As a guide to the vast array of bands in this universe I present to you an interview with HOGSTUL. Anders Ekdahl ©2021
When the band came into creation what was the main purpose for it?
-Hello, and thanks for your interest in Hogstul! This solo project is based on musical ideas harvested over a period of time that did not fit in my other bands such as Profane Burial and Omnia Moritur. The music was re-arranged and developed as my experience with midi orchestration got better by the years. I was very proud and satisfied with the tracks and thought it would be a shame if they were unused. My first idea was to release it as an orchestral journey, but then I started to play with the idea: “what about a metal project…”I programmed drums and then it was done, it sounded great in my ears so I had to write guitars and bass tracks as well. Then I was wondering about hiring a session vocalist due to that I had never done (extreme) vocals before. But on the other hand; it would not be a solo project/band any more, so I bought a microphone and gave it a shot. I was quite happy with my test vocals so then Hogstul was complete!
How hard is it to come up with a sound that is all yours? What bits’n’pieces do you pick up from other stuff to make it your sound?
-As I mentioned above, it was intended to be a pure orchestral project – hence a lot of orchestrations. I am quite fond of classical music and also film scores so you might find some inspiration from such music. When it came to the metal part for me it was important to go back to my roots. I started to listen to Black Metal in 1987/88 and love the 90-scene. Hogstul is very inspired by the second wave and even though the production is modern, it does sound quite like the olden days I think. It was also crucial that the orchestra was not too much in the front and dominating, with rather a cold production and sharp guitar sound with both extreme and growl vocals.
Hogstul differ quite a bit due to tempo, length of the tracks, the sound and also that I am able to do exactly what I want with every single little detail on all the instruments. It is actually very good to have a project all by my self, since I am quite involved in the other bands and tends to have meanings about everything from compositions, arrangements, lyrics, cover art, mix etc you name it. The only external “help” I have acquired is with mix/master and layout on the physical products, otherwise I have done everything by my self.
Some of my favorite bands are actually Burzum, Darkthrone, Satyricon, Kvist, Faustcoven, Mayhem and Slagmaur where I find none references to Hogstul. I have of course my share of listening to bands like Limbonic Art, Emperor, SepticFlesh, Dimmu Borgir and Carach Angren where more inspiration and links might be natural to compare. I started to listening to metal music when I was quite young around 1980 with bands like Kiss, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and other NWOBHM. In 1987/88 I discovered harder music (Thrash/Death and Black-Metal) and has followed that scene ever since.
I have no idea what kind of creative process you guys go through but how hard is it to record and release new songs?
-I have my own studio at home with all needed equipment and facilities, so I can work whenever I want to. For me, Hogstul went really quick from start to finish compared to other bands I have been involved with. I started playing with the idea of Hogstul in 2018, but it was brought to life and formed in 2019 – things went rapidly!
When in a band you must be able to compromise, other wise there will be challenges. So far all my bands involved in has functioned quite well – but it is unbelievable relieving to have one band where I can do as I want 100%, and do not have to wait for others.
Since Hogstul was my “ego-trip”, I also wanted to release the album myself. A great experience to have done absolute everything by my self, and know that I am able to fulfill my goals without having to relay on anybody else!
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?
-I do not want to throw stones in a glass house, because when looking back now I did reveal/spoil quite a lot of the album before release. Therefore I can relate to your question and know why some do it. I promise I will not do that on my second/upcoming album.
With Hogstul I did it as “teasers” to build up and keep an audience since it was a brand new band. The positive was that I did capture quite a few listeners, and had a very successful release both digital as physical!
If releases are with years apart, then I understand the need for singles to keep listeners interested in your band, but it must not be to often as well I think. If a band releases too often I can become “tired” of them and/or do not catch the new release because I have not “digested” the previous one. There is a fine line here, I do have not the answer, he he, but it also depends on the genre I think!
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?
-From my point of view I do not agree. There has never been made and released more music than today, not all might be of the highest quality, but with the technological revolution everybody can reach out. I think its great that you do not have to be on a label to publish/release music. There are so many great independent bands out there I would never have heard of had it not been for good old Internet! With Hogstul everything is just a big invoice, ha ha. In addition to all the studio equipment I have to pay for cover art-work, mix/master, digital and physical release etc etc. For me payment is not money, but when I get good response for my work!
On the other hand, I do not live of my music as you might understand, I have a full time job, but for full time musicians I reckon there are very hard times. Most of the income comes from concerts/touring, and when that is not possible you have to think in alternative ways. I know a few bands that have done virtual/online shows with great success, and I applaud them for that. Piracy will sadly always be there, and I think those (motherfuckers) who steal will always steal… but again, my music reaches out to new territories so I really do not care regarding my own music. Music will prevail – I have no doubt about it. As long as people have passion for what they do, they will do it!
What kind of responses do you get to your music? What has been the thing that has gotten the most attention?
-The feedback has been “on the far side” of my wildest dreams – overwhelming to be modest! I am just humble and grateful for all the promising words, feedback, support and reviews I have got so far, which all have been exclusively positive. What’s really crazy is that I printed 100 digipak’s (Independent release), and now I have no more copies left for sales. The compositions and length of the tracks have definitely got a lot of attention, and with an average score of 85% on this debut album I must have done something correct. I have also started to work on new Hogstul tracks, and have several more ideas that must be explored… there will be a second album!
We live in a world where there are no real distances between people communicating anymore. What has been the most surprising contact so far?
-Definite an order of the digipak all the way from Japan! I can not imagine how the word regarding my music has spread to the other side of the globe… I have also made good friends from countries like Argentina (Hello Fabio!), Brazil and other countries in South-America as well, several places in Europe and of course a lot of new and really appreciated acquaintances in Norway. Its great and very cool to have people to visit one day when Corona ends, that I am happy to call my friends!
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?
-I do feel privileged to be able to make music since I both have a family and full time job. The scene today is totally different from the 90’s. When growing older I would reckon most of us also “calms down” and have both our feet plated to the ground as we say. If I had started with music 25 years ago, I might have dealt with it differently. I really do not see the point of acting superior or look down on people just because one have achieved something in life others did not. I am too old for that shit, ha ha!
When turning 46 I really do not think I miss out of anything really important anymore. As long as I am with my family, friends and can worship my hobby I am satisfied. Of course a lot of my new friends is a result of making music, so that’s who (and not what) I would have missed out on I guess.
What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
-I do not play live with Hogstul, but I have played a few gigs with my other band Profane Burial, and of course that is very important to grow and reach out to new fans. To be able to perform your own music in front of a crowd is very special, and if you get good response as well its just magic! We did play at a festival one year before the Corona, and got a lot of new fans there. So playing live is definitely important to reach out even further. It is also very satisfying to play live, no matter the number of attendances its great fun!
What plans do you have for the future?
-I am working on more material for Hogstul; both the cover and title is more or less ready. One song is also 95% complete with everything from orchestra, drums, guitars and vocals. Two shorter orchestral pieces are also finished, and intended to open and end the second album, respectively. These days I am working on a rather different song based on older compositions dating all the way back to 2014.
Next I will also release a strictly limited wooden-box, 10 copies only. Together with Screaming Skull Records, which I just have signed with, we are now doing design for a vinyl release! We (SSR and I) have also released a cassette together which looks really cool; old school – trve kvlt. So as you might understand I do not have boring days!
Thanks a lot for your questions – support the underground!