EX ANIMO (for Battle Helm)

EX ANIMO is a very interesting band. Perhaps one of my most liked findings of 2016 (so far). I had to interview. Answers were kindly supplied by Julia Orwell. Anders Ekdahl c2016

Interview was prepared by ANDERS EKDAHL (Battle Helm)

What is this band really all about?
Julia: Ex Animo is about writing good music in our own way. I mean, we do not desperately try to be one of a kind, but some things that many bands use to get some quick fame just feel unnatural for us. For example, we’ll most likely never use a provocative appearance or scandalous lyrics to attract more people. Also, a deliberate “stealing” from already well-known bands is a definite no-no. I’ve never found that an achievement when someone says ‘Wow, you guys sound just like that other band”. There are plenty of cover and tribute acts for that.

Is there a difference in people’s attitude towards you if you don’t come from a cool place like LA or NY or London?
Julia: I don’t think that the band’s origin matters to people. But it matters to the musicians themselves. Living in a country like Ukraine creates many problems for the bands, starting with the bad conditions in our clubs and few people willing to pay to see the shows. Apart from that there are shitty laws that limit the available options to receive financial reward for your work. Going abroad to perform can also be a real pain thanks to our sweet bureaucracy.

When you release an album that get pretty good reviews how do you follow up on that?
Julia: Don’t know that yet! But if our recently released album gets good reviews, we’ll definitely celebrate this in our own special way (just kidding, nothing special, just a lot of beer) and think about giving people more to enjoy and review. Music video or a new single would be perfect for that.

What is the biggest challenge in the creation of an album, to write the songs or to come up with really good songs?
Julia: Writing the songs is always a challenge for us. It’s like creating a beautiful sculpture out of a shapeless stone – you need to find the best composition, find the balance of all the elements and always remember about the meaning in everything you create. Of course, every band has “OK” songs and really good songs, but we do our best with every song we write and each of them is dear to us.

Do you prefer working digitally or is physical still cooler?
Julia: Both work for us. For someone who believes that the 90s were the best time ever (with so many amazing changes in the world!) physical still has its charm. Although, it would be stupid to deny the advantages of the digital world. Things are much easier now, you don’t need to have tons of money to share your creativity with the world. The same applies to people who want to appreciate your work in every corner of the planet. It’s a little bit sad though that the excitement that someone feels after downloading a new album from iTunes is not the same that one had holding a long-awaited CD (or even a cassette tape) after blood, sweat and tears. That feeling was worth the wait.

With a sound that is being described as both this and that by fans how do you view your sound?
Julia: We’ve always believed that our sound represents doom metal music – slow, melancholic, aggressive and yet melodic. But when our album was finished it turned out that people didn’t think the same way. I prefer to describe our sound as dark and atmospheric. These key elements will stay there for a while, even though other things may change with time.

How important are the lyrics and what message do you want to purvey?
Julia: Oh, that’s my favorite question. Cannot speak for everyone in the band, but for me the lyrics define if the band will stay in my playlist or not. I don’t enjoy meaningless and dull lyrics, I’m also not a fan of epic stuff about everything and nothing at the same time (when you read the lines full of fancy words and don’t understand what the hell the song is about). I’ve always preferred a personal approach to every song, when the words dig into your very heart and make you think, make you feel, bring back your memories. In this respect, my personal favorite of all time has always been Anathema. As a lyricist in Ex Animo I always try to imagine that I’m telling my own story, imagine what feelings, what words would be the best to describe it and make a listener believe me. Moreover, some songs from our new album actually are connected with certain events in my life.

What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
Julia: I was the one who worked on artworks for our single ‘Shattered Universe” and album “Neverday”. Both album covers are not just images, but rather a complement to our music. We believe that visual addition to the songs is an important part of the finished work. Well, what can I say, we always think too much about the details, even though sometimes it gives nothing but headache.

When you play live do you notice a degree of greater recognition from the fans with each new time you pass through town?
Julia: As I’ve mentioned earlier, ukrainian clubs are rarely crowded when it comes to the music genres close to ours. I believe that we have more listeners outside the country, so thanks god the Internet exists! But still after every concert we meet nice people and receive their feedback, which definitely helps us go on. Hopefully after the album release we’ll be able to visit more cities in Ukraine and other countries and share our music with more people. It is so exciting!

What do you see in the future?
Julia: The future is dark and it’s hard to see what it holds. But as long as you live the future is only the result of your actions or inaction. I hope we’ll be able to learn from our own mistakes to never repeat them again. But only time will tell.

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