I came upon NUBIAN ROSE through an add I saw in a Swedish magazine. Something about the look of the band drew me towards them and I knew that I had to interview them. Anders Ekdahl ©2012
When did you know that you wanted to form Nubian Rose?
-I was asked to put together a band to play at a private party. No one of us had really played together before, but in a strange way magic kind of happened the night of the party and Nubian Rose were born! I think we all were blown away by Sofia’s stage present and knew that this was something really special, a train you didn’t want to miss, so we all jumped on board ?
Did you have a set idea for what you wanted to do and built from that or did it evolve as people were brought in?
-Off course it took some time and some work to find the sound of Nubian Rose, but it was nothing we sat down and calculated. We wrote the songs we liked to write and that is the sound we are playing. We are only doing what we love to do. The music comes straight from the heart. There are no plans, no calculation of ”what might work”. Actually our music is so far from trendy as you can get and we love it.
How hard is it to find a sound that actually works and not just sounds good??
-As I said, follow your heart, there is some things in that heart that is unique, you just have to find it. It doesn’t mean that you should just play whatever and that will be great music. It takes a lot of analyzing, listening, refining and fine-tuning. Is there something in that riff, you just came up with, that doesn’t sound 100%, it probably isn’t. Another big thing is: Don’t listen too much at what you friend’s things of your new song. They will probably think it’s awesome and will not be critical enough. They might just think it’s cool that you can play guitar when they can’t and anything you play will then impress them. Find someone that you trust from ”the outside” that can give you feedback.
How hard is it to go from idea to actually realize the idea??
-A lot of REALLY HARD WORK. Dreams don’t come true when you just dream them. You need to put everything you’ve got in time, money, effort and sacrifices to make them happen. If you combine all that with a big portion of talent, you can get anywhere with your dreams and ideas. But even if your idea, song or sound is absolutely new, fresh and fabulous, no one will care if you don’t make them! So work, work, work!!!
To some Nubian as a word might seem derogatory but what does the band name symbolize to you??
-Derogatory?!? You think so??? Never heard anything like that, it never crossed our mind at all. Nubia was an old African kingdom the northeast of Africa. Sofia is born in Ethiopia and was adopted by her parents in Sweden. So you can say that she is the ”Nubian Rose” in a way. The Nubian people, has also been some kind of symbol for freedom in the African-American community in the USA. Last, but far from least, like every other band we wanted a name that sounds cool and we think that Nubian Rose does.
When you name your album “Mountain” what is it that you want to say with it??
-First of all it’s the title of one of the most powerful songs on the album, but it can mean a lot of different things. It probably means different things for every member of the band. For me it’s actually a metaphor of the things we talked about earlier, we all got great powers within ourselves, but it takes a lot of really hard work for it to come out. Just because you found it once, doesn’t mean that you will constantly have it, the MOUNTAIN needs to be climbed over and over and over again.
How tough is it to make a name for yourself today when you not have other albums to compete with for attention but also millions of hopefuls all over the Net?
-Damn! Really, really tough! The Internet is really an awesome thing. I could not believe how our music spread faster then lightning from country to country. Within weeks we had fans contacting us from all over the world and saying that they loved our stuff. But to go from there, to actually sell a lot of albums and tour the world and actually be able to live of your music, it’s probably tougher then ever. If you see how record sales has been going down. The term “living like a rock star” today doesn’t mean what it did 20 years ago, but hey, even if we can’t afford to go for a swim in a pool filled with champagne, we can still have a blast! In the past I think a lot of people played rock’n’roll for the fame and the fortune. Today it might be a small bit of fame left for some, but no fortunes. Today it’s all about the music and having fun, so I guess you can say it’s back to basic! 😉
Are there any benefits to doing yourself as opposed to having a label doing for you? How much more freedom does it give you to be in charge?
It’s all about reaching your full potential as a band. How can you do that? If you have a great A&R at a great label it can be like having Real Madrid’s Mourinho as a coach of your football team. A lousy label, who don’t know what the hell they are doing drags you down. Frankly, to many people in the industry is just not talented enough and that will affect your product in a bad way.
If you have a great A&R at a cool record label it really is a great thing. If he loves your stuff and really signed you for a reason I think that you’ve got so much of an easier street, so to say. Then you have someone from the outside that see things a little different. When you’re writing the music and you are in the band, it’s easy to lose perspective. Is this song as great as we think it is, or have we totally lost it??? Which one of those 11 songs is NOT going to be on the album? What song will make the best ”first single”? Also you have someone to arrange all the prctical work, booking studio, booking graphic designer for the album cover, photographer, booking video director, marketing and so on. You formed a band to play and make music, not to call around to rock magazines and try to make them interested in writing things about you. BUT, with all that said, it’s THOUSAND times better to do everything yourself, then to have someone NOT doing it properly, or if those record label people aren’t talented enough, they will just mean trouble and you won’t reach the full potential of your band.
How important is the packaging today when people tend to be more and more into digital files than actual physical products?
-Packaging is maybe more important than ever. Let’s face it, we all like things that look good. If I buy a bottle of wine and is standing in the wine shop, there are hundreds of bottles I don’t recognize any of them, I will go for a bottle that looks good, or at least like something that looks like a seriously good wine. It has nothing to do with how the wine taste, because nobody will let me open the bottles and taste them. I think it’s the same with music today. For example; when people check out online sites for music they usually just see one picture and that is regularly a really small picture. That picture is going to have to do the job, that is the picture that is going to sell the album. If people read a magazine, they are going to get interested in the band that look good, or at least different, but looks like they got something extra.
What future do you envision for Nubian Rose?
-In the near future we will release our album in Europe and that’s very exciting. After that we want to reach out to the whole world. Hopefully we will soon get out on the road and play a lot of great gigs in packed clubs. In the long run, we will continue to make albums and see where it will take us. It seems like our music has a bigger chance to make it outside of Sweden, so if we need to go travel we will be happy to do so. Seriously, it would really be another dream come true to play gigs in Italy, Spain, England, Japan, USA, Latin America, damn! I get exciting just thinking about it. Lol
Sky IS the limit!!!