JUDD MADDEN might be unknown to most of us. A fact that should be changed. And soon. Read this interview while you stream his albums on Bandcamp and you’ll know what I am talking about. ©2015 Anders Ekdahl
What was it that made you decide to do instrumental music?
-I’ve always loved listening to instrumental music; you can form your own meanings, your own feelings. You can focus your listening on the pure sound, without distraction.
Also, I’m not a good singer – and I wanted my music to be a singular creation, like writing a book.
What is the hardest bit not having vocals?
-Expressing emotion with instruments alone is definitely a challenge. Really, a lot of the emotions will come from the listener instead. Vocals can also create a structure to build a song around, without them you need new structures and different musical ideas to keep things interesting.
What is it that inspires you to play in a sort of funeral doomy metal style?
-Slow and heavy just comes very naturally to me. Listening to bands like Black Sabbath, Yob, and Goatsnake growing up formed my style. I like the space between notes, I like nodding my head slowly.
What would you say have been your greatest sources of influence?
-Doom and post-metal bands from everywhere and any time. Especially bands like Pelican, Isis, Electric Wizard, Earth, Kyuss, Sleep, Bongripper. And so many more!
How important is the cover art? Does it have to tie in with the music?
-It’s important that it suits the music. For me it’s important to support the concept of the album. You can definitely attract listeners based purely on your cover art.
Do you have a message with your music that you want to bring forth?
-No, no specific message. I use water thematically, as it’s dynamic and interesting. I feel my music is positive overall, even though it’s heavy. No aggression or hate, just sound waves.
Something I have been thinking of with this whole digital social media frenzy is that even though a site like Bandcamp might have hundreds of thousands visitors every day only a fraction of them are there for your music yet people keep on posting their music. Why is that?
-People love to create. A site like Bandcamp gives them an opportunity to be heard. Listeners use these sites to find new music, if someone delves deep enough into genres and sub-genres, they will find you. If the music is good, I like to think it will find an audience!
If you are signed to a decent enough label they will promote you. How do you attract people to your music?
-A label would make sense if you were playing live shows (which I don’t). Attracting people; mostly word of mouth / blogs / forums. I’ve never done any advertising, aside from emailing anyone who’s downloaded an album when I release a new album. I’m not doing this for money or fame, but it is really fulfilling that people are listening.
Is digital killing music?
-No way! Quite the opposite. Digital allows unsigned bands to find an audience. We live in a truly amazing age, creatively and technically. I’ve discovered so many bands because of digital. Vinyl is pretty cool though, and I’m glad it’s made a comeback. I’d love to release something on vinyl.
What does the future hold?
-More music. Better and more interesting. I’m about to start recording Waterfall II, which is new music based on old ideas. Should be challenging and fun!