In a world were there are so many bands to keep track of I want to bring my two cents in presenting you to this interview with IRONGUARD. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
When you release a new recording does it feel like you have to start a new a couple step 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?
-We tend to not look at it competitively. Each release has been an evolution of the last, but at the end of the day, it’s our songs and our words, and if we are happy with the recording, we don’t worry about much else. We do of course listen to new material from other bands and take inspiration from it. But for us, this is about expression, and not competition.
Do you have an aesthetic that you keep true to from recording to recording (i.e. stylistical same art work, lyrical theme etc.)?
-No. We’ve used the same artist for the artwork of our last two releases, but we never intended for our artwork to have a theme tying them together.
Lyrics were written by our former lead singer, so I can’t speak much to it, but there never was any overarching theme to the lyrics. They could revolve around fantasy topics (for example Storm the Walls off Towards Victory), to quitting an abusive job (Free Again off same album) to Danish folklore (Heroic Return, off both our albums).
How hard is it to come up with lyrics to the songs? When do you know thst you have the right lyrics?
-I find lyrics to be the hardest part of songwriting. It’s all about having something you want to say, some feeling to evoke – a story to tell. So, when that story is told, and it fits the melody of the song, they are done. But as I don’t write many lyrics, I don’t have much to say on the topic.
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?
-We are old school as well. An album needs artwork, preferably something that sets the mood for the entire album.
Album artwork has great influence on the way I listen to an album. The way it’s made “colors” my listening experience, you know? I imagine that color and artwork while listening to the album. So I think skipping over album artwork is a missed opportunity.
Do you ever feel that you get misinterpretated because of the music you play?
-No, not really. Some people will always carry a prejudice, but most people seem to have genuine interest, if you take the time and explain things to them. Sometimes people just don’t know anything about a genre, and I personally like to try enlightening them! They will not turn in to fans very often, but most of the time, they will go away with a better understanding of the music.
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?
-I’m all for the easy access to music these days. We’ve had people all over the world buy and listen to our stuff, something that would NEVER have happened, had it not been for social media.
Also, I find that the metal community is as loyal as ever. We’ve had the same people pop in to concerts many times, and I don’t think that would have happened either more or less in the “old days”.
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?
-Music is evolving, and that can’t be changed. As I stated before, I’m all for the easy access to music. I’m finding a lot of bands that I would never have heard of before.
I do miss going to the record store, browsing CD’s and taking something new home. But there was always the risk that you bought something you didn’t like. But now I download albums through streaming services and listen to them that way, and I can just stop listening, if I don’t like it. I prefer that. However, it would be nice if the musicians got paid more through the streaming services.
Also, today it’s very easy for bands and individuals to make the music themselves. This means a lot more people get to enjoy musical creativity. I like that, because if music could only be recorded in expensive studios still, I wouldn’t be recording much music.
Of course, it makes the market more saturated, but I believe that true creativity and skill is still awarded with the most attention. Or at least, I hope so.
I get the impression that today’s touring scene is most made up of festivals or multiple band line-ups. Is it harder/tougher to tour today?
-Touring has always been tough in Denmark. It’s mostly small club gigs, and you must work your ass off to go on tour, without much pay in return. So, it’s all a big risk, something which might not pay off in the long run. I don’t think that is very viable in today’s world. However, if you put in the effort, you can go on cool tours. Festivals seem to dominate, though.
If you were to decide how would the stage show look like?
-Lots of stage props, screens and fireworks! The stage should also tell a story, together with the music and the performance of the band! However, we would still like to have the audience “close”.
What does the future hold?
-There are, at the moment, no plans for the future of Ironguard.
Thank you for the interview!
/Mads Laursen – Lead guitarist, Ironguard