IN VAIN are back with a new album. A reason as good as any to interview them. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
Do you notice that there is an anticipation for you to release an album? Have you built a large enough following for people to eagerly await a new album?
-Well, it´s been five years since our last release, so I kinda feared that people had begun to question our existence… But once we started to announce the coming of our new album “Currents”, we´ve been getting a tremendous amount of feedback and support from our incredibly patient fans, so it seems we weren´t forgotten after all. Really happy to be back with a brand new record at last, and people seems to really appreciate the result as well!
Is it important for you that a new album picks up where the previous left off? How important is continuity?
-We don´t necessarily have continuity in mind when making new music, it´s mostly about finding those good ideas, and sculpting them into the best songs possible. But during and after this process we still need to consider if a song “sounds like In Vain”, and if it will fit in with the rest of the songs in order to create a cohesive yet varied album. We want our music to evolve in both style and quality from one album to the next, but at the moment we are really happy with our sound and style of songwriting, so I don´t see us going all Opeth and releasing something completely different anytime soon.
Was it hard for you to come up with a sound for this album that you all could agree on?
-No I wouldn´t say so. Once the songs were written and arranged, we had a pretty clear view on how we wanted the finished result to sound. We were happy with the production on the “Ænigma” album, and this time we aimed to achived a direct, organic and perhaps a bit more dynamic continuation of the sound we established back then. I think it worked out really well!
How important are the lyrics to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
-The music usually comes first, I´ll admit, but still I find it essential to have lyrics that both make sense on their own, and even more importantly fits with the vibe of the music. We´ve never been confined to any particular lyrical themes or topics, so you´ll find songs about personal struggles and experiences, as well as lyrics that contemplate on nature, philosophy, on how society is evolving etc.
The album title “Currents” reflects on the big shifts and changes of our time, the merging of cultures and the migration of people across continents and borders etc. Although not a concept album in any way, many of the new songs address these issues, as well as how to find personal meaning and peace in a world that seemingly keeps on spinning faster and faster.
How important is the cover art work for you? How much do you decide in choosing art work?
-The artwork can be an important part of the whole package if it´s fitting and well executed. I think Costin Chioreanu really nailed it with his “Currents” cover, an eye-catching piece of art which really captures the essence of the title and the mentioned topics, and it fits perfectly with the music in my opinion.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? Are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans?
-Having a label means having professionals to maintain some of the business and promotional aspects of being in a band, giving us more time to make music, rehearse, drink beer and try on spandex outfits. To a certain degree I believe it is a mark of quality for a band (although lots of crappy bands have record deals as well…) And we all like the physical formats, so releasing a new album just digitally is out of the question for us I think. We appreciate the work that Indie Recordings do for us, it would probably be possible to do it ourselves, but as it would be more or less a full time job, why not leave it to someone with skills and experience instead?
I guess that today’s music climate makes it harder for a band to sell mega platinum. How do you tackle the fact that downloading has changed how people consume music?
-We try not to focus too much on it, it is how it is, and we can only try to continue having fun and making wonderful music that people hopefully will enjoy. We all have our regular day jobs besides the band, so ist has never been about the money anyway, but admittedly, if the record sales had created a bit more income, it would have enabled us to tour more, which would have been really great! So please; continue to support good music!!
Does nationality matter today when it comes to breaking big. Does nationality play a part in if or not you will make it big internationally?
-I certainly don´t believe so. Perhaps we would have sold a few records extra just by being from Black Metal Norway a couple of decades ago, but I don´t think people care too much about the reputation of any particular scene or nationality anymore. I mean, my favourite album at the moment is by Persefone from Andorra! Nuff said.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-I´m a bit like you I think, using Spotify now and then just because it´s practical, but by far preferring the physical formats, listening to the whole album, really getting into the music… I guess we´re dinosaurs, but anyways.. I personally think that with e.g. Spotify, it´s far too easy to just skip forward to the next song or the next band if you don´t immediately love what you´re hearing, and in that way miss out on all those great albums that need a couple of spins to really shine.
For us as a band, it´great that people all over the world are able to discover and enjoy our music, but at the same time it´s easy to drown in the vast number of other bands and artists available, so it works both ways I guess.
What does the future hold for you?
-For now, it´s all about “Currents”! At the moment we´re preparing for our release gig in Oslo on 23 February, and a European tour, in support of Orphaned Land, which kicks off in Arnhem (NL) on the day after. We´re really looking forward to perform some new tracks on stage, so go to our FB page at https://www.facebook.com/InVainOfficial/ for complete tour dates, and come enjoy some warm beer and heavy music at one of our shows if you can!