Apart from being a cool album by Jaguar (“Powergames”) POWERGAME is a really cool band name. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
We all come into music with our own baggage. We want different things from the music. How does the vision you had for the band when you started compare to the vision you have for the band today? What is this band really all about? What do you want with your music?
-Well, the band POWERGAME is all about Heavy Metal the old school way with one eye on the NWOBHM and the other one on US Metal and European Metal of the 80ies.
When I first started the band, I just wanted to play some cool Heavy Metal as kind of a balance. I play in a Thrash-band called Lost World Order for more than 24 years now, and I wanted to do something different in addition. I love playing Metal music, and there is enough creativity for ten bands inside of me, hahaha.
After the first album “Beast On The Attack”, which was very raw, my ambition grew, and I wanted to achieve higher goals in terms of playing and songwriting. At that point the line up of the band changed some times, but in my opinion the result in form of our new album “Masquerade” speaks for itself.
Nowadays, my vision is to deliver the best possible Heavy Metal, uncompromising and heartfelt.
Is there a difference in people’s attitude towards you if you don’t come from a cool place like LA or NY or London?
-It’s an odd fact that German bands don’t have the best standing in Germany although it is one of the strongest markets in Metal. I have no idea why, because there are lots of great bands around, just like in most other countries.
But I don’t think that the hometown of a band plays a big role, in my opinion it’s more about the country. At the end of the day I have no reason to complain, because I have a pretty good record deal, and in Germany you have a homebase with a good infrastructure. South American bands for example have much more struggles to fight.
When you release an album that get pretty good feedback, how do you follow up on that? How important is that I as a fan can identify album to album?
-All I can do is carrying on with what I always used to do: write the best possible songs and never release anything I don’t like yourself. It has always been my attitude to write, record and release music that I would buy myself if I weren’t a member of the band.
It’s a matter of emotion, attitude and love for the music. People pay money for CDs, and they will feel if the band’s attitude is true. As a musician I owe honesty and passion to the fans and to myself.
I think it is important to recognize a band’s identity on every records. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a band may not evolve or change, but a common hand is very important.
What is the biggest challenge in the creation of an album? How do you write the really cool songs?
-Whenever I grab my guitar to write some riffs I hope to be inspired, and I always try to write the best song EVER, hahaha. At the end of the day you have enough songs for an album, and then it is about time to have a critical view on it and get rid of the ones that are not good enough and maybe write some new tunes.
What is very important in my opinion is the order of the songs on an album. If an album starts with three very fast songs followed by eight extremely slow ones for example, the listener will not concentrate on it until the end. Many bands have a common pattern throughout many albums in a row, because it works.
Take Iced Earth as an example, many of their albums start with a midtempo opener, followed by a ballad, a very fast song and an epic with big chorus. The end of those albums is marked by very long songs with complex structures. They are very successful with this formula, and they knew they would be from the beginning, because they copied that approach from Maiden.
I don’t try to copy this pattern, but I learned how important it is to write an album that is diversified. So, my formula is to mix up fast and slow songs to keep the album interesting for the listener throughout the whole playing time.
I saw Dave Grohl’s documentary about Sound City and it made me wonder what it is about analogue recording that you don’t get with digital? Have you ever recorded analogue?
-Yes, in the early nineties we used to record our demos with an analogue 8-track-recorder. That has been very challenging, hahaha. But whenever I held a finished demo in my hands, I was excited and proud. Today, I am of course still proud of my work as a musician, but it has become much easier, and there is a certain danger to take it for granted.
What is it like to sit there with a finished album? Do you think much what people will think of it?
-I am realistic enough to know that the world hasn’t only waited for the new POWERGAME-album, for there is so much great music to discover and so many ways to do this. But I do believe that good music with a strong attitude is loved by many Metalheads all over the world, what means there is space in the hearts of some (hopefully many) of them for my little band from the not so famous city called Bielefeld.
How important are the lyrics and what message do you want to purvey?
-First and foremost the lyrics are a vehicle to give the songs a certain mood. While Lost World Order is a quite political band, most POWERGAME-songs don’t have an important message. This band is about having fun, enjoying life and banging your head. I think that titles like “Legion Of The Dead”, “Baptized In Fire And Steel” or “Final Warning” speak for itself, these are just pure Metal-songs. “Puppets On A String” is about the TV-series “Westworld”, and “Masqerade” deals with a ball that becomes bloody and violent throughout the evening.
The two songs that are more serious are “For Those Who Died”, which is an anthem to gone family members, friends and musicians, and “Lucid Dreams”, which is about living your dream and giving your life a sense.
Ever since I first got into metal the art work has been a main motivator in buying a record. What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
-I totally agree that the artwork is very important to catch the attention of the listener and to give the bandan identity.
We have our mascot on every cover, a Mexican wrestler called “El Demonio Negro”. He will stay with us in the future. Maybe he will look different or he will be drawn in a different technique, but he is here to stay. He is our answer on Eddie, Vic Rattlehead or the Snaggletooth.
When you play live do you notice a degree of greater recognition from the fans with each new time you pass through town?
-Yes, I think so. But as a band you really have to take care of being a good live band whenever you go on stage. Otherwise people probably won’t attend your next gig.
Just think of Night Demon: they are an awesome live band, and whenever they’re back in town, the audience is bigger than the time before.
What do you see in the future?
-Fame, money, sex, drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll of course, hahaha.
Seriously, I hope that people do like or album, so I think we can play a lot of gigs and hopefully do some more records. Trust me kids, when we’re in town we’ll kick your asses. Better be there and buy our albums! You love it, you need it – POWERGAME!