Stormhold is heavy/power metal band formed in Gislaved, Sweden in 2008. Antichrist Metalzine brings you an interview with Jann Ekberg, Stormhold′s bass guitar player.
To be honest, I didn´t hear about Stormhold before Salvation album. I picked it to review it based on very interesting art cover. And I did not regret. Salvation was revelation! Who is Stormhold? Tell me something about the band name.
Hi Ivona, nice to hear from you and thank you for your kind words! We’re a Swedish heavy/power metal band that has the roots in a medieval fantasy world. The name “Stormhold” is famous as a kingdom from a fantasy world, a mighty kingdom!
The band is active for almost a decade, and you have two albums behind “Battle of the Royal Halls” and “Salvation”. Did the band change from one to another album and how?
Yeah, I would say it has been a change, not a big change though! If you compare Battle of the royal halls with Salvation you can hear that the song writing in “Salvation” is more in the same frame between the songs, a more original sound than “Battle”, where we found that the songs sometimes feels have a different input because during that album we had totally four different guitarists and everyone have their way to play while writing the songs.
Salvation was released at the end of 2017. So far, in which direction the promotion goes?
We do what we can to promote it on our social medias and ask friends and fans to share it. The promotion for media and such is made buy Pure Steel Publishing and so far, we′ve had some good reviews about it and we′re very thankful for that!
Starting from the album cover, who is the mastermind of very effective art work?
The idea of having the plague doctor standing in this village that is clearly infected with the plague, the black death, is made of the band and we also waned to put some details from other songs from the album and traces from our first album in it as well so I did a sketch of it and send it to the same guy that made “Battle of the Royal Halls”, Henrik Jacobson! All cred to him for making our ideas look so good!
It seems Stormhold takes care of every visual detail. Coat of arms, your stage appearance… Where have you found inspiration for visual identity?
We′ve always put a big effort for our live shows and appearance on stage. And we wanted to have something that could give us an identity, so people can see and recognize us also from how we look and that symbolize what we play and how we sound.
Let´s leave aside your visual appearance and talk about your music. “Salvation” seems to be a concept album.
It’s actually not a concept album. We have songs about adventures to explore the ocean and find the edge of the world, a stranger no one knows where he′s from, songs with a deeper meaning like path of no return etc. Every song has its own story.
Mainly, as I perceived, lyrics are romantic. Who is the most emotional in the band?
Ha,ha, that′s a hard question to answer! Maybe I could be the most emotional because as a leader I′m trying to care for everyone and always count everyone′s vote. And, I’′ also the one writing lyrics that′s not tells about something epic like battles or warriors, ha, ha. As an example, we′ll never fall, is dedicated to my family and friends and tells that no one is different, we are all the same. But I guess we all have our emotional sides.
What stands out are the lyrics. More poetry than classic lyrics. Can you tell me something about writing process? What inspires you?
It′s hard to say. We all have different ways to approach how to write lyrics. But generally, we write about what comes up in our minds or if we hear about something that may song like a cool subject for a song!
You are coming from Sweden, so you have all the predispositions to make great career. Coming from a country that gave so many bands, is it burden or blessing for you?
It′s both, ha, ha. It′s a blessing because it says a lot about the quality of Swedish music but also means that you must keep up with the quality ha, ha! But it makes us proud as well to have all these bands from Sweden showing the world that Sweden is a country with a good taste of music and how to make it.
Scandinavia is small from the population perspective. It seems, if we take a look at number of metal bands, that almost in every Scandinavian house you can find metalhead. How do you explain phenomenon of so many bands in relation to population?
Don′t know… Maybe it′s a “Viking thing”? Ha, ha. Maybe it′s because kids here have the chance to play music and try out different instruments and how it is to play in a band that lights the fire and then realize the social value of playing and making music together, and we have a good stage for kids to perform.
All over the world, people are mostly downloading music. In metal, we still have the culture of buying CD′s and lately fans and bands are back to vinyls. You are a younger generation of metalheads, so what format of music do you prefer?
The digital format is great to have with you in the pocket, so you can listen and easy show your friends but it′s always the best with a physical object and to know that you support the bands you like!
It is hard to be original today. What innovative Stormhold brought to metal?
We would say we brought something new to the old sound, we mix our song from heavy to melodic, from fast to slow songs etc but still with the way of playing so you can hear it′s us. We want to combine what our influences do all together.
So far you have been supporting Hammer Fall, Grave Digger, Dream Evil… Tell me something about that experience. What did you learn from your older colleagues?
Stick to your guns and do what you think is fun!
I saw the video where you performed ″Man on the Edge″ with Blaze Bayley. Where was it taken?
It′s recorded in a town called Huskvarna in Sweden at an event called Rock & Art!
How did you “deserve” to share the stage with phenomenal Blaze?
We where playing on the same event called Rock & Art in Huskvarna, Sweden. The booking agent and organizer for the event, Kristian, liked our band and knew about that Iron Maiden is one of the main influences for Stormhold and just came up with the idea to ask Blaze if he would like to perform with us and he said yes! Such a great guy! Blaze also did some promotion for us after the show and we′re very thankful for what he did! But wouldn′t been happening without Kristian, thank you so much for that!
Besides music, what is your profession?
Well, I started to study to become a music teacher and the rest of the members have ordinary jobs on factories and offices.
The highlight of your career so far…
Playing with Blaze for sure! The Italian tour with Grave Digger! When the first album was released! And also have to say that Twilight Force asked for help when their singer got sick just before a sold-out concert with Sonata Arctica and asked if we cold help them out to sing in is place, so me and Filip did it together and we had a blast!
Any plans for headline tour?
No, not what we can see now. But we would like to go out as supporter to a more known band.
What do you expect in the future?
To make more albums, make shows and continue spreading the world about Stormhold.
Thank you so much for your time and cooperation.
Stormhold will rise!