GRAVE DIGGER need no greater introduction. This is a classic German heavy metal band. Answers from Axel „Ironfinger“ Ritt. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
When the band came into creation what was the main purpose for it?
-Well, ask yourself why do leave your bed early in the morning and go to work? 😉 Because it’s your profession, isn’t it? The purpose of recording an album is to create new songs for the fans. We had some great new ideas and a new songwriting concept, so there we went.
How hard was it to come up with a sound that was all yours? What bits’n’pieces did you pick up from other stuff to make it your sound?
-To be honest, I don’t understand the question … what do you mean by „pick up from other stuff“? The songs and lyrics are in our brains, the sound is in our hands. We used my Meadow Studios for the pre-production and guitar recordings and the Principal Studios for vocals, bass and drums.
I have no idea what kind of creative process you guys go through but how hard is it to record and release new songs?
-well, it’s 10% inspiration and 90% transpiration. The inspiration means waiting for an idea that can happen anytime, anywhere, in my case mostly when I walk my dogs at the forrest arround my house. At that moment, I only have a few seconds to write it down in scores on a piece of paper or record it on my mobile. After maybe 60 seconds it’s already gone, so you have to be quick. From this moment on to the final song it takes about half a year.
Today technology allows you to record at home and release your music digitally. But in doing so is there a risk that you release only single songs because that is what is demanded to stay atop and therefore you end up killing the album for example?
-This behaviour is mostly used in the pop music scene or for independent artists. It’s great to handle your music all by your own, but in our range, we need to cooperate with an international working record label, because there is too much work to do for the artist himself. So in our case, there will be always an album in the first row.
I for one feel that the change in how people listen to music today, by downloading it and expecting to get it for free, will kill music as we know it. What kind of future is there for music?
-The true answer? In a few years, there will be no more new bands, who can live on music. Even today, many of our colleagues do have their daytime job, doing guitar lessons for performing on stage as a hobby. Maybe you can survive as a Dj or in a well booked coverband playing songs of the early heroes, but for example 5 musicians playing there own music and earn enough money to feed their families will be not possible anymore. We are the last dinosaurs of a bygone era.
What kind of responses do you get to your music? What has been the thing that has gotten the most attention?
-The raw high energy level and the unique Grave Digger sound.
We live in a world where there are no real distances between people communicating anymore. What has been the most surprising contact so far?
-I’ve been contacted by a huge South-American Facebook community whodo have the surname RITT as well. Funny to find out that some of my ancestors made it to South-America as well.
Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of a greater community? What has music brought with it that you would have otherwise missed out on?
-No. You meet a lot of people backstage at the festivals, but it’s not a real community. Some of them are friends, but most of them are just colleagues.
What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
-It’s the main part of the business. Playing live is the essential part to communicate with the fans, that’s why so many bands take so many artficial technical help by MacBooks to get their „sound“ on stage. They are so afraid of hitting the wrong note that they prefer to do a playback show even with vocals and guitar solos on backing tracks. Disgusting …
What plans do you have for the future?
-Doing The European tour in Jan. 2019 together with some festivals and start the planing for Grave Digger 40th anniversary in 2020.