For some strange reason SOULREST made me think back to the classic Finnish band Xysma with a touch of Death the first time I heard them. That intrigued me enough to wanting to interview them. Answering my questions was Non Anders Ekdahl ©2017
Every band has to introduce their music to new people. What is it that you want people to get from listening to you guys?
-If we’re talking attracting new people, we want’em to feel kind of kicked in the nuts, overwhelmed and be like “wtf is this?” Those who will be more interested even after that in digging more, we want to share with them our feeling of unease, our artistic interpretation of what is going in our troubled world, our troubled hearts. We want to make them feel our hatred. On the other hand, we’re not trying to collect or have a following, gain more listeners or merchandise consumers, etc. We’re not willing to spread any viewpoints, to send any message. Who the fuck are we to do such things?… if you get my point. We’ve been around for more than 20 years, we know our listeners, we know our haters. But mostly we’re here to entertain ourselves, to speak what’s on our minds through audial tools.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
-Actually, it was a bit of an issue for the guys when three of them united forces back in 1995. Each of them had his own version, so not to argue they decided to give it to the chance. They just picked one of three names randomly out from the hat. Soulrest was guitarist’s Yasya version. And luckily so. The title ‘Soulrest’ perfectly catches the idea, the personal targets of musicians involved. With our music we try to put our minds and souls at ease, to rest from the outside worries, at least to some extent.
Everybody is influenced by certain things. What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of music you play? What inspires you today?
-I cannot speak for everyone in the band, but I certainly know that all of old-school metal stuff of the 80-ies and 90-ies started it off. Bands like Death, Pestilence, Morbid Angel, Entombed, Carcass. And of course many more. Throughout band’s evolution there have been multiple sources of influence, not only musical. Each member of Soulrest has a background, preferences and worldview different from another. We’re a band far from being one-dimensional. Speaking of myself personally, nothing inspires me (in true meaning of it), except, probably, my own inner voice.
When you formed did you do so with the intent of knowing what to play or did you do so from the point of having a band name and then picking a sound? How did you settle on the name/sound combo?
-It was all figured out pretty quickly from the start. The band came to its name/sound/vision…the general concept while making the debut album “Pathological processes” in 1995-1997. It was the pure youth energy and fierceness back then. Later on the sound changed course a little more into melodic ways, focusing more on quality song arrangements and studio work, and less on live appearances. Line-up troubles didn’t help as well. After four albums, the time has come again to revise the work we do. You’re welcome to discover it yourself on a new album “In Spite” that will be out pretty soon.
I believe that digital is killing the album format. People’s changing habit of how they listen to music will result in there being no albums. Is there anything good with releasing single tracks only?
-We prefer it the old way too, meaning albums on cd, vinyl or tapes. But other people’s habits are not of interest to us. Besides, mankind as a whole has far more serious and grave issues today, than music in digital. Seems like things are going south… and fast. But that’s another topic.
What part does art-work and lay-out play when you release new recordings? How do you best catch people’s attention?
-Not a big part, to be frank. We want music speak for itself, not visual art, not videos, not social media activity. We have nothing against it, as other bands do, but what is the message behind a gory comics-like cover art, for instance? That the world is brutal and it is fun? Or that a band is so tough, and members eat flesh for dinner, being so ‘wild’ and ‘maniacal’? It all seems ridiculous. So again, music is essential, art and layout – supplementary.
Has social media re-written the rules on how to promote your music? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way?
-It hasn’t much. We are not eager to generate daily/weekly nonsense just to be visible. We’re not a touring band either, to inform about intense schedule and updates. We have our music on Bandcamp and we post once in a while on Facebook, that’s probably enough.
When you play in a band, does that make you feel like you are a part of a scene, of something bigger and grander?
-It is mostly about expressing our fears and angers, trying to shout off all the negativity into the invisible abyss. It is a feeling of satisfaction and completion when you have reached the result as a group of individuals, after multiple rehearsals, takes, ideas and amendments to ideas, recordings, etc. And it is grand in a sense of personal journey you have gone through. In regard to a ‘scene’, we feel being a part of it only in a general way, as a phenomenon. But I reckon, had you asked other band members, you would get different responses to this.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
-Playing live is a good way to making a band more visible, of course. Though, in our current arrangement we are neither a touring nor playing much band. The reasons are several, from no constant live drummer to little demand for such music in our country.
What will the future bring?
-More chaos, death, injustice and terror. Or peace and prosperity for everyone. Which one would you prefer?