GRAVEKEEPER has one of these names that musically this could be anything from stoner rock to extreme death metal. ©2016 Anders Ekdahl
When you release a new recording does it feel like you have to start a new a couple step back because so much time has passed and so many new bands have entered the scene since the last album or do you just pick up where the last one left?
-With the next release, I’m hoping to pick up where the last one left off, at least to some extent. There will be a continuation of Memoirs on the next release, but it’s hard to say whether or not such continuity will occur on other future releases. Whatever bands are in the scene or come into it at any point is not something that influences what I write or how I write it, I just do my own thing with it.
Do you have an aesthetic that you keep true to form recording to recording (i.e. stylistical same art work, lyrical theme etc.)?
-I certainly plan to remain true to my aesthetic, in style, artwork, and lyrics. As a whole hearted believer in existential futility, graveyards really speak to me, which is why they’re such a strong element of my lyrics, as well as the art. Even the logo depicts old, broken graveyard gates, which I have to credit Pest Logos for. He did a great job on that, so cheers to him.
How hard is it to come up with lyrics to the songs? When do you know that you have the right lyrics?
-I find the lyrics i spend half an hour on, often turn out better than the lyrics I spend weeks or months on. If something comes out quickly and naturally, I usually end up happier with them. I also find that if my lyrics are too long, or if I spend too long on them, they tend to feel unfocused, so when I write, I like to keep it concise. Lately, it’s been a little difficult to write; inspiration has been in short supply for a while. I do have a few new ideas to work with though, so I’m hoping something good comes from those.
How hard is it to find the right art work? What are you looking for?
-Well, I sort of got lucky with the logo, as I mentioned earlier. In terms of cover art, I haven’t found it too hard yet to find things I’m happy with. I’m no professional photographer nor am I much of a visual artist, but album art has never felt very difficult. Dark, foggy photos of graveyards or gravestones are a fairly obvious answer, but it’s not something I want to rely exclusively upon.
Do you ever feel that you get misinterpretated because of the metal you play?
-Hasn’t happened yet, at least not to my knowledge. I like to think that what I play and what I talk about in my lyrics is fairly clear to the listeners. The style is true to who I am, what I believe, and what my state of mind tends to be, and I’m pretty sure that gets across to most people.
Do you feel that you get the recognition you deserve, nationally as well as internationally?
-I can’t rightly say how much recognition I deserve, but I can say I’ve gotten more than I thought I would. I’m fairly humble about my music, and while I feel like the demo and the album turned out well, it’s still surprising to me that so many people out there like it. For years, I made tracks and releases in non-metal styles, which virtually no one even commented on, let alone liked on any real level, so the level of attention I’ve received with Gravekeeper is still something I’m not entirely used to.
Is the end of physical close by or is there a future for all formats?
-On a general level, I doubt physical media will ever disappear entirely. Fans will always appreciate a physical cd more than a folder on their computer with some mp3’s in it, even if they both cost exactly the same amount. While digital releases will always have less value, they’re definitely an option worth keeping, and an invaluable tool for bands who are low budget, independent, or just starting off. It’s an extremely small price to pay to have a worldwide platform, as well as worldwide distribution.
I get the impression that today’s touring scene is most made up of festivals or multiple band line-ups. Is it harder/tougher to tour today?
-I get the same impression actually. It seems that every year there’s more and more festivals popping up, but from what I’ve seen, it hasn’t seriously impacted any bands ability to do a normal tour of North America, or Europe, or anywhere else. I’ve never been the type to go to many concerts though, or to keep up with which band is touring where. Not to mention being a one man band, I don’t anticipate doing any tours myself, so the subject of tours isn’t something I give much thought to.
If you were to decide how would the stage show look like?
-This would have to be entirely hypothetical, but that means I can get creative with it, heh. So if I were going to design a Gravekeeper stage show, the band would open gates on both sides of the stage and take their places, walking slowly and mournfully, as if within a funeral procession. There’d be lots of smoke and fog, lit minimally by dim, pale blue lights. Once the stage is shrouded in smoke, the frontman hobbles to the front, holding a rusty, dirty spade, which would be planted in the stage and used as a microphone stand. Harsh, low pitched feedback from the guitars would gradually amplify, as the frontman announces the opening song title in a raspy medium pitched growl. Amps would be aesthetically modified to look like large gravestones, perhaps the drums as well would be altered similarly (sound quality would ideally not be affected by these alterations). Maybe towards the end of the show, the frontman is laid into a coffin and carried off by the others on stage, and a few people from backstage dressed in similar garb if necessary.
What does the future hold?
-Hard to say. I’d like to go as far as I can with this project. Progress is slow though, having to bear all the weight on my own shoulders. I have a handful of half done tracks, and a list of lyrics to use, so there’s definitely something to look forward to. The only situation I can think of in which the project would end, is if I’m no longer alive to write for it.