With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to VANQUISHER. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
What pressure is there in releasing an album compared to a demo? Do you feel that there is a sort of pressure to succeed when you release and album, that it sorta is for real now?
-Well, in contrast to releasing an album, there really isn’t any pressure to release a demo unless you’ve made a big fuzz about it. Chances are, if you’re releasing a demo (which many times is a band’s first ever release), people haven’t really heard of you. Sure, if you’ve gone around to all your friends, proclaiming that something is “ON ITS WAY”, you’re going to have those same people asking when that thing is coming out. Otherwise, there really isn’t any pressure for releasing demos, except from the band itself, of course; it’s important to make a good and lasting first impression.
An album, on the other hand, is a different story; if you’ve released material prior to an album, then people have gotten curious about you after hearing your last release, and so, they are of course expecting the same or more from the next upcoming one. For us in Vanquisher, who haven’t released a full-length yet, it naturally feels like we have to deliver as much as we possibly can once we do release the album – even more than before. It will be our debut album, the next thing we release, and we want to make sure it counts. It does indeed feel like it is “for real” now. When you release a demo, no one is expecting so much, because it’s just a demo and people are ready to forgive its shortcomings. However, when you release an album, then you’re playing in the same league as Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” and Black Sabbath’s “Master of Reality”, so competition is tough. That’s why you want to make sure you do your absolute best; that’s what everyone else is doing.
When you release a record of any sort what kind of expectations do you have on it? Do you set up goals for it?
-Our main concern with our releases is that we ourselves like them. So far, we have not really put up any specific goals for our releases except for the fact that we want to market ourselves and our sound with them and make sure we reach out to as many people as we can.
When you release an album and you go out and play live and people know your songs, how weird is that? That people know what you have written on your own?
-Well, we don’t have any full album out yet, but we certainly have had people sing along to our songs live. It’s not really that weird, is it? The point of music is to get people engaged with it, isn’t it? So, if someone has looked up the lyrics and/or the melodies before coming to the gig, then they basically did their homework, didn’t they? Hahah! Good on them!
Do you feel that you have to follow in the footsteps of the last album for a new when it comes to lyrics and art work for everything so that those that bought the previous record will recognize your sound?
-Staying true to our own sound comes pretty naturally by now since we’ve got quite a bunch of songs in our catalogue by now, so it’s not really something we have to actively think about so much. But sure, it’s important that there’s some sort of familiar element that returns, otherwise it would be like a different band in every release. We’re sticking to our lyrical theme of the Hyborian Age and our visual image for sure; it’s just a matter of polishing what’s already there, trying to perfect it and experimenting.
Do you feel like you are a part of a greater community because you play in a band?
-For sure! It’s such a cool feeling when you’re in contact with others who make music, especially heavy metal music, and it’s certainly different than being just a fan of music. You get insight into what’s going on behind all the spotlights and flashy stages and you get to see that the work that goes into every performance, be it live or in the studio, is plentiful and tiresome oftentimes. I have a huge respect for fellow musicians, and it only grows the more I get exposed to the music business.
How hard/easy is it to come up with new songs that that still are you but doesn’t sound like anything you’ve already written?
-Right now, it’s not a big challenge. After all, we have only released 5 songs so far. But it’s probably going to be more difficult in the future. Good thing then that we have engaged band members that are all interested and capable of contributing with song ideas.
What influences/inspires you today? Where do you draw inspiration from? Is it important to have some sort of message?
-Some bands that we look up to are such as: Manowar, Megadeth, Metallica, Danzig, Behemoth, Iron Maiden, Dio, Rainbow, to name a few. Of course, the Conan literature from the Howard days is also a big influence. Of course it’s important to have a story. If you have nothing you want to say, who will listen? Whether it’s a more serious one or a more light-hearted kind, a message is always necessary. But I think there’s some sort of concept that there is only a “message” in music if you talk about serious, cryptic things. There’s a song by Alestorm called “Wooden Leg”. It’s about having a wooden leg. That’s the message. Now, if that’s not “serious enough” for you, then I propose you go get that stick out of your ass and develop a sense of humor. Whether your lyrics look like the work of an aspiring author or the works of a barely educated brute who has found a pen, it is all entertainment in one way or another at the end of the day.
We hear about what state the record industry is in. Then we hear that cd sales are increasing. As a band that releases records do you notice the state the industry is in?
-We don’t really have anything to compare to. We grew up in a shitty record industry and it’s been like that always. People just don’t buy what they can get for free or with a cheap Spotify membership fee. If we had a history of releasing albums in the 80’s, when this music style was actually thriving economically, then maybe we would have had more to say on this matter.
What is your opinion on digital verses physical?
-Both have their benefits and disadvantages. The digital format is more practical and flexible. I mean, who goes around carrying a bunch of cds or casettes with them and a portable player for them compared to people with Spotify on their phones? I enjoy the practicality of the digital format and I like the fact that no natural resources are used for producing any physical copies to affect the environment. Then, of course, there is also a big downside to the digital format, which is that it has no presence in the physical room. It is a cool feeling to hold a physical copy in your hand, and I have fond memories of looking through booklets and reading the lyrics when I have bought cds. When you have endless amounts of songs offered to you in a digital format, you can easily forget how much work is put into each of those. In addition, I think it easily happens that people don’t take the time to listen to whole albums anymore since you can just pick cherry-pick whichever songs you want and put them together in lists. I think that’s a shame, because many times there is a thought out narrative throughout the album, and you don’t get that if you don’t listen to all the songs in order.
What lies in the future?
-We’re trying to reach as far as possible with our music, and we have a full-length coming up (no release date available as of now), so that’s exciting! We really just want to play abroad and spread the word of the heavy metal barbarians to lands far and wide!