I wonder what the metal map would look like had not Sweden provided us with so many great bands. BELOW is my latest Swedish discovery. ANSWERED BY DOC – DRUMMER. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
You have one of these names that do not really tell what kind of metal you play. How hard was it to come up with the name?
-Well, we wanted a short, “straight to the face” name that everyone could spell, haha.
We had a few options but BELOW just seemed to fit our music, just simple, dark, heavy, from the underground doom. I don´t know how many times I´ve tried to find a band but couldn´t spell that name in latin that sounds awesome but is just to damn hard to spell.
As I am sure of we are quite a few that are rather new to you guys could you give us a short introduction to the band?
-We are five guys from Sweden who wanted to play heavy, riff-based doom with a lot of dynamics and still keep the melodies. It´s me Doc on drums, Zeb on vocals, Paud & Berg on guitars and Hedman on the bass. I really don´t know what more there is to say about us, they should listen to “Across the dark river” (our debut) and of course “Upon a Pale Horse”, we let the music do the talking!
We all carry baggage with us that affects us in one way or another but what would you say have been the single greatest influence on your sound?
-For us as a band, of course Candlemass, mid-era Black Sabbath and King Diamond are the main influences. As musicians we all listen to a huge variety of metal, that we all in different ways wether we like it or not bring to the table in terms of writing. As for me as a drummer I listen to all kinds of drummers, from extreme metal to jazz/fusion, I can in one day listen to Derek Roddy and Dirk Verbeuren and then switch to Benny Greb and Anika Nilles, so influences are from all over. I think that if we all listened to just one sort of music and style all our songs would perhaps be pretty much the same.
What is the scene like in your area? Is it important that there is some sort of local scene for a band to develop or can a band still exist in a vacuum of no scene/no bands?
-Well Sweden, and Nyköping (where we are from) in general is in my opinion not the best place for bands in terms of gigs. We seem to have ALOT of bands, but the really cool clubs aint that many. For us we actually booked our first short european tour before we even had played one show in Sweden, although we did one show at a small bar to get warmed up a week before that tour started. I think that if there is no local scene where you are at, just widen the area you search for shows at.
Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
-Yes! I always feel like you a part of one huge family when you are at festivals and shows. And as a musician it´s such a cool feeling when if you for example go to Greece, and people are singing along to your songs! It´s a pretty humbling feeling and it really gives you energy. The same goes for people from all over the world giving you a message that they like what you do, sometimes when I read those I think “So somewhere in Colombia this guy is rocking out to our album? that´s amazing”. We really appreciate all the support we have gotten.
When you play the sort of music you play I guess you cannot have birds and bees on the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
-Haha, perhaps not. Although some half devoured birds with bees flying out of them would perhaps fit some of the more extreme Metal bands. For me a great album cover reflects the music of the album, and gets you interested in hearing what the album is about. I tend to like the pretty simple album covers.
What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
-That´s a pretty hard question. I think that the digital is a great way to spread your music, with say Spotify, I have found a lot of great bands by just clicking “bands like this”, and a lot of those bands perhaps I would never have heard of without that. And within seconds a band can have their music heard all across the world. I do however feel that it´s important to support the bands, so when I find something I really like I try to buy the albums and the merch.
What kind live scene is there for bands like yours?
-There are a lot of cool doom festivals (and of course alot of doom bands play regular metal festivals) around europe especially. So I would say that the scene is really good, there are always a lot of of people who likes to go slow.
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
-A bit of both. We want to give a pretty haunting atmosphere with candles and such, but we want the crowd to get in on the action as well.
What would you like to see the future bring?
-I hope it brings us a lot of shows, meeting new great people, we have a lot of places we haven´t played. We have never played in the UK so hopefully we can do that in a not so distant future. And of course plenty of years of new Below music. times I´ve tried to find a band but couldn´t spell that name in latin that sounds awesome but is just to damn hard to spell.