I don’t know when I was this blown away by an album as I was when I heard GHOSTBOUND’s debut. I just had to know more. 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?
-I daresay that the name of a band should provide some manner of insight into the music that said band plays. At the very least, it should hint at the atmosphere that the album itself is trying to convey. Of course, that is not to say that the atmosphere or “identity” of a band cannot change over time, but I do feel that the choosing of a good bandname is an idea that is often overlooked.
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?
-I wish I could say that there is a palpable sense of relief. In truth, I am filled with more anxiety in the weeks following the release of the album than I ever was in the midst of the recording sessions. My crippling fear is not so much that the record will not sell – as we are pragmatic enough to know that the likelihood thereof is slim to none – but the idea that no one will HEAR it. I wish I could say that this did not concern me; I would love to be able to cast the record into the wind and insouciantly sit back and be comfortable with what we have accomplished, but it appears that this is just not my way. I suppose this is why I keep doing it.
What is it like to be in a studio recording your music? What kind of feelings and thoughts race through your heads?
-I love being in the recording studio. It is, of course, an enormous challenge and a true learning experience, especially when one takes into account the scope of an album such as All is Phantom, but I can, at the very least, sleep well in the knowledge that I made the exact kind of record that I had envisioned after many, many years. Of course, there are always things that you wish you could do differently. In my case, I would have spent more time on the arrangement of the overdubbed guitar and vocal parts in addition to the violin/cello arrangements prior to entering the studio, but I would be lying if I said I was not proud of what Noah (our bassist) and I were able to accomplish. A specific example is when I first heard the playback for “The Gallivanter” after recording the main rhythm guitar parts for it (this was prior to any strings, bass, vocals, or guitar overdubs being added). I was hit with a feeling of satisfaction that has yet to leave me.
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?
-This is something that I am slowly learning the hard way, and it has been a rude awakening for me that the promotion of one’s music seems like a full-time job in and of itself. I was tireless in my quest to find a suitable label to release this record in addition to finding suitable musicians in an effort to expand the line-up so that we could finally play live, and now that the record is out, I am also tireless in my efforts to reach out to various e-zines, blogs, fellow musicians, among many others in an effort to build “a brand”, so to speak. I know that this comes off as rather “careerist” and idealistic, but this record is more important to me than anyone could ever know.
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?
-Everyone needs a frame of reference, for what that is worth. I daresay that genre tags are more important to the listener than they are to the artist. I do not have any control over how our music is perceived, however. In a perfect world, it would be wonderful to just be seen as a rock/metal band and any prefix having to do with “post” and/or “black/atmospheric/alternative/punk”-anything would best be left at the door, but I realize that the need to define something in specific terms is a very human tendency. We are all guilty of it.
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.
-That is a very interesting question. I like to think that most bands that comprise a specific “scene” are not aware that they are even a part of such a thing until long after its dissolution. I do feel that Ghostbound itself straddles entirely too many fences, so I am not quite sure as where we really “fit”, but I will say that the New York “scene”, if I were to call it that, is comprised of some of the most forward-thinking and altogether unique bands around. Where Ghostbound fits within that scene is anyone’s guess, as I have always felt like an outsider in the midst of outsiders.
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?
-It is of the utmost importance. A piece of artwork adorning the cover of your record should be in direct correlation to the music included therein. I am of the generation that still remembers what it is like to open up a jewelcase and/or digipack and read the liner notes while listening to a record. This provided me with a very personal connection to a number of my favorite records. Everything, from the cover artwork, liner notes, lyrics, to the very font or typeface that is chosen, feeds and supports the world that the album deigns to create.
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?
-I can only speak for myself, but having some manner of label support is essential to being heard by anyone beyond one’s immediate circle of friends and family. Of course, there are those who have a sterling acumen for business and self-promotion and are able to eke out a living from their music by virtue of their gusto alone, but I am not one of those people. Anyone who engages in what I like to term “the performative arts” (acting, music, writing, painting) is, more often than not, of a particularly “chaotic” mindset in the respect that things like “organization” and “building contacts” tend to always play second-fiddle to the act of creation itself.
To piggy-back off of that, I do love that file-sharing and downloading has made the discovery of new music a very easy feat to accomplish. I am voracious when it comes to hearing new and hitherto undiscovered artists. On the flip-side, the personalization that came from physical media is something that is rapidly dwindling, though perhaps music is now “personal” in a different way?
What is a gig with you like? What kind of shows do you prefer to play?
-Well, that is an interesting question as we have only played live once as of this writing. The gig itself seemed to go surprisingly well, as I had been battling a nasty cold for days and was worried that I would be unable to sing. As it always happens in these situations, a certain “mind over matter” spirit takes hold, and I was able to temporarily forget that I was ill. From what I have been told, we played “tightly”, and my voice sounded completely fine.
At present, we would just prefer to play MORE shows, as I do feel as if we need to get our sea-legs and gain a bit of traction on the live circuit. To put it simply, I love playing with good bands, preferably in front of people who are unfamiliar with our music.
What lies in the future?
-At the moment, the goal is to play live as much as humanly possible while promoting this record as much as we can given our respective day jobs and schedules. I am toying around with the idea of booking a short tour at the start of the new year, though this has not gone beyond the “talking” phase, admittedly. I would, of course, love to play all over Scandinavia if given the chance.