With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to SATAN’S EMPIRE. Answers from Garry. Anders Ekdahl ©2020
What pressure is there in releasing an album compared to a demo?
-A demo is usually, though not always, a low-pressure situation: you create a piece of music that is still a “Work in Progress” and is recorded to provide a high-level audio of the band’s material. Usually 3 songs across the writing style and performed as a live take. As less time is taken in the studio – usually a day or 2, it costs less and there is only the pressure of performing on the day.
Whereas an album is completely the opposite. You would normally rehearse 10 songs say, working on backing vocals and guitar lead breaks, then taking these songs into the studio. Recording could be from 4 – 7 days and the same again for production. So, there is the psychological pressure of getting the recording spot on; the physical pressure of recording 10 songs in a few days along with any travelling time to and from the studio.
The cost is more though that is more virtual than physical as costs are normally paid via a recording contract with a record company. If they like you, then a contract is offered to record an album.
There is pressure from various sources: our albums are released by Record Companies and there is a financial pressure on their behalf to sell the album. Costs are accrued through recording & manufacturing that the record company need to claim back from sales. We pay our own artwork and production costs but are able to buy our albums at trade prices to try andpull back some of that cost.
Do you feel that there is a sort of pressure to succeed when you release and album, that it is for real now?
-If you have faith in your music and band mates then it is always real! Yes, there is a certain amount of hope that the album is liked and will receive fair reviews, but we don’t necessarily worry if the album doesn’t “Succeed” as long as people enjoy the music and come and see us live at our shows.
When you release a record of any sort what kind of expectations do you have on it?
-We expect the record company to have prepared a media exposure campaign to those relevant outlets that can promote and review the album. We also expect to get some feedback from reviewers and people who buy the album, back to our social media sites.
Do you set up goals for it?
-No. Music is organic and you need to let it out there into the real world and grow. It will find its niches and favoured groups with our help via social media. The is no financial goal.
When you release an album and you go out and play live and people know your songs, how weird is that?
-It’s perfectly natural and we encourage sing-alongs at all our live gigs! It shows us that the music is touching peoples’ emotions and that they want to join in when the band performs.
That people know what you have written on your own?
-Yes, it is all original material that we have crafted as a band and put together for their listening pleasure.
Do you feel that you have to follow in the footsteps of the last album for a new when it comes to lyrics and art work for everything so that those that bought the previous record will recognize your sound?
-Never. There is no formula to our material as its creation is purely organic, from each rehearsal, an idea is created and developed and arranged, till we are all happy with what we have. They may be certain arrangement styles that can be seen between albums, but this is just one of those “Empire” things that people seem to like.
Do you feel like you are a part of a greater community because you play in a band?
-Oh! Yes! big time! The Heavy Metal Community is Vast! We have met so many good people, who have become lifelong friends, having shared gigs and life experiences with lots of different bands, through gigs and social media.
How hard/easy is it to come up with new songs that are still you but doesn’t sound like anything you’ve already written?
-As I mentioned above, our creative process is purely organic – coming up with new material doesn’t seem to be an issue with us, to be honest, by the time the second album was out, we had half the third album already written, irrespective as to whether HTE was going to be “Successful” or not!
What influences/inspires you today?
-We were all around in the 70′ and 80’s and part of the initial stage of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), so we were listening to those bands from that time like Purple, Zep, Priest, Sabbath and so on going into the 80’s with Metallica, Ozzy, Saxon, Queensryche, Motorhead, just to name a few. Music from that time has a heritage value and is burnt into our Metal being, but that doesn’t mean to the exclusion of anything else. We do listen to modern metal bands as well you know!
Where do you draw inspiration from?
-Each other and rehearsing together as a band. Obviously, we all have different influences from the music we listen to but we pick an idea out of the ether and bounce it around till it sounds like an “Empire” song!
Is it important to have some sort of message?
-It’s nice but not something that we go out of our way to do. The subject matter lyrically is based on fantasy, though some songs may touch on the human emotion, if you dig deep enough.
We hear about what state the record industry is in. Then we hear that CD sales are increasing. As a band that releases records do you notice the state the industry is in?
-To be honest, we spend our time either working like most people during the day, or playing/rehearsing with the band, so any business news is usually through social media or our record company’s monthly newsletter.
What is your opinion on digital verses physical?
-Touchy subject. For artists like us, the digital domain is susceptible to piracy, though nowadays I think its better managed.
Downloads from online companies, don’t pay as much to the artist as product, so I prefer physical, and you are supporting your local band if you do!
What lies in the future?
-Well, after this pandemic ends, have an album release gig and chase up those gigs that we missed out on this year! Finish writing the third album and playing live as much as possible.
Thanks for the interview Anders – stay safe – HAIL!