interview with The Driftwood Sign

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Have any of you played in other bands? Yes, we've all been active for a while. Adam has played with a number of rock/metal bands, the most prominent being Nattsmyg, Acrasia, Wulfgar and Scorned Disciple. Danny has played in Danger and Dirty Passion among others. Anders was mostly in some acoustic constellations doing the wedding/event scene. Gabriel has previously played in bands such as Farma 'Tan, Simsoak, various cover bands and has also been a session bass player....

What are your names? / Who plays what?

Anders Ekenstierna - Vocals

Danny Ebenholtz - Drums

Adam Nilsson - Guitars

Gabriel Jankowski - Bass

Have you had other previous members? Yes, there have been quite a few changes in line-up, with Anders and Danny being the original members who started up the band, and the constant driving force.

Where are you from? The band is based in Malmö - Sweden which is the closest to where we all live.

What year did the band form? 2009

What's your style of genre? Hard to say, and genres are confusing. We’ll give it a try: On our self titled EP we sort of fell into a post grunge/hard rock category, but when we started writing material for our upcoming full length Broken Times we wanted to venture into a heavier sound. A lot of the new material is more riff and rhythm based, while still maintaining a heavy emphasis on melody. I guess you could call it grunge-metal?

What inspires you? 

Anders - good music of any kind. When I push myself to get into the songwriter mode stuff keeps popping up in my head. Most of the time I need to go and learn on guitar what I hear in my head.
Danny - It could be anything really. Beats, lyrics, melodies or a cool riff often pop up randomly in my head many times. Also often if I hear, see or feel something that attracts me, will trigger my creative part of the brain and an idea is born. I dont know how to explain it honestly.
Adam - I’m yet to be a lyric writer, so my inspirations are purely musical at this point. I get inspired by bands and artists who go their own way, bands who really sound like no-one else. As far as metal goes that mainly includes Meshuggah, Opeth and Mattias IA Eklundh, but I can get inspired by just about any genre really. The tiniest fraction of even a pop song could give me a rhythmic or melodic idea that I then develop into something completely different and make my own.
Gabriel - Everything that gives me positive energy and joy such as my family, music, art or simply a good cup of coffee.

Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? At this point we have two band members with young children, so we will stick to closer shows and one night deals for the time being.

Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? Not sure, the music industry today is a jungle, and you get so many different opinions from “experts”. A record deal today doesn’t really mean much unless you already have a huge fan-base that you somehow garnered through social media etc, and at that point you might just be better of without the label anyways.

What are your songs about? Current world events, mental health, fake news, addiction, the human condition in general.

Who does the composing and writes the lyrics?

Everyone writes their own instrument parts, and everyone is welcome to come with song ideas. Most of the songs on the upcoming album were ideas by Anders, (who played rhythm guitar earlier) one song was written by Danny, and Adam wrote one song and collaborated with Anders on two others.
Gabriel joined the band when the album was already written, so he didn’t get a chance to write any songs, but he wrote almost all bass lines on the album.
As for lyrics, Danny wrote the lyrics for his song, Anders wrote the rest of the lyrics for the album.

Do you compose in a certain environment? At home usually, we’ll come up with ideas on our own and polish them a bit before presenting them to the rest of the band. There were a few bits and pieces on the album that came about from jamming in the band practice room, but that’s usually not our most efficient way of working.

Have you done any covers live? Way back I think we did a few. Not our thing really. 

What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs? Haha! From 1 person to a couple of hundred. 

What ages are most of your concert attendants?

I’d say anything from 25-55, it depends on where we play of course. We somehow ended up at a blues/rock festival in Aarhus, Denmark a while back and 90% of the audience were 50+ and wearing cowboy hats. And the event organizers had taken the liberty to describe us as a blues based band. We put on a good show and did our best, but a lot of people stayed in the beer tent with a frown when we played haha. Too loud I guess. Had a great time though!

Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary?
We try to make every show flow in its own way, we know certain songs fit well after each other, and for logistical reasons we tend to avoid certain orders (We use two different tunings so we need to change guitars between some songs) but we always change stuff around, and we try to bring something new to the table each time. 

We’ve played a lot of the album songs live even though it’s not released, but before, when we just had the 5 song EP and two singles out it was of course harder to not play the same songs.

Do you have a regular place you play live often? Not really.

What was your first gig like? It was good times. Exciting, and we did a good show. All of our families and friends were there. Non alcoholic show which in Sweden is kind of a bummer. Swedish people in general need booze to let loose.

What was your latest gig? We played at Raise Your Horns festival on the Danish island Bornholm. Best gig in a while for us, we got to play a 45 minute set, so we tested out a few new songs and the organizers and sound crew were really professional so everything just sounded great, which of course helped us play better.

Where have you played live this year? Seeing as we’ve been hard at work with the album and everything that entails, we have not focused on looking for gigs. We did play the Popkorn competition at the Tivoli in Helsingborg this spring, the Malmö Festival Rock stage at the end of summer, and the aforementioned festival in Denmark in September.

When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? Back in 2015 if I remember correctly. Directly related to our EP release. We had some t-shirts and cd´s mainly.

Where can people buy your merchandise? We have a dedicated on demand shop on our website. But feel free to hook up with any of us on Facebook, Instagram, what not. 

What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? Well, I honestly don’t think people download much anymore, what with all the streaming services available. (I guess it could be common still in countries where Spotify and such are not available) My personal opinion (Adam) is that the more people have access to good music, the better the world is, and some people just don’t have the money to purchase music in any form, and I would never want to deny them the possibility to hear our (or anyone else’s music). I also think it is interesting with the resurgence in vinyl records, some smaller labels and artists don’t even release CD:s anymore, only vinyl records, and that is pretty cool. I could go on for days about this subject, but let’s just say we do this because we love making music and getting it out into the world, and I think the internet is a hell of a lot more efficient at that than trying to sell CD:s.

How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? I think it is easier to find artists who love their art through Youtube and similar channels, and I don’t know, but I hope at some point we will see less soulless corporate nonsense with template based songs written by 16 professional songwriters for an artist that is more of a skin-care product commercial than an artist.

What do you think of my work? What you’re doing is great, it’s not often smaller artists get chances to answer questions like this, so thank you for giving us and others that chance. 

How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? Well, hopefully you have some readers who are interested in this type of music and who also likes reading about people like us.

Do you have any role models or idols?

Anders - Myles and Mark from Alter Bridge, Chris Cornell, Mark Holcomb from Periphery to name a few.

Danny - There are too many to name. It could be the person in the rehearsal room next door, honestly. If there is a nice feel to the playing and its creative, I'm a fan!

Adam - Quite a few, but at the moment I think my biggest role model is Mattias IA Eklundh. He has taught me a lot sitting on his guru chair at the Freak Guitar Camp.
Gabriel - Bass players that have inspired me include Flea, Geddy Lee, Stuart Zender and Adam "Nolly" Getgood.

Why do you think that they exist? Because their parents had sex at a very specific point in time.

Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? A bit of both really, Those of the older bands who got really big did so because they did something new and unique, and so they paved new ways for later bands to follow, but it’s not always that you can have use for that stuff nowadays if you want to keep pushing forward, because it has been re-used and developed and morphed over 20-30 years. Bands today that have kept pushing forward can have a lot more intricate and interesting stuff going on, and to keep stuff fresh and interesting, I believe in always checking out new music. That said, I think we all have listened to a ton of old music in our lives, and still do, and of course it inspires us as well.

What have been your biggest obstacles?

For us it has been the frequent line-up changes, it’s hard to get a ball rolling when you have to stop and search for new people every now and then. Of course some auditions are hilarious when someone comes in with a barely working, out of tune instrument, hasn’t learned a single note from a single one of our songs, and seems to have started learning music 3 weeks ago. Yet somehow they think it’s a good idea to show up for an audition like we do it just for fun. Yes sure it’s fun, we’re trying our best to keep our laughter in, because musical fails are inherently funny, especially to musicians, but after 20 people have passed through like this it gets tedious.

What advice would you give other bands or artists? Have fun, and write for yourselves. Don’t care what critics and others say, the most important part of playing music is that you enjoy what you play. If you start writing music from the baseline “the audience must like this, regardless of what I think”, you’re going about it the wrong way. You might get rich and famous, but probably unhappy. 

Do you have any new material? As mentioned, yes. We’ve been at work for quite a while now with our first full length album “Broken Times” and it will be released on January 24th 2020. It will be available on digital platforms like spotify, iTunes etc. and a few physical copies will be distributed among stores in Spain, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Greece.

What are your web sites? www.thedriftwoodsign.com

Do you have something to add?  Do what you love and fuck stepping on Lego in the middle of the night.

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