TRAIL OF TEARS is a classic Norwegian metal band, if there ever was any of that kind, that has been around a while now. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
Your career has been up and down yet you are still persevering. What is that hasn’t made you throw it all in over the years?
-Most of all because of determination and passion towards the music. I think all bands go through periods when you question if it`s all worth the hard work. In the end though, it is the love of the music that matters the most and the positive aspects tend to outlive the negative ones, I don`t think it`s more complicated than that.
You are now on your seventh album. How different is this one to that very first? How close are you still to your original idea of the band?
-It`s different in the sense that we are more experienced now of course, we`re grown-ups rather than a bunch of kids which was the case when we first started out. As you grow as a person, you grow as a musician as well and there is no doubt that we are better musicians today than when we first started out. I think that we have always stayed true to the roots of the band even if we have had a different approach to the albums, it`s the only way to go when you are on the seventh album, it`s extremely important for us to develop the sound, not necessarily change it, but develop it. I don`t think we would be able to stay in the scene for as long as we have had we made seven identical-sounding albums.
You have over the years gone through line-up changes, from male/female to male/male back to male/female vocals. What has been the idea behind these changes?
-There has not been a master plan behind that decision, it`s all part of the evolution of the band and we have always done what feels natural at the time. When it came time to do the “Free Fall in to Fear” album, our female singer split with the band and instead of recruiting a new one we felt that the songs would actually benefit more from using only mine and Kjetil`s vocals. That album is still one of the best selling albums that we released and even though we lost some fans with it we also gained new ones who preferred the band without female vocals. You win some and lose some, it`s the way it works and no matter what we do, it`s impossible to satisfy everyone.
You were one of the first to use the male/female vocal duality. Did you ever think that the line-up changes would mean the death of the band?
-If we thought that, it would be a pretty stupid move to proceed with it, wouldn`t it? You never have any guarantees in this business, the only thing you can do is to make the best judgements possible at any given time and hope that it works out. Line-up changes are never pleasant but sometimes it is necessary and to answer the question in a different way, I believe that the band would not have survived if we HADN`T done those changes. A band can not survive if the members doesn`t get along and this is more evident now than ever before. So as most people know by now, this is why we have decided to close the chapter called Trail of Tears with this album and it will be our farewell gift to the fans. Finding new members would not be difficult but I hold the rights to the band and feel that it would be the best for us to close the book now and let the band go out in style with a great last album.
When you do these changes how does the character of the music change? Does it change?
-The changes in the line-up have very little to do with any musical change as I still, and always had, a strong vision for how this band should sound and how the band should be run. Any changes that might occur comes from us changing as people. After all, it would be pretty weird if I had the same mindset and way of thinking today as I had when I was 15 years old.
This new seventh album; what expectation do you have on it? How has the expectations changed over the years, from when you released your first album to now 2013?
-Well, when we released the first album we naturally didn`t know what to expect since none of us had any experience whatsoever. After releasing six albums (this being our seventh) and touring and travelling the world for more that 15 years we of course have a better understanding of what is possible and what we should expect from a release. I`m very curious with this release because first of all we have a new label in Massacre and secondly the market, industry and music business has changed a lot since the last release almost four years ago. So in many ways it`s a new situation for the band. The only thing I can say is that we worked the band into the grave with this release and I hope it gets the attention it deserves.
How pleased are you with this new album? What do you expect it to do for your?
-I`m very pleased with the album, I think it contains some of the best music we have ever written and as I said I hope that it gets the attention it deserves. As always there are things that I would have done differently as is the case with all our albums but again the best songs on the album rivals the best material we have written in my honest opinion. That is pretty much the only thing I can do, my best and hope that as many people as possibly will agree that it is a great record. It will be interesting to see what Massacre can do for it as it is our first album with them, so that is always an interesting thing to follow. So far the reviews have been really good so let`s hope it keeps going that way.
How hard is it to come up with an album title that is both to the point yet not too cheesy?
-Well, what is cheesy for one person might not be cheesy whatsoever to the next guy so this is a totally individual opinion. The most important thing for me is to find a title that can do justice both to the music and lyrical content of the album and to come up with something that can describe the content in a fitting way. And since everything I write comes from a rather personal standpoint, those things are dead serious to me and without a trace of cheese? if others see it differently there is not much I can do about that.
How important is the album title and the art work to sell an album? Does it matter in this day and age of digital downloading?
-Not as important as it used to be, that is for sure. But it`s important to me. I don`t think an album title sells the album alone but having a great package where everything fits together and serves a purpose sure doesn`t hurt. If people prefers a crappy MP3 version without bothering to look more in-depth to what the band is all about, then that is fine by me, whatever works for them is fine but personally I still prefer bands that think more thorough and I appreciate when people try to offer the fans something extra. They don`t have to you know, so it`s always nice when bands go that extra mile to create that wholeness to their product.
What future do you see for the band?
-I`m not a psychic of course and I don`t know what`s going to happen five years from now but what is sure is that Trail of Tears will cease to exist with this album and I will concentrate and spend my energy on my new band Viper Solfa in the future. We are writing music as we speak and the line-up, with a few major surprising names, will be made official very soon. So in the meantime I would like to thank everyone for the support towards Trail of Tears over the years and hope that you will enjoy this last album. Cheers!