It seems that NETHERBIRD has been around forever. And with a load of albums and EP’s to their name you outta know about them. If not, here’s a chance for us all to be better acquainted with them. 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?
-We released our fourth full-length album “The Grander Voyage” in October 2016, so it is almost a year ago. I knew already when we started writing the songs that it would be our best record, it is a very honest and “unfiltered” album. The response has been great both from media and fans alike so I am very proud of this record
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?
-Netherbird is a name I created in order to keep the band from being obviously part of any certain subgenre. We make dark and artful metal music and this name is a reflection of that. The deeper meaning is up to people to make their own interpretation.
What does it mean to you that there are people out there that actually appreciate and look forward to what you are doing?
-I am very honored by all the interest we see from all over the world, that is not something we take for granted, so of course that gives us inspiration to keep doing what we do. But we try to make music that is relevant to ourselves, and as long as we feel it to be good we will release it and it will find its way to listeners. This is not due to arrogance, but if we thought too much about the tens of thousands of people who listen to our music on Spotify we might be somewhat limited and crippled by the expectations. But we do want people to hear what we do so it is of course a privilege to know that there people out there who do care.
How important is image to the band? What impression do you want the fans to get of the band?
-I am not very keen on the term “image” since to me it sounds like you fake something in order to impress someone or to be perceived in some way that might be favorable. That stuff tends to work only short term and it is very alien to me as an artist. We did some errors in our early days and pretended to be something that we were not, but as the band and we as musicians have matured we are striving hard to be as honest and as genuine as we possibly can. Of course we do not showcase every aspect of who we are, but everything you hear or see these days is the real deal. And the more honest we have become the better we sound I think. But we are not constant so we grow as people and the band changes with us.
At the end of the day it is our songs that will matter, either they will stand the test of time or they will be forgotten. I do not think image will change the outcome for us or any other band; only great songs last forever. Image lasts only until the next trend. So I don’t really think me wearing a cowboy hat on stage, which I do, will make any difference in the longer run, only our songs will.
I am a huge fan of LP art work. How important is it to have the right art work for your album?
-With Netherbird we combine three artforms: music, lyrics and art, all being equally important pillars of what we make. So we do put a lot of effort into finding the right artwork for our releases, and in more recent years we have used classical paintings, so yes, it is very important for us.
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?
-In the old days I traded tapes and fanzines in order to find new music, these days it is online. Truth be told it is more or less the same thing, good bands will catch my interest and shitty ones not so much. I think a bigger problem is the number of bands being able to record and release albums has grown so much so we are drowning in music that would never have been released 20 years ago because it is just awful. And with social media any band can appear “big” and pest our newsfeed. But music has not changed, bands that do good music will find listeners and prosper and those that do it for the wrong reasons will not gain a following for any longer period of time. So the biggest difference to me personally is that in the early 90:s a band had to make a few demos and getting an album to be an established act. These days I think it takes at least 10 years and a few albums before you have proven your worth. But technology will keep progressing and there will be more social platforms, media platforms and so on. But in the end it makes no difference: a shitty band is shit also on Spotify, a great band will prosper regardless of which media they use.
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?
-Well yes metal is a huge community and as a metal fan (which is how I really see myself) I do enjoy travelling the world and see shows and meet people and being part of this community. As a musician I have also enjoyed performing with bands from all over Europe and it is usually a good experience, so it is a good feeling to plan a tour and getting a lot of support from bands in each city we visit.
As for giving meaning to my life: extreme metal has been a crucial aspect of my life and I have been going to shows and been on stage for 27 years, so I am in it for life. And as we tend to say in the band: we do not live from metal, but we live for it!
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?
-Since the early 90:s I have heard that the scene is dying. And it has not happened yet. So I think the scene is constantly evolving and some will not like that, but it is how it is. New talent rise constantly so the scene is alive and well as far I can tell. New bands rise and release fantastic albums, so no shortage of growth, at least not in Sweden.
How much of a touring band are you guys? How hard is it to get gigs outside of your borders?
-We have toured quite a bit with Netherbird and most of our gigs have been abroad, mainly in central and Eastern Europe. These days we require to at least have our travel costs covered along with a decent stage and backline, so that means that we can do fewer gigs and I think we will do more festival gigs and more select support gigs of bigger bands in the years ahead.