Melodic death metal doesn’t come around as often as it used to. So when ONTBORG dropped in on me a smile appeared. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
Every band has to introduce their music to new people. What is it that you want people to get from listening to you guys?
Christoph: People get a crunchy guitar sound with an atmosphere typical of the Scandinavian death metal sound of the 90s. The ingredients are not new, but the mixture of heaviness and harmony has been transported from the past to the present.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
Lukas: It wasn’t actually that difficult to choose the name. It was more kind of a creative process, as the word ONTBORG does not exists by itself. It’s a combination of two swedish words “ONT” (evil) and “BORG” (castle).
We thought taking words in swedish would be great, since we’re playing that Scandinavian metal style. So seen from that side, it fits perfectly to our sound.
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?
Christoph: In my youth I grew up with the sound of Death, Dismember and Metallica, they opened the door to all other extreme bands. Today a lot of different bands inspire me, also outside the metal genre. You can be inspired by many musicians in many different ways. I and all the other band members have never lost sight of Swedish Death Metal in all these years, it is a constant guide to our musical interests.
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?
Lukas: The goal from the beginning was to write old school Death/Black Metal with the HM-2 guitar tone. First we had a few songs and some ideas, than we created the band name. We choose it more in the sense of how it sounds and how it fits the style of music.
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?
Christoph: I share this opinion, the album format loses value. I think songs are more meaningful and comprehensible in the context of an album, their quality often only reveals itself as part of a big entity. I think it’s a pity that most people don’t bother to listen to an album in one piece. By cutting up an album the music and the whole artwork of a band loses its value. Single tracks can help to gain attention for a short time, but that’s the only positive thing I can think of about this format.
What part does art-work and lay-out play when you release new recordings? How do you best catch people’s attention?
-For our music the artwork is an important part. Seeing the cover should at least reveal the style and atmosphere of music we play. Juanjo Castellano did an amazing job on this one and he nailed our idea right away.
Has social media re-written the rules on how to promote your music? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way?
Christoph: Definitely social media has changed the marketing rules. Twenty years ago we sent our demos to some print magazines. That, and playing concerts was the only way. Tape trading was another option. But it was difficult to draw the attention of a person on the other side of the world to your music. Today you can reach a lot of people through social media channels, no matter where they are. In former times print zines and labels were a kind of prefilter, today everybody can send his music digitally from his room into the world. Social media is an enormous support for promotion, but playing live is still the most effective way to bring the band forward.
When you play in a band, does that make you feel like you are a part of a scene, of something bigger and grander?>
Lukas: Not really. I mean, we do what we love in the way we love to do it. But you are not only part of the overall metal family when you play in a band. Look at all the fans and Metal Heads all over the world, that’s the community, that’s the scene. And of course, all of us are fans of other bands in a certain way, so you already become a part of that world, by listening to this kind of music and go to concerts which in the same time helps to support the scene.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
Christoph: When we founded the band we decided to record the album first and then to tour. So we are just in the starting blocks. Now we want to present our songs as often as possible and also play smaller tours if the opportunity is there. As mentioned before, live concerts are the best way to promote the band. The album alone shows the band only one-dimensionally, only through the personal experience of the music, musically and visually, opens up all facets of the band to the listener and creates a much closer connection to the music.
What will the future bring?*
Lukas: Who knows. We hope to be able to play some shows in the near future in different European countries and then of course, we will go on and work on new material for the next album!