Deals Death Interview
@ 02 Islington Academy
5th April 2014
Interview by Ben Spencer
Photography by Graham Hilling
Straight after an interview with tonight’s head liners Aamranthe, we journeyed outside the 02 Academy and were met by Deals Death front man Ollie Ekman who suggested we conduct our interview on the band’s respective Tour bus. Once inside, he informs us not to stare too long at the lights due to risk of burning our retinas (laughs), and so we begin to learn more about the Finish Metal titans whose sound has been evolving ever since their early formation in 2007.
Firstly how has the tour with Amaranthe been so far? You guys looking forward to tonight?
Ollie: Yeah first UK show tonight, it’s a great tour, its our first big European tour with a good bus and we can sleep well where we couldn’t before. I like touring it’s really good for us (smiles)
When you guys released Internal Demons back in 2008 it was described as a point where your music began to take form. In what ways did this album help shape you guys into who you are today?
Ollie: (ponders) It was released early 2009 but it wasn’t a proper release it was only digital through I tunes etc. It was our first CD and the one where everyone got to know us so we had expectations from that. Also we had to play every song live as that was what was on the CD. Then we started to know which songs fitted the live show and which songs should just be left to the recording studio and that’s a good lesson to learn from the first album.
Some songs didn’t fit my vocal style for the next album so that’s why the first and second album are pretty different. We figured out what actually works and what we can play with the new members as the first release was more of a studio effort, we didn’t have a solid line up but when we had a solid line up we had to change the sound because people are different and they play in different ways.
Following from that, could you tell me more about in what ways both albums are different from each other?
Ollie: (Pauses) Similar in a way that the guitars dominate the bigger sound picture so to speak. The production from the first one to the second one are pretty different and I think my vocal style changed quite a lot from number 1 to number 3. With the first album it was more like “Yeah let’s speed everything up some more” then after three albums we figured out what songs actually work and you get more sophisticated after a few albums as you play more live shows and you learn what works best.
(Looks up) It’s like when you meet a partner and everything starts of crazy then after a few years you get more sophisticated and kind of grow into it and that is how it changes. So it wasn’t a planned thing, you come up with new ideas, listen to new bands and things evolve.
I heard that this album also featured Alexander Kouppala from Children of Bodom, how did you he come to work you guys?
Ollie: Erik met him in Helsinki I cant give you a solid year but it was around 2006-2007 and he was interested in Finish metal music and he had some guitar lessons and met up with him from there. So when we recorded Internal Demons in 2008 we contacted him he recorded a guitar solo and sent it to us and we put it on the CD. It was good (laughs)
When you uploaded the Death Metal Vocal Exercises, it very quickly went viral. Has uploading this video helped you guys in any way (draw in new fans etc) and how important do you feel social media is in the modern world of music?
Olle: (enthusiastically) Its essential. I cant imagine a band hitting hard without the use of social media so its important. Although you cant have any shitty product up on social media you have to have something and use social media to put it out. Its really important.
There was another unserious video of me on a piano which was really good for us as a US Blogger took it on and put it on one of his Youtube shows and it just blew up from there. If it wasn’t me doing some stupid shit, it was something relevant to the band. I mean you can always strip naked and run around a tree and get some views, but it wasn’t a stupid thing it was more me just practicing my vocals.
Yeah you cant do without it as everyone uses it. I mean when radio was the current thing, everyone who wanted to make it had to go down that route and when people got TVs you had to get on TVs and that’s the way it progresses I think.
You guys have worked with the guitarist from Scar Symmetry in the past. What was it like working with him and would you consider working with him for future releases?
Ollie: Yes Jonas, he used to play in Scar Symmetry. Yeah he mixed our album Elite and we recorded the new album with him entirely every instrument except for the keyboard that we recorded in my hometown. It was a good thing to be in one place and get to know the guy even more. He also has loads of experience from way back and he has a great set up in his studio. Yeah we want to work with him in some way. He was a singer in one of his previous bands so he can really help me out with my vocal patterns and help me to use my voice and not recording too may songs in a row.
What’s next on the horizon for you guys?
Ollie: Well when we come home, after two days you get the tour hangover (laughs). We going to write some new songs and plan to play some festivals over the Summer, we’ve already booked ones right now and get down to recording some new demos to pitch to the labels and hope for some more tours over the winter.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that hasn’t already been covered?
Olle: Come to one of our shows and see what we are all about. I mean you can only learn so much from listening the CD and the internet. So come to a live show and feel the interaction and the power and performance. That’s the best way to experience a band in the first place. That’s what I like to do myself. I listen to some CDs but its much more fun to see a band live for the first time as you feel the song, the sing writing, the performance, the sweat, blood and whatever and then you can really relate to the music when you have the performance in your mind.