KRAKÓW is a band that I have no relation to. Until I set up this interview I had not listened to them one iota. But that has all changed now. Answers by Ask Ty. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
Was it hard to come up with a name? What does the name mean to you? How important is it to have the right name?
-Sure it was hard, a band name is in many ways your identity. To me, who wasn’t there for that process, I have loved the name since the first time we discussed touring together. A name is an essential part of the identity, be it for an individual or a band, it is a reflection of who you are. And for this band that is still reflected back towards the band, the music and the live performance, even though it’s been 12 years and much has happened since then.
Who would say have laid the foundation for the kind of sound you have? Who are your heroes musically and what have they meant to you personally and to the sound of your band?
-I think the musical foundation of this band is so ecclectic that it’s impossible to pinpoint the actual inspirational value, this is a band consisting of people coveting Kendrick Lamar as much as Son House, Mastodon as much as Motorpsycho, Wu-Tang Clan as much as Iron Maiden. The sound of this band is shaped much more by adventurous thinking and exploration of emotion as much as of the aural influences we have grown up with. It’s a test lab for all ideas, anything goes on the table, and then we see what works for the collective.
When you play slow do you have to think differently arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
-I think the slow material is somewhat harder to control, but that is where intuition and confidence is essential. For the fast stuff it’s just putting parts together and keeping that uptempo energy through the song, but for those slow numbers it takes a lot of work to get to the conclusion. And after a song like that is recorded it keeps evolving through our live shows, so no song is ever truly ‘finished’ anyway.
I honestly have never been much for of a live album kinda guy. I understand a live video/DVD. What is the charm of releasing a live album?
-I can only speak for myself personally, as someone who fell in love with this band while watching them live for a couple of weeks in a row, and then moving from a few countries away to join them, and this is a band you will never understand fully before you have experienced the live show. There is so much more to be added, all that more nuance, all this insane energy that I have never experienced from another band. Sure, the post rock genre is flush with bands that do BIG, and bands that do SLOW, and bands that do the massive light shows to accentuate the sonic vibrancy, but KRAKOW is a band that can do anything in a stripped down setting and it will still be vulnerable and honest and massive and in-your-face and confrontational.
It is very hard to be 100% satisfied. Everybody seems to be disappointed with something they have released. Is there something that you in hindsight would have done differently on this your latest recording?
-Sure, there always is. And in this band the recording process is experimental in it’s nature, but that just means that an album is an honest reflection of that period of time in the band’s existence. I’d much rather listen to that than to something that’s been polished beyond any form of personality.
Promotion can be a bitch. Even today with all different platforms it can be hard to reach out to all those that might be interested in your music? What alleys have you used to get people familiarized with your band?
-That one is hard, absolutely. We tour, and with very different kinds of bands, that’s the main way to promote ourselves. Then our label helps out through their avenues, and of course the list of great reviews, both for albums and possibly more so for the live shows, help a lot. But it’s hard to find your place in this massive world of music. They say digital killed the music industry, but apparently there are 3500 allbums released every week, so it seems in damn good health to me.
To me art work can be the difference between bust or success. What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
-I think the great covers have both simplicity and depth. And for us that’s been the case, working with the Master Thomas Hooper. He’s most known as a tattoo artist, but has also done a lot of fantastic work for bands like Converge, Doomrider, Neurosis, etc. He really gets what we are about and has helped express that in a visual way, too.
Do you feel that you are part of a national scene? Is a local/national scene important for the development of new bands?
-Not really. In our personal lives we are closely connected to the metal scene over here, most of our friends tend to circulate within that scene, but at the same time there aren’t a lot of bands in our ‘genre’ of sorts. Bands over here tend to be more closely tied to a single sub-genre, and for that reason we tend to float about between the other bands. But socially, of course, there is that scene vibe going on.
I could just be me but I got the feeling that the live scene is not what it used to be. Could be that more and more people use the net to discover bands instead of going out and supporting new bands live. What is you experience with the live scene?
-I disagree wholeheartedly. With one of my other bands I played Paris last year, as part of a tour, and our show was one of 5 metal shows in the city that day, and one of 80 for October and November. Seems to me more bands are out on the road than ever before and even though more bands are also struggling to fill up the rooms, I believe that quality floats to the top. At least for me the experience is good turnouts and great energy with whatever band I’m out there with.
What does the future hold?
-Who knows, eh? We’re entering the studio within a year, maybe less, and there will be an album next year for sure. Then a couple of tours again, and we take it from there.