Music is so much more than just sound. It is art. It is an escape. It is grander than life. All this and more is VEILBURNER. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
Every band has to introduce their music to new people. What is it that you want people to get from listening to you guys?
MD – What’s most important to me, musically, is that people to hear something from us that they can’t quite get from other bands, and it makes them want to keep coming back to it. I want to give people that same feeling about our music that I get from the artists that inspire me; that it’s something special, unique, and just gratifying on some higher level, like scratching a mental itch you didn’t know you had until you heard it.
CI- I second Mephisto with trying to be original, something fresh for the listeners ears…I love it when someone can’t quite place what we sound like or may have missed something in one of the songs, which makes them go back to listen to it. A lot of what we do is based on the whole of the work and not one song in particular, and I like to believe that we are very “retro” in terms of how the listener feels when they take in a Veilburner album because it is an album meant to be taken in whole. We tend to think there is no filler and that each song is part of the flow that makes up the whole trilogy.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
MD – It was very hard for me, because I’m extremely picky about that stuff. It had to have similar qualities to the music and themes, because people just natually form assumptions about what your music sounds like when they see the name, and you want to draw them in with it and hopefully meet or exceed the expectations when they hear it. When Chrisom suggested it, I was hesitant to use a word that was used as another band’s song title, but I just really liked it and thought it hit all the marks. I figured that even though it has a certain meaning to the band that originally used it (Enslaved), that we could give it our own meaning and take it to a new place, which is really what artists do with music as well (pool influences and forge their own path with them), so everything about the name and our use of it mirrors the music.
CI- I threw all kinds of names at Mephisto and Veilburner just felt unique…it felt like it fit the songs we had for “The Three Lightbearers” and what we were beginning to envision for the rest of the trilogy. For me the name had to help destroy any sort of genre labeling or stereotype with the type of music we are writing. It’s kind of hard to be named Gorewhore and write anything other than gore and such. With Veilburner we really do feel like we are burning away the genre labels and just being what we are, which is Veilburner.
Everybody is influenced by certain things. What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of music you play? What inspires you today?
MD- My earliest influence was Ozzy Osbourne. I heard “Crazy Train” when I was 8, and it was the first time I heard a distorted guitar riff. The hair on the back of my neck stood up, and I was instantly addicted. I like a lot of other forms of music, but metal was always my “home base.” These days, I get inspired by early 90s death metal, all of the strange experimental black metal coming out of France, 90s industrial, 80s new wave, classical music, weird old movies from the 60s and 70s (where a lot of our samples come from), and artists that do stuff that’s hard to categorize into a genre box or just seem to be “out there.”
CI- I remember when I first heard Slayer, and it was the song Killing Fields. I was in six or seventh grade and it just blew away anything that Metallica ever did. I got the Slayer album from a friend at school and once I got through listening to that, I wanted and needed more. I listen to just about everything anymore. I listen to black metal more nowadays, but seem to write music in the vein of ’90s norwegian death metal. I like some of the folk music that’s out these days, like The Killers and Florence and the Machine, among some other more pop sounding bands…The album “Noumenon” has alot of inspiration from Florence and Leviathan, who I have to say is my favorite musician at the moment, but most of my influence vocally as of late comes from Portal, Marduk and Mayhem.
When you formed did you do so with the intent of knowing what to play or did you do so from the point of having a band name and then picking a sound? How did you settle on the name/sound combo?
MD – I had music written for this long before I met up with Chrisom. The name came last, after the album was basically done. It was chosen for the reasons mentioned above.
I believe that digital is killing the album format. People’s changing habit of how they listen to music will result in there being no albums. Is there anything good with releasing single tracks only?
MD – We make single tracks available for sale, but we honestly haven’t sold any. All of our sales have been for albums in full, either in digital format or cd. It may have something to do with the way we build our albums. They are concept albums which together make up a trilogy, and are written so that one song flows into the next, with only an occasional break in the audio. They’re designed that way to attract people who like to take albums in as a single work as opposed to individual songs. We also try to keep the cost of the albums very reasonable, so the cost of a song vs the cost of the entire album is not much more of a commitment.
What part does art-work and lay-out play when you release new recordings? How do you best catch people’s attention?
CI- I am very critical of artwork because it’s the first impression of the band and therefore, it needs to catch the attention of the listener. I really try to create the album art as actual artwork, meaning that if you removed the band name and the title of the album, what would be left is something that would be worth hanging up no matter what kind of music you are into. When it comes to the extreme metal styles of music, the artwork tends to be rehashed images of Satan, skulls and again Satan or Lucifer. I had the idea with the first album to use bronze throughout the artwork and it really sort of helped bring forth the representation of the themes being expressed through the music and lyrics. With each album we used a different color scheme, with “The Three Lightbearers’ being bronze, “Noumenon” being silver and “The Obscene Rite” being gold. Also, with each cd copy of the album we have a wax seal in the color we designated for that album, which helps add to the total vision of what we try to achieve.
Has social media re-written the rules on how to promote your music? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way?
MD – I think it has. We’re seeing a big difference in the response between the promotion of our first album, which was more traditional and had a mixture of ads and reviews in blogs and print media, and our most recent one, which is mostly through social media and blogs. I think we’re reaching more people with this promotional campaign. The big difference in social media/internet promotion vs printed media is that in social media/internet promotion, you can be the main headline and attract a lot of lot of visitors, but for only a very short amount of time until the next story rolls in and you sink further and further into the archives. In printed media, an issue you appear in will be on the racks taking center stage for a longer period of time (anywhere from 1 to 3 months depending on the publication schedule). They have to be more selective of the stories they run, though, since they have limited space and have to decide what stories will give the readers the most interesting news for their money until the next issue comes out, so it’s harder for an unsigned band without a big following to get much coverage from them. We have a few that have taken a real interest in our project, and we’re very lucky for that and thankful they continue to promote us.
When you play in a band, does that make you feel like you are a part of a scene, of something bigger and grander?
MD – Yes. It seems to be a common human craving to want to be part of something bigger than yourself, and I like the feeling I get from knowing I’m contributing to a collective musical archive that I’ve pulled so much inspiration from for years, even though we only have a small fanbase. What I like most is living in an age where we have the technology to record our ideas for other people to hear, and we can store them in a virtual space where they can be accessed and heard by anyone, anywhere and at anytime, and that it can remain there and be heard by people long after we’re gone. I have no kids, so this will likely be the only form of a legacy I’m going to leave to the world, and I like thinking that someone in the distant future might stumble across one of our songs/albums and connect with it.
CI- Ultimately it does. You’re basically creating music off of those who have influenced you, and even though it becomes your own, it has been inspired by the musicians that have come before you. Vocally it is the same, just different pitches and different cadences which create vocal phrasings that can be very original. Everyone has their style, and their style derived from the musicians before them.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
MD – We’ve never played a show. We’re strictly a studio band. Touring would be a great way to expand our fanbase, and we’re probably missing a chance to expose ourselves to a lot of potential fans who might not hear us otherwise. There are several reasons we don’t play live or tour, but the most important one is that I just don’t have a passion for it. I learned that from 7 years of playing in a prior band. I always have music going through my head, and I always want to be getting it down and developing it, and once something’s done I want to move on to the next idea. I don’t want to have to stop that momentum just to recreate something I already wrote over and over again in rehearsals and gigs. The upside is that we put out a lot more product for the fans we do have in a shorter amount of time. By limiting our activitiy to writing and recording, we’ve put out an album every year for the last 3 years and enjoyed every minute of it.
CI – I do not see us playing live unless it is a very special occasion. We created our music with the intention of being a studio project, so we didn’t limit ourselves to what could or couldn’t be reproduced live, so it would be an enormous undertaking to find a way to reproduce all of the layers and effects for a stage show would be a very tall order. I know it could be done, but for the most part it takes away from some of the mystique we have built up for ourselves. I would never say never, but it would really have to be enticing.
What will the future bring?
MD – Our new album, “The Obscene Rite,” will be released Sept. 30th. We hope to be involved in writing music for a promotional video for an independent film, so we’ll be following up on that. Chrisom wants to write a book to serve as a compendium to the musical trilogy we just finished. He also has another band “Torture Ascendency” that he is spending more time with, and I’ll be engineering/producing their new album. We also discuss recording a cover song or two from time to time, so maybe we’ll have some time to bang one of those out. I’m getting ready to finish a certification program in another field, and I’ll be looking for a new day job when that happens, so we’ll be busy. Thanks for your interest in our project.
CI – We have quite a few ideas in the tank. Some will take on a larger scope as MD mentioned. Maybe we’ll release an ep here or there, or maybe we get inspired buy a movie and go crazy writing another concept. Either way, I have my own project I am trying to get running and also Torture Ascendancy which has alot of work yet to do before we can start playing out again.