In a world were there are so many bands to keep track of I want to bring my two cents in presenting you to this interview with NEVALRA. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
How hard was it to come up with a band name and how does the name fit the music?
There actually is a good story behind the name. While I had spent a lot of time writing the initial material for the project, there was no name attached to it. During the time period I had been writing all these songs I continually had recurring dreams. These dreams were awe inspiring, life changing epiphanies & discussions with a mysterious dark entity. Discussions about life’s “big picture” subjects; things that were magnificent and extraordinary, astonishing as well as terrifying.
Throughout these recurring dreams, the entity never mentioned its name. Finally after many months of these discussions, the being identified itself as NEVALRA. At this point, knowing its name was inconsequential to me. I continued to have the recurring dreams. After some time had passed and the songs I had been working on were close to completion; I needed a name for the project. Recalling the name “NEVALRA”, it seemed to make sense. The music was very abstract, as was the title “NEVALRA”.
The most curious part of naming the band; once the project was titled NEVALRA the recurring dreams stopped.
What was it that made you want to be in a band in the first place?
-As a teenager, it was Metallica. I had gravitated towards heavy and fast music early on. My parents had me listening to Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Ozzy and others. But when it dawned on me to actually PLAY music and start bands, it was Metallica. “…And Justice For All” to be exact.
When it comes to NEVALRA though, I had been in some semi-successful bands before. It was who I had become. Once those bands kind of dwindled away to many circumstances, NEVALRA had to rise from those ashes.
As I am no musician I have no idea how it works, but how do you make your own music based on what influences you? What parts do you pick?
-It really depends. I pull from ideas from everywhere. Sometimes a very small idea can blossom into five more ideas. I definitely pride the music I write on have zero “space filler”. If it doesn’t feel right it isn’t done or isn’t included. If it made the cut, then I really enjoy listening or playing it. Sometimes I can get obsessive (in a good way) to get a song, or a segment “just right” before I can move on to the next thing.
Creating something from nothing is quite the experience. If a segment “grabs me”, so to speak, I’ll likely play that segment for a few hours enjoying that moment.
When you are in a band does it feel like you are a part of a worldwide movement?
-Not at first. For a long while it is tough to get people to listen, let alone understand. But once you begin to travel and tour extensively, the world is very different than you can perceive it. Music moves people. It definitely creates a common ground that otherwise may have never been there.
Good example from a personal experience: While in Ecuador, South America on tour in my other band THY ANTICHRIST. We were performing at a festival and went on directly after VADER. Great set. The crowd was very loud and rowdy, even breaking down the barrier between the stage and crowd on 2 occasions. After our set the band were getting pressed by fans to take photos and such; we love doing that so we were being bombarded side stage.
One guy came up to me that didn’t speak English, and as I don’t speak Spanish, we had zero verbal communication. As a sign of respect, he punched me in the chest, punched himself in the chest and gave me a hug. He pulled out a bullet and attached it to my THY ANTICHRIST Stage Attire. It meant a lot to him I could tell. In turn, it meant a lot to me. Neither of us spoke each other’s language. But we both “got it”.
Music can connect people who otherwise would have very little in common. The bullet is still on my Stage Attire to this day.
How important is it that you look the part in promo shots and stuff? How important is the graphic side of the band?
-It is very important. Use real photographers. Pay them. Use real graphic artists. Pay them. They are of great value to the industry and to your band/brand.
Being cheap shows. To be an international band you have to look the part. Don’t skimp on making everything look good.
What would you say influences your lyrics? How important are they?
-Prior releases have a few different conceptual ideas and themes. Some are very directly anti-religion. Some derive from controversial or conspiracy subjects; such as the possibility of alien life, the occult, and ancient myths. It is fun to dig deep into such realms. I am attracted to where the darkness lurks.
The lyrical and conceptual direction I am leaning into is more philosophy now a days. Which the upcoming album “Conjure the Storm” begins to guide the band towards. I really feel like NEVALRA is headed to a more intellectual approach.
Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
-Well, I wasn’t around in the 70s, and was barely around in the 80s! But I’d say there is good/bad to digital distribution, as there is to most things. While digital doesn’t have the same feeling as holding a CD or Vinyl Album in your hands (critiquing the artwork detail, band photos, album credits, etc), it does however reach more ears.
I prefer the whole package. Buy the CDs. Buy the Vinyls. Buy the shirts and posters. It connects me more to the band and the music that way. But digital listeners are welcome. Some fans are more passive in their music taste, some like to dig deeper.
Where will the future of format end – digital verses physical verses whatever?
-Everything is going to evolve in that way. You have to be adaptable. Like I said, I prefer collecting the real albums. I don’t think they will ever go away completely. You can’t go see and meet your favorite artists to have them autograph your digital copy.
How much of a touring entity are you guys? What is a live experience with you like?
-Non-stop. NEVALRA loves to tour. We love to not only shake the stages, but to go see the world. Experience as much as we can. It is quite the adventure. Music has already taken me to places I otherwise would likely have never seen.
Drawing energy from a crowd is an experience I can’t even describe. Simply put, the louder you are, the harder we play…
What lies in the future?
-The sky is the limit. I love the challenge. NEVALRA is gaining ground and has no intention of slowing down. More albums, more tours, more everything.
I absolutely live this stuff…