With a follow up to 2011’s “Blood Alliance” album POWER QUEST are back with a new one. Answers by Steve Anders Ekdahl ©2017
How important is the band’s name in giving out the right kind of vibe?
-Back in 2001 when me and Steve Scott (original bassist) started the band we wanted a name that would be clearly identifiable with the style of music were doing at the time, so Power Quest seemed like a good choice.
It’s also important to consider a cool logo that works well with merchandising as well of course.
I wanted to start a band in the 80s but couldn’t find the right people to do so with. What was it that made you want to do the band?
-I started in music with piano lessons from the age of 7-18 and violin from 8-16. This gave me a great grounding in music theory and composition which still helps me to this day. I have my parents to thank for that.
I first got into metal in the early 1980’s thanks to Motorhead and Iron Maiden, particularly the OverKill and Number of the Beast albums so probably from the age of 12 or 13 I wanted to be in a band. Throughout the 80’s I was listening to everything from Van Halen to Helloween and Cinderella to Death. I was a huge metal fan and tape trader as well.
I know what you mean, I was 29 years old by the time I made my first album. It was always my dream to make one record but I’ve been fortunate to make 6 with PQ and a couple with Eden’s Curse so in that sense you could say I have over achieved hahaha!
With so many genres and sub-genres of metal today what is your definition of the music you play?
-Yeah everything has to be in a category these days it would seem. I think this is a bit stupid really. Good music is good music and bad music is bad music. That doesn’t change if you categorise it as well.
As I’ve gotten older I find I pay less and less attention to genres and I think this is a relatively common thing. The “angry young man” aggressive thing doesn’t really work for you when you are 45 like I am hahaha!
For me, we play catchy, uplifting melodic power metal.
How do you arrange the tracks? Is there a method to how you arrange the songs on a record?
-I always like to have ebb and flow in an album. I don’t want everything to be fast or everything to be slow. One of the great things about PQ is that we blend power metal with hard rock and even progressive rock/metal at times so it makes us a little different to a lot of other bands. Always like to start an album with a fast one and end on something epic. In between that I like to raise and lower the pace across the duration of the record.
I am fascinated by how people can still come up with things that hasn’t been done before, chord structures that hasn’t been written, sentences that hasn’t been constructed before. Where do you find your inspiration to create?
-If you listen closely to a lot of music you’ll find new melodies over older chord progressions. Most chord progressions will have been used before so it means you need an even stronger melody hook to really stand out.
My inspiration often comes from either real life events of things that have happened to me in my life. We always have a couple of the typical power metal songs (lyrically) but the majority of the songs on the new record for example are very positive and focus on the idea of things can always be better tomorrow if we believe.
How important is the graphic side of the band? How much thought goes into art work etc.?
-I put a lot of thought into the graphics and imagery for the album. I always give Felipe Machado Franco a good idea of the concept for the artwork and he turns it into what I imagined. We’ve been working together now since 2008 I think it is.
We also give a lot of consideration to how the artwork will look on merchandise as well so that the fans get great shirts to wear and also that special editions and vinyl editions look super cool as well.
I get the feeling that more and more metalheads too are just downloading single tracks. Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
-I think there’s no doubt that the younger generation do not listen to or buy albums in the same way as we used to when we were kids. However, for as a songwriter, the challenge with an album is to write a collection of songs that work well together and the whole listening experience flows well.
On the otherside of the coin, digital makes it easy for fans and bands to spread the word about the band even if it does have the disadvantage of not generating any real revenue. The business is pretty dead for bands of our level so we have to hope that fans will like the the songs enough to buy a ticket for a show or two and maybe pick up a shirt while they are there. It’s certainly not easy and for bands like us we all have normal jobs as well which is what pays our bills and rent.
Are we killing our beloved metal scene by supporting digital downloading or can anything positive come from supporting single tracks and not albums? Will the fan as we know him/her be gone soon?
-I think I answered this one in the previous question really. I guess you have to move with the times to a certain extent even if it is not where your heart it. There are still plenty of amazing fans out there who still buy albums in many formats so I think the physical product will be required for some time yet. In a world where there was no physical product and just single tracks for download, I’m not sure that is a world that appeals to me hahaha!
Is there a scene to speak of for a band like yours? Where do you fit in?
-I’m not sure about a scene as such. There certainly isn’t one here in the UK for this kind of music. Not many power metal bands have made it on any kind of level from here, probably only my old mates Dragonforce but I suppose we are the second best known ones from here.
I suppose we sit alongside bands like Sonata Arctica, Twilight Force, Sabaton, Stratovarius etc but I don’t really think we are the same as any of them. Twilight Force are one of my favourite new bands in the power/melodic metal scene and they are all really nice guys too.
What does the future hold?
-Well we’ve had a busy few weeks with an appearance at Sabaton Open Air, 3 shows in Japan and an appearance at PPUSA in Atlanta. In October we tour the UK with Dragonforce for 11 shows and then do 4 headline shows a couple of weeks later. The new album comes out on October 13th and we are already making plans for next year too. It’s going to be a busy time for sure!