantages. The flood of new bands and music is incredibly high and it is even more difficult to be noticed. However, at the same time it also promotes diversity and offers great opportunities for bands and musicians. Nevertheless, even with home productions, you should make sure that the sound and quality is of a certain level so that you don’t get lost among the multitude of releases.
What is a gig with you like? What kind of shows do you prefer to play?
-Aspidium also lets the music entirely speak for itself live. We do not need a big show! Our fans expect straightforward Black Metal without the typical clichés. For us it is also irrelevant whether we play in front of 50 or 500 people. If the atmosphere is right and the fans are in a good mood, the size doesn’t matter at all. What counts for us is the music, the interaction with the fans and the pleasure of being on stage and having a good time together.
What lies in the future?
-I believe that one should constantly strive to develop himself further, both personally and musically. Standstill is regression and that’s why I’m always collecting new material, but first we would like to spread our current album a bit more among the people. At the moment the cultural life completely stands still due to the Corona crisis. I hope that the situation will improve soon and we are able to present our songs live on stage. Stay healthy!