IMPERIAL AGE is a cool Russian band that I’ve just discovered. You too should check them out. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
We all come into music with our own baggage. We want different things from the music. How does the vision you had for the band when you started compare to the vision you have for the band today? What is this band really all about? What do you want with your music?
-The vision has stayed practically the same. The only exception is that originally the band was conceived with just one singer – myself – but grew to be a band with many different voices: male and female, clear and grunting, screaming, growling, academic, rock etc.
Imperial Age is really about Greatness, about Development, about doing something Magnificent. About Big Things. You know, when I watch Lord of the Rings, I always get this feeling of the immensity of what is going on there. And compared to that all everyday troubles dwindle and seem insignificant. That is the feeling I am trying to convey through my music. I believe that humans are capable of great deeds and as an artist I want to inspire people. I want people to listen to my music and then take their asses off the sofa, go out there and start doing something fantastic, what they were born for, what their heart lies to. To make their Dreams come true. To live a full, fruitful Life as it is supposed to be.
Is there a difference in people’s attitude towards you if you don’t come from a cool place like LA or NY or London?
-I don’t know, because we actually come from a very cool place too – Moscow, which is also one of the planet’s major capital cities, just as NY, London, Paris or Beijing 🙂 The response has always been amazing, but I think it has absolutely nothing to do with where you are from.
When you release an album that get pretty good feedback, how do you follow up on that? How important is that I as a fan can identify album to album?
-It depends what feedback we are talking about. There is feedback from critics and feedback from fans. I really don’t follow on the first one (however a good review is always pleasant, of course) but the second one is most important. I compose the music I like, but I want to find as many people who share my taste as possible 🙂
What is the biggest challenge in the creation of an album? How do you write the really cool songs?
-For me the biggest quest is getting the time and the energy needed to sit down and do the music. When I am composing, I literally fall out of life, I can sit there for 15 hours non stop without any food or rest, totally ignoring the outside world. But bills must be paid, other work must be done etc. So its really a matter of getting the resources to buy the some time and to accumulate the energy that I need to write the music.
I saw Dave Grohl’s documentary about Sound City and it made me wonder what it is about analogue recording that you don’t get with digital? Have you ever recorded analogue?
-Not really. We live in a digital age when recording budgets get smaller and smaller, so we have always recorded with digital audio. Also, I work a lot with samples and virtual instruments, so Im kinda more into that. We have just become Steinberg endorsers, they gave me their newest software and Im in the middle of exploring it, so its getting more into digital than at any time before
What is it like to sit there with a finished album? Do you think much what people will think of it?
-You know, its like you are a balloon that has been filled with air at a huge pressure. You have been accumulating that energy, that information for so long, and you couldn’t show it to anyone, and now at last comes the time when it will BURST! )) I never really bother what ppl would think since there will be all opinions anyway and you can’t please them all. My goal is to please myself and then find those who like it too
How important are the lyrics and what message do you want to purvey?
-I’ve recently read a post by my hero Tobias Sammet where he was pondering on this issue too. I agree with him that lyrics are extremely important (although some ppl think otherwise). The information, the message that you put into the art is not just important, it is vital to the overall success, if you want my opinion. I think its like the inner informational structure of the whole thing – its the Idea. There is a marine saying that the vessel will sail as you name it. I think its true for everything.
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?
-Well, as I usually say, you can sell shit in a gold wrapping (only once though), but you can’t sell gold in a shit wrapping. Because no one will know that its gold. They will think its shit because it looks like shit 🙂 You must draw attention to your work. But then of course people will listen to it and decide if they like it or not. You can’t sell shitty records. But the point is that EVERYHTING should be good – both on the inside AND the outside. Otherwise people who might have loved your work would just never know about it.
When you play live do you notice a degree of greater recognition from the fans with each new time you pass through town?
-We played a few cities twice last year and oh yes – we had a lot of people coming from previous shows and standing in the front row. It was magnificent!
What do you see in the future?
-If me and Jane are alive, healthy and free, Imperial Age will rise to the very top, you have my word for it. Symphonic metal will become a trend once again – we shall recreate it. I said it 10 years ago when I just started, and I repeat it today with absolute confidence. We have the best fans in the world helping us bring this dream to life and we have support from the very founder of this genre – master Christofer Johnsson. What else can I ask for? The High Powers are favouring us exceptionally. I think we are very lucky indeed and I am very grateful to everyone 🙂