Those who say that the British metal scene is dead should give MONUMENT a listen. Answers from Dan Anders Ekdahl ©2018
A band name says more than thousand words, or does it? How important is a band name to get people interested in your music?
-Very important! It’s your calling card, a first impression. A statement. Monument have always been a band that pays homage to the greats of British Heavy Metal. Our name reflects precisely this.
When you finish a recording and then sit back and relax, what kind of feelings do you get? Are you glad it is finished? Does the anxiety grow, not knowing if everybody will like it?
-A bit of both of course! I feel I can only really reflect and enjoy a record we do a few months after we finished it. You’re so engrossed in the process and all the details, it’s hard to see it for what it is as a whole without distancing yourself from it first for a while. And of course, there is always a degree of anticipation to how the fans will react. I wouldn’t say anxiety describes it best, we believe strongly in what we do and always look towards the future with positivity and excitement. Of course you can never please everyone, but we always endeavour to stay true to what Monument is all about, and so far the reception has been unbelievably positive, something we are eternally grateful for!
What is it like to be in a studio recording your music? What kind of feelings and thoughts race through your heads?
-These are always exciting times. We work on pre production for so long. Because of our busy schedule and because we live quite far apart, we squeeze in writing sessions whenever we can, be it on the road or during down time. It’s a great feeling to see our vision and months of work finally come to fruition. In the studio, because schedules are tight, we always work out asses off and do the best we can. The real work lies in the preparation. But I myself am a massive audio nerd anyway, I love doing all the tracking, messing with guitars tones and so forth. It’s my element and I flourish in the studio. The other boys may feel differently about that (haha).
Today I get a feeling that the promotion of a band lands a lot on the bands themselves so how does one promote oneself the best possible way in order to reach as many as possible?
-I will say this. The thing that has changed most in the last few decades, is that a band has to put in a lot more work and effort these days before a record company or management picks them up. I believe that is a good thing though. It teaches you a lot about the business side of things and gives you, by necessity, a skillet that will leave you less likely to be exploited further on in your career. Also, it really separates the bands that have the right attitude and work ethic from those that are only in it for the booze and chicks (or whatever people’s motivations for picking up the guitar are these days). In Monument, we all live and breathe music. We’ve all tried to go without it at some point in our lives. We can’t, it’s in our DNA.
To answer your question as to how one promotes one’s own music these days. I think with all the possibilities the internet offers today, it is easy for a young band to be beaten by the paradox of choice. If your budget is limited, pick a market or specific country and focus on that for a while, then expand from there. Empires aren’t built over night.
Today we have all these different sub-genres in metal. How important is that you can be tagged in one of these? Why isn’t metal enough as a tag?
-I don’t understand this myself. I suppose it’s all part of the sub culture. The fans are looking for a sense of belonging. It’s only natural for a bunch of kids who dig the same bands to get together and form a “club” so to speak. But I myself am not privy to any of that genre snobbery personally. I believe there is good and bad music, and everyone’s taste is different, period. Metal is about inclusion, not exclusion.
What importance is there in being part of local/national/international scene? Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of something bigger? I know it does to me knowing that in some slight way I was a part of the Swedish death metal scene in the 90s.
-It does. For us, not so much on a national/scene level. I suppose we are part of a more global movement of going back to the roots of Heavy Metal, the attitude, the live vibe and so forth. Of course it is an incredible feeling to be able to bring positivity and hope to an audience that, especially in this day and age, is constantly fighting a fierce battle for freedom, be it economically, politically or philosophically. So much of the modern Metal music is thematically based on nihilism and an ever faster paced consumer culture hell bent on instant gratification. That not what we’re about, we want to offer people escapism and a good time, so they can leave their troubles at the door for a few hours, and go home revitalised and with a more life affirming attitude.
Ever since I first got into metal the art work has been a main motivator in buying a record. What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
-It’s incredibly important to us. The music and artwork go hand in hand to give the audience a complete picture and encourage their fantasy. We have been incredibly fortunate to have Stan Decker on board with Monument since day one. He is a breathtaking artist and a real asset to the band.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? With the ability to upload your music as soon as you’ve written it the freedom to create has become greater but are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans now that every Tom, John and Harry can upload their stuff
-I still believe that a record company with it’s budget and, more importantly, it’s network can offer a band’s career an astounding amount of excelleration. The problem with, as you put it, every Tom, John and Harry releasing his self produced EP online, is that the quality control processes of the olden days are no longer in place. To get a record out in the 80s you had to go through an A&R person, a manager, a record label and a producer. That’s 4 stages of quality control. Yes, these days people may have more freedom to make the music they want, but it also means that to find something good, the fans have to sift through a tonne of shit (pardon my French) online before they find something they like. This puts many people off of new bands and they stick to what they know, the classics.
What is a gig with you like? What kind of shows do you prefer to play?
-We like an energetic show, for both eyes and ears. We endeavour to be larger than life and leave as big of an impression as possible. Ee love interacting with the crowd,, the worst thing for us are bands that stand still on stage so they can play every note prrfectly. A show needs a certain amount of danger and exvitement. Come of our shows, and you’ll know what I mean!!
What lies in the future?
-More more more!! We’ve just had an incredible experience playing the Rockwave and Metal Days festivals for the first time. We also have some dates with Accept, Refuge and Orden Ogan in Germany in November, and are going to announce a few more autumn dates very shortly. Then we will probably start working on some new material in the winter and start touring again in the spring. We want to spread ourselves a little further next season, perhaps visit Scandinavia and other places in Europe we haven’t been to yet. 2019 will be an exciting year!!