BARBARIAN SWORDS has that epic, full on metal to the bone kind of feeling to it. You just know that this will not be any sort of melodic hair band nonsense. Replies by Voice of Noise (guitar). Anders Ekdahl ©2016
When the band came into creation what was the main purpose for it?
-The original purpose was to play nasty and non-technical metal that make you travel to times when paganism wasn’t subdued by Christianity. We also wanted to sound like a fuckin’ steamroller. Not sure if we managed to achieve our goals. But, more than a purpose, I think that we had a vague idea of mixing the two heavy metal styles that we enjoyed the most: black and doom metal. Panzer and I play together in other bands and, at some point, we started playing doom metal before the band was “formally” created. He plays guitar better than I do but, under my dictatorship, moved to bass guitar. I played drums and guitar. Now he is our driver more than anything else. The guy’s got brains.
The “formal” start really happened, I guess, when Von Päx and I decided to create a band. After a generous lunch at our grandma’s place, we went to my apartment and recorded, using some rudimentary equipment, a couple of songs that already have this old-school black-doom mixture that still characterizes Barbarian Swords.
How hard is it to come up with a sound that is all yours? What bits’n’pieces do you pick up from other stuff to make it your sound?
-Despite the initial impression that our sound may cause, it took us some time to achieve it. Finding a way to combine the high-pitched and raspy sound of black metal with the roundness and heaviness of death-doom metal was a challenge. I think that our sound is inspired by original extreme metal bands such as Bathory, Hellhammer and Venom. I would add that some of the harmonies used in Barbarian Swords come from the second wave of black metal from Norway. Bands such as Mayhem, Immortal, Gorgoroth, Emperor and Burzum represent a big influence to us. Regarding the “fat” side of our sound, death-metal bands with slow and crushing parts such as Asphyx or Incantation could also be considered a big influence. Finally, the sound of both old-school (Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Pentagram…) and death-oriented doom metal (the first Paradise Lost, the first Cathedral, the first Anathema, Evoken, etc.) has also made a deep mark on our music. Primitive thrash metal can also be recognized here and there, I guess. I love Sodom’s album “Get what you deserve”. Morbid Saint also rules.
I have no idea what kind of creative process you guys go through but how hard is it to record and release new songs?
-Our music is very spontaneous. There’s always an initial idea (one or two riffs) and then we try to shape it working together. Beer is a constant presence. Clouds of smoke also tend to accumulate. Recording is another beast. Since we record our albums in an approximately one week, more discipline is needed. Javi Félez from Moontower studios is a key factor in the whole process. I always have the feeling that we are like school kids and the guy patiently lectures us on what metal really is. In “Worms”, he really captured our rather vaguely-expressed intentions regarding our sound, As I said, mixing black and doom metal is more difficult than it looks form outside. Félez did a wonderful job on this issue. Just one more comment: guitar solos in our albums are (and will always be) improvised.
Today technology allows you to record at home and release your music digitally. But in doing so is there a risk that you release songs too soon, before they are fully ready to be launched at an audience?
-Well, it depends on your tastes and needs, I guess. I love the sound of the death and thrash metal demos from the 80s and the 90s. Many of them were recorded at home or in a garage. We recorded our “Crusaders of the Apocalypse” demo at our rehearsal place with my rather cheap recording equipment. It was a great experience and we really like the final outcome. But, man, if you have a clear idea of what you want to do, how you want to sound, etc you will eventually need to trust the wiser hands of an expert. The distance between amateur and professional recording can be large.
I for one feel that the change of how people listen to music today, by downloading it and expecting to get it for free, will kill music as we know it. What kind of future is there for recorded music?
-We have always used pirate copies of official albums in cassette, CD, mp3, etc. Today, you have instant access to almost everything. This is good because you can download stuff that is hard to find (e.g. some of the demos that I mentioned earlier) and, at the same time, you don’t loose 1,000eur every month due to your compulsive acquisition of music albums. The bad thing is that people don’t buy stuff (which have always happened, perhaps less massively though) and also that we always want more and more stuff (because we humans are like this). In the end, we pay less attention to the greatness of specific albums. I was born in the 70s. When we were young (e.g. in the 90s), we paid a lot of attention to every detail of our idols’ albums. This has been lost on the way a little bit. Every new LP was a reason for a party.
What kind of responses have you had to your recorded music? What has been the thing that has gotten the most attention?
-Our last album “Worms” have received very good (and quite unexpected) reviews in most countries (including the US, Russia, Norway, Italy, Brazil, Chile, Spain, UK, France among others) and bad reviews in Austria and Germany so far. What is curious about reviews is that the very same thing (e.g. having an old-school primitive or even non-technical sound) can be a good or a bad thing depending on who is judging it. Normally, the square-minded people that believe that heavy metal is all about technical shit hate our music. I have some words for them: Get fucked somewhere else!
The principal targets of our music are non-Christian people that enjoy the primitivism and violence of darker ages.
We live in a world where there are no real distances between people communicating anymore. What has been the most surprising contact so far?
-I don’t know… It’s always a satisfaction to see people from other countries interested in our music. I would like to take this opportunity to give my salute to one of our more fervent follower: Jörg from Germany. Underground music sometimes allows you to know your fans by their name, even if they live in another country.
Do you feel like you are a part of a greater community playing in a band?
-This question sounds a bit too hippy for my taste.
What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
-The metal scene in Barcelona sucks. People, including myself (being always busy with non-musical stuff; e.g., work and reproduction), mostly attend shows from bands from other countries. The local bands’ gigs never have more than 50 attendees. But, hey, our music was supposed to be underground, right? So, who cares in the end? I play live because I like it. I enjoy every second of it. If you want some success, play pop music or technical deathcore.
The local bands will never reach a bigger audience because people are always smoking outside until the band from abroad starts playing. I have seen many great Spanish bands playing death, doom and black metal but the truth is that most of them quit music after a while. They always have other jobs, families, etc. Unlike in other countries such as the UK, France, Germany, the US…, underground music has never found the right channels to be expressed in Spain. Underground recording companies don’t survive in this shithole country. Of course, there are a few exceptions (e.g., Xtreem Records).
What plans do you have for the future?
-Our long-run plans include traveling in limousine and private jet in our next tour, collaborating with Metallica and appearing on MTV once or twice a week. We will also play some dirty rock’n’roll in the meantime.