Sometime you just wish that you could go through life HAPPILY EVER BLIND but unfortunately that isn’t possible. Answers by Johnny. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
When you release a new recording does it feel like you have to start a couple steps 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 off?
-Well our new album Pseudohappiness will be our first full length release. We put out a couple of EP’s prior to this but at that stage we were still finding our stylistic feet. We are constantly writing new material but when it comes to releasing stuff it just makes sense to put out what we are currently doing, so a lot of songs don’t even make it to recordings. We also don’t worry about keeping up with the Jones’s because as trends might change, so do we, and we are on our own separate tangent. What is most important is that the music has the right feeling. We don’t try to force anything else out of it.
Do you have an aesthetic that you keep true to from recording to recording (i.e. stylistically same art work, lyrical theme etc.)?
-Yeah the lyrical style is definitely something we have stuck with from day one. I have always seen music as a way to coax the listener into realising some truth about life. The goal is to make them question their beliefs in this realm of deception we live in. These are exciting and rapidly changing times so there is always a new story to tell and a new truth to uncover! This is why I tend not to take a political stance or sing about personal issues, rather make overall observations on things. This is the message behind Pseudohappiness which is a concept album where the characters who are substituting for real happiness are led towards the root cause of all their problems. The visual art of the band is still evolving though. We definitely want to adopt some kind of a mascot, I think the guy made out of pills from our first EP (The Black Friday Blues) would make a good one, so thats something to toy around with in the future.
How hard is it to come up with lyrics to the songs? When do you know that you have the right lyrics?
-Well, coming up with lyrics is not hard as there is so much to observe, analyse and criticise in this realm. Saying what you want to say whilst making it fit the music can be quite difficult though! Sometimes you have to compromise what you want say for what flows and sounds pleasing to he ear. And sometimes you just can’t take yourself too seriously and make it fun and catchy. I usually try to create a balance between the vivid, the abstract and the fun to paint the overall picture. I know the lyrics are right when this balance is achieved.
I am old school. I like really cool album covers but from what I’ve gathered some bands tend to spend less on art work because people don’t buy records, they download songs. What are your feelings on this?
-I am the same. When I was younger, almost half the enjoyment of getting a new Iron Maiden CD was having that awesome artwork. It is a shame that this focus on artwork is not as common anymore but I think its still important to have some attractive packaging even if its not a physical product. We personally would have liked to do something more with the Pseudohappiness cover but blew most of our budget on the recording (not coke and hookers, I swear). At least it is unique and eye catching, which is fine for a first album.
Do you ever feel that you get misinterpreted because of the music you play?
-I think so yes. Hard rock and Heavy Metal has a stigma for being angry depressing music when in reality most of it is quite up-lifting. We often get mistaken as a political band also, which is frustrating because we are far from it!
I get the feeling that fans that are true to a band, is a lost thing with the easy access to music these days. Do you feel that this is a bad thing or are there any positive aspects of it at all?
-Well there is good and bad to everything, you just have to try and make the best of it. Modern technology is great because it means every band can afford to put out albums regardless of label backing. The down side to this is the market is heavily saturated and it’s harder to sift through and find ones you like. If your music has something special then you will always find an audience and at least your fans will be true, not just followers of the mainstream stuff thats forced into their ears.
Back in the days you had to trade tapes if you wanted to hear new unheard of bands. Today you are just a click away from discovering new acts. Do you feel that this development in some ways will do more harm than good in the long run, that it will eventually kill off music as we know it?
-My worst nightmare would be some dystopian future where there is no music. Take all my other liberties away but not my music! I think its here to stay though but yes it will change as we know it, just have to go with the flow and see how it all pans out. It’s good that everyone has equal rights to get their music heard in the easiest way possible. There is enough room for everyone and not much room for rock stars anymore which is a good thing in my opinion. Making a living doing music is a little harder but if we change our mentality about these things then maybe we can change the system. I am fighting for a realm where everyone can follow their passions without having to worry about paying the rent.
I get the impression that today’s touring scene is mostly made up of festivals or multiple band line-ups. Is it harder/tougher to tour today?
-Its always tough to get gigs if you haven’t done the ground work. Even if you yourself have a lot of gigging experience you have to start from scratch when you start a new band and thats what we found with Happily Ever Blind. No one likes to play the shitty little venues but it seems it’s the only way to build up fans and a name for yourself without a booking agent. The best way to do this is find other bands in the same boat as you and help each other out. This way you can fill the venue and give the fans more value for money. If you don’t they will just stay at home and play Playstation. These are the times we live in. I suppose the same principal applies to more well known bands playing festivals and larger venues.
If you were to decide how would the stage show look like?
-Like a circus (minus the animal abuse) with David Lynch as the ringmaster! I have always loved the epic stage theatrics of Alice Cooper, the pyrotechnics of Rammstein and the sets and giant Eddie of Iron Maiden. One day I hope we can get a big enough touring budget to put on some pretty decent stage shows and they will certainly be twisted. Lets see.
What does the future hold?
-Nothing special. Just saving the world by exposing our psychopathic masters who keep us all enslaved in this realm, one song at a time! We also hope to get better at our craft and party like.. it’s a really big party..
Thanks for the interview Battle Helm, it was great! Much love.