NECRONOMICON is a classic Canadian band. You all should know this band by now but in case you are new, here is an introduction. Answered by Rob The Witch Anders Ekdahl ©2018
We all come into music with our own baggage. We want different things from the music. How does the vision you had for the band when you started compare to the vision you have for the band today? What is this band really all about? What do you want with your music?
– I started pretty much like everyone starts, just having fun playing music with friends, but right from the beginning in the back on my head there was more than that. I wanted to be a real musician, playing shows, but also record albums and tour, not just playing weekends shows you know. I clashed really quickly with others on the fact that I thought they were not putting enough of themselves in working on the band and just playing to say ”hey I play guitar (drums/bass) in a band”. Everyone I was playing with was more interested into playing cover songs rather than trying to work on something that was our own. So I ended up pushing things aside until I found people that were in the same situation. From the start, I wanted to do a band that was dark or that I could even say was satanic at first, but got bored really quick with the Satan stuff so I moved on to the Cthulhu mythos, that at least was more entertaining for me since I don’t believe in god or Satan. At that point, I didn’t knew exactly where I was going with the band since I was living in a remote northern region of Quebec and was struggling to keep musicians that wanted to do something else than partying or doing drugs. When I decided to relocate the band in Montreal after understanding that I needed to move to a main city if I wanted to have a chance to go somewhere besides doing provincial shows, it’s at that point that the focus on the band vision changed a lot.
I went on the aspect of talking about what I believe in and what I had lived physically and spiritually as someone who has been raised by a yoga master and a shaman in the American native tradition. Necronomicon became the real meaning of the name, that is: ”Things related to death practices, customs and laws” and not just the abbreviated version of Book of the Dead. The ancient knowledge, traditions, hidden truth, astral and cosmic messages and the list goes on and on. Since then, the vision and goal of that band has never changed, we are gods, dark gods and it’s our duty to guide the herd.
Is there a difference in people’s attitude towards you if you don’t come from a cool place like LA or NY or London?
-Yes and no. That question is a bit ….how can I say tricky. Some see us an exotic, the fact that we speak French dialect is for a lot of people something new, especially in US. I have encountered quite a few times people asking me to speak in French just because they were excited about that, I know it sounds strange but even here in Canada in the Western part, lot of people get pretty hyped hearing that. I don’t want to sound sexist or anything, but it’s mostly women. Beside that Montreal has a reputation for its metal scene, so people are mostly receptive to that.
When you release an album that get pretty good feedback, how do you follow up on that? How important is that I as a fan can identify album to album?
-I was more into following reviews and stuff like that in the past, these days I just want to do my music. Of course I’m happy when people crave and praise a new album , but like every band there’s always someone coming to you telling you he/she like better that album or that album etc . We can’t please everyone. I think it’s important to stay true to what we are. Of course by doing so and not playing the GAME you reduce your chance to be THE rock star…..but I never signed for that.
What is the biggest challenge in the creation of an album? How do you write the really cool songs?
-The challenge is to not trying to reinvent the wheel. The problem here is that trying to be unique or re-define everything is impossible, everything has been done. Some years ago I was telling myself I need to be original and worked my ass off to be different do something more out of the mold, well I got a beat down when few months before we entered the studio and a band released an album that was sounding super close from what I was doing, I destroyed the tape, there was an entire album there, I kept few songs and re-wrote a bunch of others and made a new album. And when it came out I was tagged to another band that released an album few months before mine was released. SO, no matter what a band does, you are always going to sound like someone else because some people somewhere have the same ideas than you or the same roots and influences.
The moral of that story, just do what you want to do and fuck the rest, people will complain anyway and compare you with others no matter what because metal heads are like that, and that is a reality.
I saw Dave Grohl’s documentary about Sound City and it made me wonder what it is about analogue recording that you don’t get with digital? Have you ever recorded analogue?
-Yes I have many times. It’s hard to say but there is something organic, grainy definitely, it breaths, it’s dirtier, more real, more vibrant, less polished and it makes the band to be on top of their art. You can’t cheat there, there’s no way to go around, and if you can’t play your part properly you go back to practice. The digital world of recording have made stuff way more easier than before, but it also gave access to anyone or band to do an album , and …well sorry but there’s too many bands , and a lot of really crappy ones, like bands that record albums and are not able to play it live. I have seen that a lot.
What is it like to sit there with a finished album? Do you think much what people will think of it?
-Music is eternal; when you write an album and record it, it’s there forever. Some people are in bands or music to be stars, a real musician is an artist, he/she plays and writes music for what he/she feels and vibes and not for success or power. Music must always come from the heart and not the head, that’s one reason that I don’t really like over technical stuff because with given time even a monkey can program a computer. Less is more.
The first thing I feel when I’m done with an album is always questioning ”I am happy with that? …could it be better?” And things like that.
Of course there’s always the thought about what people will think, but like I said before there’s always going to be someone complaining, comparing and bitching.
How important are the lyrics and what message do you want to purvey?
-The lyrics are as important as the music, BUT it needs to have the proper music that will fit with the text, or I should say that the lyrics need to amplify the music and fit perfectly so all become one. That’s why I always wait for the music to be done so I can get inspired by each song. The music tells me what I should talk about, and not the other way around.
The message is always about the themes chosen for the album, most of the time it’s decided way before the writing of the songs and again inspire the writing itself.
Ever since I first got into metal the artwork has been a main motivator in buying a record. What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
-I think it’s different for everyone. I have met a lot of bands that just ask artist to draw something and vaguely give any info about any details as long as it’s cool, I even seen some bands looking at artworks online and randomly pic something just because it was nice and well done. I have also seen some record labels interfering in the artwork and even imposing some artwork for X reason, that’s actually happened to me in the past. I usually have a clear idea of what I want and even draw sketches myself. The thing is in Necronomicon everything is interrelated and everything needs to make sense and hold each other. These days you never know what will work if you don’t follow the trend or new flavor. Some years ago a lot of Photoshop and compositing was the trend, it is not anymore, and record labels hate that because it’s over saturated in the market and want more traditional drawing or painting.
When you play live do you notice a degree of greater recognition from the fans with each new time you pass through town?
-Yes especially these last years I saw a difference. I think some people start to realize we are not a new player in the game and we been there before lot of bands that are now cool or in trend, and also working with the proper people changed the game too and I’m grateful for that. We have new fans and fans that follow us for over 20 years and others that re-discover us. I started to see the change of attitude awhile ago when we started to headline dates in the US and there was decent crowds, also when other touring bands passing in Montreal talking about that every night seeing so many Necronomicon shirts that they felt our presence on the tours. That’s funny in a way but yeah its feels right.
What do you see in the future?
-Well for now we need to finish what’s left to do with the new album and to be honest there’s already one tour in the booking process as we speak and other projects. It’s all I can say at the moment.