In a world were there are so many bands to keep track of I want to bring my two cents in presenting you to this interview with THE WELL. Answers from Lisa.Anders Ekdahl ©2019
A band name says more than thousand words, or does it? How important is a band name to get people interested in your music?
-A name can be a very indicative of a person’s expectations of a band. Especially in regards to first impressions on a record store rack, or if you’re searching for a specific feeling. Our name suggests a certain level of darkness and mystery that hopefully our songs hold up to. A Well is dark, deep, liminal, involves a tinge of fear even, but it’s also a source of life.
When you finish a recording and then sit back and relax, what kind of feelings do you get? Are you glad it is finished? Does the anxiety grow, not knowing if everybody will like it?
-Finishing up in the studio definitely gives me a big sense of relief initially. I can breathe and relax for a beat. I can be rather meticulous with layering extra tracks and a lot of the time it feels like I’m going insane in the process. I think if you ask most artists if a project ever feels truly finished they will say no. I basically have to be told by Lisa and Jason and our producer, Chico Jones, that each song has what it needs and it’s time to move on. Afterwards there is the anxiety of not having done enough to convey the feelings you were trying for. I’m never really satisfied, so it’s best I don’t listen to the finished product any more than necessary before it’s released. Put it to rest and start crunching on the next thing.
What is it like to be in a studio recording your music? What kind of feelings and thoughts race through your heads?
-The studio, for us, is usually a place where writing is still taking place. The extra instruments on hand, even the vibe of the building itself can make a song turn a corner that no one anticipates. I really enjoy that aspect of recording. There might be an old piano or a strange percussion instrument laying around, the way the drums echo off of a particular wall, that bring about a profound change in relation to serving the song. I really like staying open to those types of chance encounters.
Today I get a feeling that the promotion of a band lands a lot on the bands themselves so how does one promote oneself the best possible way in order to reach as many as possible?
-When we started out years ago, we self released a seven inch and sent it out to as many review sites that dealt specifically with vinyl as we could find. Many of those were European so before we had even toured the states we had an decent following overseas. Even gained us a nice mention in Metal Hammer Magazine early on that we were incredibly thankful for. Getting as creative as possible, taking things in your own hands and turning over every stone from blogs to social media platforms is what it takes. But as important as the internet is, actually hitting the road and touring, meeting as many people as you can, finding individuals and bands to network with is really the best policy. The more time and ideas you put in, the more you will get back. Persistence is key.
Today we have all these different sub-genres in metal. How important is that you can be tagged in one of these? Why isn’t metal enough as a tag?
-I feel that the sub genre tags both help and hinder an artist within today’s metal scene. I think they are good for marketing to individuals in a record store setting or via social media. Maybe they’re be good for people that are interested in belonging to cliques. But, personally, I feel that metal as a blanket genre is a way to convey powerful emotion and if done properly, the music should overcome sub genres and make them relatively pointless. Like I’m sure there are plenty fans of Celtic Frost or Darkthrone that would enjoy our music as much as say fans of Sleep would, if they’re paying attention. The proof is inevitably in the pudding, so to speak.
What importance is there in being part of local/national/international scene? Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of something bigger? I know it does to me knowing that in some slight way I was a part of the Swedish death metal scene in the 90s.
-It’s great to be part of such a diverse and supportive scene in general. The metal community is more of a religion than other music scenes in my personal experience. People greeting us with smiles and hospitality even if we don’t speak the same language in some cases. Whether you’re a fan or a musician, we play such an integral role in each others happiness. Witnessing this first hand so often has been humbling and amazing to say the least.
Ever since I first got into metal the art work has been a main motivator in buying a record. What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
-The album aesthetic has always been huge factor to me since I was very young. I remember seeing Iron Maiden’s Power Slave cover in the record store. I hadn’t heard it before, but I just knew I would enjoy it if I could take it home. I begged my parents and sure enough, the music sounded just like the cover looked. I know that today people can just download entire discographies, so maybe that experience is getting less and less important, but for me, the art is the first thing that attracts me to a band and we strive with The Well to make the outside of the album a reflection of what you’ll experience inside.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? With the ability to upload your music as soon as you’ve written it the freedom to create has become greater but are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans now that every Tom, John and Harry can upload their stuff?
-Labels are good for financial backing as far as having your albums and CDs pressed. Most bands in their first few years don’t have that type of money on hand. The reputation of the label and their distributors gets the records into the stores and into the hands of people that have enjoyed other bands on the label. Tour support is also a big plus. If a label doesn’t provide more than one of these things then you might as well go it alone. If freedom is the main concern then independent is the way. When other people’s money is involved you’re in a partnership and with that comes outside influence.
What is a gig with you like? What kind of shows do you prefer to play?
-We love playing festivals, especially in Europe, as they get the entire community involved. It’s amazing talking with fans who’ve travelled the globe over for these events, and simultaneously being turned on to and playing with stellar bands we wouldn’t have crossed paths with otherwise. But, whether there are 2000 people or 100, a truly good show all comes down to the energy of the crowd. Some of the best most intense times have been in small sweaty intimate club settings. Metal fans are the best because of their intensity. And there’s no way we’re not going to respond in hand. It’s totally symbiotic.
What lies in the future?
-We’re deep in album tour cycle for Death and Consolation – having just come off of a US/Canadian West Coast tour, we have two more North American tours coming up and then we’ll be taking her overseas to Europe. Australia and Japan are in the near future as well. Lots of travelling. We just want to keep bringing our music to as many ears as possible. Oh and we’ve started writing a new album, so once this cycle is complete it’s rinse and repeat.