DEGREED is another Swedish band, of which there seems to be an endless source. Not that I complain. ©2016 Anders Ekdahl
What is it that fascinates you into coming up with new songs and albums?
-Well, there are several things depending on how we write the particular song. The thing is we have a few different ways of writing and it can be everything from someone coming to the rehearsal with an idea to that we make something out of a riff, drum part or just keyboard part at a rehearsal. Writing has never been a problem for us cause we’re pretty creative in that sense – especially Mikael, Daniel and Robin. I kinda tag along on the drums and if I come up with an idea I usually take it to one of them and we evolve it together with the rest of the band. I think the inspiration lies in the fact that we love music and like playing it with each other and that is also a big part to our sound of course. (Mats)
How is this new recording different from the previous? How do you take your sound one step further?
-First off, this time around we recorded and produced everything together as a band which bought us time to try out everything we wanted to try out which is a big part of the sound. Secondly, we had all the songs demoed before we started to record and we were able to make all sorts of changes and tweaks on them so that we were 100% satisfied with the songs before we took it to the studio to record the album which is something we haven’t really taken our time to do before. This of course makes the best out of the song and we already had the production for it planned and since I’ve mixed the album as well I already had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted it to sound like before I started the mixing. It’s not we’re never gonna use a producer again but for now we’re very satisfied with the sound and the outcome of this album so we’ll take it from there. (Mats)
When you write songs about the topics you do what kind of reactions do you get?
-I don’t think we’ve gotten any reaction to the topics we’ve been writing about, which is normally broken hearts and other everyday feelings. (Mats)
Whenever I think of you I cannot help wandering off to different bands. What bands do you indentify with?
-That depends on who you ask in the band. We all have our own taste but there was something about the 80’. Not musically but when it comes to attitude we can relate to pretty much any band that inspires us – anything from the cheesiest pop to the most extreme metal cause the span is really that wide in this band. It’s mostly because of that we sound like we do and that we have our sound. (Micke & Mats)
How did you go about chosing art work for this new album? What was important to have in it?
-We actually came up with the idea while drinking in a pub somewhere in the U.K in spring this year when we were playing a few shows with White Widdow there. Everyone is talking about the ”death of rock n roll” and we just goofed around that idea cause we didn’t agree. People can say what they want but to us rock n roll will never die! When we got home – Robin called the guy who made the cover of “We Don’t Belong” and told him about our ideas and he just got excited over the idea. After that it didn’t take more than a few days before we had the first edition of the layout and it looked exactly the way we had pictured it when we had been talking about it at that bar in the U.K. (Micke & Mats)
What kind of topics do each song deal with? Is there a red thread to the songs?
-Most of the lyrics are written by Robin for this album, as well as the others, and the red thread throughout the songs is basically heartache and battling your own demons. I think that this is the red thread in all of our songs really.. (Micke)
How do you come up with song titles? What do they have to have to fit the songs?
-It varies from time to time but basically it starts with just a track that needs a name. Then you try to find something that sounds ”cool” and go from that or sometimes you just happen to sing the right words! Sometimes it’s a combo of the two, the track has a cool name of which the lyrics starts to take shape around. It’s been quite a few of every method on this record, but that’s the fun of it. We don’t have everything planned and we certainly don’t do every song the same way cause that would kinda loose our sound. (Micke & Mats)
Is digital a format that fits your music? Is digital killing music?
-If anything, it’s giving us a broader chance in the global music business cause we’re out there and people who likes us shares our videos and posts our songs on their Facebook. For me, it’s only more exciting and more of a reason to do music cause you can reach out to people in other countries without having to be signed to a major label. You can get those fans that are really die hard without having to spend hundreds of thousands on promotion. We have a few die hard fans and to us its worth everything just to make music for people who loves it as much as we do. If the major labels had just followed the development technology we wouldn’t even have had this as a problem. It would have been nothing short of an opportunity to be seen by the major labels along with the world and the labels wouldn’t have had to loose as much money as they do in today’s business. (Mats)
How much of a live band are you? How important is playing live?
-Playing live is everything! The hard part is to get booked to the big festivals and the big support act tours cause you have to either have the best booking agency in the world or you have to be rich. No but seriously, seeing a band live is like a receipt on whether they can do what they do on an album or if they can’t and the fact about today is that many bands cannot do even closely to what they do on their records. I think that’s a little backlash when it comes to technology cause basically everything’s possible. When we recorded our album we just tried to keep away as much as the modern society accepts from all the helpers a computer offers. Anyways, just try to get to one of our shows and we’ll get you a closer look at the degreed sound and how we sound live and you’ll be the judge. (Micke & Mats)
What lies in the future?
-We’re booking some gigs for the autumn as well as we’re rehearsing and constantly trying to get better at what we do. Hopefully we’ll be out on tour pretty soon and not just to play a few gigs as well. (Micke & Mats)