The amount of Swedish bands popping out of every possible crack has become too many to keep up with. Which is why I felt a need to interview VERITATE to get to know something about them. Anders Ekdahl ©2012
I must admit that I know very little about Veritate. I can’t remember that I’ve read any greater articles about you in the bigger Swedish metal magazines. Are you bad at promoting the band the correct way?
-I wouldn’t say we’ve been particularly bad at promoting Veritate in the past although lately the promoting efforts have been a bit lacking. One could call it a matter of bad timing I guess.
Just from looking at the images I’ve seen (cover artwork etc.) I get a distinctive ARN feeling about your music. What is it that inspires you to write the music you play?
-If by ARN you mean the work of Swedish journalist/author Jan Guillou, then I would have to say it’s purely coincidental. The artwork on the “Straight Into Hell” album and “The Chosen One” single is original work done by Vicente Feijoo exclusively for Veritate. The concepts for the covers were something we came up with ourselves. On the “Straight Into Hell” cover you see people falling, so to speak, straight into hell from above and the boat with its main character is inspired by Greek mythology. As for “The Chosen One” cover, well, if you read the lyrics to the song I would say the artwork isn’t that far-fetched. Manowar was probably somewhere in the back of our minds when we came up with the ideas. There could be way worse influences, eh?
Why does anybody want to release a two track single “The Chosen One” with the same song twice, only in different languages?
-For many reasons, one of which is the fact that heavy metal of Veritate´s brand is rarely done in any other language than English. Viking metal has gone this way, as have other genres, but we felt it would be interesting to see what the result would be. The lyrics were translated or perhaps rather rewritten and we really liked hearing the song in Swedish as well as in English. We tried it, we liked it and we decided to release it. It’s up to the fans to decide which version sounds the best.
As I’m new to the band I have only found two releases to your name. What can you tell us about the past recordings of the band?
-We started out by releasing two demos. The first one, “Exploitation of Human Disturbance”, shows a band trying to find its own style, which I think we did. Reviewers had a hard time defining the genre it belonged to and that is usually a good thing in my opinion as it suggests we might have found our own thing, not trying to copy any other bands sound. After that came “Medical Miracles”. That demo continues in the same vein that “Exploitation…” started but perhaps with a touch of experimentalism that the first demo lacked, not to mention a way easier title to remember. The theatricality of these demos was refined and, I’d like to think, came to its pinnacle on the album “Straight Into Hell”. After a change of singer for the later two-track single this theatricality was toned down a bit but made way for better craftsmanship in the vocals-department. “The Rise of Hatröss” combines the two first singles in a limited strictly-vinyl release with new artwork for the diehard fans. The demos had been sold out for quite a while so it’s also a way to give everyone a chance of hearing the really early material.
When you release records on smaller labels, how much work do you have to do yourself in order to promote your records?
-Smaller labels usually have limited funds but are run by true driving spirits on the other hand. This means that we’ve had to handle more of the promoting ourselves than we would have had to do if we were signed to a bigger label. It also means that the feedback and contact with the label i smoother and more personal and I would say that Jens, who runs the label, has been very helpful in many ways. We have nothing to complain about and appreciate Killer Metal Records and what they have done for us very much.
Being from Sweden, do you notice an interest in your music based on that fact alone? What benefits can you gain from being Swedish?
-Being from Sweden is no doubt a positive thing if you’re a heavy metal band but what can be gained from it shouldn’t be exaggerated. At the end of the day it’s all about playing great music and attracting great fans. Add a bit of luck on top of that and you can come very far in the scene. That said, I’m sure there are some people who found our music by searching explicitly for Swedish metal bands. For that we are of course grateful.
How hard is it to get on the right kind of tours/festivals in order to spread the band’s name the right way?
-Being a relatively unknown band its way harder of course than for famous acts with a strong label to lean back on. It’s by no means impossible but I guess one could say that the more unknown you are, the more time and effort you’ll have to put in if you want to play the bigger venues. This is primarily a good thing as it becomes a natural way of separating the true believers from the posers, or whatever you want to call them.
In what way have the channels of promotion changed with the introduction of new technologies?
-Well, Myspace wasn’t around 20 years ago. Neither was Youtube. These are both excellent platforms for promoting your music. Whatever way you can get people to listen to your music is a good way. Playing live shows is for the same reason still one of the most important ways to promote your band. Not the least because you get a chance to meet your fans and talk to them about your music. Some of our most die-hard fans are old friends. Some of them have become friends of us over time. I would think this is common for many bands.
Are there any disadvantages to the ways of promotion through the social networks? What can you benefit from being interactive that you lose the old way?
-The disadvantage of social networks is the distance and the ease-of-dropping-out, so to speak. If I talk to someone who is listening to Veritate I can explain some choices, share mutual influences in a way more direct way. Social networks makes the world a smaller place so we can do this with people from all over the world, but, at the price of lost intimacy or whatever you want to call it. In essence, being interactive is great, but live interactivity is always better than the online version.
Where do you intend to take Veritate in the future?
-No one knows. Hopefully further than we ever expected. Cheers from Björn Ahlström and Annika Argerich of Veritate.