THE CHANT came as a surprise to me. Not that they are Finnish but mostly because I had not heard of them before I received their album. As I like Finnish bands an interview was in place. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
What kind of reactions have you had to your album so far?
-The reactions to “A Healing Place” I have heard have been mostly very enthusiastic. But of course, considering the deeply atmosphere-oriented and dreamlike nature of the music, it attracts a certain listener and maybe confuses another. It seems those who have liked the album, have really gotten into it.
Has any region shown more interest than others? Where does the album score the best so far?
-I’m afraid I don’t have any figures but it seems the interest towards the album comes from many different regions by people who become inspired by it. Still, the most of the interview requests and reviews have been coming from the Central Europe. Naturally, considering the label Lifeforce Records is German.
When you start a band I guess that you have a plan. With what intentions did you start The Chant?
-Oh, it’s so long ago that I can’t clearly remember what was going on in our heads. But I think one guideline is the same today as it was back then in late 90’s: the respect comes from creating something of your own and aiming at sounding more or less original. It’s not about wondering how many records it will sell. Before anything, the key thing in The Chant’s music is the atmosphere as a whole.
Once you had a band did you start looking for a record deal or did you take it slow, writing songs and playing them live?
-In the beginning we just started playing as a group of friends who had the same kind of thinking about music. There was no greater plan of how The Chant would succeed, more important was to find our musical identity. If a listener sees the constant development, more interest will usually follow.
How hard is it to come with a band name that is to the point and still not too weak sounding?
-The name came to life years ago but I think it is still fitting and very dreamlike as the music itself . As I can recall we wanted the name to be short but at the same time it should have several meanings in it. I think that a band should define their musicalcore and identity when coming up with a name.
I really don?t see a national scene for metal even though we get to hear about how much metal chart nationally. Do you feel that there is a scene to speak of?
-You’re right, there’s no scene to speak off because metal is divided in so many styles and at the same time the bands are doing what they’re doing for so many different reasons, devoted or not so devoted. There’s no scene because metal hasn’t been underground for ages and that’s the reality we cannot change. Is it a bad thing? I can’t honestly say nor care in the end. We’re just concentrating on our own way of doing things.
How much do you look to the rest of Europe to build a career? Where do you see yourself best fitting in?
-We have all civil jobs from where we get the bread on the table. So there’s no pressure of any kind to become big. But of course one of the goals would be to reach that group of people who are inspired by this kind of atmospheric and cinematic expression. I think that would be a fitting place for us.
Is touring still a viable way of building a fan base today? What kind of touring option are there these days?
-I think it’s the only viable way for those bands that are after success. Many people want to hear a band performing live before becoming a fan or buying an album and that seems to be working for part of the bands. Still, the down side is that many of them out there are forced to act in shitty conditions on poorly organized tours just to notice there’s no-one there to watch your gig and in the end you have to pay the expenses. In conclusion, I think there is just so much competition and too much band supply on live venues that there isn’t enough audience for everyone. Even the gems don’t stand out, you have to have contacts to make a decent tour. That’s why a lot has to happen before it would be reasonable for The Chant to think about touring abroad. I think a few gigs would be realistic. We’ll see.
Do you feel that it is hard to get people interested in the band to begin with and to keep them interested for a long time with so much competition out there?
-Yes, it can be hard. Especially if you don’t have anything fresh to offer. A band has to build an own identity in its own terms and be proud of itself before getting attention. It is often a very slow process, but at some point the interest usually just starts growing. I think you have to find yourself and make progress with each new album to keep a listener interested.
What kind of future would you like to see?
-The Chant’s music will keep developing and the next thing we do won’t be the same as “A Healing Place”. But at this moment we are still enjoying the fruits of this album and playing gigs here in Finland.