DISTORTED FORCE is one band that I discovered just by chance when I checked my emails. But it is a choice I don’t regret. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
When the band came into creation what was the main purpose for it?
-Well, I guess we just wanted to play music and have fun. We never had big dreams of playing for huge crowds or sell a million records. We were simply a group of young boys doing exactly what we do now. Getting into a studio room a couple times a week and beating the hell out of our instruments trying to make something out of nothing. No purpose at all, except the satisfaction of playing with each other provides us.
How hard is it to come up with a sound that is all yours? What bits’n’pieces do you pick up from other stuff to make it your sound?
-That’s a tough one. I never really thought about it. When we started writing our own music and lyrics we were playing heavy metal at the time and we were heavily influenced by Iron Maiden. As years passed we were still on that same path but at some point we made a turn to a more “raw” and “dirty” kind of sound. And then it happened, somewhere near 2013 we mixed our favorite elements together with no boundaries. We didn’t care how long the tracks were going to be or how many riffs they were going to have. We stopped following the cliché structure you almost always hear on a track. That, we think is the sound that defies us. Musical freedom. That expresses us the most. And yes, we‘ve picked up some bit’s n’ pieces on the way, but who hasn’t?
I have no idea what kind of creative process you guys go through but how hard is it to record and release new songs?
-It is. A lot. First of all, each one of us writes tracks individually. We decide which ones go to the next album and practice on them. So when we hit the recording booths the songs are already written. And at that point, we‘d better know the songs backwards. With everybody knowing their parts, we get down to business. One by one we record our tracks and even put some last minute ideas while recording. When it’s all said and done, we hear the result over and over again and correct some things here and there. Then we have to decide if we are satisfied with the final result as it is, or if we are going to try another mastering format, or reamp the whole thing… etc. When the recording and editing process is over, we have to design and make the artworks for the physical copies. That’s pretty much the whole creative process. There’s a lot of hard work but we love what we do very much. Can you imagine the satisfaction we get when we hold in our hands the new album for the very first time? It’s not only this awesome feeling though, we enjoy the process too. But you understand it’s not as simple as it may sounds. Recordings cost money, time, dedication, organization and a lot of good will for cooperating with other people. Every new album is like a new mountain we have to climb. It demands maximum effort, and it has brutal difficulty, but in the end, the view from the mountaintop is always beautiful.
Today technology allows you to record at home and release your music digitally. But in doing so is there a risk that you release only single songs because that is what is demanded to stay atop and therefore you end up killing the album for example?
-We don’t do that. We‘ve never released singles. We’ve always released albums or ep’s. Yes sometimes we recorded some tracks at home. It’s way more convenient and costs nothing. But then again, we have to give the track(s) to a producer to make it sound massive, because obviously, he has much better equipment and much more sound engineering knowledge than us. So there’s not much of a difference between the creative processes of recording at home versus recording at a studio. But even if it isn’t so, we don’t care about what is demanded to stay atop. We do what we do and have never cared about publicity.
I for one feel that the change in how people listen to music today, by downloading it and expecting to get it for free, will kill music as we know it. What kind of future is there for music?
-We’ve been asked this question countless times. No it will not kill music as we know it. Things are actually better now. Social networking is just a tool helping an artist promote his/her music easily. There was a time when someone had to pay a lot of money to listen to just a few albums. Now there’s an enormous access to all kinds of information. And we believe that is the best thing that ever happened to music in its history. Do you remember the time when Napster was being sued by almost every celebrity artist? There was a reason behind that. The music industry was losing tones of money. There’s also a reason why pirate downloading sites got that popular. Not only because they were giving people free music, but because people had absolutely no guilt about that. The album prices were ridiculously high. So yes, music industry deserves that punch. It’s fair. Now days the audience can find anything they want without having to pay large amounts of money that will end up at the pockets of the record companies. Even if someone wants to buy music legally, all interactions are instantaneous. The fan simply has to communicate with the band, pay them, and enjoy their music. No companies, no intermediaries. And if you are asking about us, from the very beginning we were uploading our tracks on the web for free and still do so. We just want to share our music, and if people like it, they will still pay to watch us play live, or buy our merchandise etc. There are a lot of ways for a professional musician to make money today. Times change, and the very core of this market is changing too. People have to get used to it.
What kind of responses do you get to your music? What has been the thing that has gotten the most attention?
-The “thing” that has gotten the most attention is some of our tracks. We get very good responses and reviews. But to be fair, we have received some (very enjoyable) negative comments throughout the years. Sometimes I enjoy a lot more a negative comment from a positive one. Most of times they’re funny. But the vast majority of the feedback we get is very positive and that makes us happy.
We live in a world where there are no real distances between people communicating anymore. What has been the most surprising contact so far?
-That’s a very interesting question. Some years ago, a radio producer from Forth Wall, Texas contacted us, asking us permission to play “Fields in Desolation” at his radio show. That was a pleasant surprise out of nowhere. Besides that, nearly five years ago, we discovered a band in Ulricehamn, Sweden, named “Incurvatus”. We contacted them, underlining our common love of H. P. Lovecraft’s horror tales and how much Lovecraft influenced us both. We also had common taste musically. We both perceive progressive metal in such a dark way. We said that it would be nice if we managed to play at the same stage sometime. We never did unfortunately. But we hope to do so in the future.
Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of a greater community? What has music brought with it that you would have otherwise missed out on?
-No, not a greater community. Like everyone else, we do what we love. A painter paints, a writer writes, a gamer plays video games, a musician plays music. There’s nothing great about that, it’s pretty normal. But yes, music has offered us many experiences that we‘d probably never have had without it. We are very grateful for that. No one in this band is a professional musician you know. Everyone got their jobs and other obligations. It’s hard to find the time to play music on a daily basis. It’s even harder to find some common free time couple times a week to come together and play as a band. But we always do, because music is like a painkiller. We all deal with a lot of pressure from our jobs, have to deal with deadlines and shit, so this is what music brings with it. A way to express ourselves and keep us sane. I personally have no idea what I would have done in my life without music. We may not be professionals, but I believe I speak for everyone in this band when I say that music is the best thing that ever happened to us.
What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
-Absolutely, there’s nothing better from a good show. Not being a professional has its benefits too. We don’t care how much we are going to get paid, or even if we are going to get paid at all. We just enjoy performing on stage. No matter the kind of deal there’s going to be with the venue we‘re playing at. We done over 80 shows in the last ten years and still, every time we play live is something new. It just never getting old. And yes, it helps to build a bigger following. But as we said before, we strongly prefer a few die hard listeners from a thousand viewers who just stand and watch. The only way to achieve that kind of audience is live shows.
What plans do you have for the future?
-There’s going to be an awesome live show on September 14th, in our hometown Thessaloniki, Greece, when we are going to celebrate our band’s ten years anniversary. Then, we will appear on Metal Gates Festival on November 17th along with Draconian, October Tide and Rotting Christ. In the meantime we are working on our next album, I assume it’s going to be ready somewhere near 2021’s fall. And finally, at 2018 and 2019 we are about to participate in festivals at Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, Wales, France, Germany and Slovenia.