SHATTER BRAIN is a band to check out. Do so by reading this interview to start with. Anders Ekdahl ©2020
What pressure is there in releasing an album compared to a demo? Do you feel that there is a sort of pressure to succeed when you release and album, that it sorta is for real now?
-I don’t feel any difference in ‘pressure’ when recording an album compared to a demo, EP, split, etc. Whenever I’m involved in the writing, demoing, and recording process for a release I’m always striving to make sure that it is the best it can be, so that level of self-imposed expectation is always the same. I think the only real difference is that an album takes a lot longer!
When you release a record of any sort what kind of expectations do you have on it? Do you set up goals for it?
-My main goal for a release is for someone new to hear our music for the very first time! We’re not too concerned with sales and streams (although it is nice to see those figures), we just want our music out there so we can tour on it.
When you release an album and you go out and play live and people know your songs, how weird is that? That people know what you have written on your own?
-That is the reason I do this. It is extremely fulfilling to see other people (whether you know them personally or not) having an emotional response to something you have created. I can’t wait to finally get back to playing live to see people singing the lyrics to the songs on ‘Pitchfork Justice’.
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?
-I do think brand consistency is important, but not vital. I think the artwork and the lyrics should be congruent with, and compliment, the music. If a band has a stylistic shift musically then I don’t think they should sing about the same content, use the same graphic artist, and/or hire the same producer, just to maintain an identity that was created specifically for the last release. That would be artistically ingenuine in my opinion.
Do you feel like you are a part of a greater community because you play in a band?
-I love the community aspect of being in a band. The greatest friends I have made I have played in bands with, or shared a stage with, at some point. The Adelaide scene is pretty special in my opinion. We have a lot of community-driven people (Jason North, Footy, etc.) who organise great local music festivals for little or no return, other than creating an event for the local music community to enjoy.
How hard/easy is it to come up with new songs that that still are you but doesn’t sound like anything you’ve already written?
-We don’t find it too difficult! I think that is one of the benefits of being quite an eclectic band (at least in terms of heavy music), in that we haven’t put any restrictions on the types of song ideas, riffs, or vocal styles that we incorporate into our music. Having said that, I do feel like every song we write has a “Shatter Brain sound” to it, which I think is important for a band.
What influences/inspires you today? Where do you draw inspiration from? Is it important to have some sort of message?
-For me it is discovering new music. Whether it is something released in 2020, or something released 50 years ago that I’m hearing for the first time, or even a different style that I hadn’t previously been exposed to, having that emotional reaction of hearing something incredible for the first time is something that inspires me to create. Lyrically, you don’t have to look too far (even here in a very lucky place like Australia) to be inspired to write. I don’t think it is necessary for every song or piece of art to have a strong “message” as such, but I do think it is important for my music to make people think, and to feel something.
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?
-It is clear to see that the landscape and role of the record industry is constantly changing; just look at the evolution of digital downloads and streaming over the past decade or so. However, I don’t think much has changed for underground bands like us, nor will it. If a band wants to DIY it, they will find a way; if they want help from a small, independent label, there is usually someone out there with mutual interest in their product; some bands “make it” (and they are the ones who are more affected by the state of the music industry), others don’t. From my (mostly retrospective) understanding this is basically the way it has been since the rise of major labels in the 50s and 60s. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
What is your opinion on digital verses physical?
-I think there is a place for both. I am a big fan of the vinyl listening experience, and have been collecting for as long as I can remember, but I also enjoy the freedom of streaming; it is much easier than lugging 5 or 6 records plus a player to work every day! Obviously our band makes little to no money from streaming which is frustrating, but it has also opened up a whole new avenue for people to discover our music, which will hopefully lead to financial gains long-term; I think things like digital playlists and the Spotify ‘Release Radar’ have been invaluable for new and unsigned bands in recent years. The more I’m involved with all these different aspects of the record industry, the more I’m enjoying the ride!
What lies in the future?
-New music, new tours, and new adventures!
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