DAMNED PILOTS sound to me like the name of a band from the 90s grunge generation. And that is cool enough for me to getting to know them better. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
You have one of these names that tell me that some thought has been involved in the choice. How hard was it to come up with the name?
-Actually, finding the appropriate name for the band has not been easy, we started from the idea of having a concept, that is a story to follow and to tell. We also strongly wanted to differentiate ourselves from other bands with regard to visual imagination. We all have always been attracted to science fiction b-movies, cartoons super-heroes and comics, so we tried to combine things. What came out is the Damned Pilots concept: four mercenaries from the depths of the galaxy, traveling together through space in a hippie van from the 70s and fighting against their archenemy Gorguss and its space-fleets.
The competition is a killer these days so please tell us why people should buy your latest album?
-We try to inspire our listeners not only with music but also with a certain imaginary, our songs are very catchy, they have catchy choruses and riffs that remain easily in your mind. We range from metal to classic rock, from ballads to doom, trying to combine several genres that are far from each other and that I think we were able to bring together, managing to get everyone happy about it. We are appreciated by different audiences ranging from people who like black metal to people who like glam rock … to joke about it someone calls our genre “doom pop”.
Do you notice that there is an anticipation for you to release an album? Have you built a large enough following for people to eagerly await a new album?
-Sure, there’s a lot of people who are following us, we have built such fan base through lots of touring and going out live, we already toured Europe five times and we toured the U.S. for the first time last summer, we are really pushing the band and we deeply believe in it. We have earned our social networks fans one by one, without buying them like many others do. We try to build a strong and real fan base and we think that honesty is the most important thing that a band should give to their audience, there’s no room for fakes. With our label Sliptrick Records we built a promotional plan suited to our needs.
When you started the band did you do so with a clear intent of what kind of music you wanted to play? How hard was it to come up with a sound all your own?
-Drummer Don Nutz is behind the ideas for the sound and the music, his intent was that of combining different genres to create a sound that is a mix of black metal and doom elements, but also pop, classic rock, metal stoner, glam and space rock.
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?
-When we play we feel at ease, we manage to express ourselves through music, and that’s also one of the reasons why we do it, however we don’t really feel like we are part of any particular movement, we are just trying to be ourselves.
When you play the sort of music you play do you feel that you can have whatever you like as art work for the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
-We chose Uzi Emperado to do our artwork with much care. That’s because we wanted a color as important as emerald green to be in our cover. Emerald green is the color that characterizes us: we also use it for our outfits on stage. Our imaginary is to science fiction cartoon characters. We wanted to be on the cover of this record, so Uzi has portrayed us in our space van. We wanted to bet on our faces, just like Kiss did. This has been our choice for “Overgalaxy”, but we don’t know what we will decide for our next record. One of my favorite covers is “Destroyer” by Kiss because it’s at the top of post-nuclear, which is also what we had in mind for the cover of our “Overgalaxy”.
I have a great fear that the change in how people consume music today will eventually kill music as we know it. What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
-Despite having grown up in the era of analog, vinyls and cassettes, I firmly believe that the exchange of digital free music is something very good to music itself. A free exchange of culture seems to me it should be almost mandatory. Think of the 80s when everyone copied cassettes, right? So if a band has really something to say it will make it anyway, but maybe just not breaking through and making money as in the seventies through the nineties. One can sell CDs and vinyl in the underground scene now especially at concerts, on a face to face level, but we have also sold a lot of digital, especially on bandcamp… however the real biz is not in selling CDs or digital copies, but in touring and selling merch.
Is the era of great arena tours as thing of yester? What kind live scene is there for bands like yours? What does the touring circuit look like today?
-Promoters and fans are always in need of new bands, the old legends are passing the torch to the new generations that in ten years will become old legends themselves… It should also be said that big festivals and tours in the arenas will always exist, because the public need it and there is always a great demand. We try to earn our audiences show after show, honestly, even if today touring the underground scene is getting harder, there are many bands with which to compete. Moreover, to organize a tour you have to get busy at least 5 months earlier and calendars of the venues are always full. In short, playing live has become a real battle, for our part we have done 5 European tours and one in the US in 4 years.
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
-We work hard on preparing the concerts: at rehearsals we focus a lot on the set, we always try to improve our performance, not just on a technical level but also on the stage presence level. For us, playing is a very serious matter, even though we see it as a party because clearly the main purpose is to have fun and entertain the audience!
What would you like to see the future bring?
-Honestly, we would like to be gratified for all the sacrifices and compromises that we faced in our lives, for having chosen to put the music in front of everything else. Being musicians is not easy, our guitarist is a sound engineer and has a recording studio together with our bass player, who studies at the conservatory. Our singer translates books for a living and I am filthy rich (hahaha). I am also working with a booking and management agency. Hopefully this record will open some doors for our band, we are not so arrogant to think of becoming rock stars, which by the way we already are, hahaha … Our aim is to play live as much as possible and to bring our music everywhere… never give up!