Massgrav – “Still The Kings”

Massgrav – “Still The Kings” (Selfmadegod Records)

Loud, obnoxious crust core from Sweden. What the fuck have they been downing – this trio are like a mental moose let loose in the studio! Frenetic drumming, thrashing speedway riffing and larynx crushing screaming vocals are unleashed on 19 mayhemic tracks like ‘At war with etno’, ‘Ni krustar, dom dör’ and lol – ‘Full fart mot döden’! At times their stuff is more punk reminding me of Discharge with their nihilistic riffs whilst on the more singalong stuff it’s akin to The Misfits. Elsewhere it’s blast beats galore as Massgrav give it their all like it was their last fuck on Earth – total chaos!!!

ARMONIGHT

I don’t know what is the hardest; coming up with a good band name or writing great songs. ARMONIGHT seem to have managed both. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

What is the hardest in finding a band name; the search or the fact that most band names are already taken?
-I think both, when we invented the name, we didn’t want it to be something already existing, so it wasn’t easy to create an original name…

It is one thing to think of forming a band and another to actually get the ball rolling. How did Armonight come together?
-It’s true. At the beginning the idea was to create a studio-project formed by the composer and a female voice. Then we decided to create a gigging band so we needed a complete line-up. We made a lot of advertisement and a careful selection to set-up the right line up.

When you started did you know from the first minute what kind of sound you wanted? How did you know that you’d found your sound?
The thing about we were sure from the beginning was that we didn’t want heavy and dark guitar sound, orchestral keyboard sound or a soprano female voice…Then we preferred to stay away from the female-symphonic-gothic current which today makes many bands similar to each other. Our sound then began to take its own shape and now we are proud of it.

When do you know that you are a part of a scene? Does it come automatically or do you have to go through some ceremony/invitation?
-No, no!! No ceremony or something like that! Everything we do is natural and spontaneous for us! We think we were born to do this job!

What is the toughest part of being a band on its way up? What kind of uphill struggles have you’ve been through?
-I think that the rise of a band never ends…Even the most famous bands have to be careful not to make false steps because the fans could turn their back in any moment. Talking about us, the hardest part was to find the right line-up and then make the best to stand out in the music scene and I think this will be our philosophy even for the future! These days the hardest thing is to find the money to organized more and more spectacular shows! Ahahah!

How important is it to keep true to your style of metal? How much outside of the box do you feel that you can paint?
-I hope not to disappoint anyone by saying that we don’t really care to keep up a particular style, Armonight is a band that acts on instinct. Of course we always make our best not to disappoint our fans’ expectation, however our albums will always be different from each other: so in one album there can be both dark songs and rock songs etc… In conclusion: we want to keep the faith just in ourselves and our sound and keep on ranging over during the composition… we want people to recognize us from the first notes of the album but we don’t want to bored the listener with songs that sounds all the same. It is a hard work but we think we’re doing it well! People like what we do so we will go on like this. There’s only one way to understand what we do: buy our albums and come to our gigs and you will not be disappointed!

What is the greatest pleasure of having a record done and out there for people to partake in?
-First of all I have to say that “Tales from the heart” is our second album, preceded by “Suffering and passion”. The realization of an album is like the realization of a dream or like achieving a goal: thinking that people will listen and appreciate it gives us a great satisfaction. This tell us that we are on the right track and that we are working well and this will gives us the strength to go on.

We hear about how bad the economy is and how bad the live scene is because of that. What chances are there for a minor band to play live?
-Like I said before, these days you have to find the means to get noticed. In our country, Italy, for example there are puzzling realities: nobody helps you, you have to pay to participate to big events, or you will always remain in the second row. The worst thing is that the merits are not recognized. Armonight is a band that never back down, we’re able to write and play good songs, we make many gigs without ceasing, our fans love us…so where are managers interested in this reality, investing money like Rod Smallwood did with Iron Maiden 30 years ago?!?

If you go on tour what does that give in terms of moving the band forward?
-I think making tour is very important for a band, it is the best way to be noticed by the public. This involves sacrifices, not only in terms of economic investment but also in practical terms: we have to stay away from our families and sleep rough, but it is the job we chose and we do it willingly.

What would you like the future to bring with it for Armonight?
-Well, since we started our career has been a constant rise, even if steps are short. We think the rise will never stop, hopefully with longer steps. We set ourselves the goal of selling millions of albums, playing in front of 500.000 people and enter into all the top ten of the world…until then we will never stop! Ahahahah!

THE DESCENT

I do not make any distinction between commercial metal and great metal. As long as the music is to my liking I do not care how commercial it is. THE DESCENT deserves to be taken noticed of simply because of their metal. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Do you feel like you are part of something greater, a national wonder, or are you just another metal band amongst others?
-Well… we don’t see ourselves as a national wonder, but surely we are not just another death metal band, we have our own way to see things and to make our music

How well do you fit into the local/national scene? Do you want to be a part of any of that sort of thing?
-We are now starting to make our way through the national scene and for sure we aim to be a part of that scene. There are a lot of Spanish bands that we follow and listen such as Darkness by Oath, Rise to Fall, Angelus Apatrida, Crisix… We have played with Darkness By Oath, Rise To Fall,Crisix and many others.

When you sign with an underground label today at the end of 2012 what kind of expectations do you have for the album?
-Our goal alongs with Xtreem Music is to get the album as far as possible, of course we know that we are just starting and in this business is not easy to get a big attention. We think “Dimensional Matters” is a great album with a lot of cool songs and we expect a good acceptation from the audience.

How hard was it to record this album? How hard is it to find the right kind of people to work with? Do you have to travel far in order to get what you want?
-Now we don’t, we recorded the album in our hometown Bilbao at “the Rock Studios” along with the producer Carlos Creator, and then we sent it to Sweden to do the mastering in the “Fredman Studios” with Fredrik Nordström. It’s our first album so that it was our first experience in a studio and of course it was hard… but in the end we think that it turned out good.

When you write lyrics how easy is it to come up with words that will work for an eternity?
-We don’t write the lyrics thinking in what transcendence they will have… we write about our thoughts and feelings expressed in a metaphorical way…

Something that I often think about listening to metal is how so many bands can come up with so much music given the limited amount of notes there are to choose from. What method do you have to writing songs?
-We usually start with some riffs brought by Ander or Anton to the rehearsal room and then the rest of the band starts to give ideas and some arrangements to finish the song.

When you are a small band what kind of touring options are there to choose from? What does it take for you to go on tour?
There are not many to choose from but we are always looking for them because we really love to be on the stage sharing our music with the audience.

What kind of tour support can you expect when you are on a label that doesn’t have money to spend on it?
We are getting a great support from Xtreem Music, they have a lot of bands but they always have time for us. We are satisfied with them, they have a large experience & they are honest with the work they do… no false promises or things like these, we know perfectly where we are, we are in an underground label but we are also a newcomer band & of course, also underground, it´s a good combination.

That is also something that I’ve been thinking about. How do you survive as a minor band on a small underground label?
-It’s always hard to survive in the music industry, but we like to think that with hard word everything is possible. We don´t think Xtreem is a small underground label, they work hard and they are taking care of all we need.

What plans are there for the future?
-As “Pinky and the Brain” says: conquer the world.

ENTRAPMENT

It might seem boring to say it but Dutch metal has always been of the highest standard. Death metal act ENTRAPMENT are no exception. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Does it feel like you carry on a great heritage being a Dutch death metal band?
-Actually not at all, we try to play Death Metal as less modern as possible and there’s only a handful of equal minded in the Netherlands and we’re all friends sharing a mutual interest in this style.

Over the last 30 years of being a metalhead I’ve come upon very few Dutch metal bands that suck totally. Is there something special to being a Dutch metal band that allows you to not suck?
-There’s not a particular Dutch sound so bands just play whatever they like without any boundaries. Especially in the early nineties band emerged from the underground scene like a kind of fungus. All had their own kind of style.

I’m amazed by how band after band can come up with something new when you have so few notes to work with. What is it that inspires you to write music that hasn’t been heard before?
-Maybe that counts for other bands (which I always here a lot of American inspiration in the dutch scene, we’ve got a lot of Immolations, Cannibals Corpses and Morbid Angels walking around here. But it’s almost impossible to come up with something new. The only thing that was missing the last 15 years was real songs. Everything was about the fastest drummer, most technical guitarplayer, best and most unnatural production and professionalism ..pretty boring to me. Seems like a lot of bands start listening again to the old bands from the 70’s and the 80’s and that retro rock or death metal caused some great new bands.

How much do you think about ?if I take that part from that band, mix it with that part from that band and come up with something new?? How much is song writing a trial and error process?
-For me it’s more like “I heard this riff before” kinda process, when I;m listening the whole week to the Come Reap LP from the Devils Blood…I can only come up with that kinda riffing when I pick up my guitar. When im out of inspiration for Entrapment I put on some old fashioned autopsy, nihilist or slayer and after a while ideas start to come.

When you are a death metal band are there certain colours that you can’t use for art work? Are there a death metal aesthetic?
-Depends on what kind of mood you wanna create around your band. An old band like Disharmonic Orchestra used artwork and colors which definitely wouldn’t fit Pungent Stench and Vice versa. In my most ignorant years I could go to our local record store pick up an lp ..and when the band photo consist a guy with a mullet and a big black mustache I wouldn’t even think of listen to it. But that was more than 20 years ago, now it would be a recommendable look to check it out haha!

What lyrical themes work best in death metal? Do the lyrics have to fit the music?
-Well ordinary love songs wouldn’t really work for brutal death metal I guess. Same for political lyrics. I guess the most conservative way is still the best. Horror drenched lyrics! You can use a different point of few on the subject or more abstract.

How much do you think outside the box when it comes to presenting the band? Or do you just go with the tried and tested formulas?
-Besides death metal I listen to so many different kinds of music. But I am a very conservative guy when it comes to music. I really don’t like modern cross over experiments. History has proven that it’s better to keep to your style. Can you imagine the impact if Death – Scream Bloody Gore would have a cover painting like the Toy Dolls or so?

How much of a help is the electronical sources of today (social media etc.)?
-The internet is really helpful for musicians, a lot of the old magic is gone but on the other hand…arranging shows and exposure are way more easy!

In an ever declining record industry market what part does a label play today? How much of a relief is a label in helping promoting the band?
-So far I only worked with small labels run by music fanatics who know they will never get rich out of it.
But so far the labels that helped me out did a great job and gave me a lot of attention!

What would you like to see the future bring with it?
-After the full length we’ve got some split releases to come out with bands we like a lot. So I’m really looking forward to that. And off course to play some great shows with some great bands would be excellent!

FOGALORD

FOGALORD might be another Italian symphonic metal band but as always there’s nothing common about Italian symphonic metal bands. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I must admit that the first time I saw the band name I thought it to be some sort of joke band. But that is just because it in Swedish sounds like a silly band name. What was it that made you chose this moniker in the first place?
-Ah yes, I can understand your early impressions! Well, the name Fogalord is a wordplay based obiouvsly on the words ‘fog’ and ‘lord’ but we added the letter ‘A’ between them because in Italian the word ‘Foga’ means something like ‘to do a thing with strong power and passion’! I chose this name many years ago (10? 12? I don’t remember!) when I decided to write a concept inspired by an old king who founded the town where I live in the 8th century.

I often think about what it was that turned me on to metal. I find almost as fascinating to find out what turned others on to metal. Why did you guys want to be in a metal band?
-Well, I started to listen to Metal when I was 15 (now I’m 30)… at that time I used to listen almost 100% to classical music (I studied Piano at the Music Conservatory) but one day a school-mate gave me a cd and told me: ‘hey listen to this band, they play with harpsichords and pipe organs… you will like it!’ the album was ‘Episode’ by Stratovarius! So it began…Manowar, Rhapsody, Grave Digger, Blind Guardian etc.. became my passions…followed later also by Black and Viking Metal… and now we are here!

I don’t know if you would label your metal strictly as power but do you feel that there are any limitations to what you can do as a band musically?
-No, I don’t think so, because this album is composed exactly as I wanted to do… I play in 3 other different bands, so I can do different kinds of metal in different ways. With Fogalord I wanted to create a ‘Sword and Sorcery’ legend based on a historical event and so the music goes in this direction 😉

Where do you draw inspiration from?
-My inspiration comes from nature, medieval history, epic books (the Conan novels, LOTR of course, the HP saga) and from my favourite classical composer R. Wagner. In fact I gave to ‘A Legend To Believe In’ a structure similar to a Wagnerian opera: there are several ”leitmotiv” (the FogLord’s theme, the Fog’s theme, the Sword’s theme, etc..) that return during the songs when their subjects appear in the story.

Are there any limitations to what you can write lyrics about? What favourite topics do you write about?
-I don’t think that I have any limitations writing epic lyrics, just because as I told you before I have another band (Synthphonia Suprema, that released 2 cd in 2006 and 2010) which plays modern-electronic metal with futuristic lyrics… so if I want to write something concerning fantasy, swords and battles I can work with Fogalord but when I need to write abstract and sci-fi oriented lyrics I can work for S. Suprema. They are two different sides of me… and I have two different bands to express myself.

How does the art work have to fit with the music? Is it necessary for the art work and music to go together?
-I think that the artwork is very important because it give the audience the ‘ambientation’ of the music. Unfortunately today with the rising of the Mp3’s artwork have lost importance because it’s only a little icon on your iPod…but when you have a Cd (or a LP) in your hands and you start to listen to that, looking, meanwhile, to the cover.. well, I think that it gives you something more, it creates a sorf of connection between you and the music, especially if the arwork fit perfectly the spirit of the music. Our cover was designed by Felipe Machado (Rhapsody, Blind Guardian, etc..) and contains many elements connected with the album: the fog, a winter-environment, the warrior, the gates (on the left side, that are sung in the opening track ‘At The Gates Of The Silnet Storm’).

How important is presentation to you guys? How much effort do you spend on getting everything to look the right way?
-If you mean clothes and… weapons, yes we used it on the photo session… but we think that music is much more important: I personally prefer to buy a Cd instead of a t-shirt…

In this day and age of digital downloads has the art work become less important with digital booklets etc.?
-Unfortunately yes, as I write before… Artwork is still important today because it shows people your ‘trademark’ also on the web… but a real printed artwork is always better, for me.

I personally am a CD guy and don’t get the whole point of digital music files. Do you see any danger in the package being less important to music consumers of today?
-Yes, I think that digital music changed the way people use to listen to music. The listenings remain on the surface of a song..if you go on youtube you have hundreds of videos of your favourite kind, so you listen to them only few seconds and if your first impressions are not good you skip immediately on the next track…this attitude, in my opinion, don’t give you the chance to assimilate the message behind music (if there’s a message, of course), because not every song can hit you at the first listening… i.e. the first time that I heard the album ‘N.I.M.E.’ by Blind Guardian I did’t like it so much…and now it is probably my favorite metal album!

What future is there for Fogalord?
-Ah I don’t know… We hope to play a lot of live-shows! And I’m writing the second album so this is for sure! Then we’ll see! Anyway thank you very much for your attention and time… and follow the fog!!

GLORIA MORTI

How many Finnish bands can there be? GLORIA MORTI are kinda new to me even though they are on their fourth album. The interview was answered by Juho Räihä. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

When you are on your fourth album does it feel like you are past that difficult third one? What is it that is so hard with the third album?
-Actually I think the second album was the most difficult for us. It’s hard to suddenly have to write a full album worth of songs. The first album is usually written during a long period of time and tends to be distilled from a plethora of songs. But I must add that our third album got its own struggles for sure. Two of our long time members parted ways with the band during the song writing process. The album was kind of a watershed inside the band. Those willing to go all in stayed with the band. To answer your question it feels good to be past all the obstacles and to stand on firm ground.

Does it feel like it is getting harder to come up with original ideas the further into your recording career you come?
-We try to approach every album from a new perspective. It’s true that it is always hard to come up with original ideas. It feels like you are just a passenger when writing music or lyrics. You just sit there and go with whatever ideas come up. I have found it very destructive for the process to purposefully try to come up with something really original or different. You just shoot and analyze after the fact. We try to stay true to ourselves and to not reject any of the ideas first hand. The best ideas come always from a free state of mind, a mind willing to play and not worry about the result. You have your little habits with playing and songwriting process and that’s OK. The innovation usually comes in the arrangement. The possibilities in music are endless. If one keeps an open mind and the willingness to explore, one shouldn’t need to start repeating him or herself.

How much does being Finnish trigger your urge to be better? Do you feel that national competition makes you better?
-Definitely. It’s extremely hard to get noticed in Finland. Even demo bands sound really well rehearsed and produced. The divider is usually the things behind the music. A band playing really well with good sound will not have a following if the songs are bad and there is nothing to relate to in the lyrics. But the general level of Finnish metal bands is insane. It keeps us never settling for anything sub-bar. The drive to be better with nothing to change your course is an innate Finnish attribute.

What kind of scene are Gloria Morti a part of? What is the death metal scene like in Finland?
-I must say that even though we know many of the Finnish Death Metal bands personally, there is no definite scene to participate in. Or so it seems to us. Finns have their own little cottages in the middle of their forests. The whole social scene thing is usually not for us. Though I might add that the blast drummer scene seems to be vibrant. Our drummer Kauko occasionally hangs out with the other drummers, like Kai Hahto and Timo Häkkinen.

How do you feel that the development of the band has matched the idea you had when you signed your first record deal?
-I have never had a really clear image what the band should sound like. One of the best things in music is the freedom to try out different paths. But I must say that I’m really pleased how the band’s sound is developed and how everyone is free to hear it from the albums. I hate it when a band makes ten albums that all sound the same. You’ll need to be able to hear the change. In our case the change happened partly because we were so young when we made the first album. We were nearly minors, like 18 or 19. You are bound to have a change in your sound between your teens and 30’s.
When you sign a deal with a Japanese label what is it that you expect to get out of it?
-We had our feet firmly on the ground when signing the deal. No one expected anything mind blowing. We were just really happy to get our music on a CD and to the stores. There was some talk about going to Japan to play a short tour, but as with so many of these kind of things, the thing got cancelled as not financially reasonable. The album sold quite well and it was a fun experience. Nothing but good memories.

What is the greatest difference between being on a Japanese label contra to a German?
The Germans know their English. At some point it was difficult to keep the information going with the Japanese. Otherwise there is nothing that really outshines.

What has been the greatest setback for Gloria Morti? How have you managed to survive as a band?
-I don’t think we have had any major setbacks, not yet anyway. The postponement of the tour with Marduk and Melechesh was the closest to that description. The tour was supposed to start on November 1st, the day before the release of the upcoming album. Luckily there has been talk about rebooking the tour with Gloria Morti onboard so I think we’ll manage. Tour cancellations are always annoying.

What is it that you want to say with the title ?Lateral Constraint?? How important is the album title?
-The album title is essential to the album. It is a twist from the term Lateral Thinking. which basically means thinking outside the box. Mankind is constantly trying to come up with new innovations and faster computers etc. Why is no one questioning the fact that maybe the road we are on is not necessarily the right one. What if we should think these things in a different light, from a different perspective. The reason behind the inability to think lies mainly on the obsolete institutions we have build for ourselves; Religion, state, money, what have you. These institutions form a barrier, a lateral constraint in our evolution as a species. The point being; we need to do something before the world shits the bed. In this same breath I’ll have to quote the late great George Carlin, who would be my hero if I had heroes:
“I am a personal optimist but a skeptic about all else. What may sound to some like anger is really nothing more than sympathetic contempt. I view my species with a combination of wonder and pity, and I root for its destruction. And please don’t confuse my point of view with cynicism; the real cynics are the ones who tell you everything’s gonna be all right.”

What future plans do you have now with a fourth album out?
-We are eagerly waiting to get touring again. Hopefully the Marduk tour will happen this time as planned. Otherwise we are concentrating on rehearsing as much as possible and connecting with the fans. which reminds me; Go and have a look at https://www.facebook.com/gloriamortiofficial. Hit the like button and get in touch.

GROAN

With the demise of Cathedral we have to look elsewhere for our fix of 70s tinged doomy hardrock/metal. Perhaps GROAN could fill that slot. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

The first time I saw your band name I thought it too simple. The more I thought about it I kinda liked the simplicity of it. How hard was it to come up with it and does it sum up the intentions of the band?
Leigh – I have no idea where the band’s name came from. I’ve never thought about it either. It’s just one of those things really, why do we put the letters D O G together to describe a four legged animal that barks? I’m not sure if the name deliberately has anything to do with who we are or what we do, but it seems to fit really well.

I totally missed out on your first album. How does the new one compare to that one?
Mazzereth – The first album, The Sleeping Wizard, did its job, which was to combine elements of fuzz, metal and catchy doom n roll. For The Divine Right of Kings we have simply built upon the strong foundations that were laid down by The Sleeping Wizard. I feel as though this album has soaked up more of our personality which can range from deadly serious to impish pricks, depending on the fullness of the moon.

Are you guys into following a progression chart or are you just happy being stuck on one spot in time?
Mazz – I think I speak for us all when we say that we want to progress, it would be a crime against ourselves as men of artistic vision if we simply tread water. There will always be some elements of albums that will stick to one spot in time. We will always have a couple of balls out rockers in the vein of AC/DC but I can also see us writing longer and more ‘produced’ epics. Making a film and writing the soundtrack to it would be my ultimate goal for this bunch of herberts.

Is it a specific British thing to treasure the 60s/70s because of the cultural history or is it simply the time when the best rock/hardrock was made?
Leigh – The late 60s and early 70s is the only time period that that music could have been made. People romanticize about the 60s and 70s a lot, but it was a horrible time when you think about it. Homosexuality was a crime in the UK until 1967, and even then it was only made legal if you were over 21. Casual racism was everywhere. There was the beginning of the decline of industry and the oil crisis. The world has always been a horrible place. The only difference between then and now is that we have mobile phones with pornography on them today.

What in specific influences you to create the music you play? Is there a best before date that you never cross when it comes to inspiration/influence?
Leigh – I always joke that music stopped being good after 1975, and even though I listen to new bands who sound like they were in a time capsule like Graveyard or Horisont, it’s important not to limit yourself when it comes to influences. Rock and roll is about so much more than just music and sonic soundscapes – imagery and attitude are a huge part of rock music, so while we may not sound anything like Van Halen for instance, we wish to emulate the feeling that their fans get when they listen to them.

How well does hardrock and satanic themes go together? What can the esoteric thematic add to the music?
Mazz – Hard Rock and Satan goes together like Chips n Cheese. The whole package for me is pure escapism, pure theatre, like watching a good Hammer Horror film. I’m aware though that some people can take it too seriously, but if they choose to do that then let it be so. The esoteric themes can help paint the picture in your head, you’re hearing the riff and you’re thinking “yeah that sounds kind of dirty, kind of evil” and then the esoteric lyrics will simply help push your mind into that direction thus completing the equation.

How important is imagery to portray any themes you want put forth?
Leigh – Imagery is an important part of every band’s output. I remember buying CDs as a teenager, and Mazz probably remembers buying LPs, and I would just stare at the artwork and digest every inch of the booklet while I listened to the music. I love “Songs for the Deaf” by Queens of the Stone Age because there’s really vivid imagery that goes along with that album that makes it impossible to hear any song from it and not know which album it’s from. On our last few releases we’ve been working with an incredibly talented American artist called Ralph Walters who really understands what we’re about as a band. He’s really outdone himself with the artwork for The Divine Right of Kings.

When you play music that sounds old is there ever any danger of being stuck in a box and not getting out of it? How do you avoid being branded a certain type of band?
Mazz – Well we’re not that well known at the moment, so I’m not feeling like we are stuck in a box. I also think that we can come across as a “confusing” band. Our subject matter such as Satan, Armageddon, Wizards et cetera does not seem to fit with our personalities. We are generally positive people who like to have a good time and don’t worry about the things in life that don’t matter, yet at the same time we will turn to you and say “Get your kicks while you can because it’s all fucked, bad times are coming”.

How literary inclined are you as a band? I sometime get a feeling that it is expected of British bands to be a bit more cultivated? How much a product of your upbringing are you guys?
Mazz – I’m more of an autodidact, I love reading especially about History & Science and Religion. I don’t have any qualifications of note, I did go university and struggled and got kicked out then I found out three years ago, at the age of 33, that I’m dyslexic so that might explain a few of my academic failings, that and the hard partying. I have no problem reading but I can’t write for shit, the logic (or illogic) of grammar and spelling just does not stick in my mind, I can’t retain that information. It’s a pain in the ass but then I think perhaps if I was not dyslexic then I might not be a righteous front man. The rest of the band are smart chaps, morally well adjusted and a joy to be around. You can chat to them about the most stupid of things then all of a sudden flip 180% and discuss Plato.

Is there a future for Groan?
Mazz – I hope so, for I fear for my future if not. I can’t see myself working my desk job until I retire, something has to give. So, European promoters, you know what to do! Book the Groan, let us blow your minds and kill your brains. We are all one consciousness; let us unite as one under the banner of THUNDER BOOGIE.

KYSHERA

You might have read Shan’s review of KYSHERA’s album “Made In China” and wondered what it was all about. Here follows the answer to that. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Does being Welsh bring with it anything special? Are the Welsh the underdogs of the British Empire?
-The Welsh are definitely still among the underdog’s. It’s still OK for people to ridicule the Welsh & be derogatory towards them on British TV & in the press etc in ways that would be deemed racist if they were directed at another group but for us, as a band, being Welsh doesn’t have much impact on the sound, as we are a very eclectic band with influences from all genre’s & all parts of the world. Personally speaking as well, being Welsh is not a big issue for me as I consider myself to be a ‘human being’ primarily & I am not patriotic towards one small piece of land.

When trios are mentioned it often referred to as power trio. What is a power trio? What are the advantages of being a trio?
-I’m not sure what a ‘power trio’ really means, but for us, being a trio just feels right. We do use electronics as well so there is more going on at a live show than just the 3 of us playing but with the kind of fast paced, schizophrenic music we play, we would run the risk of it sounding messy if we had any more players! As it is, we’ve got a tight little unit that sounds as big as a motherfucker, so we’re happy.

Over the last 25-30 years we’ve seen some really great bands come from Wales but they seem few and far between yet every time it happens there seem to talk of a Welsh wonder. What is it like to be a band in Wales?
-Probably the same as anywhere else. There are cliques & scene’s (none of which we are part of!), clubs closing down, lots of bands trying to ‘make it’, not a lot of places to play & a general leaning towards re-hashing things which have already been done before.

I’ve seen a couple of reviews for your album “Made In China” and the reactions seem to vary. How much attention do you focus on reviews? What does a review mean to a band?
-Reviews are important in getting the word out about the release but you can’t worry too much if you get a bad review – what are you supposed to do, retract the album & re-write it to the taste of a journalist somewhere. Once you release it, you have to stand behind it & accept that some people will like & some won’t. All press is good press when you’re a smaller, independent band. It’s great when someone really ‘gets it’ though & accurately conveys the album’s vibe to their readers.

What kind of publicity is the best kind of publicity to get for a band on its way up?
-Any! Unless its publicity showing you to be a talentless fame seeker with no integrity or genuine artistic ambition – although there are people that wouldn’t care about that either!

Is there a greater point to the name of the album or is it just a case of British humour?
-Yes, the song ‘Made in China’ is about social engineering. How western societies are ‘manufactured’ simply to consume the products that are produced in the equally designed 3rd world (designed to produce). It’s pretty well accepted that most 3rd world economies have been structured to suit to the needs of globalisation but what good is all this cheap produce without people to buy it all? So, my spin on that is that consumer countries’ economies (the West) have been equally ‘structurally adjusted’ to be the other part in the capitalist Behemoth. We too are ‘products’ (produced to consume other products), we too are ‘Made in China’.

When you put together a tour what is it that you expect to get out of it? What kind of places will you play?
-We love touring! We expect to play lots of places, meet lots of cool people & hopefully introduce lots of new people to the band! The ‘Made in China’ tour will be a club tour around the UK & Europe, dates at http://www.kyshera.com

Is touring still a great way of building a band?s reputation?
-I think so. There’s other ways obviously, but a live show is still something special, you can’t download a live show onto your phone, its an experience, a shared moment in time between band & audience!

How much of DIY band is Kyshera? What does DIY mean today?
-Kyshera is now 100% independent! We were signed to a recording contract but that ended with a court case so we will be ‘doing it ourselves’ for the foreseeable future! All of our releases now come out through our own Konic Records.

What would an ideal future look like?
-For us as a band? I guess playing & making music for more & more people in more & more places! If you mean for the world in general, for me it would be a future whereby the decisions that affect people’s lives are made by those people themselves & not the 1%, a future where reason & rationality replaces religion & daft thinking, where compassion & humility reign in a culture that values scientific & artistic endeavour – that sort of thing

LIDANDE

I was late in finding out about LIDANDE but as they say; better late than never. So here follows an interview I did with Manny about the past of this band. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

How does a band end up with the Swedish word for suffering for a name?
-Hi, well it was given to us by Nachtzeit (Hypothermia, Lustre, Life Neglected) and we thought it would go perfect with the style of music we play, because life is suffering until the day we die.

What is that you want to say by being in a band? What does it mean to you to be a part of a group?
-Originally the band was formed from depravity of every day life and I thought there was nothing better than to create a band that I can unleash all that was in me. Primarily it is a very personal matter and the music usually does not get under the listener’s skin until after several listens in a dark, or isolated atmosphere away from everyday life and without distra_ctions! Its far more than standing up for the message behind the work which is total hate for the things of this world..there is just too much to explain and, in doing that would deteriorate the deeper essence which is the core of the music in which the listener should dig into. Not everyone can appreciate this type of music

Black metal is not just simply one thing. How did you find your way to the style of black metal that became Lidande?
-Well, after being into some black metal for about four years I eventually started to check out some labels and found some interesting underground black metal labels that promoted bands that were original and had the roots of pure black metal and it’s just something that happens I guess, it’s just something that is created and put together ….the spirit always leads.

When you are underground are there a means to an end by staying true to the underground? Does it add cred not being a part of the mainstream?
-I honestly do not care about being underground, or mainstream.. the work will go where it will, and it makes no difference to me as long as the person or people are interested in the material and not the band members itself, I believe music is apart from even what I have to say about my own self or what anyone else does for that matter…as to people believe what they want and it makes no difference to me, as everyone chooses their own path. The sounds are just a reflection of ourselves and nothing more, I would hope that people start to enjoy the music and not base their opinions on the junk that is said and spread by people that have no idea what they are talking about.

You seem to have been prolific in recording stuff. What have been the reasons behind unleashing so much material?
-Okay, there is always right timing when it comes to patient creativity. The band released it’s first demo in 2005, on to “Departure” which was released in 2006, which is pretty much a soul swapping, mind breaking story about emptiness and filling the void, which completes the vision as far as for my band, the other band being Hypothermia.

How important has the symbolic side of being black metal been to you? What is black metal to you?
-Very, I take the meaning and expression very seriously and it is certainly not of this world, I believe that it’s an art portraying the conflicting beings which is in opposition of the world, and total rejection of the ordinance of demand which holds no true freedom of belief or will for that matter.

How active have you been in getting the band’s name out to those that might be interested?
-I am not exactly sure what you are trying to write but, I stopped caring about what material is new or keeping track long ago, as far as speaking towards recommendation then I would say if you are looking for a lo-fi, draining black metal that’s unlike any other band then this is the way to go. Usually I would say it can get into anyone heart but preferably those into bands like Xasthur, Mutiilation, Noise music similar to Atrax Morgue and Stalaggh, and bands like Lycia, Sigur Ros, Cocteau Twins. There is no limit.

How would you like the band to be perceived by the black metal heads?
-They can perceive it however they take it, there is not one way to enjoy or measure the art, but personally speaking a devoted, unconditional fire which represents everything and everything yet nothing but nothingness. One of our goals has been to speak the voice of angels and the divine creator himself.

What does the being independent mean to you? Is there a greater freedom in not being tied to anybody?
-Perhaps, usually people get caught up with what has been said or lies and forget the purpose and vision behind certain activity of the band itself, to elaborate. I think when creating this type of art its best to refrain from publicity and labels until the time is right to complete the vision and art that which has pretty much holds a lot of value for me personally. Because I know that they are listeners who are hostile towards mainstream music as much to the underground so, I thought to create these sounds for a similar “seeker”

What future are there for Lidande?
-As of now the band is disbanded, I see no reason to continue the band however, anything’s possible

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AguQ1XIHQ0g (Audial Murder)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUGTV-GZxOE (Audial Exorcism)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WS2iOU8kxpQ (Departure)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTyMFHwl7Ik&feature=plcp (Heavenly Metal)

NACHTLIEDER

Swedish black metal is not the same as Norwegian. Yet both are influential in their own right. Sweden’s NACHTLIEDER will soon have their debut album out. In the meantime read this interview I did. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

In recent years it’s become more common to have band names that are not English words. Why is it that German is such a suitable language for band names?
-Well, we all need to find ways to stand out in the massive crowd of bands and I guess having a band name in a different language is one way to look more exotic. Being a Germanic language it’s still easy for English speaking people to understand German, so it’s… convenient. I just love the way it sounds though. It has very harsh and ugly elements as well as extremely beautiful ones, just like BM music. I
knew from the start I wanted my band name to be in German.

How does a band from Sweden find its way onto a label from the States? What does geography mean in today’s black metal world?
-Don’t ask me, ask my label. I found Unmerciful Death when buying an album from Turkish metal act Sirannon and thought, why the hell not send them a demo. Considering communication geography means nothing today with the Internet and all (did it even matter in the time BEFORE Internet?). I guess you get some kind of status just by saying you’re a Scandinavian metalhead, but living here I have no idea why, haha.

There is not one single black metal universe but a countless number of them. How did you find your true voice of the black metal underground?
-Excellent question, and a damn difficult one to answer. I think I started making music and then I wanted to find music that already sounded like what I wanted to create. Eventually I ended up in the
dark part of the avant garde universe. I like art, I always have and my main objective with this project is musical crafting. Within avant garde metal I feel there is more focus on creating interesting music
rather than spreading some kind of message (whatever it may be).

When you are alone in doing things how much freedom does that allow you to create your own vision?
-I wanted to keep this project to myself to get as much artistic freedom as possible, but there are still boundaries. I don’t play the drums which as we know are insanely important in metal. My drummer
Martrum and I have been playing together for a really long time though. We have the same open view on music and the same references so working with him is a blast (and also grind). Sometimes our ideas clash of course, but we have always found ways to work everything out. So the drums are a boundary for me, but through my drummer I can basically still create what I want.

Do you feel that you fit into a Swedish black metal tradition or do you act outside of the realm?
-I don’t know, what is the Swedish BM tradition? Swedish BM is generally not my cup of tea, but I have been listening to it a lot in the past so the music has definitely influenced me in some ways. But no, I don’t feel like I’m a part of this.

This might be a boring question but what is it about Scandinavia that has allowed for so many great black metal acts to rise up?
-It’s not a boring question, it’s an interesting one! I don’t think I have the answer though. The Scandinavian music scene is famous regardless of genre. You could speculate around the usual cheap/free music schools and the old working class tradition of “studying circles” which makes it easy and cheap for bands to rehearse. No wars, low crime, good economy… But there are many, many great black metal bands from all over the world. Considering the BM history in Scandinavia, or more specifically Norway, I believe Scandinavian bands perhaps tend to get a little more attention because of it.

Do you feel any sort of pride being a part of the Scandinavian black metal culture? Is there a community spirit within the black metal scene or is it just single individuals being misanthropic on
their own?
-Well yes, BM and extreme metal over all is one of our biggest cultural exports, of course I’m proud of it. But community spirit… no. The scene is actually not that strong here. There’s a lack of truly
passionate individuals, both musicians and fans. Frankly most people I meet are douchebags striving to become rock stars rather than creating great music and art. If there is a community spirit I’m not a part of it, and I don’t think I would want to be.

How important is the imagery to you as a band? Where do you draw inspiration from for the graphic side?
-It’s very important as a complement to the music. Making an album is more than just putting a couple of songs together, it’s a whole piece of crafting that needs to be cohesive and balanced. I like simplicity in imagery and I draw inspiration from dreams/nightmares, surrealism, horror and ghost stories as well as traditional BM aesthetics.

Is there a lyrical theme that you follow wholeheartedly? What kind of inspiration do you find for the lyrics?
-No, I don’t have a concept I’m concentrating on. Looking at the lyrics for this album it’s a lot about alienation, disappointment and violence. “The subconsciousness of the human mind” if you want to get artsy and pretentious. They’re very personal this time, I guess that’s natural for a debut. I always finish a song with the lyrics and I start with just writing words and short phrases that feel right with
the music. So the music itself is my main inspiration, but sometimes I need help to finish up what I have started. I usually find this in other lyrics or in literature with the same themes.

What ideal future plans would you like to see come true?
First of all I’m gonna finish the release of this album, then I will complete my second one. Taking this project live is more of an idea than a plan at the moment and I’m sure as hell not ready for it, but
it would be fun, some day.

http://www.reverbnation.com/nachtlieder
http://www.myspace.com/nachtlieder