The Gothenburg scene is far from dead. Just check out FROM NORTH to start with. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
You have one of these names that do not really tell what kind of metal you play. How hard was it to come up with the name?
-In my head the name “From North” immediately makes me associate with cold, vikings, the Norse history and culture, but maybe I´m biased. It refers of course to the traditional folk music influences, but I´s also a statement of what’s home to us; where we come from. And when we travel the globe in and ever get lost, It can remind us of the way home.
How do you introduce the band to people that are new to your music?
-It depends if they are metal fans or not. A song like self-titled anthem “From North” usually works even with people who are new to metal. Other songs with more growling and DM-influences might come after that. But just make sure someone has a beer in their hand and play the hole album really loud should work. If they still don´t like it, maybe it´s not meant for them.
We all carry baggage with us that affects us in one way or another but what would you say have been the single greatest influence on your sound?
-The bands songwriter Håkan has a background in writing Death Metal songs. One idea behind the creation of From North was to let the music be driven by the kind of traditional heavy metal/ hard rock songwriting that combines hard hitting riffs with powerful choruses and melodies, but without going the route of Melo-death. Being able to express the fascination with the music, tales and culture of the Norse through the metal music is of course the main idea. The three cornerstones of From North (as I see it) is the hard rock we grew up with, the extreme metal we´ve been playing before and the heritage of the lands we come from.
What is the scene like in your area? Is it important that there is some sort of local scene for a band to develop or can a band still exist in a vacuum of no scene/no bands?
-We are lucky to live close to or in (guitarist Janne), the city of Gothenburg, that has a flourishing metal and rock scene; both with bestselling gigants and a rich underground scene. You have so many good bands from here and a lot of gigs with heroes from abroad. Underground clubs like the legendary and unfortunately threatened Truckstop Alaska are a reason for this as well as the fans that fill venues no matter the size. But most of the band members grew up and still lives in the countryside. Then it becomes so important to have places to rehearse in and learn to play in bands. Sweden has traditionally been really good at providing this and therefore spawning great bands. Creativity and the possibility to play somewhere always has to be there. Then if you have a great scene it will surely help! Great bands save people from shitty radio music haha.
Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
-On many levels; yes. I would call metal in general a movement at the highest level, uniting people from all backgrounds and places. But more specifically, the interest of Scandinavian history, vikings and the Asa-faith is big in our part of Sweden. You have a lot of historical sites on the west coast and very living interest of the old ways. I a good example mention to Ale Viking-market that took place near Gothenburg last weekend with traditional crafts, fighting and games. This kind of movements are also great when recording videos; knowing someone with a traditional black smith helps a lot for making a video like “Völund the Smith”.
When you play the sort of music you play I guess you cannot have birds and bees on the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
-We want all graphic content of the band to go hand in hand with the music and promote the same feeling. You probably correctly guessed that traditional weaponry, longships and symbols might occur… I personally love colourful cartoonish album covers, like Maiden or Thin Lizzy has but it has to go well with the music. You should be able to buy the vinyl and stare intensely at the cover through the whole album without shaking your head. I can give a heads up that our upcoming T-shirt design will be a more pencil-drawn berserker, a homage to the cultural image of the Viking warrior as well as to old school heavy metal art!
What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
-I f*****g love digital music! It makes me being able to access tons of good bands wherever I am in the world as well as check out any tips on new stuff immediately. It also gives creative minds the power to spread their art without involvement of big corporations. However, there is of course downsides; bands make less money and have to maintain their day jobs. If working 7-4 everyday is good or bad for making great music I don’t know. To make money, you have to get out and play, and bring merch to sell. Every T-shirt or CD you buy at a gig is probably paying for expensive mixing and recording time for that bands next release. (Or in our case,99% for snus, mead and guitar pedals haha)
What kind live scene is there for bands like yours?
-A lot actually, you just have to get out there and let people know who you are and what your thing is! In the beginning, this requires a lot of e-mailing and hard work. But the benefit is that each gig and each crowd won over includes new fans and builds a bands foundation. Metalheads are the best and If you deliver you will have support! The next step for the band is to get gigs at larger hard rock and metal festivals. Looking outside of Sweden, I´ve always loved playing at German festivals! They generally treat the bands really well, they drink a lot, headbang alot and really love metal! So we would love to come down and play as soon as we get the chance.
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
-This band is probably the most professional I´ve ever played in that aspect. We all love to party and enjoy a cold beer. But the show always comes first. Anyone who bothered to show up at your gig deserves to hear the band at its best. Then maybe your best is after a bear or two, but to play sloppy or forget stuff because you are drunk? No way. Plus the after-gig victory-drink is the best ever anyway.
What would you like to see the future bring?
-In general; for the human race to stop all stupid nonsense and treat each other and the planet with respect would be nice. But on a more band related and less pageant-sounding note: We would like to see more gigs, our second album to turn out as good as the first and the whole metal-world to get to hear From North. Also in general: sweeter mead, longer summers, more snow in the winter, happiness and prosperity for all our friends, more muscle in our cars, talented sound technicians, good luck at sea and the wind always at our backs!