ODDLAND

The first time I saw this band’s name, ODDLAND, I thought they were Norwegain but then I realized that they are Finns. Anders Ekdahl ©2017

I am a word buff so when I find a band name that excites me I want to know the reason behind the choice. So how did you pick your name?
– Well I’m afraid the actual process of creating our name was rather unexciting. We were playing around with a few choices and Oddland was one that everyone could approve. Our drummer Ville came up with the name. In hindsight our name has come to entail all kinds of interpretations. One way of looking at it is the oddness and obscurity of society these days, how the way people treat each other. Or it could be seen as an reference to the odd, obscure or part of ourselves which we might only partly be aware of.

There are so many genres and sub-genres today that it is hard to keep track of them all. So what was it that made you pick the style you play?
– There are too many genres in my opinion really, but people like to (try) put things into boxes to make sense of it all so we just have to live with it I guess. We didn’t really make any conscious choice of playing the music we do, it just happened as we were trying to make music we find interesting and appealing ourselves. We started as a progressive rock band and for some reason we evolved into a more heavier entity over the years. Maybe it was the music we were listening to at that time. I remember Testament’s Gathering and Strapping Young Lad’s The New Black were something we all loved and I think those albums (for example) made us want to create heavier stuff ourselves.

What influences you in creating your music? What is/has been the single greatest influence?
– Our songs tend to have a melancholic atmosphere. Creating music is definitely a good way to deal with anger, frustration, fear or any other negative emotion. So those darker emotions we all have our one source where our music comes from. It’s hard to name only one collective greatest influence since all have our own favorite ones. I hate to say this because the comparison trigger for this band is already so very low for any band that combines softer passages with heavier stuff, but perhaps stylistically on of the most important influence has been Opeth in the way that they have stylistically paved the way for a lot of bands doing this kind of stuff. But let’s be clear, Opeth is not a band we actively listen to nowadays or draw a great deal of inspiration from but when talking about this kind of music I think they are due credit for making this sort of stuff more popular.

How important is it to have a message as a band?
– I think it’s important for a band to have good music. Anything besides that is not so essential. Having a message can be part of the music through lyrics of course, and some artists (say, Rage Against the Machine) do that pretty well, but in our case the lyrics are more introspective.

Is image an important factor to the bands appearance?
– For us the music has always been the most important thing. Unfortunately it’s not usually enough. I’ve never been interested in any band’s image, but it seems to be an important factor these days. Actually, I’m surprised that image has become so important even in progressive metal where one could think the music is the only thing that matters. So long story short: Image seems to be an important factor and I hate it. 🙂

How important is it to have an album cover that stands out to grab people’s attention in this day and age?
– For us, album covers are quite important, and we’ve put a lot of effort into finding the right artists to do the covers, and working with them to get visuals which are in line with the moods we want to set with the music. However, I don’t know if the covers are in reality so important anymore, with so much music consumed online, where the visuals are often quite badly represented. Perhaps we’re a bit old-fashioned in caring about this so much. However, at least a good cover probably helps in selling more vinyls, which are also semi-popular nowadays!

What kind of respect do you get from your local scene?
– Finland has a pretty healthy metal scene, and there is usually a sense of mutual respect between bands in the circles that we play in. We have no beef with anybody around here. 🙂

How massive is it to get response from places you have never heard of?
– Well, it’s cool, of course! The internet is a blessing and a curse in this sense, since there is so much good material available to everybody that it can be hard to stand out from the crowd, but on the other hand it enables people to find your music in, as you say, places you’ve never heard of.

Is playing live still a great way to get new fans to discover you?
– Sure! The problem is that it seems like people mainly go see bands that they already know and like, so for a marginal band like us it’s really important to do gigs with more established groups. But this has worked for us very well; playing concerts with the likes of e.g. Soen, Leprous, and Ne Obliviscaris has brought us a lot of new listeners. Of course, festival gigs are very good also, for the same reason.

What does the future have in its womb?
– It’s about time we start properly working on new songs again; I think for some time we’ve been avoiding getting into the writing process, since it was quite hard for us on the last album, Origin. For the next one we’ll probably focus on a different approach in constructing songs, and try not to iterate on the minor details as endlessly as before… In addition to working on new songs, we’re planning to do some selected tours with the existing material, and hopefully to release a couple of more videos on Origin songs.

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