DEATH THE LEVELLER

You should all know by now that I am a sucker for cool band names. DEATH THE LEVELLER is one hell of a cool name. So much that it got me interested. Anders Ekdahl ©2017

How important is the band’s name in giving out the right kind of vibe?
-I think it’s quite important. Most Metal bands have names that let you know what they’re about. In our case the name does its job well by illustrating that we deal in heavy concepts from an artistic perspective.

I wanted to start a band in the 80s but couldn’t fin d the right people to do so with. What was it that made you want to do the band?
-Dont give up man!! I tried the same thing, it only took me about 30 years to find the perfect band, but look at me now!!
What made me want to do this band was the music. The moment I heard the original demos a chill ran down my spine, I knew immediately that this was the band I should always have been in, that it was my opportunity to be involved in making the type of music I wanted to listen to,and that if I was Ever going to be a part of something that would make a mark in music, it would be with DTL.
We all feel that enthusiasm, that passion for what we do, and that comes across in the music, Especially in our live performances.

With so many genres and sub-genres of metal today what is your definition of the music you play?
-We just call ourselves Doom. There are other elements of course,but going too far down the road of subgenres can often be as much of a hindrance as it is a help.
Putting a prefix on a category (Doom) that is is already a subcategory of a genre (Heavy Metal) isn’t going to make our music any better.

How do you arrange the tracks? Is there a method to how you arrange the songs on a record?
-Unfortunately we don’t possess a step by step manual for that particular task!
It’s a little bit different every time, in my experience,but generally you hold with the ‘feel’, the ‘vibe’ of the song. You get better at realising when and where a song needs to change with experience.
Although on this recording the band had everything sewn up tight already before I even got in involved.

I am fascinated by how people can still come up with things that hasn’t been done before, chord structures that hasn’t been written, sentences that hasn’t been constructed before. Where do you find your inspiration to create?
-The root of it all lies in creativity. Even though every possible combination of notes has most likely already been played, every musician plays in their own unique way, and that what keeps it interesting.
For me the inspiration to write my parts comes from the music itself generally. Having a piece of music that you really want to sing, and really want to put lyrics to, has always been my favourite way of writing.

How important is the graphic side of the band? How much thought goes into art work etc.?
-Imagery has always been important, especially so in our type of music.
It’s often the first visual exposure people have to your band. It’s going to be on your vinyl, CDs, t-shirts, hoodies, the thumbnail to your tracks online, everything.
So it better be good.
A lot of thought went into it. We had certain ideas of what we wanted, to the extent that Ger took photos of all sorts of architecture and other odd artistic stuff, there were old books and Egyptian mythology as a way of expressing the bare bones of a concept and style that we wanted. Ger found Anais to do the Job too.
And what a job she did!!
It’s a striking , beautiful, and thought provoking piece. She took our idea and perfectly utilised her own creativity and talent and took it far beyond what we expected.

I get the feeling that more and more metalheads too are just downloading single tracks. Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
-A very interesting question.
Everybody has a different opinion, each relevant to their own perspective. The world has changed a lot. It always has, and it will continue to do so Regardless of what we think of those changes.
Sure, the legacy music industry is dead, some don’t realise it but it’s utterly finished. The legacy media as a whole is.Downloads have certainly played a big part in that.
But it’s not the only reason. Culture is changing, and at a much more rapid pace than before. How people consume everything, and even perceive everything, is different.
There wasn’t any albums in 19th century or any century before but there was a way of consuming music back then which is gone now. Then electricity came along and eventually our perception of what music even is changed.
Now the Internet is killing previous ways of doing things and that’s all there is to it. Nobody knows where it’s going. Nobody knows what’s next. I find that exciting.
I went slightly OT there, but here’s the good news. People will Always listen to music, in whatever form or format. Some still buy albums. There are reasons for that outside of the boundaries of this question.
But even in the 70s/80s,there were singles buyers and album buyers. They were treated as different markets, even if there was often significant overlap.
A lot of people have a shorter attention span nowadays,due to the accelerated pace of life and aren’t conditioned to listening to anything longer than 5 minutes. That’s fine. But I think there will always be those who really get music, who really get excited by, or relaxed by, or inspired by, listening to a coherent body of work. Is the album dead? No,not yet. At present it’s a niche market though. So I don’t think digital is killing the album, no. Ask me again in 50years though!!

Are we killing our beloved metal scene by supporting digital downloading or can anything positive come from supporting single tracks and not albums? Will the fan as we know him/her be gone soon?
-This is very much related to the previous question, maybe I should have answered them together, but you most likely would have got a short novella out of me. I honestly don’t think we are killing the scene, definitely not in Metal anyway. The metal scene has always embraced change, young and motivated people have always come along and shook things up.
In tandem with that, the metal scene has always had, and always will have its traditions. We all go to gigs. We all wear band t-shirts. We can get vinyl at merch stalls, we meet our friends, often from other countries, who we first met and bonded with, as part of the metal scene. The scene will survive. If a bunch of people who are 18-19 and still at university download our songs free…… Well we need to start seeing that as the main method of exposure to people now. Think of it as the medium that is doing a similar job to the one radio did in the latter part of the 20th century. If even half of them like our band, and come to us see play….. Excellent. In a few years when they enter the workforce, hopefully they keep coming to see us live. And fans buy merch. And vinyl. And pay for tickets. I really don’t mind that they first heard us for free, no big deal.
Don’t take that wrong, I’m not seeing potential fans as future cash cows. Far from it, I’d be off doing something else by now if I was in it for the money. I’m trying to show that downloads could eventually wind up being a net positive for our scene.

Is there a scene to speak of for a band like yours? Where do you fit in?
-Hmm. Maybe I should have just written you an essay, man, I’m getting really long winded here!
Yes. There is a scene for us, many bands like us and many not like us. The scene has always had its ups and downs but it’s still here, there’s always been hardcore fans keeping metal alive. From the shows we’ve played recently, and shows I’ve been to, there’s even signs of a bit of a resurgence lately and I can see it growing in the future and getting stronger. There are new bands coming through, old bands still being Savage live, more gigs to play and to go to.

What does the future hold?
-I’ve already given an idea or two about the future here. I will finish off with a short point related to the earlier questions. There have been good and bad sides to change and upheaval. One bad thing I noticed about the Internet age is that many people feel isolated, atomised. In some ways society has become that way as a result of the technology. But to be positive, this will correct itself in future. More people will be looking for something to be a part of, as we all did at some stage. A lot of them will find us. A lot of them are the future of our scene. They just don’t know it yet.
Thank you for a very interesting set of questions, I think they are probably the best I have ever had the pleasure to answer.

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