Sometime a band name can be just a band name. DEATH METAL POPE might suggest a massive blast beat attack but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
How hard was it to come up with a band name and how does the name fit the music?
-Well, normally I would say that coming up with a band name is kind of tough. Generally you would want to come up with something that represents your sound or has some kind of meaning behind it. In our case, we did the opposite. Death Metal Pope means nothing. It doesn’t fit our music either because we aren’t death metal. It’s just a string of words that sounds cool together. We could have tried to pick something out that sounds tough or evil, but we are neither of those things. We are idiots. So, I guess, in a way, the name does represent us. It’s just a funny name to us. That’s it.
As I am new to your band perhaps a short introduction might be in order?
-There’s me, Father Damn, on vocals and guitar, and then we have Christopher Jacobs on bass and the grittier vocals. Then we have a homeless guy named Jeff that we found on the street playing drums for us. Just the three of us. We have elements of doom, thrash, and general rock and roll. There’s some New York hardcore influence there as well.
As I am no musician I have no idea how it works, but how do you make your own music based on what influences you? What parts do you pick?
-I just steal parts of other people’s songs and hope no one notices. Half kidding. First of all, you should play an instrument. It’s a lot of fun and extremely rewarding. The best part is, despite what some may tell you, anyone can do it. Just look at our bassist!
In terms of picking out where to be influenced from, I just try to write songs in my head and put them together from there. I hear riffs or parts from a lot of different areas of music and try to imagine what it would sound like with a distorted guitar. I was actually just listening to The Shins thinking about how cool a song on their third album would be if I could change it to fit my style. Influence is all around us.
When you are in a band does it feel lkke you are a part of a worldwide movement?
-Not really for this band. The metal scene, at the small level that we are at, seems unnecessarily competitive and judgemental. I think the hardcore movement is a lot more welcoming and open to creating one big community. A lot of people I meet and play with could learn a thing or two from my friends in the hardcore scene. It’s not about being a rockstar.
How important is it that you look the part in promo shots and stuff? How important is the graphic side of the band?
-The graphic side is important to us, but more in terms of our artwork and merch designs. Promo shots are important but I can’t really find it inside myself to care all too much. I try.
Image is important to other people, not so much to me, so I have to make an effort to actually force myself to do promos and things like that. Just gotta suck it up. The Beatles had a look. Sabbath had a look. Like it or not, it’s important. And if you choose not to have an image, that’s still your look.
What would you say influences your lyrics? How important are they?
-Horror movies and science fiction. Extremely important. Lyrics are a big thing. I don’t want to have words that mean nothing. Just because my band name is ridiculous doesn’t mean my lyrics have to be, too. I’m sure they are to some, but to me, they mean a lot.
Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
-I think that for the most part, it has. I like collecting and looking at the album art, but not everyone else does. That’s completely fine. Media formats come and go. Adapt or die. The album in the classical sense is dead and it’s more of a novelty than anything to everyone besides the most dedicated music form. To me, that’s fine. It’s not all about money.
Where will the future of format end – digital verses physical verses whatever?
-We’ve seen a resurgence in cassette and vinyl, which is cool. Like I said, it’s a collector’s thing. I’m happy that bands can get their music out that way. I don’t think psychical media has much of a future outside of that aspect. It’s over!
How much of a touring entity are you guys? What is a live experiencevwith you like?
-We try and tour as much as humanly possible. That’s all I care about, personally. A live experience with us is kind of bare-bones. I don’t talk much. We have horror movie themes that we use in between songs as to not have too much silence. Sometimes I put little skeletons on my amps because I like them. They are my only friends in the entire world so I don’t want to make them feel left out.
What lies in the future?
-Taco Bell. Certain death. Alcohol, vomit, urine. Learning to tie my shoes.