BLODSMAK is that taste you get in your mouth when you’ve exaggerated your body to the edge of total collapse. Or when you hear a really, really cool metal album. Answers by Tom Ostad, vocalist and songwriter. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
You have one of these names that does not really tell what kind of metal you play. How hard was it to come up with the name?
– Well, the name «Blodsmak» means «taste of blood» in norwegian, and although it sounds like a name for anemic cellar-dwellers who enjoys traveling the grim wastelands of the arctic darkness, it´s all about energy. When you´ve pushed yourself real hard, you get that familiar taste of blood in your mouth. Being a quite energetic live-band, it wasn´t really that hard to come up with the name. We´re actually quite surprised no one had taken it before us…
Could you give us a short introduction to the band?
– Blodsmak is a heavy folkrock band, creating catchy riff based music with lyrics, tapping into the vein of dark norwegian folklore and folk music.
The members are from all over Norway, so we´re not really a ‹insert city here›-band. We like to say a bit theatrically «we´re not from a place, we´re from a state of mind». We don´t really have a background from any known bands, so we don´t have that many name drops and references other than our music.
The band consists of:
Tom Ostad, vocals and guitar
Åsgeir Størdal, guitar and backup vocals
Magnus Tveiten, solo guitar and backup vocals
Steinar Evant, bass
Geir Johansen, drums
What would you say have been the single greatest influence on your sound?
– The biggest feedback we get on our music is how unique it sounds. I find that interesting, since it´s basically heavy riffs with some folk-ish melody-lines thrown into the mix.
It really goes to show that it´s all in how you combine the ingredients to create a tasty stew. And these ingredients include a dash of 80´s balls out stadium rock like Van Halen, some 70´s prog, a hint of the melodic sensibilities of say ABBA, and a solid dose of the darkness from Alice in Chains. Sprinkled with the groove of Pantera on a good day.
Single greatest influence would without a doubt be Alice in Chains.
What is the scene like in your area? Do you feel that you are a part of a scene?
– I wouldn´t really say we´re part of a scene. We´re struggling to be a part of any scene, since our music is kinda hard to categorize. The metallers think we´re too soft, and the rockers think we´re too hard. Also they are a bit scared because the name is a bit «harsh». But we´re building our castle brick by brick, trying to play as many concerts as possible, winning over the audience wherever we go.
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?
– There´s a strong popular opinions these days claiming «rock is dead», and looking at the top sellers, one could be inclined to think that, the lists being dominated by rap, tropical house and RnB.
But playing hard rock and metal is not about straddling any hit lists. It´s not about popularity. It´s about feeling the blood screaming in your veins, feeling that rush, closing your eyes and losing yourself in the magic that only a cranked amp and double bassdrums can bring.
So what if the petty opinionators say that rock is dead? We, the people know better.
We´re five guys from different walks of life, with not much in common other than the willingness to push each other to bring music to life. That is the greater cause we´re part of. That is the movement. Individuals may die, but rock? Never.
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?
– Hahaha! If you look at the cover of our album «Gjennom marg og bein» you will in fact be surprised. It consists of lots of flowers and a birdish skeletal creature.
I think the album cover should be an invitation from the band to join in on the trip ahead. It should be the keyhole you first look through to catch a glimpse of what sights the band has to show you.
A good album cover will forever be linked with the content, so one must make sure it´s an iconic one. If a cover makes us dream, and the album itself makes the dream come true, it´s a great one.
We´re really lucky to work together with the amazing Wolfskulljack to create our covers, and I think especially «Gjennom marg og bein» really captures what our music is like.
What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
– This is difficult. On one side, the bands are hardly making any money on selling music, but that only means they can´t afford the insane debauchery of the rockers of yore. Instead of thrashing a hotel room, they have to settle for crushing a paper bag. 😀
I don´t think digital distribution is killing music. It´s easier than ever to pull up to the starting line with your music. The problem is that you´re entering the same race as for instance Metallica, so you´re bound to get left behind, without a big push behind you.
But for Blodsmak it´s not about making the big money. Sure, it would be fun to have a huge hit and sell shitloads of albums, but for us personally, it´s more connecting with our fans.
What kind live scene is there for bands like yours?
– As I mentioned earlier, we´re a strange musical creature, grazing on our own pasture somewhere between rock and metal, and as such we´re sometimes hard to fit in between all the different metals out there.
But the music scene in Norway is thriving. Artists HAVE to get out there to play, since they´re not selling as many CD´s as before, so there are lots of festivals and places to play. But once again the small bands are competing with the big sluggers of the scene, and clubs have to bet on the safe bookings to attract people. Still, we are getting more and more bookings, and a steadily increasing fan base.
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
– Playing live is when we get «paid» for all the hours spent in a dank cellar practicing. It is both a happening and a party. We play every gig like it´s the last one in the world, living up to our energetic name Blodsmak. The shows should be fun, and serious at the same time. The way we see it, every gig matters. You´re only as good as the audience make you. And for us playing live is like entering a room full of strangers and leave with a room full of friends.
What would you like to see the future bring?
– The inspiration to keep on making music, and the stamina to keep on kicking ass live. We would like to play outside of Norway. We think that even if people do not understand the lyrics, they will still be captured by the mood and energy of the band.
And of course world peace and happiness to mankind. And a beer. 😀