There are a couple of labels that I follow when I can afford it. One of them being Sweden’s Blood Harvest. And since I can’t afford to buy all the CD/Vinyl releases I can at least interview the bands. Like POLYPTYCH. Anders Ekdahl ©20016
When the band came into creation what was the main purpose for it?
-Polyptych was originally just Scott (lead vocals, guitars) and a drummer jamming under the name Warpiss. Scott had been playing in a blackened thrash band that fell apart before it ever accomplished much, and he wanted to move in a heavier, darker, more technical direction. But like the name implies, it wasn’t very serious at first. It became more serious over time, after the addition of more permanent members. When we made our second album Illusorium, that’s when we really decided to take things to the next level.
How hard is it to come up with a sound that is all yours? What bits’n’pieces do you pick up from other stuff to make it your sound?
-Initially, especially with Panels Engraved, we found ourselves mimicking our influences quite a bit. Panels was relatively straightforward blackened death metal- the template was sort of early Morbid Angel meets Dissection, with a healthy sprinkling of The Chasm, Death, and Emperor in the mix, and if you listen for them you can probably pick out parts that strongly reflect each of those bands. Illusorium was definitely the first shift away from those influences, incorporating more doom and progressive elements, and synthesizing them more seamlessly- and we feel like we further distanced ourselves from them on Defying the Metastasis. This isn’t to say we aren’t influenced by anything – we obviously are, and we are very often inspired by newer things we hear– but somehow when making the most recent record, songs came together in a way that felt very natural to us, and our influences manifested themselves in more subtle ways. As time has gone on, it has been less and less difficult to come up with a sound that we feel is our own.
I have no idea what kind of creative process you guys go through but how hard is it to record and release new songs?
-It depends. Sometimes the material just comes flowing out and sometimes it takes more work. Writing goes in waves. When we get a surge, we roll with it, and put a bunch of material into the pot and then we work through it. In general coming up with riffs and material isn’t hard in itself, it’s knowing how to use the stuff we have written and arrange it in an interesting and unique way. Great care is taken when we arrange songs from the very first riff to every little transition. We are comfortable with the writing process now and a lot of it has been more natural as of late – but that doesn’t mean we don’t challenge ourselves. We always find a way to push ourselves whether the music comes out of us quickly or not.
Regarding recording, since Illusorium we’ve set out to do everything as professionally as possible, which means going into the studio rather than recording at home. The biggest challenge there is simply getting the album done within the time that our limited budget allows- this creates a bit of pressure to make every second count, but we make sure to be very well-rehearsed so we can do just that.
Today technology allows you to record at home and release your music digitally. But in doing so is there a risk that you release songs too soon, before they are fully ready to be launched at an audience?
-This actually just happened to us this year with Defying the Metastasis. We had been unsigned for quite some time, and were used to it. Though we were hoping to get signed, we still set our own release date for the record and intended to put it out ourselves digitally, whether or not labels showed interest. We tried shopping it around before our intended release date but didn’t have any luck. We still decided to digitally release the album ourselves earlier this year. However, it didn’t seem that too many people noticed – besides Blood Harvest, who decided they wanted to press physical copies of this record for us. So we are doing a new “official” release through Blood Harvest for Defying the Metastasis on October 14th. So in essence, yes, there is a risk to prematurely do things this way. It is exciting when you finish a record and you obviously want to get it out there, but without the proper promotion behind it, even a strong record can largely fall on deaf ears. But it’s also bad to just sit on a record too so finding the balance of how quickly to release a record can be tough, especially when doing everything on your own.
I for one feel that the change of how people listen to music today, by downloading it and expecting to get it for free, will kill music as we know it. What kind of future is there for recorded music?
-This a huge debate and there are positive and negative things about both sides. On the one hand, yes, the consumption music of today changes the dynamic of the music markets. People are willing to listen to music at a lower quality and expect things for free, and music is easily downloadable via torrent sites. From this perspective, maybe the quality of music is slowly being degraded. But on the other side, several musicians, especially lesser known ones, use this to their advantage and often put their music up for free, or embrace the fact that it reaches so many people (no matter how it gets to them) because it allows people to hear their music who otherwise wouldn’t have without this technology. That being said, it’s still hard to say exactly what the future of recorded music is. There is definitely still a market for physical music – hell even cassettes are back – so it’s not as if physical mediums are dead and will die out. It’s just that there are more avenues, both digital and physical, to get people to hear music and these types of avenues will surely be expanded upon and refined over the years.
What kind of responses have you had to your recorded music? What has been the thing that has gotten the most attention?
-Reception to our music has been nothing but positive, actually. The people who like our stuff seem to really like it. Our artwork for both Illusorium and Defying the Metastasis also get a lot of attention. Chris at Misanthropic Art has done such a great job with the art on both these albums and brings the concepts to life. We believe in having the whole package whenever we make an album and having great artwork to represent the lyrical concepts, so we are glad to see that not only the music gets received well, but so do the visuals.
We live in a world where there are no real distances between people communicating anymore. What has been the most surprising contact so far?
-That would have to be V. Santura from Triptykon. If people told us that someone as talented as him would be working on our albums someday, we wouldn’t have believed those people. But all it took was a simple email from his website asking about mastering, and the rest is history. V. Santura mastered Illusorium for us and mixed and mastered Defying the Metastasis. We also got lucky enough that Triptykon played Maryland Deathfest in 2015 and we were able to meet him and a few of the band members! It was great because he is someone we had been in touch with for so long and never thought we’d have the chance to meet him because he lives in Germany and we live in the States. But that year it worked out, and it was great to meet the man who’s been working hard on our records.
Do you feel like you are a part of a greater community playing in a band?
-Yes and no. Yes in the sense that we are part of the local metal community here in Chicago, and of course many of the bands know each other and support one another. But on the other hand we very much feel like we are doing our own thing and try not to pay too much attention to what others are doing or let it affect our writing.
What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
-The live scene in Chicago is fun because there is a big local scene here with a lot of thriving bands. But there is a limit to how much you can grow your following by playing exclusively local shows, and all of us have various work and school obligations that would make going out on tour very difficult at this point in time. Obviously when that changes, if we were to land the right support spot, it could potentially be huge for the band.
What plans do you have for the future?
-We are very excited about our new deal with Blood Harvest Records and the physical release of Defying the Metastasis via on October 14th. We’d like to get out and play some more shows in support of the album. Beyond that, we’re currently working on new material which may be released in the form of the next full-length, an EP or both. Thanks for the interview!