I’m not one for these big all star projects we see every now and then. But I’m no worse than I can admit that I like what I hear when I play the SIGNUM REGIS album. So I had to interview the man behind the project. Anders Ekdahl
Where did the idea to do SIGNUM REGIS come from?
-The idea came up during the time we were doing another project – band called Vindex. There were basically two kind of songs in Vindex: rough thrashy heavy metal and melodic metal. We have always liked both, but there was this opinion, that it should not be under one roof. The voice of Ludek, the singer of Vindex was more suitable for the heavy stuff. That was one part of the thing. The other thing was, that Vindex wasn’t doing much progress those days in 2006 and 2007. We wanted to move on, start a new thing. We had the songs, we just needed to make it happen.
When you work in the studio what kind of process do you go through? Do you come in all prepared or do you improvise?
-Before we record a new song, the structure, the riffs and melodies have to be prepared. The involvement of each player is about adding arrangements, enhancing the simple musical lines to complex and interesting ones. During this process, there is always improvisation to some degree, but it’s not like we have no idea what to play in the morning and in the afternoon there are 3 new songs.
The first thing that hit me was how much the album reminded me of Yngwie Malmsteen’s earlier albums. What is it that has influenced you to write the songs that you write?
-I like the early Yngwie albums, so there is influence from him for sure. I think there is also influence from bands like Judas Priest, Helloween, Megadeth, Rainbow, DIO, Black Sabbath, Impellitteri and Gamma Ray.
Is it important to have an album cover that grabs people’s attention? How do you get people to go from looking at the cover to actually listen to the album?
-Probably not so much, but I believe, in everybody’s head, there is always the process of creating association between the album cover and the music going on. I think it is an important thing. It’s the analogy to the band’s image on stage, on the photos and so on. It’s like the image of the music and image, generaly speaking, plays a significant role, no matter how hard they try to convince us, that it doesn’t. With this said, I think it is important have a good cover. I think though, that the album cover is not the primary attention grabber as it used to be. Now it’s more like the extension of how we perceive the music.
What would you say is a great album cover? What does it have to contain for it to be great? I love the really big, colourful ones from the LP days. The ones you could sit for hours looking at discovering new details.
-I’m totally with you on this. I love the colorful ones, the comic style artwork is still cool for me. I like album covers of Grave Digger, these guys never compromised on the album covers, Iron Maiden used to have great album covers, Megadeth has a bunch of great covers. I am not so much into the abstract, simplistic stuff like they had on Helloween – Chameleon. It just doesn’t work for me.
How do you best utilize the interest you get on social media to actually have it mean something in real life?
-Good question, but I am not sure if I have the answer for this. I think that we simply have to work hard and take care of our fans. We need to keep on delivering the goods and do it the best way we can. That is probably what makes it all work in the long run. You can’t fake things forever and people know this. That is why some fans don’t take new bands seriously. They rather wait and see, if the band is capable of sticking to it’s guns or if it is just a short-termed trial and error kind of project.
I remember in the 80s how hard it was for smaller bands to get a decent sound? How easy is it today to find a producer/studio that understands your needs?
-Ten or twelve years ago, I got it right when I thought, that the technology will make it possible for everyone to create a good sounding record. I started learning stuff about sound, microphones, recording systems and so on. Those days, when I was a poor student, it wasn’t easy for me. The first recordings, that I did, sound like those poor sounding recordings from the 80s. Over the time I improved as a sound engineer and now we are able to get a sound like we have on Exodus. Of course, we didn’t do the mastering, but the mix was done in our own studio. The mastering was done by the great Tommy Hansen. And here is the thing: the technology makes it all easier, but you can’t replace and probably never will replace a real, talented human being with years of experience by a computer.
Is there a future?
-You do not know the day or the hour, but I think, there are many things to come, before there is no future for mankind 🙂 I don’t believe the alarmists, who say, that there will soon be no ice, because of the global warming, that there will be no gasoline, because we soon run out of oil, that there will be this or that. I think, that people overrate the knowledge they have. There are so many scientific studies, that were taken for granted 20 years ago, we had to learn it by heart in school and now they are a laughing stock. Because of this, I hugely distrust those people and politicians, who want to control the human life on every level and think they have the ultimate solution for the economy, for health, for education, for society and so on. We need to get back to freedom, self responsibility, morality, decency and faith and there will be future. A lot of it.