With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to STARLESS DOMAIN. Anders Ekdahl ©2020
Every band has to introduce their music to new people. What is it that you want people to get from listening to you guys?
JR: I have no expectations nor desires for what people take from my music. It is not for them. I create to fulfill a deeper desire to make Art.
AW: I think we all agree entirely with JR here. But I’ll add that, as selfish an act composition/recording is for all of us, we also really appreciate when folks reach out to let us know how they experience our music.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
JR: Not very hard. I think we deliberated for a half hour on what name would fit, and Starless Domain (taken from an Obtained Enslavement song title) fit our astral sound perfectly.
AW: I want to say that JR actually picked this name. But it may have been AEF. I just know it wasn’t me. I just remember that I didn’t even like my own suggestions.
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?
JR: My biggest bass influence is Skoll (Arcturus, Ved Buens Ende, Ulver) and vocally I am inspired by Rainer Landfermann, Nattramn, and a host of other musicians. As far as the type of music we play, I suppose the most obvious influence is Darkspace, but I find myself listening to the Darkspace solo projects (Paysage d’Hiver, Sun of the Blind, and Apokryphon) more.
AEF: Most of my influence for this project has come from electronic music. Specifically, folks involved with Katabatik. Vinterriket, Darkspace, Paysage d’Hiver, and Limbonic Art are also pretty influential to me as well.
AW: Darkspace for sure. But also AEF’s “The Abyss,” which was recorded under Boreal, and AEF’s various recordings under Merkury.
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?
JR: We picked the name long after completing EOS. As far as the sound — EOS was the result of a weekend of composing and recording with no real intention as to what it would sound like. As such, Starless Domain was a result rather than a plan.
AEF: There had been loose talks for some time prior to recording about recording with syntheses being in the foreground of the music. I don’t believe there was any actual intent on it coming out the way it did. That is sort of the beauty of this project though. It is quite different than what any one of us would do on our own.
AW: AEF and I had talked for some years about creating a black metal project organized around trippy synthesizers. EOS was the first result of that general idea. As JR noted, it was recorded in a single weekend, when AEF came down to visit me, and it was a result rather than a plan. ALMA was also recorded during a single weekend. And the material for a yet-announced split was also recorded during the same weekend that ALMA was recorded. Each case was the unplanned result of a general idea. And that’s also how we’ve continued composing now that we are recording remotely.
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?
JR: The digital format is just another way of taking in music. I have a vast physical media collection, but I see no problem with listening to an album digitally. Most albums are recorded on a computer, anyway — you are just listening to digital music in an analog setting.
As far as releasing single tracks, that is simply how we compose. Long-form music comes naturally to the three of us. It doesn’t really matter if people like it or not. You can listen to an album in entirety or you can listen to a Starless Domain song. What is the real difference?
AW: AEF and I ran a small tape label a decade and a half ago. And we’ve been involved with multiple labels over the years since. I think our experiences speak to a general sense that these obscure subgenres within obscure subgenres would not exist absent digital platforms. The general market place for this type of music is beyond capital starved. And I feel like most physical releases are the result of passion rather than profit. So I feel like digital platforms actually help to create new, obscure music and the audiences and communities that are required for physical releases.
What part does art-work and lay-out play when you release new recordings? How do you best catch people’s attention?
AEF: Ioe Key has contributed some amazing artwork to our albums EOS and ALMA.. We haven’t really given them much direction on what to do and it has always turned out to be pretty spot on with our style.
AW: I just want to give serious props to Ioe Key here. Our album art has been fantastic. We are extremely grateful.
Has social media re-written the rules on how to promote your music? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way?
JR: It’s hard to say. At first, Bandcamp was simply a place to put your music and that was that. Now it, too, has become a social media platform. Self-promotion is hard and social media makes it somewhat easier. However, we don’t really utilize social media much for the Starless Domain project.
AW: AEF and I are both pretty horrible at self-promotion. Social media definitely provides tools that can help. But self-promotion still requires far more than availability of tools. JR has therefore had a much stronger impact on our self-promotion than social media. If this project didn’t include JR, not only would the bass and vocals suck, but it would only end up circulated to a few close friends before ultimately falling into complete obscurity.
When you play in a band, does that make you feel like you are a part of a scene, of something bigger and grander?
JR: No, it makes me feel like I am creating music with my friends. Fitting into a scene is secondary.
AEF: I suppose a long time ago I felt as though I was contributing to a larger whole of something rather special. I have since kept myself at arms-length of any sort of scene.
AW: I feel like I’ve developed close friends with whom I’ve collaborated. And that’s been incredibly rewarding. But I really know almost no one outside a very small circle. I wouldn’t recognize most of the “scene” folks in real life. And they wouldn’t recognize me.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
JR: We haven’t and likely will never play live. I’ve been in touring bands and, while playing live is fun, it is incredibly stressful and costly. I am fine with staying at and recording from home.
AEF: I astral-tour regularly.
AW: I’ve only played live once or twice. Forever ago. It was fine. But I can’t imagine finding the time and resources to practice and perform any time soon.
What will the future bring?
JR: More will be announced soon.
AW: My understanding is that the general scientific consensus is for the ultimate heat death of the universe. But I’m not a cosmologist. I just play one in music.