IRON LAMB are back with a new album. Yippie kay yeh. Answered by Daniel Ekeroth Anders Ekdahl ©2018
A band name sets the tone for the band. With the right name you don’t really need any sort of declaration of intent. Was it hard to come up with a name? What does the name mean to you?
Well, I actually was not there at the formation of the band so I can’t really say how they came up with it. It is, however, pretty hard to come up with cool names anymore since most words are simply taken. The name Iron Lamb kind of intrigued me when I first heard it, it just sound a bit odd. It got that classic clash between a “hard” and a “soft” word that I like, such as in Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden. It contains dark and light, and all the secret pleasures in between. It sounds like rock & roll to me, and that’s all I need.
Who would say are the founding stones of the kind of sound you have? Who are your house Gods and how have they coloured your music?
The sound contains elements of both punk and metal, and I would say that 1977 is the key to understand it. That year is probably my favorite ever, with massive releases by Judas Priest, Motörhead, Ramones, Thin Lizzy and Ac/Dc. We all like that period, when punk and metal was still in the making and the rules was not quite fixed yet. There was a freedom of expression, a freedom we try to embrace in our own sound. Never mind the labels; as long as it rocks we are in!
When you play slow do you have to think differently arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
Not really, some of the slower songs on the new album actually started out as faster and vice versa. If you rehearse enough, the song will grow naturally and you will find the right tempo in the end. Our songs tend to have a life of their own, and they usually turn out very different than how they initially sounded.
Playing live is a totally different beast to studio work. How does your music work in a live environment?
It surely is, and of all the bands I have ever played in Iron Lamb is probably the one whose music best translates to the live situation. Our music is not really about precision, but about groove. On a good night, you find the perfect vibe and the music will surpass the studio recordings.
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?
I have always been a vinyl junkie, and I don’t feel you have released anything until it is on vinyl. It’s so much more than just the music – the artwork, the two sides, the smell… I think albums should be constructed and consumed as albums, not as individual songs. With online services, bands tend to put a lot of fillers at the end. That’s really a downside these days. Also, many albums are too long nowadays. Keep it simple, keep it good!
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?
You can access and discover so much these days, and it is a positive thing as long as you do not stop to really listen to albums as albums. To just consume playlists waters down the true art of an album.
What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
I like things that are different, unusual or just cool. Old jazz albums look so great, as did metal albums in the 70’s. Everything looked like crap in the 90’s, and most music sounded bad too then. My tip is not to try to fit in any fixed patterns – don’t try to fit into a genre, just do your own thing. As a rule, a simple idea is usually the best. “Masters of Reality “and “Volume 4” is perfection to me.
Do you feel that you are part of a national scene? What is the climate for metal in your country?
I do not feel at all we are part of any scene, we went our own way from the start. In Sweden there are a lot of retro bands at the moment, but we are not a part of that. Then there is always the more extreme metal bands, and we often play such gigs. It would probably be easier for us if we adapted to more fixed patterns, but we never would. We don’t really belong anywhere – we just play what we like. My favorite Swedish bands of late are the ones that has gone their own way, like Morbus Chron and Wheel in the Sky. I am also very proud of the last album we did with my band Usurpress, which sadly ended when our band leader Stefan Pettersson died in June.
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?
You can do whatever you want as a band. As long as you do what you want with your music you should not worry. We will always construct our albums with the intention of a vinyl, with a calculated song order and two distinct sides. You can not worry about how others will consume it, just do it your way.
What lies in the future?
I hope people will discover and listen to our music, I’m sure many would like it. Iron Lamb will play a few gigs over Sweden in November, and next year we will hopefully get some festivals over Europe and perhaps a shorter tour. As for myself, I will hopefully get some work done on my upcoming book about Swedish hardcore punk 1979-1989.
Thank you for the interview, and good luck with your future work!