RIPPED TO SHREDS are old school death metal the Swedish way. Cool stuff indeed. Show them your support. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
You have one of these names that do not really tell what kind of metal you play. How hard was it to come up with the name?
-It was a pretty straightforward choice for me. I wanted to pay tribute to some of my biggest influences by using one of their song titles as the band name. Terrorizer and Horrendous both share a song, “Ripped to Shreds,” and Carnage has a song titled “Torn Apart” which is pretty similar in meaning. Terrorizer was a gateway to grindcore for me, and I love the mix of d-beats and straight blasting that Pete Sandoval does on World Downfall; it’s probably the best performance he’s ever had on record. The punky riffs and vocal rhythms are also a big source of inspiration to my own approach to the grind parts of 埋葬.
How do you introduce the band to people that are new to your music?
-Grindy old-school death metal, for fans of Entombed and Bolt Thrower. Ripped to Shreds presents a Swedish riff assault punctuated by the shreddiest of 80s Shrapnel artists and underscored by the doomiest of death/doom stalwarts like Asphyx or Hooded Menace.
We all carry baggage with us that affects us in one way or another but what would you say have been the single greatest influence on your sound?
-I think the no-brainer answer here is Horrendous. Even though the actual riffs themselves are generally drawn from bands like Nirvana 2002, Bolt Thrower, or Asphyx, the way that I try to structure songs and think about riff development are inspired by Horrendous’ theme-driven approach. Plus Ecdysis is the single biggest inspiration I had to start writing my own music. Prior to 2014 I’d pretty much given up on metal and was getting into jazz/fusion and trying to learn standards, but hearing that one album was like a wakeup call. Without Ecdysis, there’d be no Ripped to Shreds.
What is the scene like in your area? Is it important that there is some sort of local scene for a band to develop or can a band still exist in a vacuum of no scene/no bands?
-The scene in my immediate town is pretty lame. The venue 10 minutes from my house has hosted some pretty lackluster gigs and mostly just has random brutal DM bands. You have to drive out to Oakland or SF to see the really good bands, and the Oakland death metal scene is one of the best in the entire world right now, boasting bands like Acephalix, Vastum, Extremity, Necrosic, Necrot, etc. Losing Howls of Ebb and Stormcrow recently was a big disappointment, but I’m sure there’s 10 more Oakland bands that will produce something extremely sick in their place soon. As for whether or not a band can exist in a vacuum, I think it depends on if you play live. As a one man band, I create music because I need to, not because I’m part of a particular scene. I think very few people in the Bay are aware of what I’m doing, so I’m not really even “in” the Bay Area scene. In that sense I exist in a vacuum of no bands. For bands that play live, for sure you’d need a healthy scene in order to develop.
Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
-An outsider looking in might see 埋葬 as a piece of the mosaic that is the Bay Area death metal scene. I don’t know anyone in the local scene, so even though my own music is strictly influenced by the music that’s happening around me, I have a hard time feeling connected to it. I think in order to feel like I’m a part of the movement, I’d need to at least be acquainted with other movers and shakers.
When you play the sort of music you play I guess you cannot have birds and bees on the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
-My favorite death metal album cover is Pestilence’s Consvming Impvlse. I think an amazing cover art should reflect the themes of the album itself and not just be “a cool piece of art.” Pestilence’s cover gels with the claustrophobic music and lyrics, and Martin Van Drunen’s vocals sound exactly like the tortured of howls of someone being eaten alive by insects. Horrendous’ Ecdysis also succeeds on this level: the disintegrating husk of the man on the cover works in harmony with the transformative themes of the album. Another great cover in this vein is Vastum’s Patricidal Lust. But of course I still enjoy art that is just plain memorable: Carnage’s Dark Recollections, Merciless’ The Awakening, Morbid Angel’s Altars of Madness, etc.
What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
-They serve different audiences. People simply don’t carry around Discmans or Walkmans anymore, though as a member of a couple of cassette tape collecting communities I know people who still do. Everyone does have a phone so it’s only natural that digital is the primary listening format. I assume that when you ask if digital is killing music, you mean streaming services and piracy, where people can listen to your music without paying a cent. Taping off the radio didn’t kill music back then and it certainly won’t now. Fewer people seeing the effort that goes into physical formats, layouts, art, etc is certainly disappointing, but there’s still a demand for it.
What kind live scene is there for bands like yours?
-In Oakland there is the Golden Bull and Eli’s Mile High for all the smaller bands, the Oakland Metro for the larger ones, and whole bunch of clubs and venues in SF. There’s usually at least one gig a month that’s worth going to, and maybe three or four that are “can’t miss” for the whole year. I wish there was a more vibrant scene in San Jose for death metal, but 60 miles ain’t such a bad drive.
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
-I don’t play live, but from the audience perspective I see it as a “performance.” I think of a “party” as an event where the main attraction is the other people and music is an excuse to get all those people into one place. I’m not there to mingle and socialize with the crowd in between sets, but I enjoy having the crowd as a part of the band’s performance and live experience. I don’t really mosh, but I like standing the edge of the pit and pushing moshers back in, and having that crowd energy is a crucial part of the show.
What would you like to see the future bring?
-Trying to make some splits happen with bands I’m a big fan of! I very much doubt a live performance will happen in 2018, but perhaps 2019 will see a lineup and some gigs. I’m working on some traditional heavy metal with my good buddy BW from Draghkar, which is taking up my creative energy at the moment, so I’m quite anxious to get back on the deathgrind side of things. Thanks so much for taking the time to interview me, thanks to all of you who have read this interview, and don’t forget to check out 埋葬 from the links below!