The name GJÖLL might not give it away but this is a band hailing from Japan. Check them out. Anders Ekdahl ©2018

We live in a world where there are literally millions of bands to check out. What do you have that sets you apart?
-Hmm, I think perhaps what sets us apart from a lot of bands in Japan at least is probably a large member count! We have nine different members and each one has a vastly different musical background, which really helps in bringing different musical influences and ideas to the table. I think different opinions at least get the ideas flowing!

How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
-When I first started making music I was really into Scandinavian metal bands, and probably because of this I wanted to start my own melodic death metal band with that Nordic kind of influence. The name itself, GJÖLL, comes from the name of a river in Nordic mythology so it seemed a perfect fit for the kind of music I wanted to create. Although our band’s sound has evolved since then, what hasn’t changed is our desire to move people with the music.

What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of music you play? What inspires you today?
-Probably (again) Scandinavian metal, haha. In particular, Wintersun, Nightwish and Katatonia. Nowadays, I’m inspired by just normal human life and people’s inner workings, along with films or manga. I think there’s a lot of places to draw influence upon around us everyday.

What is the advantages/disadvantages of CD and vinyl these days of internet promotion where digital seems to be king?
-I’m still a big fan of physical music and actually haven’t bought anything digitally yet (somehow)! I think the physical nature of the CD and vinyl is great. There’s an appreciation for the artwork as well that I don’t think you get with digital music.

I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when your out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-Although I don’t think we can do much to stop the shape of music evolving as time passes, I think that neither CDs nor vinyl will ever truly die out. Or at least I hope so! What I do think is that although streaming services are handy, I hope it won’t detrimentally affect the quality of music we do get.

What part does art work and lay out play? Any message that you want to bring forth with it?
-The image a band has I think affects the sound of music that they write, so I think presentation is important. In regard to album artwork, as a buyer and listener it affects you subconsciously. If something looks good you value it more, so I always want to make sure the art is as good as possible.

Is it a whole different way to promote a band today with all these social media channels? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way? Playing live and word of mouth.
-Despite the rule that social media has there are still those few bands that manage to make their name without it. In a way I prefer this more ‘grassroots’ method as the online presence isn’t so forced. However that doesn’t mean we can sit on our laurels!

Do you feel like you are a part of a scene, locally, nationally and internationally?
-That’s an interesting question! For good or for worse I think we’re a bit of an anomaly, at least here in Japan. In a way I think it’s hard to put yourself in any group, so it would be interesting to hear what our listeners think.

How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
-I think gigging is the best way to come together as a band and leads to more productive songwriting too. Gigs are also great as you get to meet the fans as well as the staff who keep everything rolling behind the scenes. That being said we have nine members now, so finding time for everyone to come together is a bit tricky!

What will the future bring?
-At the moment we are just putting all our energies into the release of our second EP Residual, which is out at the end of June. After that, nothing is set in stone but we want to do what we’ve always been doing – writing good music and getting as many people to hear our songs as possible!

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