BLIGHTMASS is a death metal band that needs to be checked out by all. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
A band name says more than thousand words, or does it? How important is a band name to get people interested in your music?
[Jechael]: I believe that a band name is extremely important, depending on which market of fans you’re attempting to attract. Some fans want the band to take themselves very seriosly and have a very appealing theme; that ties into the name. However, some fans are very much attracted to bands who name themselves something silly and write silly songs. I have, what I consider, a great sense of humor; but I choose to take my band’s name, image and theme quite seriously, as that it is a reflection of the ideals I wish to convey. [Nattewølf]: I think a band name has many significations and it is the case for BlightMass indeed. The name has to reflect the substanciality of a band in a few syllables for a maximum impact; so it is as important as the lyrics, the music or the artwork. It is a balanced combination of many factors.
When you finish a recording and then sit back and relax, what kind of feelings do you get? Are you glad it is finished? Does the anxiety grow, not knowing if everybody will like it?
[Jechael]: *Personally, I feel a great sense of relief knowing that the “work portion” of the project is complete. As for whether or not the fans will enjoy it, I tend to stay optomistic. This is because I have always (and only) written music for myself, foremost. Everything I have ever created or have been a part of musically, has been so I could sit back, have a beer and enjoy it. So I don’t get a sense of anxiety or anything of the sort, as long as I am proud of the finished product. However, I am the first one to say to myself- “No, this is not a good enough performance from me and I want to re-track everything.” So the old saying that “you are your own worst critic” is very, very true in my case.
What is it like to be in a studio recording your music? What kind of feelings and thoughts race through your heads?
[Jechael]: * I have a lot of fun during the actual tracking process, and once the ideals are immortalized in their final form, it’s quite fulfilling and rewarding. On the other hand, it is bitter-sweet because recording can be such a wonderful process; and can be very humbling. Much of my development as a musician has taken place in the recording studio. To address the aspect of thoughts and feelings- I am always overcome with the visions and emotions that took place while creating the story through the lyrics. Each time I revisit the songs, it brings me back to the place where they originated, both mentally and emotionally.
Today I get a feeling that the promotion of a band lands a lot on the bands themselves so how does one promote oneself the best possible way in order to reach as many as possible?
[Jechael]: *That’s definitely an accurate observation. The act of promoting has very much so been an ever-changing activity. The best promotion is word-of-mouth, as we say. With that in mind, I believe the best promo comes from playing live shows as often and in as many places as possible. Also, if you can get your merchandise out across the world, then you are doing yourself a great service. A good product will, in essence, promote itself. Make your music good as fuck and your band name important and (preferably for me) easy to read!
Today we have all these different sub-genres in metal. How important is that you can be tagged in one of these? Why isn’t metal enough as a tag?
[Jechael]: *I understand and agree that these tags you speak of are getting a bit out of hand; but I believe that it is a product of a person’s desire to be specific. As with any aspect of life, the more you learn about something, the more complicated and detailed it becomes. Take fruit for example: Apples and Oranges are both fruit, but we know they are very different. A botanist will see many more differences; and a biologist will see the most differences, because the more we analyze things, the more we notice the differences/similarities. This is the same with metal music. The classification table is becoming much more detailed, leading to sub-genres.
What importance is there in being part of local/national/international scene? Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of something bigger? I know it does to me knowing that in some slight way I was a part of the Swedish death metal scene in the 90s.
[Jechael]: *I find it absolutely important to consider oneself a part of the “bigger picture.” Isolation and solitude can be productive qualities, during the creative process, but I firmly believe that being part of a community is much more spiritually fulfilling and productive. So with this in mind, it’s imperative to be active in the scene and support each other. The music industry no longer gives the same level of support, as in the past. So with this in mind, it’s imperative to be active in the scene and support each other. The music industry no longer gives the same level of support, as in the past. So, if we do not support each other, then the foundation is bound to crumble.
Ever since I first got into metal the art work has been a main motivator in buying a record. What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
[Jechael]: *”Image is everything” is what we are told from the moment we decide to start a band. Album art is often the deciding factor between a sale or a no-sale. I believe we can all agree that once we saw the artwork for our favorite Cannibal Corpse album, we purchased it immediately! Image sells. It works. And if your image is to have no image at all, sometimes that can work too. It really goes back to a band knowing their fanbase and making decisions based on what their fans expect.[Nattewølf]: *As the band name, the artwork has to reflect the quintessence of a band for a maximum impact; so it is as important as the lyrics, the music or the artwork. It is one of the factors that we talked about.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? With the ability to upload your music as soon as you’ve written it the freedom to create has become greater but are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans now that every Tom, John and Harry can upload their stuff?
[Jechael]: * I have so much to say about this topic, but I will say, basically, that labels are only interested in two things: Veteran acts that have decades of productivity on their resume and young up-and-coming acts (talented or not, it doesn’t matter as long as the image is hip) that they can sell to kids. They have no desire to extend a helping hand to your average badass extreme metal band. They need a definite selling point that they can easliy exploit. So now being talented, devoted, focused and driven isn’t always going to get you very much in that regard. I believe that this change in the music industry has had a plethora of both negative and positive impacts on what we do. Any musician will probably agree that it’s quite amazing that we can use platforms like social media, YouTube, Spotify and many others; to get our music out across the world. I also am personally pleased that with the recent developments of home-recording software, that the days of paying thousands of dollars to record in an actual “facility” are no longer completely necessary. This is not to say that major recording studio operations aren’t still valuable and relevant. However, now a greater number of musicians have the ability to both record and promote our own work.
[Nattewølf]: Being backed up by a label allow you to reach a lot more people than you can reach alone if you’re not a big act, even with online platforms. Nowadays, music is a lot more easy to produce yourself and it implies of course both negative and positive things. Unfortunately good bands are drawn into a flow of not-that-good-ones but now you can find jewels amongst them that wouldn’t have recorded by the time because of the more difficult way to produce.
What is a gig with you like? What kind of shows do you prefer to play?
[Nattewølf]: *Stadiums tour only (haha). No joke, as far as we can play, we’re pleased… New people to meet, new places to discover, new bands to listen to…
What lies in the future?
[Nattewølf]: *We booked a 8 dates tour called “XMass Tour 2020” in South France from 25th January to 1st February 2020 and we already started to write and record for the next release. And some other things but not enough concrete for the moment!