If you live in North America you might still have a chance to catch MINDMAZE live. The rest of us have to settle for the new album. Answers by Jeff 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?
-Making this album was radically different than our first two albums, and it was trying for everyone involved in various ways. Nevertheless, I think we’re all immensely proud of the album, and this album is far more personal to all of us, and also more of a team effort than the first two records.
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?
There’s really no interesting story behind the band name – we sort of just brainstormed for weeks and generated a list of decent ideas and then voted on our favorites, and MindMaze ended up being the overall favorite. We felt like it’s appropriate for calling to mind a bit of a progressive vibe, while not being too pretentious.
What does it mean to you that there are people out there that actually appreciate and look forward to what you are doing?
-Honestly, I still get taken aback by the fact that people like that are out there. We’ll play gigs in new locations and meet new people or have longtime fans get to finally see us for the first time, and to watch these people’s enthusiasm and to read their testimonials about the band is truly amazing. It feels great to know we’re creating music that’s resonating with people on the level of some of my favorite music.
How important is image to the band? What impression do you want the fans to get of the band?
-Having a unified image onstage and in promotional photos is rather important to us, but I think we’re a bit less image-obsessed than a lot of other female-fronted bands. In our band dynamic, our singer Sarah is very much just “one of the guys” so to speak. She’s the singer, sure, but a singer in the context of a normal band dynamic. We’re not trying to push the singer much more and render the rest of the band as faceless backing musicians.
I am a huge fan of LP art work. How important is it to have the right art work for your album?
-I’m an album artwork junkie myself, and I think bad artwork can absolutely sink a good album and great artwork can be an excellent foot in the door for getting people to check out your stuff. We’ve had plenty of people over the past few years tell us that they checked out our albums based on being drawn in by the artwork, which is awesome. It’s not just about having something that’s high quality, but also that fits the overall band image and sound as well.
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?
-It’s absolutely a double-edged sword. I treasure the intimate relationship we try to keep with our fans through social media, I really live for the energy exchange and interaction, but when you’re a rather opinionated person or one prone to venting, you can sometimes put your foot in your mouth and regret it later. Generally I think staying away from hot-button issues is a good rule of thumb – we really try to not get political on social media, or have a stance on sports, religion, or anything else that tends to divide people.
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?
-Absolutely. The intimate band relationship is one thing on its own, where it’s basically an intimate relationship with your fellow band members that can be really rewarding at times. Furthermore, being in sort of an underground band in this subculture, you feel a sense of community with other bands you meet along the way through gigging, as well as bands on our record label, and other things like that. You meet a lot of friends along the way and sometimes it really does feel like brotherhood of sorts.
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?
-I think the lifeblood of this subculture of metal music exists on the internet anymore, which is sort of unfortunate. There’s pockets throughout the USA and world where it can thrive in certain geographical locations, but that’s the minority, especially for newer bands like us. The internet has been our biggest resource in building a fan base that as time goes by, we’re getting to go out and perform for and meet face to face. If people still seek out new music, love it, and spread the word about it, it can still thrive and make everyone happy.
How much of a touring band are you guys? How hard is it to get gigs outside of your borders?
-We’re about to play our first shows ever outside of the USA as part of a support tour with Sirenia and Arkona, which will take us to Canada for a few shows – we’re all excited about that, we’ve heard some great things. Our most legitimate prior touring experience was supporting Saxon and Armored Saint in September 2015, which was really fantastic. We’ve done some smaller runs of shows on our own and with a great progressive metal band we know named Iris Divine as well. 2016 was sort of a slow year due to working on the new album, but 2017 so far is shaping up to be by far our busiest year, and as time goes by, we hope to do more and more touring, whether it be support tours or stuff on our own. Naturally going to Europe is one of our biggest long-term goals.
What will the future bring?
-Well, I suppose it’s impossible for me to really know, but in the short term, we’re hoping for a successful tour as well as good sales and reception for the new album Resolve, which should hopefully open even more doors for the future. We’re already starting to kick around some musical ideas for a fourth album, which will probably end up coming out in early 2019, but right now it’s far too early to tell. We’ll just have to wait and see.