Spanish metal is like a treasure chest full of really cool bands. If you take your time f you take your time you’ll find some really cool gems. Perhaps SOLDIER will be your new fave. Phil (singer/rhythm guitar) answered my questions. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
Could you please introduce us to the band?
-We are a thrash/southern metal band from Asturias, a small region in the North of Spain. We have recorded two albums and have toured through Spain and Portugal, mostly. We are currently still touring and opening our scope, booking our first concerts in France and other places.
What has been the greatest catalyst in forming your sound?
-Probably the old school thrash metal from the American “Big Four”, as well as the Southern/New Orleans scene. Despite being a European band, I’d say we have a very “American” sound.
How hard is it to record and release new songs?
-For us, it is very hard and expensive. None of us are audio technicians, or have any experience with those systems. We all have different jobs and have studied stuff that has nothing to do with music edition, and we don’t have enough free time to get experienced on this stuff at a professional level, so we are always dependant on other people for recording and mixing. It’s a pain in the ass, but I guess every band has its own problems.
Has digital made it easier to get your music released?
-In that sense, yes, it is much easier. We can reach everyone around the World, and we are selling albums (in both physical and digital form) to many other countries. We are unsigned, but we can still manage, and it is all thanks to the Internet. Mostly, we sell physical, though, shipping albums and tshirts around the World.
If you release your music digitally is there a risk that you release songs too soon, before you are ready compared to releasing them on cd?
-Not really, unless someone screws up and uploads the albums early. We work with very few people, and we don’t normally send the songs to anyone before we have them ready (aside from maybe 1-2 early promo tracks).
What kind of responses have you had to your recorded music?
-Most of the critics are very positive, and it’s one of the many things that keep us going. However, what motivates us the most is when people say our style is “refreshing” and “different”. We don’t hide, we are a thrash metal band, but we really like to explore and work with many influences, especially southern rock/metal bands, and we’re glad to see that it adds to the mix and makes us sound new and worth listening, even when the “base” style is 30+ years old.
We live in a world where there are no real distances between people communicating anymore. What has been the most surprising contact so far?
-Probably the fact that we’ve sold about 30 albums in Japan (that is, physical copies). Even if it’s just a few albums, having your stuff selling on the other side of the planet is pretty amazing. Especially considering that we come from a small and forsaken region, and in a country which has been traditionally irrelevant in the world of metal.
Do you feel like you are a part of a greater community playing in a metal band?
-What we feel is a lot of support from many people. The metal community is really rewarding, in the sense that people really respect and appreciate your efforts. This is an expert audience, they WILL know when you’re trying to do things well. And if you screw up or don’t work hard, people will ignore your music. I like that. I think it’s how things should be.
What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
-To put it simple: Playing live is the main path we have chosen to build up our following. We aim to give the best shows possible, not just musically, but also trying to get the energy to our audiences. I think people should have a good time in the gigs, not just go there for the music.
However, metal music in general is extremely underrated in Spain. It is almost impossible to make a living out of it working in our national scene alone, and for a long time we haven’t had too many good bands like the rest of Europe did. Lately, though, our scene has emerged as one of the most interesting and active. It would be great if more European metalheads and promoters could take note on this and start pushing our bands forwards through the continent. As it is, our country’s scene (as well as the Italian, Portuguese and Greek scenes) are being mostly ignored in Central and Northern Europe, and we all have a lot of new stuff and ideas to offer!
Just for the record: In the Wacken Metal Battle, where 40 underground bands, each from one country, compete annually in a huge contest in Wacken, Spain has participated 6 times. Out of those 6 times, our country has won twice, and had 1 second and 1 third place.
Our scene is really healthy and ready for the challenge, but we need the rest of Europe to let it in, or it will end up dying out!
What plans do you have for the future?
-We will continue touring and slowly getting our next album ready, but there’s still a long road until that. We have released our second record 10 months ago, and our latest music video 2 months ago. We still have many places to go in this album’s tour before we hit the studio again. As I said before, we are really trying to come out of our Spain/Portugal limits and hit the road to the rest of Europe, so stay tuned for that as well!
Thank you for the interview, Anders, and regards to all the readers of Battle Helm!