Interview with Pander

Interview with Pander

- in Written interviews

Hello! The Frisian Netherlands has a unique musical heritage. How has your hometown and its culture influenced your sound and creative process?
Hi, Stanley & Antichrist! Thanks for the invitation to answer your questions! To be honest… It didn’t influence our approach of sound and the way we create our material. Ok, maybe you can relate our organic sound a bit to Frisian nature & history. If you want to. But only then in terms of atmosphere.

Pander has been active since 2011. How has your perspective on the music industry and being a musician evolved since then?
In this niche/subgenre we’re in – in general –, you’ve got to have that DIY mentality, to promote yourself as a band and pushing things forward. This has always been the case. Nowadays it’s tougher to stick your neck out and spread your name as a band. It’s all about social media now and getting your music on several streaming services. And there are a lot of bands around today who record their stuff themselves, at home (so to speak), and then putting it out on the internet rather quickly. So, to distinguish your band a bit more from the others – be more visible –, you have to use the aforementioned tools effectively. And, in terms of evolving as a musician… I’ve become a well skilled player/musician over the years (I’ve been in Pander since late 2016). A development that actually never stops. I grew also as a songwriter; bringing forward ideas to the band that bear more diversity.

“Break the Oath” has been described as having a more dense, doomy sound than your previous releases. How did you approach creating this sound and what inspired this shift in your music?
‘’Break the Oath’’ is the first album we recorded as a three piece. First of all this implied another approach of – literally – the sound. Therefore we started to experiment with the thickness of guitar and bass soundings, in order to gain more effective power. So we ‘’fooled around‘’ with our amplification (settings included). But we also played with the further on colouring of the sound; to achieve that even more layered and dense sound. These changes made an allover rather different approach of our songwriting. We wanted to give room to more widened up passages within particular songs – as with the likes of tracks ‘’It Burns’’ and ‘’Break the Oath’’ –, to accent our increased heavy, more doom and also psychedelic infused sound. And, added to that, we wanted to intertwine more dynamics, more diversity within the songwriting, also intended to capture different atmospheres. I think we managed that pretty well.

Your lyrics on “Break the Oath” deal with themes of humanity’s place in the universe and the consequences of our actions. What inspired these themes and how do you hope your listeners will connect with them?
Looking back on things, inspiration was found – for the biggest part – in personal matters that took place in a long period of time. Say around the moment our previous album ‘’Fierce Self’’ was released (eight years ago) up till and throughout the period of time we worked on the ‘’Break the Oath’’ album. Dealing back then with stuff like personal challenges, loss, grief, uncertainty, happiness and growth. Unconsciously, to be honest, these things found their way in the lyrical content, in combination with the atmospheres of the music itself that came to front. Maybe our listeners find – to a certain extent – recognition and peace of mind by the lyrics. It’s not unthinkable, because the content mainly deals with them ups and downs in life we all do experience.

“Break the Oath” features a variety of different tempos and moods within its tracks. How do you balance those different elements and create a cohesive album experience?
Writing the song material we tried to keep an eye and ear on a more or less natural flow of these different elements within the songs. Also – in the end – the order of appearance of the particular songs on the album, in how they relate to each other in terms of tempo and atmosphere, was an important thing to look at. I think we did a pretty good job in how we managed to balance all the elements and that particular order the slow songs and the more up tempo ones do appear on the album.

Can you discuss the symbolism behind the album art and how it connects to the themes of the album?
As human beings we uphold that mask much too often, trying to cover up our pain and struggle. We show all kinds of behavior then, in order to put down feelings like anger, fear or guilt. It is an intense internal process and challenge to get rid off the mask; we mostly then act and react in a negative way towards our social environment and – unfortunately – surpass the good and positivity that is kept deep inside of us.

What is the most challenging aspect of being in a heavy metal band today? How do you overcome those challenges?
It is nowadays much tougher getting shows to play, compared to – say – fifteen years ago. I think that’s the hardest aspect. As I mentioned before, today there are a lot of bands around that do record and release their stuff themselves. This is more the case than before. Helped by social media tools and streaming services bands bring their music up to the front. So, venues can pick from a big well. It is therefore a major challenge for a band to get shows, to overcome it. Góód visibility, a good promotion of your band to gét those shows might help certainly. Pander receives and received support from Argonauta Records, the label we are with. Of course, it helped and helps to get more people to know your name and music. But, based on Pander’s experience – in most cases –, you still have to approach venues for gigs yourself. Rather than the other way around.

Pander has played a significant number of shows over the years. Can you discuss your live performance philosophy and what you hope to convey to your audience during a show?
We try to reproduce the rawness and heavy underbelly of the studio material’s sound on stage as good as we can. In order to create a certain atmosphere that – hopefully – will take the audience in tow, pull it into the songs. Of course, it doesn’t work out that good all the time. But, in general, the audience’s response – so far – had been pretty satisfying. We don’t complain.:)

Can you discuss the role of visual art and aesthetics in Pander’s music and overall brand?
Our music bears that visceral power, a rather primal, instinctive touch, and is from an aesthetic point of view – in general – not that subtle, that refined. But, on the other hand, its emotional underlay that comes along with this visceral, raw power, is pretty strong and has – to a certain extent – a visual vibe. And, therefore, it is this synergy between the ‘Break the Oath’ artwork – as explained in one of the questions above – and the music and song lyrics that do emphasize the roll of the visual (art) aspect within the – so to speak – Pander idiom (or, yeah, brand).

Pander’s line up changed from a four-piece to a three-piece band in 2017. How did this affect your songwriting and creative process?
First of all we had to redefine our sound. A more heavy, more low infused sound came to the surface. It made that we started to experiment with these thickened guitar-bass layers, trying to incorporate them layers effectively within the to be written songs. This required a kind of different way of songwrting. It all came together in more stretched out songs, that bear more doom parts than to be heard on the previous Pander material. Comes with it that we have grown as a songwriting unit, that has found its creative outcome on the latest album, featuring also more varied songs.

Can you discuss any other creative endeavors that members of Pander are involved in outside of the band?
From a band related perspective, our drummer Peter is also involved as a guitar-player in black/thrash metal outfit Sadotank, a band as well originated in the Frisian Netherlands. Do go check them out. Good stuff; a fast and brutal metal mayhem.

What can fans expect from Pander in the future? Thank you!
We are busy writing material for the next album. Work in progress.. Maybe to be released somewhere in late ‘24. Who knows! It will be there when the time is right.:) Wait and see! In the meantime we definitely play shows. Check our socials, all you dear stoners and doomers, to get updated!
Thank again, Stanley, for your questionnaire/paying attention to us! You and Antichrist Magazine, keep up the good metal work!

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