When LIFE OF AGONY was the latest fad on Headbanger’s Ball I wasn’t that much of a fan. But as I grow older I … become more open. So with a new album about I’ll give them another chance. Answers from Joey. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
Let’s start with your latest recording. When you look back at it now what kind of feelings do you have for it?
-It is really an incredible effort on behalf of the whole band. We achieved everything we set out to do on this one, and exceeded our expectations on what we would end up delivering. You can say we are quite proud.
I am fascinated by band names. What was it that made you settle on the one you have and what does it mean to you?
-The band name came about when Alan had a dream of the world ending. He called me the next day and said, “what do you think of calling the band Life Of Agony?” I immediately replied, “I love it”. I ended up getting the bad ass logo he drew tattooed on my left shoulder just weeks after. I was 18 years old So as you can imagine the name of the band is now a part of my own personal legacy. It appears on my own body, so that must tell you a lot.
What does it mean to you that there are people out there that actually appreciate and look forward to what you are doing?
-If it wasn’t for our audience we would be nothing. It’s very simple. If you have no one caring for or appreciating what you do, well then, it isn’t special. The music we create is therapy for us as well as our listeners. We have a deeper connection with them through our lyrics and content. They feel like they know us since we are so open and truthful with what we write. It brings us closer to them in a way not all bands can say they have with their fans.
How important is image to the band? What impression do you want the fans to get of the band?
-We never focused on an image. We are who we are… Take it or leave it. We’ve never had one conversation about it and never will. We are real human beings who love what we do. That’s the impression we leave.
I am a huge fan of LP art work. How important is it to have the right art work for your album?
-Art work has always been so important to me as a fan and within my own projects. It is so important to connect the visual concept to the musical content. I feel it is part of what makes a record a classic one.
We live in a superficial world today where you don’t exist if you are not on Youtube and Facebook. Has social media been only beneficial in socializing with the fans or is there a down side to it too?
-I guess if you don’t move with the times, chances are eventually you’ll be left behind. I think the whole social media thing has it’s good and bad sides like everything else. I do like the connection to the real fans who like to ask questions about gear or band related things, but on the other side of the coin, you have a bunch of people behind a screen pretending to be someone else, or causing trouble, or making idiotic remarks because they feel there will be no repercussions. I know Mina has dealt with a lot of shit due to this social media “link”. In the end, we don’t pay too much attention to the negatives, and there is usually not much of it.
When you play in a band does it feel like you are a part of a massive community? That you belong to something that gives meaning to your life?
-I guess you can say that, sure. But, I am also very personal when it comes to my own family. I like the separation… a family needs that. It took me years to find the balance, but I’m glad I finally arrived where I have. I am a lot more complete as a person, which allows me to give even more of myself when I’m on the music side of “family”.
When you are in the middle of it do you notice what state our beloved music scene is in? Is the scene healthy or does it suffer from some ailment?
-Everyone in the world is getting everything so quick these days. The time of “buildups” is almost completely gone. I remember the feeling of impatiently waiting months and sometimes years for my favorite bands next record or video to come out. It built an excitement. Things are so available now due to YouTube and all the social media sites. The “scenes” we remember have suffered from all this. People aren’t going to shows as much, because they can simply just type the band they want to see live into YouTube. The mystique is gone and everything is right in your face. It’ll never go back to what it was, but I am sure glad I experienced it all when it was healthy and thriving.
How much of a touring band are you guys? How hard is it to get gigs outside of your borders?
-The best way I can answer that is, we are more consious of what we do and when and how we do it. We are smarter than ever when it comes to touring and are very strategic with our planning. You can easily over saturate areas and we try not to do that. To answer the second part of your question, I believe it’s not hard for us to play pretty much anywhere we’d like to go at this point. Dan Devita and the TKO agency have plenty of influence so getting gigs isn’t a very “hard” task.
What will the future bring?
-Nobody knows the answer to that. I’d like to say and hope, just more positive things. We’re going to ride this wave and see where it takes us.