FROM ASHES REBORN is a German band to keep an ear or two out for in the future. Answered by Thomas. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
A band name says more than thousand words, or does it? How important is a band name to get people interested in your music?
-The thing about band names is, that musicians tend to overestimate the impact of a band name and spend hours and hours to find a good one. There are many highly successful bands with cruel band names, so it seems there is no direct correlation between the two. The importance of a band name I think is a very individual aspect for each band or musician, as it very much depends on the lyrical and musical concept. For us, the process was quite long and intensive, as we had a sharp vision what the band name should express. For example, it was and is important to indicate heaviness – meaning we wanted the name to sound Metal, however it should not lead the listener directly into a certain Sub-Genre of music. If you find one, and you go through the archives or the internet, you will learn that most great band names are already occupied. If you have a good one, you need to think about how it can be translated into a visual compelling story, which also limits the options So, it can take some time to really find one which fits all requirements. Eventually it is important to have a good mix and a holistic concept when it comes to the music, the visual expression and the lyrical scheme which are represented by a band name.
When you finish a recording and then sit back and relax, what kind of feelings do you get? Are you glad it is finished? Does the anxiety grow, not knowing if everybody will like it?
-First, there is satisfaction. It´s a great feeling after months of songwriting and rehearsing with the band or individually. To feel that the result is better than what you have expected is a proud moment. It also typically marks the end of having an enjoyable time with the band and there a lot of joyful and funny moments you remember when getting back home from the studio. The insecurity arises a bit later when you really go out to promote the album. Until after 4 weeks after the recordings you are so involved in the mixing and mastering process, that there is only little room to think about people´s reception. Of course, we feel positive when the feedbacks, reviews or comments indicate, that people like our music. We put a lot of personal and financial investment into our art, and the entire package from Music, Artwork, Logo and Promotion is very important for us, as we want to craft something we would like as fans as well. However, since we are mainly doing this for ourselves and there is no pressure to deliver certain expectations, anxiety is not there at all.
What is it like to be in a studio recording your music? What kind of feelings and thoughts race through your heads?
– It´s demanding work but mainly it is fun. Being in the studio is a great break from the daily business. Having the chance to spend dedicated time only concentrating on our music, is a great creative outlet. In our case, all band members are spread between various parts of Germany. Being in the studio is also a fantastic opportunity to spend time together. In today’s world, where home recording has become easy, there is a risk that the “band feeling” is hurt. Also, we believe, there is no better way than doing record in the studio with full focus. Just recording an hour here and there across the work does not pay out for us. So really hiding in the studio, work 8 hours a day is the best way to work productively.
Today I get a feeling that the promotion of a band lands a lot on the bands themselves so how does one promote oneself the best possible way in order to reach as many as possible?
-It´s a matter of fact that music industry has changed. As a result, self-responsibility and opportunities are kind of equal. While it has never been easier for individuals and bands to make their own promotion and use social media, it has never been more difficult to cut through the clutter. Because of this digitalization and the fact, that making music in home studios has become comparably easy, there is so much output and everybody is trying to get the listeners attention. And one thing that cannot be underestimated: good promotion is time intensive and challenging work. Therefore, we count on business professionals, which we found in METALMESSAGE. Promotion is also a lot about contacts and a sense of which promotion strategy is the right one for the individual band. Like it or not, Social media is a critical requirement in today’s music business. It´s the fastest and easiest way to build reach amongst listeners. The good thing about music is, there is no direct competition between the bands – finding a good band makes me directly sharing this band with the other members of FROM ASHES REBORN. The other best opportunity is playing gigs and be available live as often as possible. It´s the closest and most sustainable contact you can have to your fans and listeners and therefore, beside Social Media, the best promotion opportunity.
Today we have all these different sub-genres in metal. How important is that you can be tagged in one of these? Why isn’t metal enough as a tag?
-That´s a very good question. I always realize the difficulties here. For us as artists, there is no intention to artificially tag our music. As a listener, especially in times of multiple hundred releases per month, these kinds of tags can help to streamline the search for new artists. It´s a slippery slope. You are risking losing potential listeners by tagging your music on the other hand you may scare listeners by giving it a “wrong” or misleading tag. The borders between all those subgenres are so fluid and it´s a very subjective judgement in absence of neutral, objective benchmarks. The thing is, that everyone expects the band to put a tag behind it, i.e. Media Partners. Maybe it´s human nature to think in boxes as it clearly helps to differentiate what you like and what you don´t like. It´s kind of blessing and a burden at the same time
What importance is there in being part of local/national/international scene? Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of something bigger? I know it does to me knowing that in some slight way I was a part of the Swedish death metal scene in the 90s.
– It varies. When we were younger, it was extremely important to be part of the local scene. It was part of your identity and yes, also you thought you contribute to something bigger. It also helps you in terms of connections, opportunities to play gigs or get in touch with the right people. The importance of metal in the individual lifestyles changed over time. While we are all still fully dedicated to that style of music, there are different forms of living this. It still offers for us a good outlet, it´s something that´s in us and that we want to pursue as long as we can, – we want to make music for ourselves and for genre Passionists. And we want to support the scene when cooperating with artists for Artwork and Merchandise with people who share the same passion than we do.
Ever since I first got into metal the art work has been a main motivator in buying a record. What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
-We fully agree with you – the artwork has a high importance for an album. It is a sad development that in today’s scene, there is a tendency to those Photoshop Orgies. There are so many talented, less known artists. For “Existence Exiled”, we had the chance to work with Chris Cold, a painter and graphic designer from Los Angeles, who crafted the amazing artwork which perfectly captures the mood we wanted to create on the album. An album is always a package and the artwork is heavily important. Like you say, our intention was that the cover should lead the potential listener to buy the album just by it´s artwork and we are really proud of the result. We decided to offer it as canvas in our Bandcamp store, simply it is a stunning picture.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? With the ability to upload your music as soon as you’ve written it the freedom to create has become greater but are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans now that every Tom, John and Harry can upload their stuff?
-It depends on what you are striving for. Being a band that likes to record new music, who are capable of Recording and Editing Basics, who wants to play selected local underground gigs, there is no label required. Typically, at this level of the business, a label has too high expectations which eventually will hamper the satisfaction to make music. This is an extreme tough business and you need to be fully committed to perform Metal as a main job. For those bands, a label is still a must. In any business, professionals, networks and scale effects are the driver for business growth. Major labels like Nuclear Blast or Sony have tremendous amount of experience, contacts and opportunities to push music globally at a very high pace, to arrange tours and to invest in Bands. So if you want to make a career in music, a label is still a must, just the way you work together changed.
What is a gig with you like? What kind of shows do you prefer to play?
-From Ashes Reborn is currently evaluating the options to play gigs, so we cannot reference to the past. A moderately packed club show with less than four artists is a good setting to bring our music on stage. But we are not denying any Headliner Festival Gigs
What lies in the future?
-In the upcoming months we will proceed to promote our Debut “Existence Exiled”. The feedbacks so far were overwhelming and we hope we can reach as many fans as possible. At the same time we are evaluating options to play “Existence Exiled” live and we are open to go into discussions with bookers and bands to exchange ideas. We have already started to write new songs which are supposed to be part of the successor album, since writing music, developing ourselves and the songwriting and playing this stuff is our main aspiration to pursue FROM ASHES REBORN.