Norwegian thrash metal might not be the first thing you think of but SARKOM are just that, in a slightly more dirty manner. E. Unsgaard answered my questions. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
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?
-I’m really not sure what I envisioned or expected when we started Sarkom. We just got together and made a few songs for a demo. This demo was spread around in 2004 and we got a lot of good feedback, which resulted in more songwriting and eventually a record deal and an album. From there on we just kept going, without any ambitions of world domination, but hopefully to be a band people would discover. I’ve always been realistic, so even though you’re allowed to have dreams and visions, I’ve never expected Sarkom to be the “next big band” out there. However, after more than 10 years and four albums, I hope we will be able to tour more and play at bigger festivals in the future than we have done so far. Due to lineup changes all the time, it hasn’t always been that easy, but hopefully the current line up will last. All the members are eager to play live, and that’s at least one step in the right direction.
As for what I want and what it’s all about, to me it’s most about making a difference. Even though it’s a kind of music most people never listen to, there’s still a few people out there who really find your work meaningful. And to those few, you make some kind of difference. That in mind, I will rather look back on my life knowing that I have done something, or at least tried, instead of only working Monday-Friday in a job where no one’s ever going to remember you for what you did or the effort you put in.
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?
-I hope not…?
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?
-In these computerized times, I guess you have to follow up with lots of stuff on facebook etc(even though I personally aren’t a fan of that aspect), as well as playing live as much as possible. Records don’t sell in large scales anymore, and albums are usually “hot” for two-three weeks before some other band releases their new album. There’s way too many bands and tons of new releases every month, so it’s not that easy for smaller bands to get the attention they deserve. As for the identification from album to album, that’s nothing I spend much time worrying about. Personally, I prefer when bands change sound instead of repeating themselves over and over again. However, when I write songs for Sarkom, I guess it’s recognizable as I, like so many others, have a certain identity when it comes to compose songs and riffs.
What is the biggest challenge in the creation of an album? How do you write the really cool songs?
-Coming up with cool riffs which doesn’t sound like anything you or someone else have done before is the biggest challenge for me, I guess.
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?
-No, we have never recorded analogue, nor am I any expert on the matter, so you just have to keep wondering, instead of me talking about something I really don’t know that much about…
What is it like to sit there with a finished album? Do you think much what people will think of it?
-After tons of work, it always feels good to have a final product in your hands. Knowing it is no turning back can be a bit tricky, but also a relief… The most important is that you are satisfied, but of course you want people to like it as well. However, this is not so much of a concern to me… If I like it, why shouldn’t others? We have released some albums now, so I hope I’m able to hear if the songs are totally shit.
How important are the lyrics and what message do you want to purvey?
-The lyrics are rather important to me, but the music is what’s the most important. The lyrics I write are often personal, based on my own thoughts and feelings, so it doesn’t necessarily matter that much to the listener, I think. However, if someone can relate to the lyrics or find them inspiring in some way, I will definitely take that as a compliment. But in general, I don’t find “the message” in extreme metal that important… I mean, it can be pretty hard to actually hear what they are screaming, as well as this kind of music only appeals to a small group of people. So if I really would have the need to send out a message, I would rather be handling out flyers on the street or something.
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?
-To me, it’s meant to capture the whole feeling behind the songs and/or to sum up all the songs in one illustration. As for the artwork on Anti-Cosmic Art, all songs are individually represented with an illustration on the front cover, and together it turned out as one big piece of art.
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. Clearly some people have heard us several times by now, as some tend to “sing” along with certain parts of the lyrics. That’s always cool to see, as I guess they really must like your music if they know the words.. But we still have a long way to go… I mean, a big part of the people at our gigs are experiencing Sarkom for the first time. Hopefully they are going home with a good impression, eager to check out our albums and return for our next gig too..
What do you see in the future?
-We will most likely hit the studio after summer to record some songs for a couple of 7″ EPs. I’m also working on material for the next album, and several songs have already been written. However, don’t expect that one to be out until 2019/2020. Hopefully we will also be playing more live in the future.