With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to BLOODRED. Interview partner: Ron Merz (all songs & lyrics, guitars/bass/vocals). Anders Ekdahl ©2019
When you release a new recording does it feel like you have to start a new a couple step back because so much time has passed and so many new bands have entered the scene since the last album or do you just pick up where the last one left?
-Yes, I think you can say that. Four years is of course a very long time between two albums (especially if you are not Metallica). In the case of BLOODRED, this is made even more difficult by the fact that it is a one-man project and so far there have been no live performances. So of course there is a great danger that you will be forgotten and have to start again from the beginning. On the other hand, I also used the time well in my opinion.
After the recordings for the first album “NEMESIS” I learned a lot and was able to record the guitars and the bass in my own studio. I also took the time to work out the songs as optimally as possible and at the same time to make the album diverse but consistent. I think that you can hear the development on “THE RAVEN’S SHADOW”, even if it is of course still unmistakably BLOODRED.
Do you have an aesthetic that you keep true to from recording to recording (i.e. stylistical same art work, lyrical theme etc.)?
-I worked with Stefan Heilemann for the artwork again, so at least that hasn’t changed.
But it is important to me that the artwork represents the music and is not just an end in itself. Don’t misunderstand: that artwork is an important part of the album and Stefan has done an excellent job again. Nevertheless, the most important thing is still the music, which also sets the tone. In my view, it could theoretically also be possible for a next release that the cover and the artwork are completely different. I want to be open and not let myself be restricted too much.
The same applies to the lyrics. Of course, according to the style of music, you won’t find any particularly happy lyrics. As is typical of the genre, I tend to deal with the more difficult issues such as death, depression or terrorism. But I won’t let myself be restricted here either and write about everything that is relevant to me (at least at the given moment).
Everything should always evolve. It doesn’t matter whether in large or small steps, stagnation is not an option.
How hard is it to come up with lyrics to the songs? When do you know that you have the right lyrics?
-In fact, the lyrics are always a big challenge. This applies even more if you write – as a non native speaker – the texts in English. For this reason, I sometimes like to use poems, which I then partially rewrite and set to music. Since I always fall back on older works, the language used there is often very interesting, because from today’s perspective it is somewhat unusual or even strange.
It takes a lot of time until the lyrics for the songs fit. On the one hand, it not only has to fit in terms of content and language, but on the other hand it has to fit to my way of singing. I am very happy when Alex Krull gives me one or two hints in the studio. After all, he has decades of experience and really can help.
I am old school. I like really cool album covers but from what I’ve gathered some bands tend to spend less on art work because people don’t buy records, they download songs. What are your feelings on this?
-I am completely with you! I too grew up in a time when the artwork in the record store was an important argument for or against buying a record. If you didn’t get a chance to hear the album first, sometimes it was the only criterion …
I think that the fact that I have worked with Stefan Heilemann again shows that the album cover and the whole artwork are very important to me. There are many discussions and ideas behind the artwork, which you might not see at first glance. But I like it when you can always discover new details while looking at the cover.
But yes, in the days of streaming and downloading, when music has become a by-product for many people, the covers are unfortunately no longer so important. Many will probably not really notice them anymore. That sucks big time …
Do you ever feel that you get misinterpretated because of the music you play?
-It hasn’t really happened to me yet. Most people who know me are much more surprised that I make such music. And no one believes that these vocals will come out of me … I would describe myself as very balanced and at first glance my music might not quite fit. But for me it is actually the case that I can channel many of the negative feelings into this music. Be it through my own music or, for example, at concerts.
I get the feeling that fans that are true to a band, is a lost thing with the easy access to music these days. Do you feel that this is a bad thing or are there any positive aspects of it at all?
-As I said above: music has become very random in the past 20 years. You often only hear them on the side and then also on devices that really cannot produce good sound. Many no longer take the time to really deal with an album. Immerse yourself completely in the music, deal with the lyrics and let the design work for you.
Accordingly, it is the case that many people are no longer fans of an artist or a band, but only of a song. I don’t think it’s as bad in metal as it is in e.g. pop, but there are probably certain tendencies. As a band, this is of course a bad development because you simply need a loyal fan base in order to survive somehow.
On the other hand, it is also the case that the circumstances described already lead to people being more open to new bands and simply listening to them. Of course, this is very helpful for projects like BLOODRED, because at least this way you can get the listeners’ attention for a short time.
Back in the days you had to trade tapes if you wanted to hear new unheard of bands. Today you are just a click away from discovering new acts. Do you feel that this development in some ways will do more harm than good in the long run, that it will eventually kill off music as we know it?
-Of course, this is a positive development in certain aspects. As just said, there is above all a possibility for smaller and unknown bands and artists to generate a certain reach. But if you look in parallel at how much the artists suffer financially from the new opportunities, it will definitely lead to very big changes in the music industry.
The industry is no longer comparable to that of 20 or 30 years ago. Bands today have the opportunity to do a lot themselves or to work with different partners for the individual area. Today, a label can primarily offer the financial background and established sales channels as added value. But will that be enough for the future …?
I get the impression that today’s touring scene is most made up of festivals or multiple band line-ups. Is it harder/tougher to tour today?
-As a (at least so far) studio project, I can’t really answer that from the band’s perspective. As a concert goer, however, I make a similar observation: the line-ups are becoming more extensive, the time per show is decreasing per band. This is to minimize the risk and ensure financial feasibility. But I find it very tiring some evenings …
If you were to decide how would the stage show look like?
-Good question … If I could really choose freely, I would find a dark and gloomy forest really nice. In the meantime, these forests are already being completely recreated for various films in the studio, I think something like that on stage would be spectacular. Then add subtle light- and sound-effects … a dream!
What does the future hold?
-It remains to be seen. First of all, of course, I hope that the new album will be well received and that people will like it! That is the most important thing for me.
In a few months I will of course have to think about how things will go for BLOODRED. The songwriting is always going on anyway, so I already have a few new songs up my sleeve. However, I also have to see if I can make further recordings financially (so I’m grateful for any support on Bandcamp etc.!).
And then there is always the dream of finally bringing BLOODRED on stage. Only the right musicians are missing so far …