ON TOP

The first time I got into ON TOP I had to interview them. That was a very long time ago but I haven’t forgotten about them so I wanted to know what they are and have been up to since last. Anders Ekdahl ©2017

I interviewed you back in 2012. Since I am bad at following up on bands maybe you could give me a sort of recount on what has happened since then?
-Thank you for thinking of us and getting back in touch. We spent the majority of 2012 playing out in support of our first record Top Heavy. Once that cycle came to a close we unfortunately parted ways with our guitarist Alex Kulick and took some time off. Toward the end of 2013 we reconvened with longtime friend Brian Davis and released Top to Bottom in 2014 on Horror Pain Gore Death Productions. We did play out a bit in support of that EP during 2014 but due to a hectic work schedule with my main band Mach22 and the other guys’ respective projects, we weren’t able to play as much as I would have liked. 2015 brought another EP with the same line up titled Topless released on Toil Records. I do feel this is our best material to date. We got out and played a handful of dates in support of Topless in 2015 and a few this summer (2016) as well.

Ever since I saw your band name the first time I‘ve been fascinated by it. How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
-On Top was actually thrown around as a bit of a joke. I was looking to break away from the Thrash and Death Metal genres that I had been prominently engaged in prior. I was looking to produce some sleazy rock n roll and a friend and I came up with the title. We have been coming up with many tongue and cheek album titles since then.

Everybody is influenced by certain things. What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of music you play? What inspires you today?
-This band was hugely influenced by a few different factors. It is mainly driven by guitar and riffs in general. I wanted to infuse 80’s rock and metal guitar stylings with heavier and edgier rhythms and vocals. As a bass player moving into the lead vocal roll, Duff McKagan’s loaded project was a good influence as it helped me gain confidence in coming out of the backing roll and bringing me front and center. Since the inception of the band, I think the two main influences that still drive me are Glenn Hughes and George Lynch. Hughes is an immense player and vocal talent and seems to balance the two perfectly. I idolize the approach to his playing and loose feel of his vocal performance. I could say a million great things about George Lynch’s playing but there are two components to him that really influence me more than anyone. I love his style and “out of the box” mentality in his writing. He is always using notes and structures that are unexpected and unique. The thing I admire the most is his work ethic. The guy is truly one of, if not the hardest working man in the business. He is always working on new projects and material. I saw an interview online somewhere where he said that people need to work at something long enough to allow it to be successful. That has always stuck with me.

When you formed did you do so with the intent of knowing what to play or did you do so from the point of having a band name and then picking a sound? How did you settle on the name/sound combo?
-The band name came after the stylings of the music were formed. On Top seemed to fit the sleazy feel and content of the music. The sound came naturally as I began the song writing process on bass and guitar, which I was new to at the time.

I believe that digital is killing the album format. People’s changing habit of how they listen to music will result in there being no albums. Is there anything good with releasing single tracks only?
-We are actually in a bit of a dilemma at the moment regarding this. I do agree that digital is killing the album format. I think it is a shame because I love to collect physical records in all sorts of formats. However, I do believe that digital is a saving grace for a lot of artists who are not very big. The internet allows bands to spread their music to the masses without a record deal. It is all about finding that target audience and marketing it correctly. We are currently planning recording some new music, but a full album is very costly and time consuming. We may go in and cut a track at a time and release some as singles before compiling them for an album later.
Facebook has been accused of spreading false news lately and people seem to trust Facebook more than real life. Has social media re-written the rules on how to promote and listen to music?
-Social media has many downfalls. Though, I do believe it is the best resource for promoting bands and music in general. You can share a song or record to thousands of people with a few simple clicks. Without social media promotion, the chances of an album taking off are slim.

Back then we talked about your album covers. I feel that we live in an age where it is very easy to “offend” people, that people are super sensitive. What kind of reactions have you had to your art work?
-Our album covers tend to get a lot of attention. The bottom line is sex sells. They say you should never judge a book by its cover but our covers sure do grab your attention. While you will always have people commenting or hating on just about anything you do, you have to appeal to the masses and take the haters with a grain of salt.

I have this illusion of feeling like your part of something grander when you play in a band, that you are making the world a nicer place. Does it that make you feel like you are a part of a scene, of something bigger and better?
-Yes, I do feel like being in a band makes you a part of something larger than life. In our genre and scene of music, the fans come together as a community. It’s like a club where you feel as if you are part of something special. You share the excitement and enthusiasm with other people who connect and feel as strongly about the music as you do. I personally love the idea of contributing to music history. You never know who will hear your music, or even better, enjoy it. Music is all about connecting and being able to connect with the masses as an artist is an unrivaled high.

How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
-Regrettably, we have not been a very active band over the last few years. We were traveling pretty frequently with the release of Top Heavy in 2011 and it felt great. I really hope to get out and play a lot more moving forward. This type of music drives me and being on stage sweating it out every night is a rewarding feeling. It is the best way to connect face to face with your target market and really sell your brand.

What will the future bring?
-We will be kicking 2017 off with a handful of shows with various guitarists to keep the juices flowing. I would really love to record some new music towards the top of the New Year and keep the momentum going. We have been fortunate enough to play with some amazing guitarists over the years and we plan on keeping that up moving forward. Be sure to keep up with the band online and check out a live show if we come to a town near you.
Thank you for your time, I hope we get to do this again soon.

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