DIVINE ASCENSION are back with a new album. Answers from Karl. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
-First of all, a big thank you for giving me the opportunity to chat about Divine Ascension and our new album, The Uncovering. I hope you enjoy it!
Let’s start with your latest recording. When you look back at it now what kind of feelings do you have for it?
-I feel a very strong connection with The Uncovering. We have been working on it for so long, writing, creating and building it into what it is today. Even though it feels like we only started that process yesterday, when you are so focused and work so hard on something for so long, it is only natural to have this strong connection with it.
Many of the ideas both musically and lyrically are drawn from our own personal lives and when I listen to them, I remember what they mean to me and why they sound the way they do.
But it is also kind of strange for me, because I remember the process of writing and recording over such a long time and that can also bring back memories of frustration and feeling like the process will never end. Haha!
I am fascinated by band names. What was it that made you settle on the one you have and what does it mean to you?
-The name Divine Ascension came about by an ongoing discussion of various words and phrases that the original members were drawn to. What we found when we were first trying to name the band, was that it was extremely hard to find an original name that had not been used before by a band, movie, book, tv show, etc.
I remember talking about the idea of ‘ascension’ representing us working our way up from humble beginnings to rise to a recognised position within the music industry. But we still could not find something that had not been used.
We brainstormed for weeks trying alternative combinations, words, etc. We had almost exhausted all of our ideas for a band name and given up when someone described Jen’s voice as ‘divine’. Someone else suggested putting the word divine in front of ascension and using that as the band name. We checked online to see if it had been used for anything and surprisingly it hadn’t. We were so excited to find something original we locked it in that night!
What does it mean to you that there are people out there that actually appreciate and look forward to what you are doing?
-That makes me, and the rest of the band extremely proud! When I was young I knew I always wanted to write music in a band, record and release it. But I never thought I would actually have such a large impact on people. We get messages and comments all the time from fans all around the globe that tell us they listen to our music regularly, have developed strong connections to specific songs and are counting down the days until we release new music. I am extremely grateful to be able to do what I do with Divine Ascension and have so many people genuinely appreciate it.
How important is image to the band? What impression do you want the fans to get of the band?
-The music industry is all about looks! Haha! Image is a part of what we do to create an entire product. From what we wear in our photos and videos, to our web pages and artwork. We work very hard to link it all together and make everything Divine Ascension does, work as a whole product.
On a side note, I personally just want to look like a tough heavy metal guy like all my heroes did in the albums I purchased when I was growing up. Haha!
I am a huge fan of LP art work. How important is it to have the right art work for your album?
-Extremely important. When we write an album, we then discuss common themes throughout the music and then build ideas to form artwork ideas and then video clip ideas and live show ideas. As I said before, we try to make everything we do an entire product that links together. So we need the artwork to fit that piece of the puzzle for it all to work.
We live in a superficial world today where you don’t exist if you are not on Youtube and Facebook. Has social media been only beneficial in socializing with the fans or is there a down side to it too?
Social media is the world we live in today. Whether you play in a band or not, a high percentage of the world spends a lot of time on there. Even if it is just to keep in contact with family and friends.
I think many things have downsides. However, I tend to look at what social media can do for us rather than what it can’t. So being able to interact directly with our fans from all over the globe is a huge upside! Another cool thing is being able to promote our music and introduce it to new people who may enjoy what we do.
When you play in a band does it feel like you are a part of a massive community? That you belong to something that gives meaning to your life?
-I definitely feel like I am part of a wider community who shares an appreciation for music and heavy metal. I don’t really notice it too much in my day to day life. But when I go to a local show and I catch up with people from other bands or even just fans of the music that I see regularly at shows, it gives me that sense of a community that I belong to.
I think music in general gives me a focus. But in Divine Ascension, we are constantly setting ourselves goals that extend us or the band and we work towards them. So that definitely does help give me direction and something to look forward to each and every day.
When you are in the middle of it do you notice what state our beloved music scene is in? Is the scene healthy or does it suffer from some ailment?
-When I am at a local show, I can see just how healthy the music scene is. I see people with huge smiles on their faces, people hugging and laughing as they catch up with friends, people singing lyrics at the top of their lungs without a worry in the world. It is really nice to see.
Where the industry does suffer is online. That is where you tend to see the downside to social media. People getting into arguments, others complaining about insignificant things and many people simply not enjoying music like they seem to at gigs.
How much of a touring band are you guys? How hard is it to get gigs outside of your borders?
-When it is time to tour, it is time to tour. We are always on the lookout for good opportunities to tour in new (and old) places. However, sometimes it is just not feasible.
We have toured Australia headlining our own shows in a lot of the capital cities as well as supporting bands like Kamelot and Blind Guardian. We have also toured all through Europe with Stratovarius and Gloryhammer. That was nearly two months of playing shows every night and living on a giant bus!
What will the future bring?
-I hope the future brings more opportunity for us. There are many places we would love to visit (and revisit) and play shows in. I would also like to make more of our ideas and concepts a reality. We are always coming up with new music ideas, concepts for video clips and even some very unique merchandise products. But at the end of the day, I would really love to just continue creating high quality music with my friends Jen, Jason and Luke!