Norway are still producing cool bands. SAINT KARLOFF are proof of that. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
Let’s start with your latest recording. When you look back at it now what kind of feelings do you have for it?
-It’s been quite a long and frustrating process but also a great learning experience. We went into the studio with low shoulders thinking we’d just see how it would turn out and take it from there. We were excited by the idea of analog recording, so we ended up recording to a great old Studer 2″ tape machine which was great fun. The rhythm tracks (guitar, bass, drums), as well as some of the solo stuff, was recorded on one or two takes. A couple more for some vocal tracks, but limited time and available tracks really had to make us efficient. After tracking for two, three days we were happy with the recording. We knew we couldn’t do too many fuckups recording directly to tape, so we didn’t, hehe. Got a bit lucky there.
The frustrating stuff started when it was time to mix the album. We had several mixes done, all good ones, but for one or another reason we were never truly satisfied. In the end Mads ended up doing the mixing and after some trial and error he did a mix that we were all happy with. But it was a quite a long process between recording and sending the mixes to mastering.
I am fascinated by band names. What was it that made you settle on the one you have and what does it mean to you?
-We settled on the name after not being able to make a cooler name. Mads and Ole was pretty happy with the name from the get go, but Adam was a bit more sceptic. We decided on Karloff first, but we knew we had to find something more. We tried a couple of different colours, I think we tried Lord Karloff and a couple of others similar to that. But in the end it was Saint Karloff that prevailed. The reason for Karloff is simple, he played in a movie called Black Sabbath, and the rest speaks for itself. Saint…? Well, Lord or Blue didn’t work.
What does it mean to you that there are people out there that actually appreciate and look forward to what you are doing?
-The fact that we’ve gotten some positive feedback on what we have put out so far, is amazing. We knew we had some pretty cool ideas, but we are blown away by the nice comments and interest around what we do. It makes the whole album release worth while. Playing music is always fun, but the work we have to put in to release an album isn’t always enjoyable, but
yeah, the feedback makes it all worthwhile. Even the negative feedback we have gotten, neutral or negative feedback keeps us sharp and on our toes, you know.
How important is image to the band? What impression do you want the fans to get of the band?
-what we are NOT, than show what we are. Ole’s flares show the rest of the world that he is not a metal head, he is more into heavy grooves, peace and love. Mads’ lack of tattoos shows that he is NOT trying to come across as a tough guy biker, or something like that. Adam’s image show that he is NOT really into any kind of image, his playing is image enough. Maybe… this is just ranting. But one thing is sure, if you have long hair, you don’t have to do as much on stage as if you have short hair, hehe.
I am a huge fan of LP art work. How important is it to have the right art work for your album?
-Not very important I think. If the album is legendary, the artwork becomes legendary, and vice versa. There are exceptions to that rule, of course. But let’s take a look at Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality. Now an iconic image, but it’s “just” words on a black background. If the record would have failed, the artwork would probably have failed. Having said that, it is an
interesting thing to make artwork for an album. And we want it to look good, of course, but it’s the music that stands trial. If it is condemned, then so is the artwork.
We live in a superficial world today where you don’t exist if you are not on Youtube and Facebook. Has social media been only beneficial in socializing with the fans or is there a down side to it too?
-For us, being a Norwegian band, I think there are only upsides to social media. Back in the day, before social media, a Norwegian band had to do a lot more work to get their music heard outside the borders, than we do now. Without social media our label, Twin Earth, probably never would have heard about us, and if we released an album we would probably end up giving the copies away for christmas and birthdays, hehe. And we might still have to do that… Mom, buy yourself a record player.
When you play in a band does it feel like you are a part of a massive community? That you belong to something that gives meaning to your life?
-For us I think that is the case. The band is our chance to make something that lasts. Like an architect who designs a great building, or an author who writes a good book. But for, let’s say Johnny Depp, I think it’s just a fun way of passing the time. He’s proven himself as a world class actor so he has nothing more to prove, so he doesn’t have to do anything spectacular.
The less options you have, the bigger is your drive. We are three Norwegians, so this band isn’t “our ticket out of this hell hole”, but we hope to make an impact on someone. Maybe 30 years down the line, some kid will find our album in his parents attic, spin it and dig it. Things like that is what drives us, I think. And making music is something that gives meaning to our lives. Sitting on the bedside, making a riff, then six months later you get comments like “this is awesome” or “sounds like the music that have been playing inside my head”. That really is something else, and it is the first time we have experienced that I think.
When you are in the middle of it do you notice what state our beloved music scene is in? Is the scene healthy or does it suffer from some ailment?
-The scene is healthy and thriving. Good music is being put out, bad music is being put out. Genres are getting saturated, forcing bands to be inventive and make new genres. Things are like they have always been, and how they should be. Some musicians are idiotically rich, some are dirt poor, as it has always been.
How much of a touring band are you guys? How hard is it to get gigs outside of your borders?
-We are not a touring band at all, but we hope to be. It has been pretty hard to get any kind of gig, in Norway or abroad, but we are hoping that may change when the album is out. We feel we are a pretty strong live band, and we are working towards gigging a lot more.
What will the future bring?
-The best of times and the worst of times