PALE KING is a new Swedish band that I just had to check out. Read what they have to say for themselves. Answers by Jonny. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
Does it make creating new music easier because you have a past in different bands or is that more of a hinder, that you don’t want to sound too much like you past bands?
-For me it makes it easier. When I first started off as a kid, I had all these ideas that I tried to fit into one band. And I ended with some very schizophrenic songs. Those early demos of my first bands was not very good, and much because of the split directions of the songs. Usually a new band gets born when I come up with a song that doesn’t fit any of the other I am in, and that sets the bar for the rest of the album. Pale King was very much that case.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
-These days it is always hard to pick a name. There is so many bands around, and with social media and the ease of reaching people from all over the world, bands can now come up with a band name and make it theirs even before they have written their first riff. I think it is important for the band name to reflect the music, to some degree at least. If you have a band name like “Little pink flowers” and play death metal, the chances are that a lot of people miss out on your music, though it would be quite hilarious with a death metal band called that.
Some of you were there when Swedish death metal exploded. What was it like to be a part of a movement like that? What has it brought with it for you today?
-I did not enter the music scene as a musician until 96, so I kind of missed that initial boom. By the time I recorded my first demos no one wanted to touch old school death metal and for many years the stuff me and my mates wrote was looked at as something irrelevant and out of date. Not that it stopped us, we kept writing and playing old school death metal, and will do until we hit the grave. I think if you have a certain mind set, and a drive for this type of music, you will always share the passion for it, regardless if you just started writing music or if you have been at it for decades. The fact that me and Håkan who has been part of the scene since the late 80s works so well together is a perfect proof of that.
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? When you formed PALE KING did you do so with the intent of knowing what to play?
-As I mentioned before, Pale King came about by me writing a song that didn’t fit any of my other bands. Once I had that first song done, it was like opening the flood gates. And I think for me at least, when writing music, you can hear other bands in it, and you will naturally get influenced by them during the process of writing the songs. Early Paradise Lost and Amorphis was a big influence when I wrote the songs.
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?
-I both love and hate the digital format. I am a record collector and I have spent a lot of money on my records. And back before the digital age, unless the record store would let you listen to an album before buying it, you had no chance of knowing if you would like it or not. Sometimes you would buy blindly just on the fact that they were on a certain label, you liked their previous albums and so on. And there is quite a few albums that I bought that way that I wish I never got. So with the digital format I can check out the albums first and then only buy the ones I like. But at the same time, it makes people lazy. Not only will they not buy the album, but they won’t take the time to properly get in to it, which is sad. Now that is generalizing, but that is the impression I’ve got at least. But there will always be record collectors and people that burns for the scene. So I don’t think the physical format will ever die. As for single tracks, it’s an excellent way of getting peoples interest and hopefully get them to check out the rest of the songs.
What part does art-work and lay-out play when you release new recordings? How do you best catch people’s attention?
-I think the artwork is essential. It has to be something that draws you in and speaks for the music. Especially when getting the physical release. It is all part of the experience of hearing a new album for the first time. I think there is a few artists out there that have mastered the way of capturing the music in the artwork. Just have a look at the stuff that Matthias Frisk and Mark Riddick for example. Two very different artists, but still both manages to capture the essence of each album they work on.
Has social media re-written the rules on how to promote your music? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way?
-It has very much re-written the rules. If you don’t have a good way of doing online promotion these days, you miss out completely.
When you play in a band, does that make you feel like you are a part of a scene, of something bigger and grander?
-You do indeed, I think that resonates not just being part of a band, but as a metal fan being part of the metal scene as a whole. I very lucky and honored to be a part of it. I can go almost anywhere in the world and find metal people to drink beer with. Anyone that has ever been to a metal festival know what I mean.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
-We will be playing live, would a shame not to bring these songs on the road.
What will the future bring?
-We will try to catch some good live shows and hopefully some festivals, and at the end of the year we’ll start working on the next album