Check out this interview I did with The BLACK WATER PANIC. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
Do you feel that things have gone the way you intended when you formed back in the day?
-I feel like it has gone way over my expectations lately. When I started I was alone, surrounded by depression, alcohol, drugs and electronic instruments, which isn’t bad, if you don’t have any life expectations or ambitions, but now I am sober and TheBWPP is a full line up band, that will hit the stage soon with what is hopefully a good show(hahahahaha). After seven years of hard work with this project I can clearly see that it was worth all the effort and sacrifices I had to make. I even got my private life back, well, kinda(hahahahahah). Jokes aside, we are on the right track and I am grateful for all that is happening around my band thanks to lots of work of management companies. It’s really weird for someone who started from the bottom and was a scene underdog for a long time.
How do you feel about your latest recording? Did it come out the way you expected it to?
-It went better than I expected it to, I have no words to describe all the effort that was taken to make it happen. The whole single is pure energy and listening to it while working out gives me extra power. “KVLT of IRON” is a step in another direction than other TheBWPP albums. You should hear it live, I think. The mix of electronics and live line up sounds pretty damn good. It will be possible for everybody 25.05.2019 at 18 on The Black Water Panic Project profile on Facebook and Youtube. We invite all of you for a livestream from our rehearsal room where we’re gonna play “Kvlt of Iron” songs and some of the old ones before we put up a live show, so you can clearly see and hear how it all turned out.
Do you feel that you by now have found a sound that is the band and that you can build on it ?
-Yes, of course, by now, as always, the tone is a mixture between live instruments and electronic devices and it was clearly defined back then, when I started. I always looked up to Nine Inch Nails, Rob Zombie and Rammstein as well as to old school black metal bands, so it was an easy decision for me how TheBWPP should sound. I love mixing it, the fusion between industrial and black metal gives me the right kicks for my lyrics writing and working out. I cannot imagine excluding one of the parts and playing strictly black metal or industrial, there’s too much temptation in both.
Is having a message in the lyrics important to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
-I am very far away from most of the metal scene writers, I am really not into writing about Satan, worshiping him or whatever’s on the minds of most vocalists, ’cause I believe that evil is just a human concept and as a human concept it fails in many ways. There’s nothing only black or white, life itself is grey. I don’t like to waste my time on gore, violence, brutal stuff or war. Better writers than me tried it and failed. I am really above it all; beyond good and evil there’s this place where I can sink in the night sky of words, where I feel I belong. I am focused on myself mostly and the alchemy of poetry words. I idolize Byron, Rimbaud or Baudlaire. Most of the time I use the lyrics of my songs as a diary. I don’t keep one in real life, so I write it the way I can hear it later on, but when it comes to the “KVLT of IRON” single it’s mostly motivational stuff hat is good to hear at the gym, when you are working out. It’s a message from someone that’s been through the hell of a drug or alcohol addiction. Been there, done than, crawled back on my own, now I am here to tell my story, trying to make a difference. It’s not easy, it’s never easy, every word is like a drop of blood from wounds I cut myself on my own skin.
How important is the cover art work for you? Can a really cool cover still sell an album in this day and age of digital download?
-I think that cover art is very important part of the story I want to tell, but only for me. I am also a pro tattoo artist, so I highly value aesthethics and most of my time when I don’t compose or play music I spend drawing or tattooing, however nowadays, when we are surrounded by all those images we see on our phones or computers daily it’s very hard to come up with something original that will keep people’s attention for longer than a few minutes. There’s nothing shocking in blasphemy, nudity or occult stuff anymore. Everything is secondary and a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. I really doubt that a really cool cover can still sell an album, everything has been done before. Uroboros still eats it’s tail, we are all running in circles. Cover art is a supplement of the music, fine one, but still only an addition to whole story an album or single can contain.
Why is it so hard for bands that come from places outside the US or UK/Sweden/Scandinavia to break big? What is success to you and is it something you’d like to achieve?
-In my humble opinion the whole market is oversaturated and even if one’s music and performances are great there are so many bands and producers out there wanting to break big, that it’s really hard to tell who you want to listen to, so you turn to well known bands and channels or record labels and that’s where everything starts again. You are being fed products and thoughts that are not yours in the first place and somebody decides what you should listen to, or what’s supposed to be popular and that’s the main thing. Promotion companies in my country and whole scene are closed rings of self adoration and the first step for most of the bands is always the local stage, and believe me, achieving popularity here is not easy, not to mention going big or big abroad. Everybody’s jealous of one another’s success and wants to push one to the ground, because they didn’t have a chance. The frustration of some individuals is so visible and funny to see sometimes when you meet them on your way up. My advice is to focus on your own band and performance and don’t think of this whole fucked up situation at all. If it happens, it will happen anyway, no matter what the opinions of ones art may be.
I don’t have any definition of success personally. For me it’s not as important as a good life, friends and health. I prefer all those values you cannot buy for money or pretty words. Success is a market created situation these days. No-one cares what your songs are about, people only think of “likes” “shares” and the number of people viewing your page. The question asked here should sound like: “Should artificially created media buzz be important for somebody that creates art just for the joy of creating it?” For me: no, I really don’t give a flying fuck about it.
Today the competition is harder. You got plenty of digital platforms for new talent to display their music. What do you do to really stand out in a world where everything but the music is blind to the listener?
-I really don’t think about that stuff. If somebody listens to my music, it’s cool, if another person is listening to another band I am not trying to compare my band to other bands by copying their make up or music style. I don’t like all those merch pushing formulaic bands, ’cause it’s already boring, it was boring long before they started to do it. I am totally for freedom of choice. People should listen to stuff they like. If you like my stuff: go ahead, download it for free and have fun, perhaps you will come to the live show too. It’s supposed to be pure fun, not business. I know it’s not a popular opinion, but hey, as I said: I don’t care.
What is your local scene like? How important is a national scene for a band to be able to break out and make it international?
-I really don’t think of my national scene at all, it’s dominated by some closed-minded people, that have egos the size of cathedrals and I don’t like to feed these egos by trying to be nice to ’em. Nothing in my life or creation process depends on them and I want to keep it this way. I stay away, locked in my own studio or rehearsal rooms between shows, focused on my own voice and words. I try to avoid contacts with all human beings in general, which is not easy if you are also a pro tattoo artist (hahahahaha)…aaaaaand as you see the national scene is not as important if you are doing your job right and choose the right people to back you up, ’cause you are talking to me, not to them (hahahahahaha). With each and every international interview or publication the gap between me and the scene in my country is growing bigger and bigger and I like it this way.
Rock and metal has come a long way since the early 70s but still some people’s attitudes towards it seem to be left in the stone age. How accepted is metal in your area? Is it like in Finland where it seems to come with the mother’s milk?
-Oh no(hahahahahaha), I’d rather say it is quite the opposite. I come from ultra catholic Poland where Metal is the music of the Devil and Satan himself and by demand of most of religious people it should be banned and content creators should be burned on big pyres at church fests (hahahahaha). It’s really hard, I must say, most citizens of Poland are into disco or hip hop and if you listen to or make metal you are treated like a freak of nature. Nothing has changed here since the Dark Middle Ages(hahahahaha). Priests and politicians are trying to keep it this way even now, it’s easier to rule a mindless mob and Metal Music questions all those values they stand for in the name of their profit and power, so truth is pretty uncomfortable for them in general. The moment you are born here, you are give the name, a religion, a race, a nationality full of insecurities and frustrations passed by on generation to generation and you are pushed to spend the rest of your life defending a fictional identity filled with lots of phobias, while politicians sold you long time ago as well as large part of country’s economy. I say: fuck it, I deserve more while giving up less from myself in this white slavery I see all around me everyday.
What does the future hold for you?
-Lots of work, as always. Finishing my new album and hopefully some live gigs will be hard work, enough to keep my mind busy in the present tense. I am not thinking about the future, trying to plan it and life will laugh at it in it’s own way. I learned a long time ago it’s better to leave your plans, ambitions and intentions behind and do what you should do. For now possibility of releasing my new album as a free add on to one of the biggest music magazines in Germany is enough, I am OK with the idea and pushing all forward no matter what happens around. I am just hoping for the good life and some time for myself and my gym workouts, I don’t need anything else.
Thanks for a lovely chat, see you at the live shows.