HAIDUK from Canada came as a great surprise to me. So much that I had to interview the man behind it all to find out more. Anders Ekdahl ©2013.
OK. I might be damaged but the first thing I came to think of when I saw your band name was Milan Haiduk (not sure on the spelling though). I guess you don?t have much to do with hockey so where did the name come from?
-They’re variations of the same root word. A “hajduk” is a resistance warrior who retreats to the hills and forests during a time of invasion in order to continue fighting off enemy occupation. It’s a common word across southeast Europe and one I was familiar with, since my background is Serbian. I felt it was a fitting moniker for this project.
When you do things on your own how easy is it to get lost in what it is that you are doing?
It’s easy lose perspective when you compose an entire album with no outside input along the way. After a while you just don’t know what sounds good or bad anymore and sometimes you just have to step away from it and come back with fresh ears. It’s a bit of a gamble doing it yourself because you never know what the reaction will be. I just write music that sounds good to me.
Why did you decide to do it all on your own? Don’t you know anybody that could’ve helped you?
-I work best alone, in a solitary environment where I can focus with no distractions. That’s way it’s been since I first started. I became so used to having to write all the guitar, drum and bass lines for all my songs anyway, it just turned into a sort of obsession to control every aspect of the music right to the end. I know exactly where I wanna take the project and never saw any point in collaborating.
From the title of the album “Spellbook?” I get the feeling that there’s a concept behind it. Am I wrong in assuming this?
-It`s a concept album dealing with elements of fantasy magic such as fire, lightning, necromancy, etc. The CD-booklet is the grimoire that’s filled with extensive texts detailing the 10 “spells” which correlate to the 10 songs on the album. The music is the release and channeling of the “magic”. Music is a powerful force; the manipulation of which grants its master powers similar to those wielded by mages conceived in fantasy books and games which I draw inspiration from.
How much has the Canadian wilderness inspired the album? How much local folklore have you put into the album?
-A lot of the music on my 2010 demo “Plagueswept” was inspired by nature and my long, solitary walks through forests and wilderness. “Spellbook” is a full concept album dealing with black magic and has no connection to nature lyrically or thematically.
How do you write music and lyrics? Do you put words to music or the other way round? How hard is it to come up with finished songs?
-When starting a new song, I pick the tempo and key it will be in, then start writing riffs in that style. Then take the best riffs and arrange them while at the same time adding backing guitars, lyrics, and other effects. The toughest part is usually arranging all the parts so that everything comes together and flows well.
What is it that drives you to write music?
-I love metal but I’m extremely picky and analytical with every band I hear. Even on a lot of my favorite albums there’s always things I would change or do slightly different. I became so picky that in the end nobody else’s music could satisfy what I want. I try to the best of my ability to to create that specific style of metal that I like, because nobody else is doing it!
How do you deal with stuff like promotion and distribution when you release on your own? Has DIY become an entity all itself with its own distribution channels etc.?
-I do all the promotion for Haiduk personally through various means and channels. It’s time-consuming and detracts from working on the music itself, but I refuse to let anyone else touch any aspect of Haiduk, including the promotion and distribution side of it. It’s definitely possible to do a lot more yourself nowadays with the technology we have.
When you are alone in a project playing live is close to impossible. Will you ever take HAIDUK to the stage?
-I play live shows regularly as a one-man unit. The bass, drums, and some guitar backing tracks are played through the PA while I do vocals and play the main guitar parts. It’s a cool feeling when you’re playing and suddenly the ground starts shaking as people start moshing and smashing into each other. Pure music-induced destruction!
What future do you see for the band/project?
-I haven’t decided if I’ll make another album yet. If there’s another release it will continue in the same direction of speed and push for more complexity and technical guitarwork.