I like music/sounds that are out of the box. I’m not as one dimensional as some might think. Which is why I enjoyed EN NIHIL’s latest venture. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
What kind of expectations do you have when you release a new album?
-There are never high expectations when releasing non commercial music. It tends to be a bit of a different motivation and focus. For me. It’s not about airplay or album sells per se. It’s basically about getting the album into the hands of those who desire to hear it first and foremost and if I’m lucky. Get it into the hands of a few descent journalist for a “review”. Promotion is done through trades or selling a small amount of copies to a distro specializing in industrial / ambient styles of music. The Internet has allowed me to self promote to a certain extent,so that’s helpful,but can only do a certain amount of good with out the use of promotional tools or a little bit of cash to put into it..in terms of the new album “the approaching dark” 2012( eibon records) I’m working with a bigger label that is able to do proper promotion and push the album beyond the scene and the usual industrial and ambient folks that are already “in the know”. Since my beings in 1994 I’ve released well over 2 dozen smaller run cassettes and splits with other like mined artists, but only 5 “proper” CD albums. My second album “death keeps” from 1997( red stream) has been the only other album to be promoted and exposed on a large scale and larger audience . My first CD “songs from the crimson pool” 1996 ( isolation productions) was self released and was limited to a mere 500 copies. My third CD blood dreams ( RRR)was released in 1998 and is still in print as far as I know. But speaking in commercial terms only those two albums thus far out of my many releases have been Made truly visible and made available on a world wide scale.
How would you characterize the sound of EN NIHIL?
-It depends. I’ve covered a lot of sonic ground over the years but always tried to stay true to a dark aesthetic and En Nihil sound. Everything from harsh noise to dark droning ambient to stuff that resembles actual songs. Rooted firmly in classic industrial music I’ve never been one to shy away from experimentation and progress. There is no genre specific for my over all body of work. I hear “death industrial” used most often but that would be an unfair description. You would have to add dark ambient , harsh noise, dark noise, drone HNW etc etc.. Depending on what release your speaking of. So to avoid that I choose to simply call it “dark audio”. Speaking in terms of the new album “the approaching dark” it’s got a lot of harsh and Industrial elements that are interwoven with a darker atmosphere. There’s melodies and rhythms ,and it has a cinematic structure to it. Like a lot of my work it’s meant to take you on a sonic journey and was designed to be played in its entirety.
What is it that drives you to create the way you do? Why this choice of outlet for your creativeness?
-The simple answer would be that it’s more of a need to express than a desire… maybe it s not so simple. But basically I am at the age were I’ve grown into what I am and will continue to be. As a person trying to provide for my loved ones, and as an artist. I have my professional day job as a chef which is also a form of artistic expression but on a less personal level. On the flip side I have En Nihil which would be the dark side and more personal and Introspective outlet for expression. They both serve a purpose and I find I’m at my happiest and at the most peace when I have both . But at the same time it’s nearly impossible to divide them equally. The reality is… En Nihil is taking a back seat more often due to the growing responsibilities I have with the former. Bills need to be paid and En Nihil does not allow me to do that.
Do you feel that there is a need for music and art work to work in symbiosis? How much does the first depend on the second and vice versa?
-Personally I’m Very much obsessive about continuity and consistency with artwork and album. I try to stay true to a visual look and atmosphere from release to release, it’s important to me to keep my logo intact and for all my releases to be recognizable as En Nihil . Granted the inspiration and themes do vary. But could easily be connected as one continues body of work. Even the small stuff like a split cassette limited to a mere 50 copies should still have a visual similarity as an album that’s being distributed and seen on world wide scale. En Nihil is En Nihil. And like I mentioned above I like to view all my releases big and small as one big continues body of work with re occurring themes and moods.
Where do you find influences/inspiration? How different is the creative process compared to writing a pop or rock song?
-I find influence in daily personal life. Depression , observation ,mental illness. . En Nihil is an outlet for inner darkness and interwar. On a technical level its obviously vastly different then writing a pop song even though the Inspiration may be coming from a similar place as one who writes more traditional music.. I don’t play Instruments in a classical sense. I have no musical prowess so to speak. But the need and desire to express myself through sound has resulted in experimentation and a developed skill with sound manipulation. Sure I’m able to pluck away at a piano or guitar and improvise melodies without actually knowing how to play ,It’s emotional and instinct driven music . And for me is firmly rooted in improvisation as much as it is in labour intensive sound production . Field recordings are a part of some of it. As well the use of samples as a source for raw sounds. Everything gets processed and molded to the end result and the mastering process is exactly that of industry standard. Sometimes even a bit louder.
What would you say has been the greatest role models for EN NIHIL?
-No one person has been a role model. Only moments and the trials and tribulations of a pretty fucked up life thus far has molded who I am as a person as well as with En Nihil. Had I not had suffered as I have .or been dealt the cards of a major depressive disorder My outlook and output would not be What it is or continue to be .Without getting to specific into personal details. I’d just like to say it’s a very real observation and experience of life I’m trying to express with En Nihil. Fear of death ,nightmares, hate, loss, regret, true crime ,true sickness , hopelessness, living in urban decay, living through poverty. The list goes on . I’ve lived it. And still live it. So I continue. It goes back to the above question of the need to create and express this as opposed to a desire to create and be a part of a scene or movement .i could really care less about it. This is a form of therapy for me.
Is there a scene for your kind of music or do you draw listener from all over the place? How eclectic and elitist is the genre you operate within?
-I can’t speak for the “scene” but there’s defiantly listeners and followers the word over. En Nihil has been distributed in every major country and has been exposed to the underground outside of noise and industrial circles. A google search would reveal quite a bit of my past and current state of being since the early 90s. There was a very long hiatus from 98 to 2009.. But in my absence the Internet and fans / peers alike seemed to keep my name visible and my albums available . Be it through free down load or the occasional mention of one of my works and albums. There are always gonna be folks that don’t mesh together for one reason or another, and the ever presence of social media plays both a positive and negative roll as far as I’m concerned. Simply too much music is made available it’s too hard to filter through it all or know what’s good. Slight differences in style and approach have created a lot of sub genres . I come from the days of fanzines and tape trading, a time when you really had to do the work and pay dues to get noticed..so naturally it’s all a bit strange to me. Bu I do my best to roll with the times and support fellow artist that In return, have supported me. I simply can’t be bothered with drama and elitist bullshit.
Does the interest from the listener go up and down when you play the kind of music you do or is there a steady following? Are there trends to be followed or to be shunned?
-I don’t fallow trends. Never have. I’ve always just done what I wanted to do. I’m sure there are others that feel different. But I don’t shun anyone . Like I said above. If you show support you will in turn get support from me. I try to work with people that enjoy what I do and i In turn enjoy their output as well.. This kinda of goes along with your last question. But I would say the interest only varies with trends. And to be honest i don’t know who fallows my work other than the ones that have told me they fallow it. And made an effort to say hello or attend a show. There’s thousands upon thousand of En Nihil CDs and releases out there .. But what percentage of people that have those CDs or tapes and are considered fans? I don’t really know.. I’m often surprised when a random person contacts me and says that they have been into En Nihil for a period of time.Or that they were moved or changed by a particular album. The “Death keeps” Album to this day seems to have had that impact the most on people and reached the most listeners by far, and it’s 15 years old.. I do feel the approaching dark will surpass it and as time goes on… have a greater impact.
How do you as a band maintain an audience? Has it become harder with the access to so much music through different social media?
I’m gonna skip this for most part only because I feel I’ve already answered this the best that I can in the above questions ..but I will say this… I don’t set out to maintain an audience. That is never the focus in my work. I don’t care about trends or what people expect .En Nihil is simply an outlet for me to express my art and emotions through sound. I am lucky that I’ve remained relevant and had an impact great enough to continue to do so. Not many can say that .and the ones that can have stayed active over the years. I have not. I went away for over a decade… life forced it to be as such . But upon my “return” and resurfacing In 2009 I felt that my work had somehow stayed alive without me at the helm…and I had gained enough respect to basically pick up we’re I had left off and keep going. Don’t get me wrong there was still work to be done .there was generations of new blood to reintroduce my work to. I’m still doing that. And will continue to do so as I see fit. People drop away and new acts rise up in their place… as with any form of music or art .but the point is the foundation for my longevity had been laid long before that or the current crop of “entitled” artists in this genre. Whatever that may be.
What lies in the future?
-The direct future will see several new releases in 2013 and into early 2014 most of which are smaller run limited splits on cassette as well as my first appearance on 7″ vinyl . There is currently NO plans for album 6 respectively. But that could change in time. If said album were to be confirmed I would surly try to continue to progress my sound further and push En Nihil into new sonic territory..I’ve talked about abandoning the harsh industrial noise aspect all together but that remains to be seen.
In April I will co head line the bi annual Apex Festival / micro tour. Curated by leech of NTT / Theologian. 4 shows .. Boston MA ,Philadelphia PA and 2 in Brooklyn NY… beyond that I can’t really say as that rounds out everything I can for see at this point in time. Maybe another long hiatus.., Fallowed by return and third and final incarnation of En Nihil.