GURD/PULVER/POLTERGEIST

V O Pulver is a man that has many strings on his lute. Read this four part interview with him. Anders Ekdahl ©2018

GURD is a band that I have been aware of ever since their birth but haven’t really checked out properly until now.
When you formed GURD what was the main reason behind it? How true to that intention have you kept it?
-When POLTERGEIST split up in 1993, Marek (bass) and Luki (drums) asked me to form a new band with a slightly different direction. We wanted to keep the Thrash/Metal riffs but combine them with more groove and a different vocal style. We were tired of playing fast the whole time.. 😉
after a few years, albums and line up changes we started again to implement more and more Thrash parts into the songs and now it’s like a mix of Groove and old Thrash and Speed Metal.. 😉

GURD has been going for a while now. Hoe do you reflect on the things you have achieved with the band? How does that match your intentions for the band
-We had a good run so far. We toured a lot (mainly in the 90ies), played some great festivals (Dynamo Open Air, With Full Force, Summerbreeze, 70’000 tons of Metal). We made 13 releases so far and managed to be album of the month 2 times in Rock Hard Magazine. It’s certainly more than we ever imagined to achieve.

You have released an EP just recently. What can you tell us about this one?
-It’s called ‚Propaganda Baby‘ and contains 6 songs. So far it’s only available at our shows and over our Bandcamp site. We just wanted to put something new out, but with the momentary situation in the music business, we didn’t want to go through the hassle of dealing with labels or distributions… nowadays you don’t sell a lot of physical copies anyway and the few people who want a CD or a Vinyl (yes, we made also Vinyl) can order it via www.gurd.net

When you have been doing this for a while now how do you still come up with new songs, how do you avoid rehashing things already done?
-I think there’s zero chance to not unconsciously repeat some certain bits and pieces when you play rock/metal/etc. In the end, repetition is what gives certain bands their own style (think Motörhead, AC/DC, Ramones, etc.).
Writing songs for me is more of a ‚soul cleansing‘. I play around with some riffs, start to build a song with them and then write down some lyrics with stuff that occupies my mind. There’s plenty of inspiration, you just have to watch the news or talk with people…

PULVER I by chance stumbled upon when I was looking for a band of the same name.
PULVER has been flying the flag for Swiss metal since 2000, but I cannot remember ever having heard of you guys. How good are you at promoting the band?
-obviously not very good…hahaha… It started as a side project. My wife Inga and me wanted to do something together and so we started to jam and write songs. It took us only 8 years to release the first album… 2013 came the second album ‚Let It Shine‘. In all these years we had about 12 shows. So this should show you, we’re doing this just for fun. If people like it, cool, if not, who cares? We all have a lot of other stuff happening and we come together when we feel it’s about time again to do something new…

What is that set PULVER apart from all the other metal bands out there? What do you have that no other have?
-we have Inga, that sets us apart from everybody else…hehehe

How hard is it to get people to find an interest in a band? Is it enough that there are somebody famous in the line-up?
-Nope, not at all… to make it or break it in these times, you’ll have to bust your ass and need the right partners to push you and send you on tour, etc…. we’re way too old and realistic to see this happen..

How satisfied are you with the albums you have done with PULVER?
– very satisfied! as I have my own studio, it’s cool to work on stuff in the free time I have in between other productions. Especially the last one came out very good in my opinion!

POLTERGEIST is a band that you should know of if you are into cool European metal.
What is happening with POLTERGEIST today?
-We just replaced our drummer recently. So we were busy rehearsing with Reto (Requiem, Wolf Counsel, Punish) and we played some shows with him. Right now we are slowly starting to write new songs for an new album. There will also be a Vinyl release of 1993’s ‚Nothing Lasts Forever’ on Italian Label Night of the Vinyl Dead. This album never was released on Vinyl. Hoepfully, we manage to do a tour for the next album, it’s been a while!

When you returned in 2016 with a new album what kind of reactions did that meet?
-After the reunion in 2013 we had some great shows (70’000 tons of Metal, Metal Assault, Headbangers Open Air) and when the comeback album ‚Back To Haunt‘ came out, most people really liked it and we got great reactions/reviews. But of course the times have changed and there’s no way to live from this relatively small money you get… But we made it for the fun and so far the ‚new‘ songs get superb response when we play them live.

What was it that made you resurrect POLTERGEIST in the first place?
– …the constant nagging from old fans on Facebook..hahaha
there was always talk, to just meet up in the rehearsal room and jam these old tunes again, but we never managed to really make it happen.
But after André, Marek and me posed with our old records for a FB-Photo on New Years Eve 2012/13. Things got more intense and we finally managed to jam together and see if we still got it! When we felt the spirit of the old stuff and the fun we had during this session, we decided to give it a go…

What was it like to be a Swiss thrash metal band in the 80s? What kind of local/international support did you get?
It was kind of special. I mean we had a German label (Century Media) that was only just starting (we were the first signing for them) and they managed to get us in the german metal press and do a lot of shows in Germany. But it was always hard to compete with all the German, American or English bands. they had more of a backing in their home-countrys. The Swiss Metal scene was not really big in the 80ies and there were no Magazines or TV-shows promoting Metal… you had to be known in Germany back then to really reach something… But anyway, it was a much better time to be a musician. People were actually buying music and going to shows, I remember selling more Demo Tapes back then, than selling CD’s nowadays…..

GENERIC QUESTIONS
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online?
-As long as it is a well established label, which really can and will do something for you, it certainly helps! But most of the labels don’t invest any money in the bands anymore. (of course not, as they don’t make enough sales to get this advances back…).
So in most cases, it’s probably the best, to just release it yourself online and sell CD’s and Vinyl at the shows and over the internet…

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?
-I think good artwork is the key to initially grab the attention of a potential listener/buyer. It has to stand out and pop into your eye…with 12“ you had more space to implement lots of small details. on a CD not so much..
For ‚Propaganda Baby‘ we had the opportunity to work with swiss Designer M.Gössi, who does a lot of concert posters for the Luzern-based Sedel Club. He made a really eye-catching artwork! We love it!

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?
– Negative? hmmm, I don’t know. maybe it’s just harder now to get known because of the oversaturation of all these artists… but wasn’t it the same back in the 70ies and 80ies? I mean there were also tons of bands with demos and self released albums which you never again heard of later on… I think the whole business has dramatically changed. Back then, there was only music (Albums and shows) to spend your money as a teenager. (ok, maybe also cinema). but then came video, DVD, games,etc. then came the internet and you could literally get everything for free… and with the streaming nowadays, the illusion that the artist get’s paid their fair share is masking the fact, that most of the bands get only peanuts. not even enough to cover the costs for new strings and drumskins… But I also have no idea for a better solution, it is how it is.. 😉

What does the future hold?
-Well, for me, I just want to continue to write and play music that I like. I want to enjoy the ride and play as many shows as possible…
METAL FOR LIFE!!!

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