I don’t know much about astronomy but it fascinates me. So when I got to interview PHOBOUS I thought I’d reached the outer limits but then I realized that they are but a metal band. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
How important is the band’s name in giving out the right kind of vibe?
-It all depends on your intention, and that can vary greatly on its own. If you’re just in it for gimmickery and trends without any real profound message, over-simplistic is the best approach. An example would be “Festering Feces”, which I just made up, LOL. If you’re a person with a message, you likely want something that will provoke questions. “Phobous”, a variant of Phobos (the Martian Moon) is great example, one that actually fits with much of my lyrical themes, many of which are written to offer a viewpoint seldom considered.
What was it that made you want to do the band?
-I heard the style of music and enjoyed it. Melodic metal practically redefined my concepts about what could be done with music. I decided to contribute my own creations to the genre.
What is your definition of the music you play?
-Several key words could describe it. Melodic, atmospheric, technical (my definition being intentionally making songs different, and not using the same scales and rhythms repeatedly).
The most rudimentary definition I can think of would be “Orchestrated MeloDeath”.
How do you arrange the tracks? Is there a method to how you arrange the songs on a record?
-Do you mean arrange as in the tracks’ numerical order? That just comes with what might sound good as a song-to-song flow, what makes a good opening, all the way to a finisher.
The order can change between concept and completion. If you mean arrange as in flow of the individual compositions themselves, there’s not really a set method. Every song is meant to be different with its own set of goals, keys, scales, and tempos, what to include and what to keep out. One song may be focused on key changes while going minimal on time changes, another may emphasize speed while going light on atmosphere. One song may have four verse sections and only two chorus sections, while another may ignore traditional arrangements completely. If there is any method, it’s simply to keep things varied.
Where do you find your inspiration to create?
-Listening to records, whether in the car, at home, or on a streaming service. Ideas can come anywhere, even without an instrument in my hand. Just know what you want to make, what you want to avoid, and let the former happen.
How important is the graphic side of the band? How much thought goes into art work etc.?
-Like the band name question above, it all depends on what you’re trying to convey. If you only want to jump on the bandwagon (no pun intended), following those before you will suffice. If you take the less-traveled, more-profound route, more thought is required. Perhaps the only “rule” is for your images to match what you intend to express. Rainbows and unicorns would not fit with a message about political corruption or historical fallacies.
Do you find that there is a greater freedom in working with digital than working with physical?
-Digital is much easier to send, since it’s electronic. On the other hand, it can feel less personal, and there’s less involved in its graphic side. Plus, digital materials cannot be autographed.
Are there any limitations to digital? Can you do everything you like?
-As said above, digital can be sent out much easier, but downplays the graphic side of things, especially where autographs are concerned.
Is there a scene to speak of for a band like yours? Where do you fit in?
-The scene here in Northern California’s San Francisco Bay Area is packed similar artists, and ones that sound nothing like me. I fit in, even if my style is not the status quo around here.
What does the future hold?
-The exact future itself is unknown, but I do have intentions that I plan to fulfill. Upgrades in equipment for one thing, more emphasis on promotion, a very probable re-recording of my debut album “Ethereal Perception”, recruiting of a session line-up for local shows. My friend has chosen me for his new project as a second vocalist and keyboardist. We will see where that leads…