In a world were there are so many bands to keep track of I want to bring my two cents in presenting you to this interview with SIGNUM REGIS. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
A band name says more than a thousand words, or does it? How important is a band name to get people interested in your music?
Jota: First of all I would like to greet you and all readers of Battle Helm. Well, surely a band name is very important in attracting people’s interest in your music, especially for the heavy metal fan who is usually much more connected not only to the music but to everything the band does. So of course, besides a short name and easy to pronounce, it’s always interesting that it also has to do with the band’s universe. But of course, at the end of the day it’s all about music/art.
Filip: Well band name is very important because it often can be the first contact with people who may like your music. From my point of view the best choice would be the name in which can listener find main characteristics of bands music.
When you finish a recording and then sit back and relax, what kind of feelings do you get? Are you glad it is finished? Does the anxiety grow, not knowing if everybody will like it?
Jota: There are many thoughts that come to mind, but I believe the first of all, at least for me, is a sense of accomplishment, proud of what you did, you know, art always brings us a very rewarding feelings. Regarding anxiety, for sure it’s a feeling we all feel, I can say that especially for me, because despite being more than 1 year in the band, I’m still the “new guy”, besides the fact I’m the new singer which changes the “band’s face” in some way. But that feeling has already been allayed after the release of some new songs that were extremely well received by the vast majority of our fans, so we are now pretty confident that the rest of the album will be received in the same way.
Filip: We always focus on our visions of how our records should sound. At first, we want to do it in line with our vision and feelings. We believe, that if we will like it, then also our fans can like it. If not, OK, we tried to do our best, but it is impossible to satisfy everybody at once.
What is it like to be in a studio recording your music? What kind of feelings and thoughts race through your heads?
Jota: Well, that’s a good question. I believe it will be a different experience for everyone. I always have a lot of fun recording new songs, producing new arrangements, making mistakes, getting it right etc … Within the band I can say that we are all quite perfectionists and we always want to get the best, not only for ourselves but also for our fans who always give us an amazing support, and at the end of the day they are certainly one of the main reasons we make music. But I believe I can speak for everyone in the band, that’s always very gratifying to see the songs taking shape at each stage, you know, to see the “cake growing”. haha
Filip: Depends on particular situation, mood, song, physical and psychical condition and many other aspects 🙂
Today I get a feeling that the promotion of a band lands a lot on the bands themselves so how does one promote oneself the best possible way in order to reach as many as possible?
Filip: Yes, you are right. But there are still people who can help you a lot with this kind of stuff. For us it is mainly Emil Westerdahl, the owner of Ulterium records, who did perfect work in promotion of our pervious albums. It is very hard, when you have nobody, who can help you in this and we tried also this scenario. And how? So today you can choose many of ways, from my side of view web promotion (active) and live playing are the most important forms.
Jota: Well, as we all know the music market has been undergoing major changes, especially in the last 20 years. The digital age has changed a lot the way we spread our music, I believe that today the main and most important way for you to show your music independently is for sure the internet. If you know how to work all tools well, understand all the ways, you will surely reach a very substantial number of people. In my opinion it’s two main steps: First you have to reach the right people, the ones who will identify with your music, and second, you have to find a way to keep them with you. Imo the best way to do this is always to produce new material all the time and always with the best quality possible. Today I see a lot of good bands, with great songs that just can’t grow, it’s obviously a much more complex topic, but I think those two steps are the most important nowadays.
Today we have all these different sub-genres in metal. How important is that you can be tagged in one of these? Why isn’t metal enough as a tag?
Jota: I don’t particularly care about labels, I don’t think any musician likes to label themselves. In my opinion labels leave your music limited, and I think art should always be free. Of course this is a particular thought, I know that especially for some fans labels are important, so maybe that is the only reason to try to fit some, so you can be found more easily by people who identify with the style.
Filip: I also really don´t like tagging bands into the metal subgenres. We are tagged as Power metal band, but in my opinion we are not. Yes, we have some Power metal songs, but we are not singing about dragons, princeses, unicorns and this kind of stuff. Secondly we prefer to play mainly Heavy metal rythms (slower, harder, punchy) instead of typical fast double kick Power metal rythms. We do not have twin guitars, but solo guitar. And I can continue … If I have to pick a tag for us, it may be Melodic metal.
What importance is there in being part of local/national/international scene? Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of something bigger? I know it does to me knowing that in some slight way I was a part of the Swedish death metal scene in the 90s.
Jota: Well, you know, every step in a band’s career is important, as a music lover I really love every single one of them. Even if some people don’t see it that way, music is a very important part of our lives, so yes, I think playing in a band, making art, is being part of something very important to our society, maybe not “bigger” “as you said, but certainly very important. Especially at a time when tempers are always on the edge with all this political discussion around the world, I believe good messages that is what the band has always done and will continue to do is very welcome.
Filip: We play together because we love to play together. We do not do it for feeling bigger or so but yes, together we feel very strong and we always stand behind of what we do. The importance of being a part of some scene is also important, we make music for our fans, so we need people to know about us.
Ever since I first got into metal theart work has been a main motivator in buying a record. What part does artwork for album covers play in the world of the band?
Jota: I’m pretty suspicious to talk about artwork because it’s something that I really like and also create my own sometimes. I was also always trigged by the artworks of the bands, I remember very well that feeling of buying for example, some new Iron Maiden album with those fantastic arts, especially in the vinyl era where the cover art was really really important. We could buy back then those “Picture Disc” that filled our eyes, it was beautiful. Of course over the years and the digital age it has lost much of its importance, but for us and I believe for many metal fans it’s still important, so we still pay close attention to all these details and I think we will continue to give in the future.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? With the ability to upload your music as soon as you’ve written it the freedom to create has become greater but are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans now that every Tom, John and Harry can upload their stuff?
Jota: I will answer this question backwards. haha I don’t see too much negative points in everyone being able to promote their songs, I thought a lot about it, initially thought it was bad, because so many bands launching makes the market suffocate, but at the same time it’s amazing to have so much fresh music going around. I think it makes it more “democratic”. Because of these radical changes we’ve had in the music business lately, I think the role of labels has changed, but it’s still extremely important for any band. It’s no longer about getting money from them for record sales and stuff like that, now it’s about positioning your music on the market, physically distributing your music, because despite being weakened, many people still want to have the physical versions. Another thing, as much as anyone today can post their music on all platforms, is very important being in the biggest playlists, otherwise you probably won’t be able to reach as many people as you would like. And of course, good record labels have good professionals working on promoting the bands in their catalog, and as much as we know how to market and use the tools correctly at the end of the day, we’re musicians and not “marketers”. haha In short I believe the labels today plays a much closer role to a band marketing agency, and as with any business, having good marketing is critical.
What is a gig which you like? What kind of shows do you prefer to play?
Filip: We have several of gigs we always love to play, but most important for our band´s career are Elements Of Rock festival in Uster Switzerland and Christmas Rock Night festival in Ennepetal Germany. Those fests are always perfectly organized by very kind and careful people who we can definitely consider our friends. With many of them we are in contact through whole year.
Jota: I don’t know about the guys, especially because I still didn’t any show with them, you know, since I joined the band it was all about producing the new album. I like to be on stage, doesn’t matter where or how. I just like to be there and exchange good energies with people.
What lies in the future?
Jota:We’re expecting great things for the future, we have a bunch of plans already which I can’t tell right now, but I can guarantee that our fans can expect for huge things coming from Signum Regis.