I have nothing to atone for. Well, that is not true. But I rather listen to ATONEMENT than I atone. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
Let’s start with your latest recording. When you look back at it now what kind of feelings do you have for it?
-I feel pretty good about it, especially considering I wrote and recorded all of the music on my Macbook over the course of several years while going through some very difficult times and did so under some less than ideal circumstances, like living in hotels, someone’s couch or basement I was staying with, while living in my car etc. We took those tracks and mixed them a bit better in the studio and laid down some vocal tracks. But I think when you consider how I went about recording the music, it lends itself very well to the mood and the more “Industrial” sound I was going for (especially with the drums). But there’s a lot of raw engery and emotion in it as well, and I think it translated well because of how I recorded it and the circumstances under which I went about it.
I am fascinated by band names. What was it that made you settle on the one you have and what does it mean to you?
-Yes, I get asked this a lot. The meaning behind the band name is explained in deeper detail in the EP “Prolouge”, but in summary it basically means that the idea of “God” itself is a philosophy that cannot be proven by man, therefore the ifea of man becoming “one with God” is nothing more than a theory.
More specifically, in relation to the story of Jesus Christ’s supposed “atonement” for the sins of mankind. To me, this really is just a story and nothing more. The people in these stories may or may not have truly existed on this earth, but to say anything beyond that cannot be proven or disproven my mankind. Anyone is certainly welcome to believe or have faith in whatever they choose, but I myself choose to believe these are stories… theories… and to some degree even lies.
What does it mean to you that there are people out there that actually appreciate and look forward to what you are doing?
-I’m still not convinced they are or they that they do LOL, but thank you for saying that. In all seriousness, I’ve been playing music and working very hard at it in one capacity or another for many years. More than half my life actually. I do it because I love it and it’s just part of my DNA now. I certainly don’t have deleusions of grandure or getting rich and famour or anything, but I do hope people like and appreciate what I do.
How important is image to the band? What impression do you want the fans to get of the band?
-I would say it’s pretty important to me personally. I was really trying to do something a bit different than both what I’ve done in the past and what you might normally see incorporated in “metal”. Because of my heavy influences in other areas like Industrial, Space Rock and even some Dark Wave, I was trying to incorporate more imagry and asthetics that came from those influences, which is not something you might typically see in metal. I’m sure it may not be very well received for that reason, but I enjoy trying to do something different. If I wanted to do something that fit into everything else, I wouldn’t be doing this at all. I personally take a lot of risks with this project.
I am a huge fan of LP art work. How important is it to have the right art work for your album?
-Extremly important. One of the most important parts of completing the entire project was imagining and executing the artwork. My friend John Regan and I came up with the concept based on a few ideas and images I had, and he did the graphic design work. I was really trying to set a specific “tone” for this record, and the artwork for it was very critical in accomplishing that for me.
We live in a superficial world today where you don’t exist if you are not on Youtube and Facebook. Has social media been only beneficial in socializing with the fans or is there a down side to it too?
-It has its pros and cons. I’ve seen both sides of it. For a band just starting out or with the members themselves trying to manage everything, it can become pretty overwhelming. Hell, I can barely keep up with my own personal social media, and now I have to manage one for more than one of my bands. It also depends on your demographic to a degree as well. I think the younger your audience, the more likely you are to benefit from this right now.
On the flip side, the reality is that you can reach a broader audience. The Internet is kind of poison overall in my eyes, and I try not to get too caught up on it. It feels like sometimes it’s a massive popularity contest, and is less concerned with the quality of the content of the music itself. I’m personally more concerned with making the best music possible. Anyone can (and many do) make a shitty pop band with meaningless music, propmote the fucking hell out of it, make your demographic as middle of the road as possible and become very popular very quickly. But does that necessarily mean it’s good? (Nothing against pop music. I like my fair share of it. That’s just an example.)
When you play in a band does it feel like you are a part of a massive community? That you belong to something that gives meaning to your life?
-Yes, definitely. It’s something that I not only love to do, but that I have come to love about that part of my life. It’s a very fulfilling part being a musician and is hard to explain or describe to other people that don’t live in that universe.
When you are in the middle of it do you notice what state our beloved music scene is in? Is the scene healthy or does it suffer from some ailment?
-It’s a very creative time and there is a lot of very good music being created. From that standpoint, it’s very cool to see.
On the flip side, it’s a tough time to be a musician and make any kind of living at it. I’ve all but given up on trying to make it my full time job, and I’ve accepted that I just do what I can because I love it, and it’s not my day job. Going back to the internet conversation, things have changed so drastically over the last 10-15 years, bands really don’t make any money unless they are able to tour their asses off and manage to sell a crap ton of merch. And even then, it’s a stretch.
How much of a touring band are you guys? How hard is it to get gigs outside of your borders?
-As of now, Atonement Theory has not done any touring. We only just started playing live locally within the last 6 monhts or so. I do hope we get to do some touring, although it’s not a huge focus of mine at this point due to a lot of what I said earlier about bands making money. It’s just so damn hard. This is why it’s so critical to support the bands you do see when you go to shows. We’re all basically losing money just by beinbg there LOL.
What will the future bring?
-We are currently working on material for what we hope will be a follow up full length, so I’m currently putting some feelers ouot there to labels on that. We continue to play shows in and around Chicago, and perhaps one day even do some brief tours. We’d probably be more well received overseas than in the US, so maybe we will push for that LOL.