SAKARA

Several years ago I did an interview with SAKARA. It felt like it was time to catch up again now Questions 4,7 & 8 had input from her partner Stephen. Here we go. Anders Ekdahl ©2017

The last time I interviewed you were back in 2012. What has happened in the 5 years that has passed since then?
-After the release of my debut album Blood & Stone many doors opened for me and opportunities flooded in to do other things. In 2013 David Homer of Staffordshire based band Apparition asked me to sing for them and I did shows in both the UK and Europe, including The Dames of Darkness Festival alongside bands such as Delain and Visions of Atlantis.
I also spent a lot of time in the studio with composer/producer Stephen Clarke. After the success of the first album we continued to work together on a second album Beauty & Bravery. The album was recorded and produced by Stephen at Fractalsoup Studio and released in 2014 through Ravenheart Music records. I also had a lot of fun filming my first music video for the track Weave My Web.
After that I put together a live band to promote the new album and made another music video of the track Serenity but sadly due to distance and health issues of members the band has now disbanded but I have continued to write and last year I released a new single called Olde Ways.
I also had the honor to sing on the amazing new studio album Torn Pages by the ThinMan. I am told it will be released this autumn. This year I have teamed up once again with Stephen to write a third album.

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 be an artist?
-Since I was a very young child I dreamed of being a singer. I grew up listening to all kinds of wonderful music, from classical to metal and to a little of everything in between. Music had a powerful affect on me and really inspired me to want to be a diverse artist. I always had a strong desire to express myself and this was the path that allowed me to fully do that.

With so many genres and sub-genres today what is your definition of the music you play?
-It is hard to define. I am not set in style but rather have my own style but I guess the way I would best describe it would be Experimental Shamanic Metal because I like to experiment and cross a lot of musical boundaries and it is shamanic because my music is greatly influenced by my own personal shamanic practice. Music to me is a form of spiritual practice, a way of connecting to the universe. It is a doorway to other world’s.

How do you arrange the tracks? Is there a method to how you arrange the songs on a record?
-For album production the method is mainly to do with tempo, feel and key of the songs as well as letting the songs “say” where they want to be placed. Songs are not composed and constructed in the usual way but instead given space to naturally unfold. We just kinda know – can’t say there is a methodology just an overall impression listening in a certain order.

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?
-When I look at the wonders of the natural world I cannot help but be inspired. All nature sings, she has her own inspiring music if you take the time to listen. You can hear the magic in bird song, the howl of the wolf, in swan song and whale cries. I love the atmosphere of a moon lit forest and the power of thunder storms, the crashing of waves and the creaking of old trees. I am also fascinated by history, different cultures, folktales and the mysteries of the world. All this inspires me to want to create meaningful, haunting and powerful music.

How important is the graphic side of the band? How much thought goes into art work etc.?
-A lot of thought goes into it. Images, much like music can tell a story so they are important. Beauty & bravery is all about Goddesses, Priestesses and Warrior Women and so I wanted a powerful image. I really like fantasy art and I guess the images on the last two albums could be classed as that. The artwork was done by the talented Dave Charsley of Declinegothica

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?
-Obviously in the 70’s and 80’s Vinyl albums had a whole culture around them – the 12 inch format with album sleeve and art/ pull outs/ lyrics etc: added to the whole immersive experience that took an investment in time to appreciate and relax with. Now it’s a download in a much more random and consumptive way. Quick fixes on the go.
I still believe there are plenty of real “musos” out there who enjoy the immersive experience an investment of time it takes to listen to an album.
I’m also guessing why they still exist is mainly from the musicians themselves for themselves and for other musicians out there. An album is much more of a statement than a single, an art form – a collection of sonic photographs that encapsulate the period of the musicians at the time they collect them together.
To produce an album also takes time, money and skill to craft which is also short for musicians. In turn singles are often stepping stones to a collection and the ease of ability for musicians to produce their own work has democratized the process allowing a band to release a single as soon as it’s written rather than wait for a recording contract to release a whole album.

Are we killing our beloved 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?
-No I don’t think so. The music scene and business has changed and harping back to the good olde days is missing the point of the digital revolution. Empowering the musicians to directly reach their fans, control their own production process and releases has allowed much more talent to come to the foreground that otherwise would be lost in the competition to get a signed deal.
Of course democratization means more is spread around so more musicians get less overall. Single releases can help keep interest in larger projects and create a buzz for crowd funding possibilities too.
The fans as we know them? The digital revolution has meant that a global audience can be accessed directly.
Arguably if a band wants to make a living from their work the only realistic way is to get out there gigging shows and selling their merchandise/cds etc directly to their audience.
In practical and economic terms the interweb of digital downloads serves a different purpose overall – one of democratization, openness of communication and a sharing culture to a broader market I feel whilst also allowing the studio only bands to reach an audience too. Singles are as much a part of that as albums.

Is there a scene to speak of for a band like yours? Where do you fit in?
-I don’t know, I haven’t really found where I fit in yet. I have always been an outcast haha. Some critics have described our music as avant-garde. If there isn’t a scene then perhaps we will create one.

What does the future hold?
-Right now I am focusing on what I love best which is the writing and creating process. I plan to release a third album next year. In the mean time I will be releasing a single this summer and perhaps I will play some live shows at some point in the future.
Watch this space!

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