With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to FALCONER. Answers from Stefan.Anders Ekdahl ©2020
What fascinates me is how you can still come up with new combinations of chords to make new songs and sounds that have not been heard before. What is it that fascinates you into coming up with new songs and albums?
-Hard to say, I try not repeating myself without forcing myself into making anything that doesn´t feel natural. I don´t think I have thought aboout it. On a few occassions I have really tried to make something different like the ARMOD album that really was into the full blown folk elements. Most often I just music that I think is good. Personally I tend to feel that I use the same tricks and combinations over and over again, but then again I am the one that is in the creative bubble and know my own thinking and creativity inside out. It´s not like I am getting surprised over what I make.
How is this new recording different from the previous? How do you take your sound one step further?
-This time around I have made sure that all elements of Falconer are present. Fast songs, evolved songs writing, old-time Falconer writing, a ballad, a folk song, a medieval song. I wanted to fill the entire spectrum and make this a really great final album to end the band with. After we played our final live show at ProgPower in the USA in 2015 we took a break just as we usually do. This time around it became longer and I didn’t touch the guitar for allmost 2 years. I already hade 2-3 half-ready songs that I thought was really really good. I really wanted to release those 2 songs but writing an entire new album was not anything that got me going. I didn’t feel it wa s a challenge. I love Falconers music and know exactly how to do it, it just felt like going back into the hamster wheel. One thing was for sure, I would not force myself to complete an album if I didn’t really want it. After a lot of thinking back an forth I decided to complete a new album and make it as good as I possibly could and incorporate all elements that is Falconer. Also I told myself that this would be the final album for Falconer, and thus all plans, ideas and wishes I still had, had to be finalized on this album. I wanted to be proud and say that this is a killer album to end the band with. That also meant that I told myaself that it would have to take the time it needed, I had no pressure but wrote songs only when I really wanted. The wait was surely worth the wait for me because not I can walk away with the best of feelings.
When you write songs about the topics you do what kind of reactions do you get? How important is it to have a message in your lyrics? What kind of topics do each song deal with? Is there a red thread to the songs?
-No not really. I tend most often to write about something that is based in the modern world but allways drawing paralells or describing it in a more historical term or language. Not many songs actually are historical, thay are just draped in the suiting environment so it sounds right. Falconer songs should be a historical contest.
Whenever I think of you I cannot help wandering off to different bands. What bands/sounds do you indentify with?
-That´s a hard one. I have never felt like we really belong in this genre and I tend to look at all other bands like ”real” bands where we are just a ”fake” metal band. I try to make normal metal music but it always sounds too melodic and ”sweet” and then we have Mathias on top of that. We are just original or misfits, whatever you think. The ppower metal bands that really speak to me are Gamma Ray, Nocturnal Rites for example but I don´t think we sound like them. I also love Queen, Jethro Tull, Iron Maiden and Rainbow but I can just find a few similarities between us, not that I have ever tried to copy anything.
How did you go about choosing art work for this new album? What was important to have in it?
-Normally I have a clear idea of what I want, but this time I told the artist that there should be a dying fire of some kind and told him that this was going to be the last album for Falconer. We talked about a funeral pyr, a dying fire in a forgery or burnt out camp fire. In the end I let him come up with the design and I think it turned out really good, maybe a bit too Vikingish though. We have not really sung that much about Vikings.
Something that scares me a bit is this I hear from more and more bands that they aren’t that bothered with art work anymore because people today download rather than buy physical. To me the whole point is to have art work that matches the music. I don’t know how many times I’ve been disappointed by weak art work to an otherwise cool album. What’s your opinion on this subject?
-A great cover art is really good, the crowning of the cake or what it´s called. But in the end of the day I really care about the music. Of course the cover is the packaging of the entire album and is what you think of when you think of an album. I must admit that the covers where more important in the days of vinyl when you really laid down and looked at all details as you listened to the album. I don´t think the albums today get that dedicated attention as they did in the past since there are so many bands and album. All of them are so easy attainable so each album becomes less special and gets less devoted time invested into them.
How do you come up with song titles? What do they have to have to fit the songs?
-Honestly I don´t care that much about fitting titles to a song. The only time a song demands a certain title if if it is a ballad otherwise any title can fit any song. Slow or fast, the lyric will fit. First off, I try to make the music and just whissle or hum the vocal lines. When the song is done it´s just to come up with decent words to it.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-We don´t depend on sales today, but of course we have felt the decline of sales allthough there are more fans today than in the past I don´t think fans think much about it as long as they get the music. Most people don´t really have that long term consequential thinking. People will allways make and release music but of course there are less money to be invested in the recording nowadays. I guess most bands really make the money out of touring and selling merch, and since we don´t tour there are not really much there saleswise for us. Anyway that´s a thing of the past for us now anyway. We´ll see what we, the members of the band decide to do in the future. Personally I have no idea, I´m just playing around having a good time. Then if I only end up with crappy demo versions of Synthwave music on Soundcloud or manage to write songs for other artists we´ll see. I know my kind of metal and that is the easy way to go if I want to make music, but this time around i want to do something different.
How much of a live band are you? How important is playing live?
-It has never been important, it has been fun to see different places and meeting fans. Standing on the stage trying to be a performer on the other hand has always felt awkward and far from what feels natural to me. I have always looked upon myself as a song writer. A performer is something completely different. Since we never had the possibillity to take on more shows but did it with quite the time between each show we allways felt like beginners on the stage. After a few years I just didn´t care, I stood there and played the songs. If Ian Hill can stand in a corner just playing, then I can. I´m not gonna pretend to be some kind of extrovert stage clown. None the less some shows have been quite entertaining. The last show we did for example at prog Power in 2015 was a blast. Well, when I look at the performance it looks quite dull, but the feeling and the response was really great. Really everything about it, the vivist, the fans, the signing sesssion, the over all familiy feeling and care taking was just superb. On other occasions I know we have all taken a day off from work to go by van to a place several hours away, ending up playing for 40 sober people at 3 pm, what a waste of time!!
What lies in the future?
-No idea. I´m just trying not to fall back into what I am familiar with at the moment. With some time away and getting settled in this new role i think I can come up with some sort of planned future. Anyway, thanks to all the Falconer fans out there for you love and support over the years. I hope you can cherish this last album as a good ending point. Cheers!!