I gotta admit that this was a blank to me. I’ve totally missed out on ATLANTEAN KODEX but an interview will correct most of that. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
Was Atlantis a real place or is it just fictional?
MT: I‘m pretty sure that Plato‘s account of Atlantis was based on some vague narratives and memories of a catastrophic event which took place in a distant past and still lingered in the oral tradition of his time. Maybe the fall of Knossos or maybe even older lore like memories of the rising sea-level in the wake of the last ice-age. Who knows? What‘s more important is what Atlantis stands for in the minds of mankind: an ideal utopia, a lost glorious empire, a focal point of nostalgia and longing for a better past – which probably never existed.
What is the ATLANTEAN KODEX and how can it be applied on today’s society?
MT: ATLANTEAN KODEX is power, the power to stand defiant. ATLANTEAN KODEX is the alternative, the iron hammer to break the shackles of time and space. ATLANTEAN KODEX open the gates of perception and unveil the path into a higher echelon of existence. ATLANTEAN KODEX leads your soul to the place where all roads end and where all life springs from.
I often wonder what it is like to be in a band, to have strange people listen to what I create and form their own opinion of it? How hard is it to let go of your music, to let it be examined and dissected by strangers?
MW: Let me answer this question with a short anecdote about our cover artwork “The monk by the sea” by German Artist Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840). This picture seems really empty and minimalistic when you look at it the first time – you can almost grasp the solitude. On the one Hand it breathes pure melancholy and on the other hand it makes you feel strong, because it’s a mixture of expectation and facing something that you know you can only see when you are (as the artist himself) a true fan of art in it’s different forms and a person that walks the lonely way of perfectionism. When he started to draw this picture it was filled with people and ships in the background – a lot of details. During the whole time he was working on it he reduced it more and more and in the end he only showed us what was there from the beginning – a room for interpretation, a statement that he wanted the people to use there own imagination to experience his vision, a picture of life and death.
So being a musician who is working on an album is not that different I guess. You have to go through steps of analysis, deconstruction and pure self-destruction cause you spend hours of writing songs and creating parts just to find it pretty awesome in one moment and in the next second you want to dump it in the trash cause you think it does not sound good at all. You feel more like an instrument then a composer. In general I can only say, creating music itself is so surreal that without getting reflection from others it’s almost not there.
On that note. How pleased are you with your latest recorded work?
MW: There are moments when you sing along the songs and find that this is the best you have ever created and there are times where you want to call your bandmates and tell them that you want to split up the band cause its all shit and you never want that anybody can hear it. The good thing is that within a band there is enough self-reflection that at one specific point you know that an album is done. It’s also a matter of trusting your bandmates. If you are satisfied and you can listen to it from the beginning to the end, and you like what you hear, what can you do more? And between the recording of an album and the actual release there are always a couple of months in between to get in distance. Only you know what you like and don’t like and since everybody got a different taste of music etc. there is nothing wrong with don’t like things as much as others do.
MT: What he‘s trying to say is, that we‘re quite pleased with the way the album turned out.
What kind of reactions did you expect to get from it and what kind of reactions have you had to it?
MT: I was quite curious about what the reactions would be like, since we developed our sound in a more heavy, less traditional direction. But so far it‘s been pretty overwhelming. We got top grades from all over Europe if that means anything. But what‘s most important: the people who were there from the beginning like it as well. This is what matters.
How important are the lyrics to your music? Can anything go or are there specific themes you keep returning to?
MT: We consider our music, our lyrics and our artworks as one. Especially the lyrics are an integral part in experiencing our world. Our lead narrative is the adaptation of European mythology to modern contexts. We‘re using the mythology as a lens to get a different view on current politics, culture and our own lives. One recurring theme surely is the longing for another world, maybe another Europe or maybe something totally different? Of course, as you can tell form songs like „Heresiarch“ or „Pilgrim“ we‘re also hugely influenced by authors such as H.P. Lovecraft and J.R.R. Tolkien, whose poems I find totally underrated.
For me a huge part of the whole experience listening to music is the presentation. How much do you think about stuff like art work, press shots and layout?
MT: Artworks and layouts are crucial to us. Everything needs to fit together perfectly to help the listener to experience our vision. If there‘s a single thing which doesn‘t fit to the rest, maybe only a font which doesn‘t work well with the artwork it might disturb the listeners experience and he might not be able to let himself fall completely into our music.
How important is it for you that you stand out from the rest? How little do you care what people think of you?
MT: It‘s difficult to answer to this question without sounding pretentious. But let me put it this way: We didn‘t start the band to be „different“. The original plan was to create a musical entity which combines the majestic glory of „Into Glory Ride“-era MANOWAR and the sheer epic atmospheres of „Twilight of the Gods“-era BATHORY. We did that mainly for ourselves, because we missed this kind of music in today‘s scene. In the beginning we didn‘t even plan to record anything, because it was just a pastime for ourselves, an excuse to make noise and get drunk on a Sunday afternoon.
The way things turned out actually surprised us. Now we‘re really something „different“. There is not a single band, which sounds quite like us. I guess, that‘s part of our success. Because people feel that we‘re something special, that we‘re able to give them something they can‘t get from other bands. I can‘t deny we‘re quite proud of that fact.
What is music to you; a recreation or an artistic expression?
MW: I would say a mixture of both. But we live only once so I think it’s also a way to conserve yourself in a creative way, to leave something for the next generations. Even when we are not here anymore one day, the music always will. It‘s our only chance to conquer death. It‘s our sacrifice to the White Goddess.
What future is there?
MT: We‘re playing a couple of shows in 2014, but then things will probably come to an end. There are no further plans for the band at the moment.