UNHOLY WAR is a German full on black metal band that needs to be discovered. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
A band name says more than thousand words, or does it? How important is a band name to get people interested in your music?
-Of course the name is important. This is what carries you, it defines your music and your attitude. If it does not match, it will not work. When I left Lord back in 2002, I remember I was looking for a name for my project. It took me a while to figure out something that really make sense. The name “Unholy War” came to be as I was reading some texts about wars in the world that were “holy wars”, meaning they were war started in the name of religion. As I have always been against religions, I thought changing “holy” to “unholy” would be a nice inverted symbol for a band’s name. And so it became our name.
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?
-Honestly, the feelings were different. When I recorded the first demo in 2003, I just wanted to have it raw, and done fast, no too much thinking, just capture the present, put it on the guitar, record the rest, and job done.
The second demo was even more raw, as I did everything myself, I wanted it to sound really underground, I honestly fucked up the thing as I can’t play drums, and recorded a basic drum box, but anyway.
For the promo in 2014, I had people around me, we almost worked as a real band, and I started to experiment with recording/mixing. Then I carry on for the mini cd that was released end of 2017 via Terror Records. So of course, I was a bit more anxious, as I wanted it to sound ok. Thing is that I could have done better in the mixing and mastering. Overall it’s not bad, there is just a lack of “power” in the sound.
I am not expecting that everybody will like our music, honestly, I don’t care. We do it for us. You will always find people that like it, and some that don’t.
What is it like to be in a studio recording your music? What kind of feelings and thoughts race through your heads?
-I am recording at home, I have what I need. But when I was in Lord, we were in 2 different studios, and we did “Hell’s fucking metal” in our rehearsal room. The recording process is just to put all instrument correctly and play as clean as you can to express what you want. I record the songs only when they are done, I just record the riffs for me, play a bit with the structure, and then I record everything again, better for the final product.
So the only thing I have in mind is to play as accurate as I can.
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?
-Well, we have a label, so it helps a lot. Before Terror Records, I had to do everything on my own. Back in the days, I was doing tape trading, writing letters to people, trading our demo with other bands… the old school way. Today it’s easier, you create a facebook page, and put everything there, 99% of the people have an account, so they will somehow see your stuff. It’s faster, allows you to exchange with more people all around the world, but… there is also a lot of shit there, so you need to be careful.
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?
-Honestly, I don’t give a shit. We play Black Metal, with some thrash parts. So you could say we play Black / thrash, nothing more, nothing less. Sub-genres in BM should mostly not exist. Most of them don’t really respect the spirit of BM. It is becoming cleaner, politically correct, no corpse paint anymore, no attitude. Fuck that. We will carry on the black flame and set the stages in dust and ashes.
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.
-We are now a local band. The name is growing slowly, and we start to have proposal outside Germany, like the Eternal Hate fest in the Czech Republic. We will see if this go further, and if we have proposal in other countries. Being in a band does not make me bigger or better, but at least I have the feeling to contribute to the scene. You were part of the Swedish death metal scene in the 90′, I started to be part of the french BM scene also in the middle of the 90′, and today, I am still part of the BM scene. My name was never associated to any big band in the scene, I just carry on my way, and do my stuff. Maybe one day Unholy War will get bigger, I don’t know. What I know for sure, is that we are part of the Black Metal scene, the real one. People can think what they want about how it all started, first wave, second wave from Scandinavia, why, how… Vikernes, Euronymous, and all the things. Point is, these guys started it all, taking elements from the first wave, and putting them to another level. We are taking over where they stopped, so we are somehow part of that.
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?
-Art work is as important as the music. Great music whit shitty artwork, or the opposite does not really work. Even if good music with shitty artwork has more chance to survive. I have always paid attention to the artwork of our demos/ep. I think we have our own style, and this changes a bit than the classical BM covers. We will continue this way. I could compare that to Iron Maiden. When I was younger I started to listen to metal back in 1985 with “Live after death”. A friend of mine came home with a ripped tape of this live album, and we played it on my stereo. I was captured by the intro, and when Aces High started, I decided before the end of the song that this music would be my only way. But I had a look at the covers only days after. In 1985 there was no internet, so I had no opportunity to find out how it looked. It took me days to put my hands on the original tape in a shop. And then I saw the cover !!!! Man, this was mind blowing at the time. Eddie coming out of the ground, with al the details… then I collected magazines, and a lot of stuff on Maiden, I was into it for both the music and the artwork. And today, “Live after death” is still one of my top 3 design of all time.
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?
-Honestly, as you may have find out yourself, I am an old school guy. So our music is not available for download easily. I know our label did put it on a few platforms, that’s part of the deal, he can do it. But I will never do that.
Of course, it’s a way to reach more people faster, but this is not what we are. I prefer to trade, sell our stuff at the gig, put a few links on YouTube to invite people discovering our music, and buy it if they want.
A label is important because we can focus on the music only. Terror Records is doing the rest. The release stickers, flyers, our mini cd, posters, shirts… we do the noise. I have seen so many bands, not having a single piece of music available, but already sending shirt, making a lot of noise via facebook, doing some videos, but at the end, they release a shitty cd, and disappear. No, the right way to do it is doing the music first, making you a name, and then, comes the rest. A lot of bands do it wrong because now with internet, as you say, every stupid cunt can do it, and mama or papa is behind to pay for the stuff. We grew up as a band, of course, at the beginning it was my band, doing guitars/bass/vocals, with the help of Lord’s drummer doing the drumming and mixing. Then I had people, but far from me, we never played together in the same room, and lately, I finally was able to get people here, we have our rehearsal room and we meet every week ! I know what I have in my hands, I have a concept, musicians, and something to propose.
That’s why the BM scene is so full of crap. Everybody can record something, say it’s BM, put it on FB or YouTube… that’s a shame… not saying that we are better than the ones who are doing that, but most of the bands that start with FB before doing the music are crap.
What is a gig with you like? What kind of shows do you prefer to play?
-We are still working on that. We did a “pre-gig” to test our show before with play the first official one at “Zeremonie der Schatten” in December 2018. Still work to do. I am the one that would like more evil on stage, more true BM attitude, but we need to find the right way. Musically it was ok, we know that we are on the good way, the rest will follow.
I would prefer to play real underground gigs, only having BM bands. I would choose quality instead of quantity.
We will do the Eternal Hate because this is exactly what we need. We will never do fests where you find other bands that have very few to do with BM. Just because the way we see BM, as I said, is the direct continuity of what the Scandinavian way started. Knowing that, you easily guess that we will have troubles to play with post-bm bands as they are really far away from our attitude. But this may happen, we will not refuse an opportunity because of one band, as long as they are still going in the same direction, we will be fine, and just show them what a real BM show is.
What lies in the future?
-Our first full length, via Terror Records, and playing live. The real deal for a real band. More BM, more evilness, more politically non correctness, and more fuck you attitude. Maybe one day we play in your country, then we will have a few drinks together !
Thanks for the interview.
We are the Black Crew
Unholy War @2019