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 NEW LIGHT CHOIR. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
Was it hard to come up with a name? What does the name mean to you? How important is it to have the right name?
JN: I’ve always found it challenging coming up with band names. In our case, I wanted a name that was evocative and would allow us room to experiment with different styles of music. I’m an avid mountain biker, and one of my favorite local places to ride is an area called New Light, which I think is a cool name. Adding Choir to it made it more of a proper band name and was also a nod to 16 Horsepower.
Who would say have laid the foundation for the kind of sound you have? Who are your heroes musically and what have they meant to you personally and to the sound of your band?
JN: I grew up listening to classic rock and heavy metal. The first song I learned to play on guitar was Iron Maiden’s ‘Revelations.’ I spent the 90s and early 00s playing in metal and post punk bands. Prior to forming NLC, I got into recording, and spent several years writing and recording songs, drawing inspiration from a variety of artists. The metal influences have seemed to increasingly seep into our sound as time has progressed. As far as heroes, there are many. Some of the more important and enduring – in terms of songwriting and overall vibe – would be Black Sabbath, 16 Horsepower/Wovenhand, early Scorpions, Trouble, The Beatles, and Darkthrone.
When you play slow do you have to think differently arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
JN: Not consciously. We’re always thinking about arranging to serve the song – whether it’s fast, slow, or somewhere in between.
Will your music work in a live environment? What kind of stage environment would best suit your music; a big stage or a small club?
JN: At the moment, it’s just the two of us, and there aren’t any definite plans to play live. We’ve talked about the possibility of playing some shows in the future, but this would require assembling a full band – at least adding another guitarist and a bassist. It would be nice to think that if this were to happen, the music could translate to any environment.
It is very hard to be 100% satisfied. Everybody seems to be disappointed with something they have released. Is there something that you in hindsight would have done differently on this your latest recording?
JN: I’m very proud of every musical project I’ve been a part of. At the same time, I realize my own shortcomings as a musician and songwriter and am always striving to improve. I look at each release as a document of a certain period of my life, and it is what it is. So… no regrets. At the same time, the hope is always that the next one will be better.
Promotion can be a bitch. Even today with all different platforms it can be hard to reach out to all those that might be interested in your music? What alleys have you used to get people familiarized with your band?
JN: We’re definitely not the best self-promoters, although we’ve made an effort to improve. Facebook and Instagram are our main social media platforms as well as our Bandcamp page. Both Svart and previously High Roller have done excellent jobs helping in our promo efforts.
To me artwork can be the difference between bust or success. What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
JN: Great cover art – to me – should be timeless and a reflection of the music and mood. It can catch my attention and cause me to check out an album. I grew up before the internet, and hearing whole albums and more obscure music in advance was a rarity. In many cases, the deciding factor on a purchase would be the album cover. That holds true today.
Do you feel that you are part of a national scene? Is a local/national scene important for the development of new bands?
JN: Because we don’t play live, it’s hard to identify with any one particular scene. On the local level, I grew up listening to and was influenced by Corrosion of Conformity and Confessor, both of whom are from Raleigh. It seems that most of our fans are European, however, so in that sense, I’d say we consider ourselves as part of the international scene.
I could just be me but I got the feeling that the live scene is not what it used to be. Could be that more and more people use the net to discover bands instead of going out and supporting new bands live. What is your experience with the live scene?
JN: Hard to say. I think it ebbs and flows. Sometimes, I’ll go to a show and be amazed that there aren’t more people. And then I’ll go to another, and it will be packed. Living in North Carolina, we do get to see quite a few bands from all over the globe. We have a diverse local/regional music scene, which is currently quite strong.
What does the future hold?
JN: We’re currently working on the follow-up and companion release to Torchlight. We’ve got an album’s worth of material, and hope to start demoing in the coming weeks.