OCEAN MIND

Greece isn’t just Souvlaki and Ouzo. There’s also a music scene for us that likes things a bit harder. OCEAN MIND is proof of that. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

What intentions did you have when you formed Ocean Mind?
-Our goal was and always be a total exploration in psych/heavy rock sounds combined with poems and lyrics that can talk to the heart. Our biggest intention is to share our musical dreams with the audience.

How have these intentions been carried out so far? Do you feel that the band has become what you wanted or has it been better/worse?
-We’ve made great steps, one at a time. Our demo album followed by live performances then our trip to Los Angeles to record our new sounds. We have a daily progress working on new things so it’s getting better yes!

Do you feel that today there’s a bigger tolerance/acceptance of bands that are more alternative than the major label bands when it comes to working with top notch people? That money’s not the object like it used to be?
-Nowadays alternative bands are free to create without conciliation and you know, great songs are coming out cause of this. There’s a new spirit going on. The only thing that counts is a composition from the heart. If you have a song on that basis it can be appreciated by top notch people
so money it’s not the first thought. Besides, times are changing and world is changing spiritually ideologically and politically so art can’t be far from this.

When you head for the States to record what is it that you are looking for that you can’t get at home?
-Professionalism in sound and respect. We had a great team by our side with the motto”be a part of the work as a member and not as an employee”. Every musician deserves that.

How do you end up working with a big(ger) name producer?
-We wanted to move forward from our demo sound; it was so cult and heavy, experiencing back then with what we had, it was rock n’ roll, it was the primal walk but we wanted to develop our sound by mixing different things together and put them through a vintage tint. During that period we were talking with Lee Popa, he liked our songs and we get in touch to exchange ideas about our new album and what we had in mind, so he wanted to be our producer to level our sound by making a unique blend of heavy rock/psychedelic/stoner. His contribution was priceless.

What is the difference between working with a name producer and somebody not so known?
-You may say that working with a name producer would make things easier. His experience, vision and his resume would lead a band to the right pathway and the audience paying their respects on a producer that brought forth great bands to the light.

With being a three piece do you feel that this limits you? What are the advantages to being a three piece?
-If you can express what you feel with a three piece band then why could this limit you? Serving a song means much more than just playing a song. The sound gets more solid and more coherent by a three piece. And the musical explorations are more fluent too. Sometimes a minimal arrangement can touch your heart strings and it’s hard to believe that the song you’re just listened was actually played by a trio! We are major fans of rock/prog trios. From Cream and E.L.P. to Them Crooked Vultures lately,all trios have two things in common: flexibility and comunicative spirit.

What kind of expectations do you have on this new album?
-Our expectations are equal to our dream:sharing our sounds to bigger
audiences;we wish people to hang on to our new album, be a part of it and feel the vibes..

What kind of touring possibilities are there these days?
-Despite the fact that these days bands are not touring quite often or if they do they just go out for a couple of weeks, we’ll try to overcome difficulties cause we want to perform the new album wherever we can as long as we got the right backline. Playing a gig is like sharing a dream not a nightmare! We’d love to have some fun with the audience. We’re into that mood.

What future do you see for the band?
-Numerous performances and records that we all can be proud of. Ocean Mind came to us as an idea and ideas don’t fade away but keep growing.

QUAKE THE EARTH

QUAKE THE EARTH is yet another Finnish band. No, I don’t mean that in a bad, tired way. I think it is cool that there are so many great Finnish bands for us to discover. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

Is it great to be a part of the Finnish metal scene or is it a burden having to live up the standard set by others?
-Well for myself I consider having been a part of Finnish metal scene for about 15 years now with my (Aki) previous bands and have worked in a metal record/distribution/promotion company also so it’s always an honor to fight for a shot in the spotlight. It is true that only a small amount of bands from Finland are known throughout the world that are kinda giving name to Finnish metal but the music scene here is pretty varied and skilled. I feel we are offering something new as a Finnish “metal” band.

How would you like to define your sound? How hard is it to find your own sound?
-We define our sound as metal influenced hardcore that has elements from different genres. We try to create original music by honoring our influences and using our skills. Main thing for us is to make music that we like to listen and play live. We have not yet found anyone who could compare us direcly to any band even though some influences can be heard. That we are proud of.

What bands have been the most important in shaping your sound? How much can you take from other bands before you end up just a tribute band?
-I think we all have our different favourites and they are really varied. Even from melodic heavy metal to black metal. It is really difficult to name a few bands because of this fact. Live shows are our thing and our music comes from what ever we feel that is working live for us. Tricky question about that tribute thing and i think it’s in the ears of the one listening. Sometimes there are thin lines and we always avoid riffs that we know someone else has done (but are there any true riffs left that is undone in the end, I do not know).

How good does it feel to have a new record out? How scary is it to have a new record out? What if people won’t like it?
-Having a new record out is allways exciting and of course it’s interesting to hear peoples thoughts about it in good and bad. There’s a chance to learn from them and find new angles to think about things. Main thing is that the band van stand proud behind the album no matter what. It’s impossible to please everyone anyways but good feedback of course feels good and bad gives more motivation sometimes.

What kind of anxieties are there in letting go of something you’ve created and worked on over a period of time? How do you deal with the fact that other people will judge what you’ve created?
-Well critics can affect some of the sales and even selling gigs but when people find your album and dig it 100% thats the main thing. Albums are always previewed and as mentioned bot good and bad
comments give something for the future.

How do you go about finding the right kind of art work? How do you know what is right?
-Well we use our friends to create art for us how they see us and our messages. This time we feel it worked out right when you get deeper into our lyrics and power of the music at least for us. Art and music go hand in hand many times and its not the easiest task to do. Next one it will be something different again.

How much of a democracy is being in a band? How do you deal with things when everybody has different opinions?
-Our band is as democratic as possible. We try to discuss different matter with everyone for opinions and make compromises through that. Sometimes discussions can be a bit louder hahah. It is rare to have 5 different opinions but usually when you have good and clear reasons why something should be done somehow for example it is usually quite easy to find solution that fits all.

When do the band stop and the life outside take over? Is there such a thing as being too much into a band?
-Sometimes band time takes bigger part of your life (making an album or a tour for example) but then again later we can take a break and do different things. Usually the motivation for music takes over pretty soon though and we are at rehearsal place banging heads. We play normally 3-4 times a week to keep our trim perfect and create new stuff i the mix. But yes, we would not do it for 365dys a year 24h a day unless we would have a good tour going of course. Man needs to have other stuff to do aswell…

What plans do you have for promoting the album?
-Playing shows as much as possible and try to break out from Finland. We have plans for a tour in germany next fall and some shows in other countries. Work work work. We hope people find us little by little and we get to do new stuff soon too!

What would the ideal future look like?
-Touring – album – touring – album etc pretty basic stuff but we like to work it!

VANDROYA

Brazil is not all about Sepultura. There are other metal bands, bands that are not extreme like VANDROYA. DAÍSA MUNHOZ was kind enough to answer my questions. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

What were the reasons for forming Vandroya? How has the story of the band turned out so far?
-The band was formed in 2001 and in the beginning we were just a group of kids that used to meet to play some cover songs of the bands we admired the most. We just wanted to do some metal, talk about our favorite bands, exchange CD’s and experiences, this kind of stuff. However, Marco Lambert and I already had some experiences with others bands. But things change, we grew up, we gained experience, so we felt able to create our own songs and in 2005 we recorded our EP, Within Shadows, which was very well accepted. Then, the problems came and we decided to take a break on Vandroya’s activities, and I believe each one of us became more mature with this breaktime, and none of us stopped playing and learning music: Rodolfo Pagotto, for exemple, became a very renowned music teacher and Marco Lambert dedicated himself to musical productions besides his role as guitarist in Soulspell’s recording sessions and touring. It was only 2010 when we decided to finish what we started and we felt that was the right time to do it. Now I realize that if we had launched this album before, we would be just a bad band launching a bad album.

To me Brazil is pretty much all about extreme metal but lately I’ve come upon more and more heavy metal bands. What kind of scene is there really?
-Brazilian people love power metal too. Brazil is a huge country, so there is room for all kinds of scene. We have many new bands emerging with very well produced albums of several styles of heavy metal. Besides the renowned ones like Angra, Sepultura, Krisiun and Korzus, we have the new breed like Pastore, Soulspell, Shadowside, Torture Squad, Tierra Mystica, Hibria, Almah and so on. The scene is becoming diversified and larger each day.

I know very little about Brazil outside of Rio, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia. What kind of country is it for a metal band?
-We are almost a continent, like I use to say, so we have a lot of places to explore. But things are not that easy, actually. You mentioned three big cities, but it is in Sao Paulo that the scene gets bigger. It is the state in which we live in so I am able to see the scene here really exists and it is strong. I had the opportunity to travel with Soulspell by many Brazilian states (from the south to the northeast region) and I could see that the heavy metal scene really is alive in each one of these states I’ve visited, although it is smaller than the Sao Paulo’s one.

Can you make a living out of playing metal in Brazil? What kind of market is there for metal?
-Vandroya is not our financial source right now, so we have “regular jobs”. Vandroya is made of journalists, publicists, music teachers, furniture designers, audio editors, musical producers. But we really want to go touring, no matter what: this will always be our priority because that’s what moves us, that’s our passion and we will not let any opportunity to spread our music pass by us without holding it tight. So I really hope to go touring soon, in a very near future. I can say that we’re not gonna stop making music, we really want to record many albums as possible, and right now we really don’t care about getting money, because this is not our goal, this is the consequence of our goal.

5. When you have a new album out is it big news at home or do you get bigger headlines from abroad?
This is a very difficult question to answer at this point, after all it is our first album, but we’ve been very lucky so far.We released our album in Brazil two months after Japan’s release and I can say that Brazil response has been amazing. I’m very glad with Brazilian audience support.

When you write songs for an album how much do you clear you mind to avoid any outside influence or do you embrace outside influence?
-Neither one thing nor another. We just do our songs and then we direct them to sound exactly the way we’d like it to sound. We are very influenced by bands we admire and we will never abandon these influences. But regarding the process of composition itself, I can say that it has to happen as it happens, the most natural way as possible.

How important is that the album looks right and not just sounds right? How much thought do you spend on the lay-out and art work?
-It’s very important, actually. One sense complements the other. In the case of the cover of ONE, we invited Felipe Machado Franco to transform our sonority into images and he was very unerring: you can clearly notice feminine elements and the figure of a woman almost as a deity reveals a little bit of the content of my lyrics, for example.

I’ve tried thinking about what I would write lyrics about had I been in a band but I always end up with the most pathetic words. How do you write lyrics?
-You know what? I believe everybody who writes lyrics thinks exactly the way you do right now because I talk with many songwriters who report exactly the same thing. I sometimes believe my lyrics are not that good, especially because I use to write a lot about myself. I use to externalize all my anxieties and beliefs to my lyrics, and I use a lot of metaphors to do that, for example.

What kind of touring scene is there in Brazil? I don’t hear too much about a bands touring Brazil.
-When it comes to huge gigs of huge heavy metal bands, Brazil has become route for the biggest presentations of the planet, and at least twice a month you can attend incredible concerts of amazing foreign bands, especially in Sao Paulo. But of course this is not exactly what happens when it comes to smaller Brazilian bands. Bands here don’t have support and the scene is almost completely underground. But still, like I said before, bands don’t stop emerging, and the audience has been amazing in its support.

How do you view your chances to make it outside of Brazil/South America? How will you beat the competition?
-We don’t think about it like it is a competition. We are on the scene; we are on the market, as well as a million of bands. Quality is what counts in this trajectory and we really want to do it well. We don’t want things to cool down, so we are already composing for our next album and we will work hard to make it better than ONE.

ARROGANZ “Kaos. Kult. Kreation”

ARROGANZ
”Kaos. Kult. Kreation”
(Blacksmith Records)
I love Germany. Have done so for a very long time now. I find the dullness and grayness that is so often present in the description of the country to be a rather wrongly description of it all. I see a country full of warmness and kindness. How else could you explain all the great metal band that have come from that country. ARROGANZ might be my next great German metal exploration. Or not. Who can tell. The band offers us nothing that hasn’t been done before but they do it in a way that at least convinces me that there might be something to it. Their mix of death and black metal is convincing enough for me to believe that this could be well worth investing your time in if you like death metal that isn’t too heavy. Anders Ekdahl

AXECUTER “Metal Is Invincible”

AXECUTER
“Metal Is Invincible”
(Infernö)
If I’m not mistaken I reviewed a tape by this band a (long) while back. If my memory serves me right I liked that tape. Now it is time for this Brazilian true metal band to make its debut on a full length album. I know for a fact that there is a true heavy metal revival going on in Brazil too and with bands like Clenched Fists and AXECUTER we could be in for a treat for a very long time. Listening to this is like being taken back in time to a when I first got into heavy metal in the 80s and discovered all the great bands of that time. There might be people out there that will see this as a joke. To those I say; get the hell out and leave our loved heavy metal alone. This is true heavy metal. Anders Ekdahl

BORG 64 “Anywhere But Here”

BORG 64
“Anywhere But Here”
(Discouraged Records)
With a name like BORG 64 I kinda expected this to be more along the industrial lines and not so much hardcore per se. Hailing from way above the Arctic Circle this Luleå three piece might be the thorn in the Right Wing that is so much needed in today’s Sweden. Sure it blips and blops but basically this is what I imagine hardcore to be like when it is good. I can’t help getting a Star Trek feel when it blips and blops at the most. There is something otherworldly to this crew that you either can have or leave behind. I kinda think it adds character to the music. But that is right now. Ask me tomorrow and I might hate it. But I do like the hardcore side of this release. It gets my blood pumping. Anders Ekdahl

BROOD OF HATRED “New Order Of Intelligence”

BROOD OF HATRED
“New Order Of Intelligence”
(-)
Death metal from Northern Africa isn’t on my plate every day. It’s not even on my plate on a monthly basis either. But this Tunisian band prove that there’s life (death) to that scene to in this Mediterranean country. Formed in 2010 they debuted with an EP in 2012 consisting of four tracks and followed by an album in the same year. I got my hands on the EP. I’m not gonna say that this is better or worse just because it is a Tunisian band. This is death metal on the heavier side of the spectra. I get a less groovy Six Feet Under feel to this. Or a Cannibal Corpse that isn’t blasting away. It is in that region that this band operates. So if you like your death metal heavy and not ultra fast then you should turn your ears to this band. Anders Ekdahl

DEATH RIDES A HORSE “Tree Of Woe”

DEATH RIDES A HORSE
“Tree Of Woe”
(Infernö)
Danish metal. That brings me back to the 80s and having to travel across the sound to Denmark’s capital Copenhagen to see any metal bands touring. In doing so I discovered so many great metal acts that I almost got envious of the Danes. Bands like Mercyful Fate, Evil and Witch Cross took me by storm. Then everything seemed to die off until now that is. Again we see great Danish bands emerging from the underground. This CD compiles a couple of EPs released on tapes as well as some other tracks. DEATH RIDES A HORSE are heavy in a doom way. If you like the kind of doom stuff that Swedish label I hate deal in then this will be right up your alley. There is a 70s feel to this as well. I can’t help thinking a heavier Trouble or Revelation when I listen to this. This is the resurrection of the Danish metal scene. Anders Ekdahl

DEFEATED SANITY “Passages Into Deformity”

DEFEATED SANITY
“Passages Into Deformity”
(Willowtip)
The first time I heard Mortician I thought them to be crap. I couldn’t get through their wall of noise. The fact that it was a live 7” that was my first encounter with them didn’t help. Later on I come to realize what a great band Mortician really is. Why all this rambling on about Mortician then? Well, if you like your death metal heavy and intense like hell and like bands like Incantation, Immolation, Suffocation then DEAFEATED SANITY might be right up you alley. I get the same feeling listening to DEFEATED SANITY as I got the first time I heard Mortician. This is death metal that is so murky that the even the vocals are just a growl. So if that is your cup of death then you know where to look. I myself need some more time getting used to this before I give it two thumps up, or not. Anders Ekdahl

DRAWN AWAKE “Reflection”

DRAWN AWAKE
“Reflection”
(Inverse)
I didn’t know that there were this many bands in Finland that I had not heard of. But that seems to be the case and every week it seems like I’m discovering at least one new Finnish band. This week it is DRAWN AWAKE. Not knowing anything about them it is with a blindfold I take this on. And from what I hear I can tell that this is death metal in the more melodic school. Nothing wrong with that. I like melodic death metal just as I like melodeath or ultra brutal death metal. You could argue that there is a Gothenburg feel to DRAWN AWAKE along the lines of bands like Taetre, Gardenia and the likes. Bands that are a bit more on the heavy side of things. I gotta admit that I like what I hear on this EP. There is a charm to it that I find hard to resist. Anders Ekdahl