GOTLAND is a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea that was an important piece of land for the Vikings but it is also an Italian band. Go figure. Anders Ekdahl ©2017

What is this band really all about?
-Our band, Gotland, was founded 10 years ago, with the aim to tell the historic events of the time when the clash between the Barbarians and the Roman Empire happened. A time that deeply influenced Italian and European history.

Is there a difference in people’s attitude towards you if you don’t come from a cool place like LA or NY or London?
-Many bands think that coming from a place like Italy is quite a handicap. Surely, we can’t deny that the possibilities are different, here there is not a culture for our genre, that is present in other countries and coming from that kind of countries may bring some advantages. Nevertheless, this is not a reason to surrender, but it pushes us to work more and in a better way and, moreover, as you can find out reading our lyrics, we are really bound to our homeland and to its history and we’re proud to be part of it.

When you release an album that get pretty good reviews how do you follow up on that? Do you feel that you have a sound all your own that follows on from album to album? How important is
identification from album to album to you?
-Our first album “Gloria Et Morte” was really well received from the critics as well as from the fans. Surely this was very important for us and pushes us to overcome our limits and create better and better music, especially during these times when we are producing the new and second album. However, “Gloria Et Morte” was the closure of a phase of the band; a period that lasted for these first ten years of activity, with a sound (even if always evolving) that can be traced back to a pagan/folk metal genre. Now we feel that (also thanks to the line-up changes we had) we have nothing more to add on that field and that it’s right to try something new. Surely our trademark will remain, but the new album will be something very different: darker, more extreme and more epic, with a sound where the orchestrations will have more space, rather than the use of folk instruments like flutes or violins. Also, the structure of the album will be new for us: “Gloria Et Morte” was a series of separate tales with even very different influences from track to track, but the new work will be a concept album and it’ll have also a more homogeneous sound. Obviously all these changes are a challenge for us, but we didn’t want to copy our past, but to surprise the listener.

What is the biggest challenge in the creation of an album, to write the songs or to come up digitally or is physical still cooler with really good songs?
-Absolutely the creating and producing phase is more difficult. As we said, we always try to overcome what we already did or what the most known bands of our genre play and this is not always easy!

I saw Dave Grohl’s documentary about Sound City and it made me wonder what it is about analogue recording that you don’t get with digital? Have you ever recorded analogue?
-No, we always recorded digitally. We are not fans of vintage, in fact, even if it’s not usual in the black metal bands, we like to stay updated about the news in the recording and technical field and to have fresh sounds both on our albums and in our live shows. However, really because we like to experience new things, it’s possible that we’ll try some analogue recordings in the future.

How do you view your sound? Would you say that you have a sound that is all your own and that I’d recognize it instantly?
-Our sound is always evolving. The folk influences and the use of traditional instruments left space to darkness and heaviness. Nevertheless, our trademark is always present, we think it’s easily recognizable to the listeners and that can be mainly found in the epicness of our tracks.

How important are the lyrics and what message do you want to purvey?
-The lyrics are really important for us. Moreover, when we founded the band, it was the first thing that pushed us to create the group, even before the kind of music we wanted to play. Our lyrics talk about the clash between the Barbarians (coming from North Europe) and the Roman Empire, in fact it’s in this historical period that we can trace back the roots of our country. Even if we talk about these themes on a strictly historical level, without giving judgment or politically taking sides, we think that history has a lot to teach and we hope, in our small way, to spread this message.

What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
-We think that the artworks are really important. Even if we’re musicians and, obviously, music is the most important thing for us, we believe that a band is a complete form of art. So, other elements (which other bands put in second place) like artworks or photos, videos, the stage clothes or, as we said before, the lyrics are all very important things that doesn’t give less importance to music, but on the contrary, they can reinforce its message.

When you play live do you notice a degree of greater recognition from the fans with each new time you pass through town?
-Surely, to play for the first time in a place or to come back to a city where we have already played is different, even if equally exciting. When we approach to a new audience, it’s great to see people discovering our music, while playing for an audience that already knows the band and our songs gives us a different energy and there’s surely more interaction with the people in this case.

What do you see in the future?
-This year is the tenth anniversary of the band and it’ll bring a lot of surprises both talking about the releases and the live shows: some of them will be revealed soon, some others during the year. This is an important date and we’ll live it intensely and all these surprises concerning the anniversary will keep us occupied for the whole year. Despite this, we hope to have time to finish also the works for our second album and to enter the studio at the end of the year.

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