Four albums into their career and I know nothing about NOTHGARD. That will be changed now. Interview partner (Dom R. Crey – Vocals/Lead Guitar) Anders Ekdahl ©2018
We live in a world where there are literally millions of bands to check out. What do you have that sets you apart?
-Yes you are right, it is very hard to get attention nowadays. But I think we create a mix of melodic death metal which does not exist in that way. We combine elements of the gothenburg sound with plenty of other influences such as neo classic, orchestral and here and there some folkish tunes and synth. But what matters even more is the way of arranging this influences to make the difference. We call our style Epic Melodic Death Metal, where bombastic tracks meet technical guitars. It would not make any sense to go further and try to explain/invent what else makes us outstanding of millions of others because I have not checked all of those bands. So we are a bunch of guys who had the feeling to combine music that has no existed in that way and simply love what we do.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
-It was very hard. Some say the internet helps to spread everyones music and make it available for millions. But as you already said there are so many bands out there… The only thing you can do is to work day and night, try to become better and better. We had to go through a lot of shit, line-up changes, label changes, hard live shows and so on. But of course we are willing to push the band further and further. The name Nothgard was invented by us and is an adoption of the german „Notgarde“, what means more or less „getting ready for the attack and prepare for counterstrike. We have chosen that name also because it is unique and has not existed yet. We also did not want to pick a too obvious name. As an example: I call that dog=dog theory. A name for a dog, a dog on the art work and lyrics about a dog would make it quite obvious how the band sounds like and this is what we did not want do do.
What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of music you play? What inspires you today?
-There were quite a few bands. The most important ones in the beginning of Nothgard where Dark Tranquillity (early albums), Children of Bodom, At the Gates, Ensiferum and of course tons of underground bands. Nowadays all of us have a huge range of musical preferences. Those reach from normal Rock over Metal to real extrem metal bands. So over the years we pretty much set the style we are doing nowadays and the more inspiring things are personal experiences and the desire to transcribe them into music.
What is the advantages/disadvantages of CD and vinyl these days of internet promotion where digital seems to be king?
-For me the advantages are quite clear. It is simply great to collect music, to delve into the booklets and artworks and have a „real“ product. I especially like vinyl. I don’t know but for me this has something of a ritual, to put the needle on and to listen to great music. On the other hand you are not able to bring your turn table with you haha. So therefore digital is just great. Also if I just wanna check a new song on spotify or youtube. But if I like what I hear I will definitely purchase the physical record. So maybe you could say that I use digital mainly as appetizer and not as real substitute.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when your out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-We are not worried about that. I even think that vinyl has somekind of a revival. As mentioned above, I have the feeling that even in a world where digital sems to be king, some people have the need to own something real. But what I am worried about is the fact that it is getting harder and harder to gain attention. All of us get cluttered with new videos, photos, music, news and other kind of information every day. We just wipe over our smartphone and miss THE content that might be interesting for us.
What part does art work and lay out play? Any message that you want to bring forth with it?
-Art work and layout play an important role. The booklet of the digipak has many pages and every song has its own personal art work. The art work helps to transfer the intention of the song. The same goes for the cover art work. We do not create a cover just to have it. In our case the album is called „Maladay X“. It is a deflexion of the medical theory „Disease X“, what describes a possible epidemic which may occur some day. The causes and impacts are not known and therefore we cannot fight it. Malady X deals with a lot of those current topics in our society and the cover helps to interpret.
Is it a whole different way to promote a band today with all these social media channels? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way? Playing live and word of mouth.
-Nothgard was founded in end of 2008 and early 2009. So you can pretty much say that we are a digital native band. From the very beginning facebook was an important channel for us. I guess the thing is to not concentrate only on a specific channel but spread your music and news on several platforms, so do we. We try to get featured in print magazines but also in online magazines, try to be active on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and others and of course play as much live shows as we can. The latter is still the most important thing imo. But this is fine. We became musicians to play live shows and we love it. But, indeed, due to the high amount of bands it is also very hard to get „heard“.
Do you feel like you are a part of a scene, locally, nationally and internationally?
-Yes I do. Metal is still a scene and nobody can’t deny it and of course we are part of that scene. We come from a very small city but this city has a huge local scene and we are part of this scene as individuals and as a band. The same goes for national and international scenes. The question here is how well known the band is in the „bigger“ scnenes.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
-Touring is propably still the most important way to of spreading the word. As I am convinced metal is a scene, consisting of very passionated music lovers, it is highly important to „meet“ the people and perform for them. Of course it is maybe not as important as 15/20 years ago but I met a lot of metalheads who maybe listen to a band but became a real fan after seeing a live show.
What will the future bring?
-Well, we are really looking forward to the release of Malady X, October 26 and the upcoming shows. We will perform 5 release shows and will be touring Europe right after, together with Omnium Gatherum & Wolfheart. Then come what may. But we are working on many festival shows for 2019 and will also start with the compositions for the album in early 2019.