It is not often that I get to used the word progtastic about a band but in the last two weeks I’ve got to use it twice. And that makes me a happy DUSKS EMBRACE supporter. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
When the band came into creation what was the main purpose for it?
-When I first started this band the purpose was the same as it is now really. It was an outlet to create music that I did not feel I was hearing in my area. It has evolved slightly over time in that now I feel I want to create music I haven’t heard before.
When you start playing music you really try and emulate your heroes. Over time you begin to have enough heroes that emulating all of them in some way creates something new. That is really the creative process I think.
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?
-Coming up with a unique sound is something that is very difficult as long as you intellectualize it. When I am writing, if I think too much about trying to do something unique I will either write something terrible or just make no progress at all.
I think being able to have your own sound has to do with a lot of factors. Having a wide range of influences, being well versed and having a wide range of skills on your instrument and other interests outside of music all play a pretty large role in what your “sound” will become.
All of us in the band have pretty diverse musical interests as well. Couple that with our DIY ethic of recording and producing our own music and that pretty well informs how we have found our sound.
I have no idea what kind of creative process you guys go through but how hard is it to record and release new songs?
-One of the biggest problems today is that it is not hard at all to record and release new songs. So many artists, both amateur and professional, have many tools at their disposal that make the creation and release of art very easy. This can be a good and bad thing. Since it is easy we get to enjoy a lot of great art that in any other era we may have missed.
The flip side is that we are also flooded with very mediocre material. This comes from inexperience on the side of amateur bands and from the need to be competitive for the professionals. To keep peoples attention you have to be constantly saying “look at me” on social media and I believe that has dramatically affected artists in a negative way. I feel people tend to care more about what will get a lot of likes versus what is a meaningful piece of expression.
Unfortunately the outcome of that is music being released that I feel the artists haven’t taken the time to put themselves into. The music industry in general has become very surface level and lacks a lot of the depth and insight that it should have.
Today technology allows you to record at home and release your music digitally. But in doing so is there a risk that you release songs too soon, before they are fully ready to be launched at an audience?
-This has never really been a concern to me. You always have the opportunity to release material later in a different state. In many cases in my past I can think of how much I loved the demos of a band far more than I cared for the album. Sometimes seeing the process is just as exciting. Also any release can be considered a snapshot of who the artist was at that time. All releasing does is let you see how an artist sees their own material at different times and as different people.
It is a pretty common story to see a passionate band release a poorly recorded demo that is raw and full of emotion. Then they are taken in to a studio with a great producer and all the best gear. What you end up with is a plastic rendition of the emotional content they had. While it is “better,” now people have to view it through the lens of a producer, engineer, label, etc. Far too often I feel that actually takes away from the band.
I for one feel that the change of 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 recorded music?
-I personally think recorded music has a bright future. The music industry has always been a pusher of garbage. Find a pop star or country singer that you can package and sell and keep the status quo has been the mantra of the industry for a long time. The loss of money in the industry will hurt and there will be a lot of self released garbage to sift through. But there will also be amazing releases that would have never happened otherwise.
I like to think that the music I work on is good and in almost all aspects were it not for the downloading of music and the change in the industry it would not exist. Without having access to artists all over the world at times where I was too poor to have housing I would not have the influences I do now. I would not have been able to record and release records. Since this band has never appealed to a wide audience it would have just never gone anywhere. Instead we have had the opportunity to grow as artists and to learn self sufficiency. I that way I think the future of recorded music looks brighter and more diverse than ever.
That is of course if people can stop using the same preset, plastic, replaced and overly processed sounds that make all modern records sound so similar. But that may just be my inner grumpy old man talking.
What kind of responses have you had to your recorded music? What has been the thing that has gotten the most attention?
-So far the most common response I have gotten is that it sounds very organic. I have been recording for a long time and have had plenty of time to make my mistakes. I think we are in a strong area because while we are not attempting to hammer away at trends, we are also not going for the typical prog approach of sounding like a particular era. I think the face that we sound like real musicians playing music has been the most attention grabbing aspect.
I think far too often people take the idea of inspiration in a sound and end up just being a carbon copy of it. Those two approaches of finding a sound, both reaching for the past and trying to be competitive in the present, are the opposite of the word progressive to me. In that I don’t feel this record feels like it fits in any particular time or genre and that I think is what has gotten the most attention.
We live in a world where there are no real distances between people communicating anymore. What has been the most surprising contact so far?
-I think the most interesting thing about the technological world of today is the ease at which we can work remotely. Using the internet to collaborate on a mix or a song in real time is something that was necessary for this record to be completed. In every stage of the record we have relied on communication of the band and all others involved over the internet.
Technology and science have revolutionized everything we do including music and art. I personally believe that to not embrace that and use it for creation would be a huge disservice to everyone who has sacrificed so we could have those abilities.
Do you feel like you are a part of a greater community playing in a band?
-In terms of playing with my friends and the relationships there, yes. As far as a community of musicians that is something I don’t feel I have been a part of. Musicians tend to have a pretension about themselves and an aversion to science and reason that has always made it hard for me to connect with them. Of all the people I have known in my life, they are most likely to believe in things like ghosts, spirits, crystals, and all manner of things that fly in the face of known physics and science.
Between that and the over emphasis on ego and image I have always had a hard time feeling part of that community. Part of the mission in this band is to push the ideas of science and skepticism. To show how something like being conscious of the environment or caring about over population can be a lot “cooler” than tight pants, a cool haircut and a expensive light show. My goal is to create a community around music and less around image and ego.
What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
-Playing live definitely helps build a bigger following. It is something in the near future we will be planning on doing a lot more of and we are excited to get out there.
With that being said I feel we collectively need to work on new ways of building careers. The acts of touring and merchandising are somewhat archaic ideas that I feel we as artists have an obligation to improve upon. With the advent of digital technology and the ease of reaching an audience live over the internet I feel touring is something that will have increasingly less significance in the future.
I believe artists have to find new and less wasteful ways of making careers of our craft and of getting our material out to the public in general. Part of that will come from a focus on using the internet as a tool in new ways and part will come from finding other ways to survive than the constant churning of resources the music industry has been mired in for a long time.
What plans do you have for the future?
-The future will definitely hold some live performances as well as more music to come soon. Writing and creating is something that we can’t help but do . We will continue to strive for something new. Here in the next few months the new record will come out. Most people will see this record as a large leap forward for us. The band has progressively changed over time but this is by far the best step yet. After that the plan will be to find out where to go next both professionally and creatively.
This band is one that will never repeat itself and never look towards hitting a momentary trend or reliving past glories. The only thing I know for certain is in the future for this project is trying our best to find the next best thing.