NECRYTIS is a band that I think more people should discover. I am doing my bit with this interview. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
Do you feel that it’s gone the way you intended when you formed back in the day?
-No, but that’s a good thing. When we first started out in different bands, if you didn’t draw 2,000 to a club every weekend there was no label interest and without a label you would never get heard. Studio time was astronomical in cost. Nowadays you can get by without a label but you still won’t get very far. YouTube can only do so much for you, but it can get you signed.
How do you feel about your latest recording? Did it come out the way you expected it to?
-It came out better than expected because we didn’t try to sterilize it. It has noise, mistakes, pitch spots on vocals in places, just the way it was recorded. If you saw it live you would leave thinking “Wow, they sounded just like the album”, or hopefully even better, ha ha! We wanted the freshness, the inspiration to be captured, and you can certainly hear the energy…it has a drive to it, a sense of urgency.
Do you feel that this new album has the sound you wanted for the band this time around?
-For me it does. It doesn’t sound like Countersighns, and that’s important to me. I don’t want our records to sound the same. Toby sent me a version of one of the songs to see if we were on the same page and he mentioned that he hadn’t dialed his guitar in yet. As soon as I heard that dirty distortion sound I asked him to leave it just like it is. It gives the album its flavor. We didn’t use overheads on Countersighns either, just a room mic with a subtle blend. For this album we used overheads and also mic’d the ride separately, so the brightness definitely lends itself to the finished product. I used a Custom K Dry Ride on Countersighns with 12” Avedis Recording hats and for Dread I used 13” K/Zs with an old 80s Power Z ride that really cuts through. Little things like that change the dynamics.
Is having a message in the lyrics important to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
-I want people to hear a story in my lyrics, or else understand the message to be that nothing is as it seems. There are always different sides to everything around us. If it’s light outside, it’s dark on the other side of the planet. Just because you see something one way, doesn’t mean someone else sees it the same way. I love sci-fi and supernatural/occult themes! Countersighns was 100% afterlife/reincarnation based, while Dread is sci-fi (Starshine, Call Us Insanity, Odyssey) and supernatural/occult based (Necrytis, Blood and Heresiarch).
How important was the cover art work for this new album? Can a really cool cover still sell an album in this day and age of digital download?
-JP sent me a sketch he did a long time ago to see if I was interested in the ‘nativity scene’. I loved it so much I asked him to leave it exactly the way it was. It was black and white and had a few more characters in it, but he said “No, I’ve grown technically as an artist since I drew this and it will look much better once I re-work it”. Well, he was correct, because it looks killer now! Very modern but he’s quite original. I knew the nativity scene was going to be a bit controversial, given that the alien is being ‘crowned’, but it’s an alternate universe. Or is it? I think covers are very important and I look at some albums with plain covers and wonder why someone would go through all of the trouble of writing, recording, mixing, etc. just to present it all in a boring cover. Even in the digital age it has to pop out, I would even say more so, because you have milliseconds nowadays to catch someone’s eye before they swipe their phone or iPad to the next screen.
Why is it so hard for bands that come from places not the US/UK/Sweden/Scandinavia to break big? What is success to you and is it something you’d like to achieve?
-That’s hard to answer. English seems to be the quickest route to obtaining more listeners, but that’s kind of sad in a way too, because a lot of great stuff gets missed by being exclusive. I’m a huge Ingenting (from Norway) fan and I have no idea what they’re saying! What is Fengsla? No idea, but the song is awesome. I love the Cuban album Ry Cooder did with Buena Vista Social Club and I know zero Spanish. Look at Fur Immer by Warlock, great song! I like a lot of Arabic music but the key is the way the vocals are sung; it would probably suck in English. Opera’s the same way. Sepultura made a huge impact on me because they were so convincing and the accent to me was a plus. Listen to Udo from Accept on Neon Nights from Restless and Wild…the German accent makes the whole song! But then again, those bands are singing in English, so there you go. Look at early Loudness, their first bunch of albums are almost entirely in Japanese and if you’ve never heard them you should. Ares’ Lament is a haunting song and I think it’s half English, half Japanese? Success for me is being able to do this at all. There are so many paths people can take, choices and decisions that affect so much. To be able to record albums at all is an enormous success for me and I’m thankful every day.
Today the competition is harder. You’ve got plenty of digital platforms for new talent to display their music. How do you really stand out in a world where everything but the music is blind to the listener?
-It’s a tradeoff. Yes, there’s massive competition, but millions can access it, vs massive competition in a world where magazines are your only hope for exposure. I can go on YouTube and surf music and find a dozen albums I want to buy in just a few minutes. A long time ago you had to buy the album and hope it was good…there was no ‘preview’. Someone mentioned that they wanted to see us play with Enforcer. I had never heard of Enforcer. I went to YouTube, saw their video for Creatures of Night, it blew me away and five minutes later two of their CDs were on the way to me from Amazon. Fenriz from Darkthrone mentioned that Necrytis and Ram were the best albums to come out in 2017. I had never heard of Ram, so once again, went to YouTube, saw Wings of No Return, it blew me away and I ordered two of their albums. The digital medium is a great platform for fans that still buy physical albums!
What is your local scene like? How important is a national scene for a band to be able to break out and make it internationally?
-I honestly don’t follow any scene. I stay in my own lane and record what the muse dishes out. It’s probably a big factor in us being different than everyone else, the fact that I don’t follow what other bands are doing. As far as a national scene, that’s different. If a city blows up with a genre, like LA w/80s metal and Seattle w/grunge, or the ‘Gothenburg sound’, then bands are going to flock there in droves because that’s where the A&R reps go. But then it gets diluted quickly.
Rock and metal have come a long way since the early 70s but still some people’s attitudes toward it seem to be left in the Stone Age. How accepted is metal in your area? Is it like in Finland where it seems to come with the mother’s milk?
-I’ll never understand it. It’s the outcast of all musical genres, yet has the most loyal following…how do you explain that? I like the fact that it stays underground, because then I feel more of a connection to a secret society. It’s like we all speak a language the no one else even hears. We get it because we’re metalheads. The bombast of Judas Priest’s ‘The Hellion’ makes us happy. ‘Number of the Beast’ puts us in a good mood.
What does the future hold for you?
-Hopefully a tour next year and more albums! Like I mentioned, #3 is almost done and I’ve already got my mind working on #4, so we’ll see how far this goes!