In a world were there are so many bands to keep track of I want to bring my two cents in presenting you to this interview with BARSHASKETH. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
Let’s start with your latest recording. When you look back at it now what kind of feelings do you have for it?
-I strongly feel that this album represents our best and most complete work. Despite some of the logistical challenges that we’ve faced, working on the songs with the new lineup has felt very natural. That said, enough time has now passed (the album was completed almost one year ago) that my head is in a different place as we’ve started working on some new songs now.
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?
-The band originally started under a different name, but it was changed before anything was released as another project was recording under the same name. Barshasketh was a term I discovered in a text I was reading and it jumped out at me. Back then it didn’t hold much meaning, but now we’ve come to realise it perfectly encapsulates the band.
What does it mean to you that there are people out there that actually appreciate and look forward to what you are doing?
-I don’t mean to sound ungrateful- it’s humbling to know that our music resonates with other people- that said, the first and foremost reason why we do what we do is to satisfy a certain need within ourselves and there is little doubt that we would be doing exactly the same thing even if nobody was interested.
How important is image to the band? What impression do you want the fans to get of the band?*
-The image that we project is not something that is calculated to give a certain impression to fans, rather, we simply present the material in a way that makes sense to us. Ultimately, the priority is to make a clear and cohesive statement, both sonically and visually.
I am a huge fan of LP art work. How important is it to have the right art work for your album?
-Thanks, I have to give credit to the two very talented people who made it possible, namely Artem Grygoriev for the cover picture and our longtime collaborator Fenomeno Design for the layout and art direction. As I mentioned in my answer to the previous question, the cover artwork should be effective in encapsulating the musical and lyrical content of the album- especially if the whole album is centered around a specific concept, which it is in our case. Overall, I’m satisfied that we succeeded in this regard.
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?
-Although it would be silly to deny that social media offers certain advantages and benefits to underground bands, there are also significant downsides. I’ve personally been getting quite burnt out by the whole experience- the intrusiveness, having to fight to get people’s attention and so on. I think that we now live in an attention economy where people are constantly stimulated by all kinds of information and entertainment at their fingertips. This is something that works against us to a certain degree, since there is a deliberate attempt on our part to create something with a certain amount of depth and intricacy with our music and it’s not necessarily something that will have an immediate appeal. Nonetheless, on balance, having a social media presence is a necessary evil in 2019.
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?
-Not especially, there are some other bands in the ‘scene’ that we feel close to like Devouring Star, Thy Darkened Shade or Dysangelium, but ultimately our main focus and interest remains firmly on what it is we are doing, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as the bulk of the themes that run through our work are inwardly focussed- with an esoteric study of the self at the centre of everything.
What we do as a band is extremely meaningful to me and it’s something I place above almost all other things in life. The process of creation itself is ecstatic at times and has become absolutely essential over time. It’s hard to describe the feeling one has in these moments- I often get the impression that I’m simply channelling something rather than consciously putting it together.
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 mixed picture. On the one hand, there are many excellent bands that are active at the moment, in addition to the names I cited above, I consider Nightbringer, Svartidaudi, Adaestuo among others to all be making an essential contribution. That said, for each of these excellent bands, there must be at least one hundred more that have nothing to say and are in many cases just a casual hobby for the band members. Of course this has always been the case, although perhaps not on this scale since the barrier to entry has been lowered since it’s much easier to make an album now than it was a few decades ago. With the advent of the internet and social media, these worthless acts are more easily able to compete for attention with genuinely worthwhile acts- whereas in the past there was a certain, albeit imperfect process of filtering and curation through traditional print media and so forth, but my view is that this was still preferable to the current status quo.
How much of a touring band are you guys? How hard is it to get gigs outside of your borders?
-Most of us have normal day jobs, so we aren’t quite as active as some of our peers, that said, we do still manage to play a decent amount of shows per year. We’re lucky enough to get asked to perform abroad regularly and if I’m counting correctly, at this point we’ve played in eleven different countries, with a few more to be added to the list by the end of the year.
What will the future bring?
-We have a number of shows planned for 2019, including our first shows in Mexico, which is an interesting prospect. Beyond that, we’re working on new material for some split releases that are on the horizon, although it’s far too early to say when these will emerge.