Swedish black metal is not the same as Norwegian. Yet both are influential in their own right. Sweden’s NACHTLIEDER will soon have their debut album out. In the meantime read this interview I did. Anders Ekdahl ©2012
In recent years it’s become more common to have band names that are not English words. Why is it that German is such a suitable language for band names?
-Well, we all need to find ways to stand out in the massive crowd of bands and I guess having a band name in a different language is one way to look more exotic. Being a Germanic language it’s still easy for English speaking people to understand German, so it’s… convenient. I just love the way it sounds though. It has very harsh and ugly elements as well as extremely beautiful ones, just like BM music. I
knew from the start I wanted my band name to be in German.
How does a band from Sweden find its way onto a label from the States? What does geography mean in today’s black metal world?
-Don’t ask me, ask my label. I found Unmerciful Death when buying an album from Turkish metal act Sirannon and thought, why the hell not send them a demo. Considering communication geography means nothing today with the Internet and all (did it even matter in the time BEFORE Internet?). I guess you get some kind of status just by saying you’re a Scandinavian metalhead, but living here I have no idea why, haha.
There is not one single black metal universe but a countless number of them. How did you find your true voice of the black metal underground?
-Excellent question, and a damn difficult one to answer. I think I started making music and then I wanted to find music that already sounded like what I wanted to create. Eventually I ended up in the
dark part of the avant garde universe. I like art, I always have and my main objective with this project is musical crafting. Within avant garde metal I feel there is more focus on creating interesting music
rather than spreading some kind of message (whatever it may be).
When you are alone in doing things how much freedom does that allow you to create your own vision?
-I wanted to keep this project to myself to get as much artistic freedom as possible, but there are still boundaries. I don’t play the drums which as we know are insanely important in metal. My drummer
Martrum and I have been playing together for a really long time though. We have the same open view on music and the same references so working with him is a blast (and also grind). Sometimes our ideas clash of course, but we have always found ways to work everything out. So the drums are a boundary for me, but through my drummer I can basically still create what I want.
Do you feel that you fit into a Swedish black metal tradition or do you act outside of the realm?
-I don’t know, what is the Swedish BM tradition? Swedish BM is generally not my cup of tea, but I have been listening to it a lot in the past so the music has definitely influenced me in some ways. But no, I don’t feel like I’m a part of this.
This might be a boring question but what is it about Scandinavia that has allowed for so many great black metal acts to rise up?
-It’s not a boring question, it’s an interesting one! I don’t think I have the answer though. The Scandinavian music scene is famous regardless of genre. You could speculate around the usual cheap/free music schools and the old working class tradition of “studying circles” which makes it easy and cheap for bands to rehearse. No wars, low crime, good economy… But there are many, many great black metal bands from all over the world. Considering the BM history in Scandinavia, or more specifically Norway, I believe Scandinavian bands perhaps tend to get a little more attention because of it.
Do you feel any sort of pride being a part of the Scandinavian black metal culture? Is there a community spirit within the black metal scene or is it just single individuals being misanthropic on
-Well yes, BM and extreme metal over all is one of our biggest cultural exports, of course I’m proud of it. But community spirit… no. The scene is actually not that strong here. There’s a lack of truly
passionate individuals, both musicians and fans. Frankly most people I meet are douchebags striving to become rock stars rather than creating great music and art. If there is a community spirit I’m not a part of it, and I don’t think I would want to be.
How important is the imagery to you as a band? Where do you draw inspiration from for the graphic side?
-It’s very important as a complement to the music. Making an album is more than just putting a couple of songs together, it’s a whole piece of crafting that needs to be cohesive and balanced. I like simplicity in imagery and I draw inspiration from dreams/nightmares, surrealism, horror and ghost stories as well as traditional BM aesthetics.
Is there a lyrical theme that you follow wholeheartedly? What kind of inspiration do you find for the lyrics?
-No, I don’t have a concept I’m concentrating on. Looking at the lyrics for this album it’s a lot about alienation, disappointment and violence. “The subconsciousness of the human mind” if you want to get artsy and pretentious. They’re very personal this time, I guess that’s natural for a debut. I always finish a song with the lyrics and I start with just writing words and short phrases that feel right with
the music. So the music itself is my main inspiration, but sometimes I need help to finish up what I have started. I usually find this in other lyrics or in literature with the same themes.
What ideal future plans would you like to see come true?
First of all I’m gonna finish the release of this album, then I will complete my second one. Taking this project live is more of an idea than a plan at the moment and I’m sure as hell not ready for it, but
it would be fun, some day.