RAM have been flying the banner of heavy metal for a very long time now so it was really time for me to interview them. Answers from Harry. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
Was it hard to come up with a name? What does the name mean to you? How important is it to have the right name?
-Not really, we didn’t consider that many actually. Originally the name came from the saying ”ram something down someone’s throat” but it also means a male sheep and devices used to drive, batter, or crush by forceful impact. That’s how we used to think of how our music would be perceived. Personally I like the fact that it means a lot of different things and describes the band in a good way. It is said that the ram (sheep) is very stubborn and I would say that this is something that could be said about us as a band as well.
Having the right name is important and a short memorable one helps I believe. Personally I think a band name should consist of a maximum of two words. Not something that reminds of a novel.
Who would say have laid the foundation for the kind of sound you have? Who are your heroes musically and what have they meant to you personally and to the sound of your band?
-The British hard rock and heavy metal sounds are probably our strongest sources of inspiration.
Bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest but also bands like Accept, Dio, Mercyful
Fate, King Diamond, KISS, (old) Scorpions, MSG, Rainbow, Queensryche. These are all important big names for me personally but every one of us are into one or more of above mentioned bands. However, our tastes range from hard rock/melodic rock to thrash/speed and death/black metal.
When you play slow do you have to think differently arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
-It is possible that it is something we do on a subconscious level but I can’t say I think differently when writing or arranging fast or slower music. The parts have to be good, the riffs, the melodies, the rhythms, chord progressions, lyrics and so on. I really can’t think of anything special in terms of song writing that differs depending on the tempo of the song. One thing that we do from time to time is to actually clock the length of a song just to see if it feels too long or not but this has nothing to do with tempo. It’s just a way to have some sort of ‘objective’ opinion if a song feels boring or not, if it is too long or not.
Will your music work in a live environment? What kind of stage environment would best suit your music; a big stage or a small club?
-Yes, it does, some songs better than other of course but we figure out quite fast which do or don’t. This is something that depends on the audience as well. Some songs work better in one territory than the other. As for the size of the stage I believe our music fits both formats. We’ve played sweaty gigs in small clubs with tremendous energy and we don’t mind doing that but we’ve also played larger stages which is nice as well. As long as there is enough room on stage for the five of us, so space is not an issue, we could play. Of course, some day it would be nice to play a huge stage, I suppose that’d be a very special experience.
It is very hard to be 100% satisfied. Everybody seems to be disappointed with something they have released. Is there something that you in hindsight would have done differently on this your latest recording?
-I would say there are less and less of those moments over the years and on this one I haven’t actually thought about it at all. I can only speak for myself but there’s nothing that really bugs me on this one.
Usually it wouldn’t end up on tape anyway if it was not good enough. Then you of course have the risk of doing bad decisions with the material you have but I don’t think we made any fatal mistakes.
Promotion can be a bitch. Even today with all different platforms it can be hard to reach out to all those that might be interested in your music? What alleys have you used to get people familiarized with your band?
-We have of course the traditional printed media, metal magazines and those online. This is something that the record label is involved in, ads, reviews, interviews etc. These are all important if you really want to reach out with your music. Then there is the other part which is to perform live. This is something we enjoy doing and this is probably the most effective way to get the word out.
In the early days we used to burn CD demos to give away to people at festivals and spread flyers
all over the place so people would recognize our logo.
To me art work can be the difference between bust or success. What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
-I’m not sure if I have a preference for a specific type of artwork. Of course I prefer good artwork over a bad one but sometimes one learns to like an album cover cos you love the music. Some that comes to mind that I do like are: Accept – Restless and wild, the burning Flying V’s tells pretty much what you are going to get. King Diamond – Abigail, I just like the painting and the colors. Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, and their Technical Ecstasy as well, (considered to be dull by some people but I like it). British steel by Judas Priest, a lot of attitude in this one and of course Sad wings of destiny, one of the most beautiful album covers ever made in my opinion.
I’m no expert at album covers but as long as you stay away from tribal artwork and too obvious CGI, then I’ll be happy.
Do you feel that you are part of a national scene? Is a local/national scene important for the development of new bands?
-Both yes and no. When we’re locked up in our rehearsal room for writing sessions and recording a new album one might not have this feeling of being part of a scene as we usually are absorbed by all work that comes with a new album. If you don’t perform for a while you kind of feel you are in your own world. But we do have good relations with bands that we team up with time to
time for gigs or a split- EP. Also, there have been some bands recording in our Black Path studios
so we’re not totally lost. For our latest video we had two guys from the Gothenburg speed metal quintet ‘Armory’ playing two characters in this horror tale. And two guys from ‘Black cyclone’. In that sense we are very much part of the local/national scene. It’s important to keep the scene alive as all bands benefit from the opportunities that comes with it. I’d still say that the Swedish (underground) scene is different from the German counterpart and I’m mainly talking about the festivals here, not the bands. In Germany there are quite many strong underground festivals PLUS the numerous smaller festivals that are available. Seems like every village has their own open air festival. We don’t have as many in Sweden.
I could just be me but I got the feeling that the live scene is not what it used to be. Could be that more and more people use the net to discover bands instead of going out and supporting new bands live. What is you experience with the live scene?
-I was under the impression that the scene is quite busy, at least during the festival season but I could be wrong. Here in Gothenburg there are not that many venues for new bands to play but it has been so for quite a while. From our perspective things look good as we feel that we get good offers to play live but the situation may vary in different countries of course. When we look at it as a whole it seems that the live scene is alive.
What does the future hold?
-At the moment we’re waiting for the release date to arrive and we’ll perform in Hamburg on the day of the release, Nov 3rd. Then we’ll play a festival in Barcelona, Spain, followed by a few dates
in Sweden and close the year with a gig in Germany in December.
For 2018 we’ll return to Spain in January and a longer (European) tour in February is in the works. Hopefully we’ll land a few festival gigs in the summer as well. At the moment things look
pretty good for us.