THE ERKONAUTS is a strange sounding name for a band. But it did make me a bit curious about finding out more so I had to interview them. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
How important is the band’s name in giving out the right kind of vibe?
-The name, in my opinion, has to convey an idea that can pop up in people’s minds whenever they think of the band. With The Erkonauts, the concept revolves around traveling and exploration, so the name is a good indicator.
What was it that made you want to do the band?
-It was all about having fun. The previous projects I was involved were going through a lot, and I kinda lost track on how important to have a good time in a band. We really are close friends and this adds to the quality of the music.
What is your definition of the music you play?
-I like to say that we play progressive punk. Of course we are in the metal genre, but the contrast between the in your face attitude found in punk and the soothing, controlled play of progressive is something that defines quite clearly our music. We like to explore, and feel comfortable doing it. ‘
How do you arrange the tracks? Is there a method to how you arrange the songs on a record?
-There definitely is a method. But this method is very often altered by my absolute lack of organization. Arrangements are in my opinion the most important part of songwriting. A good riff does not make a good song. We like to see if we can have the ideas heard in the beginning of a piece express something different throughout the song. We try to keep what we do simple and easy to understand. This requires a lot of attention to details seemingly unimportant. We also try to finalize the songs as rapidly as possible, so we don’t start to question our judgement. We have to keep things moving forward.
Where do you find your inspiration to create?
-Inspiration generally comes when the mind is free. So it generally happens when doing activities that require little to no attention. Like tidying up a place, which is a terrible example because I never do that. What I’m trying to say is that we have to put ourselves in a receptive state to find inspiration. Curiosity is also a good place to start. When we wonder about how things intertwine, we can reach a creative state. Learning from these experiences, I guess with time we got to find a way to set our minds to creative mode. Of course, we have a lifetime to improve on that.
How important is the graphic side of the band? How much thought goes into art work etc.?
-The name of the band is directly related to the name of our logo “Erkonos”. So there is definitely a part of the band linked to its graphic side. So there are a few visual elements that are important in The Erkonauts universe. As far as record covers go, we tend to let the designers we chose to work with express their vision on our concepts. We believe it is healthy to let people do what they do well.
Do you find that there is a greater freedom in working with digital than working with physical?
-There is indubitably more freedom in working digital, but my heart stays with physical. I really enjoy the release of a full CD more than individual songs. It shows the image of a band in a specific period of time and fits right in the collection. A full album tells a story that separate songs do not. It makes me sad that record stores will gradually become a thing of the past. Other than that, working with digital makes it a lot easier for small bands to get attention. So it serves a very good purpose. In the end, what really matters is that people can get access to the music they love.
Are there any limitations to digital? Can you do everything you like?
-With digital releases, the limits are fewer. Distribution is easier, access to music is immediate, and the recordings can be as long as needed. The major limitation in digital releases is the lack of packaging. In my opinion a very complete library of files is less impressive than a few shelves filled with well-organized records. It’s also a matter of history. I feel, and I might be wrong, that we are less attached to downloaded material than we are to records. We remember where and when we bought physical copies and it says a little something about us. It’s just a matter opinion. Records and digital products are both useful and worth keeping.
Is there a scene to speak of for a band like yours? Where do you fit in?
-This is a tough one. It’s true that we can have difficulties finding a suitable spot on some posters, but once we get in, we never experience any kind of trouble fitting in. If we have some difficulties, it’s generally on the booking phase. Once we play people are happy, and so are we. If we consider Metal as one big family, then there is no issue. When there is a very strict separation between genres and people insist that every band plays the exact same subgenre, then yeah it can get complicated for The Erkonauts. Fortunately this isn’t always the case.
What does the future hold?
-Well, we are very close to finishing our second album. This is the comfortable phase between having recorded and waiting for the mix and the artwork. For the sound, we chose to renew the experience with Drop at the Downtone Studio in Geneva. He is a close friend of the band and he understand the concept behind The Erkonauts. As far as the artwork goes, we chose The Heartwork, which is operated by another friend we met on tour a while ago. The album will be released through Kaotoxin, who are also people we feel close to, so everything is friendly in our universe. Of course, once the album is released, it will be time to hit the road again, and this is the thing we love the most.