In a world were there are so many bands to keep track of I want to bring my two cents in presenting you to this interview with. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
Do you feel that is has gone the way you intended when you formed back in the days?
-So far, we’re pretty happy with how things have been going. We’ve only been a recording / gigging band for a couple of years, so to have already done the demo, the 7” and now the album as well as playing some pretty high profile shows, I think we’re pretty fortunate.
How do you feel about your latest recording? Did it come out the way you expected it to?
-We recorded Uncivilized ourselves, and our bassist Alejandro engineered and mixed the record, so we had a lot of control over everything from beginning to end. That really helped us find the sound we were looking for – something that feels authentic and organic without trying to simply recreate an “old-school” production or anything like that. We wanted it to not feel totally contrived and not tied to any one era.
Do you feel that you by now has found a sound that is the band and that you can build on it ?
-Absolutely. Uncivilized has a lot of dynamics, really speedy aggressive stuff, pounding heaviness, quieter bits, and stuff that is straightforward and rocking. I really dig where we’re at aesthetically, because we can do stuff that’s really heavy like “The Mists of Time,” fast stuff like “Red Hot Leather,” and also stuff that’s overtly melodic and even kind of emotional, like “Long Time No Love.”
Is having a message in the lyrics important to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
-We are celebrating rock and roll and metal a lot in the lyrics. We have a lot of songs about sex and partying like the title track and “We Want the Night,” as well as some good ol’ fashioned occult stuff like “The Evil One,” about you-know-who, and stuff that’s more personal like “Answer the Call.” As long as it fits in the overall lyrical milieu of Rock & Roll, we feel pretty comfortable tackling it in our lyrics.
How important is the cover art work for you? Can a really cool cover still sell an album in this day and age of digital download?
-The artwork is really important for me. I love the image that Marc Schoenbach came up with for the cover, it’s evil, mysterious and sexy and very Uncivilized. I think that the cover is still really important, because it’s going to be shared all over social media and YouTube and stuff before a record comes out, so you still have a chance to capture the eye of a potential listener. Of course it’s not the same as when I was a kid rifling through cassettes in my local record store, but the feeling is still there.
Why is it so hard for bands that come from places not the US or UK/Sweden/Scandinavia to break big? What is success to you and is it something you’d like to achieve?
-I think that it’s a case of the labels and promotional companies being primarily located in those countries, and the instrument companies focusing their marketing and sales there as well. Add that to the fact that there is more accessible commerce between those markets anyway, so it’s easier to get a product from the US in Europe than it is to get a product from South America or something. Also, those countries tend to be richer, so there’s more access to luxury items like guitars and good recording studios. It’s not really a reflection on the quality or talent, it’s a reflection of the opportunity that being from one of those areas gives you. It translates across the board, whether you’re a banker, a software engineer, or a musician. It’s not fair, but it’s just the reality of the neoliberal, post-WWII world order.
For me, success is the ability to take my ideas and execute them the way that I want, and to hopefully make enough money doing it that I can continue doing it and not be reliant or beholden to anyone telling me how to do my shit because I need the money. Of course, the more money I can make playing music or being creative, the better, but being able to create on my own terms is the most important thing.
Today the competition is harder. You got plenty of digital platforms for new talent to display their music. How do you do to really stand out in a world where everything but the music is blind to the listener?
-I think you need to offer something that’s high quality in terms of composition and execution of course, but mostly it’s about sincerity. If you really enjoy what you’re doing and believe in it enough to push yourself as a musician, that will come through. Even records that are kind of a mess like In the Sign of Evil or Reek of Putrefaction have a sincerity that shines through and makes them very lovable and allows them to become classics in their own right. So honesty and sincerity are the most important thing. Of course, a cool cover, a good marketing campaign and all that other stuff doesn’t hurt. But that’s nothing new, the bands that got big in the past all had expert management and well-crafted marketing, whether it’s Maiden or Metallica or Sabbath or anyone. Without that business savvy, you will only ever rise to a certain level. The difference today is that every new band has to have some level of business sophistication and it’s expected as part of being in a band in the first place.
What is your local scene like? How important is a national scene for a band to be able to break out and make it international?
-Well, we’re pretty spread out, our bassist lives in Southern California near Los Angeles, our guitarist lives in the Bay Area near San Francisco, and I live in a very small town about halfway between them. With Pounder, we’ve always set our sights on the international markets. I feel that there will be a much bigger market for what we do in places like Germany and Japan than in America. But there is a small but growing appetite for the older style of Metal that we do.
Rock and metal has come a long way since the early 70s but still some people’s attitudes towards it seem to be left in the stone age. How accepted is metal in your area? Is it like in Finland where it seems to come with the mother’s milk?
I think it’s now been absorbed into the American idea of “classic rock.” I heard “War Pigs” at the grocery store a couple months ago. You can go into a restaurant like Grill ’em All in LA and see families enjoying burgers while Overkill or Cro-Mags plays at a “respectable” volume and nobody bats an eyelash. It’s almost disappointing when soccer moms throw the horns and say stupid shit like “Great goal, Kayden, you rock!” On one hand, it’s nice to be able to walk down the street in a Mercyful Fate shirt and not have people try to fight you, but on the other hand, when it becomes so accepted, it’s sad to see the danger of it all has really been lost.
What does the future hold for you?
-Lots of beers. Lots and lots of them.