I got to start with your name. To most Swedes and Danes living in the Oresund region Bakken is an amusement park just north of Copenhagen. What prompted you to choose this as your band name?
-The naming of the band was really by pure chance, we were playing around with various ideas. In the end we had two possible names to fight over… “Bakkus” or “Kracken”…so we did a Frankenstein and turned them into “Bakken”! A while afterwards we found out about the amusement park. I’ve promised the lads one day Bakken will go to Bakken for a holiday or team building sessions ? lol…
From what I understand you are from N Ireland. What is it like to live in a place that is basically surrounded by an imaginary Berlin wall?
-Having to live in the westernmost island (pretty much …) of Europe, we feel detached from mainland Europe. We envy bands from France, Germany and Italy etc… as they can travel at less cost than us, and go to where the people want to hear the METAL!! The sea around our island definitely makes life that little bit more difficult.
How Irish do you feel that you are compared to the rest of the island? How easily can you travel the island?
-It’s something we never think about, in our minds borders, especially in Europe are becoming increasingly irrelevant. The only thing stopping Bakken travelling is a good supply of music in the van and obviously lots of beer! (thankfully our driver doesn’t drink)
When you live in such a small place, is there a metal scene going on? What places are there to play?
-We are lucky here that we have such a dedicated metal scene. One advantage of living in a smaller
island is the closeness of all the people involved in making the METAL happen. Doesn’t take us metal heads long to find each other! In Belfast, the Distortion Project is a weekly metal gig hosted at the Limelight 2. Each Saturday 3-4 bands play, showcasing what I would consider to be the best bands in Northern Ireland. In my opinion the whole project is a testament to the dedication of the soundmen, photographers, journalists and especially the fans that turn up each week and make it happen! We try and gig as much as possible. We have played all over the island… Derry, Ballyclare, Belfast, Dublin and Limerick… and pretty much everywhere in between!
How important is playing live in building a band’s name?
-It’s pretty much the most important thing for us. At the end of the day the best way to get your name out there is to play live – especially for us with this being our first album and having only formed in 2011. In my opinion metal is at its best live, when not only can you hear it, you feel it! We are always looking to promote the band in a live setting, it’s the most fun and really why we all started Bakken in the first place
When you started the band with what intentions did you do so? How different are these intentions today compared to when you started?
-Well, that’s a tricky one….lol we originally started the band to play covers and see what happened. When we had our first jam it was pretty much obvious we had opened some kind of Pandora’s Box… Over the next few months we then started working on our own material and discussing the plans for the band for the next year as such. It was pretty much obvious that we had to record the songs. In the end, we all agreed that life is too short and while we had four guys all on the same page as well as being totally dedicated, we would give it a shot.
Your album has been out a while now. Did the result of releasing the album match your expectations of what it would do?
-The album has exceeded all our expectations in the band. The response has been positive from so many people at home and abroad. We are really pleased with the response, as well as humbled by the effort other people – like family, friends and local bands- have given us to help us along the way.
What kind of reactions have you had to it? My first impression was that it was too light, too soft in sound.
-In terms of sound we wanted to veer away, to an extent, from the mainstream metal sound a lot of label bands are releasing… We wanted to try and balance the classic metal sound from the past with the more aggressive modern sound. The approach we took was to use less compression in the mix and really let each instrument breathe. Especially in the guitar department. Its not very often Simon or myself play the same passage… we try and orchestrate the guitar sound rather than over layer the tracks. Essentially most of the time there are only two guitars playing, Simon on the left and me on the right.
When you promote an album what are the best ways to get it noticed? How hard is it to get it noticed in the more major metal press?
-I guess we just keep working at promoting the band in all the places we hope to find Metallers! Obviously online media plays a massive part for any band now in terms of reaching out to people all over the world. As mentioned earlier, we try and gig at any opportunity and generally promote the album any way we can. It is tough for sure to get noticed by the mainstream press. I guess for any band, you just have to be as professional as possible with regards to promoting the band. Given the amount of music available for the media to review etc. every band has to work ten times as hard to get any kind attention
What future do you see?
-At the minute Bakken is going strong. I feel I have to introduce Adrian Stockman, our new bass player, who is an immense talent and performer. With Adrian recently joined, we will continue to gig and promote the album. Currently we are working on the process to do another album and build on our first album. We would like to play Europe this year also… so with any luck we’ll get Bakken in a boat and rock the mainland!
…So any bands out there want to help get in touch!!
Thanks for your support and for giving us an interview, much appreciated