GRIMM: Depends. There are some bands within the same genre who will reach that success fairly quickly and unexpectedly so. Take Pallbearer, for example. In a fairly short time span they went from the smaller venues to the extreme music stage at Dour Festival, one of the bigger festivals in our country. I guess you never know when and where it’ll take you.
Yeah, your success as a band hinges on so many factors it’s impossible to know what’s gonna resonate or not with people. If you’ve got the right image, if your music is coming at the right time, what the zeitgeist is… So far we’ve been doing better than we ever anticipated, so it’s fine. We don’t need to get anymore successful for me to be happy. It would be nice to make a proper living from music, but you can’t expect that either.
GRIMM: You still need something to put bread on the table, right?
We all have side-jobs. On tour, that’s pretty much when you can make some money. Record sales are fine but that’s not really much to live off of. Still, touring isn’t any sort of security. If you break your leg or a virus comes through town and you can’t tour for half a year, it’s good to have some kind of backup plan.
GRIMM: You say you don’t put too much emphasis on defining the style of music you play, but you also realise you can’t do without specifying. Especially when catering to what I think is a rather specific target audience.
I absolutely hate writing press sheets and biographies for Elder. I understand you have to do that, for sure. I work for Stickman Records, where I write sheets for a couple of great bands, which I can only describe as “rock”. But that’s always been a no-go within the world of promos. You’re never gonna sell someone a band by describing them as “rock”. Even if that’s the most true definition of the music. It sounds like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young or Led Zeppelin or something. So it is important, but at a certain point it gets ludicrous, you know? With a band like Elder you’d say: “okay, we’re heavy, melodic, psychedelic rock with progressive song structures and hints of stoner rock and doom and krautrock”. That’s very obscure. So the easiest way would be to just use a blanket term.
It’s funny because it definitely colours the way people perceive the music. With Elder for years people have continued to call us a stoner rock band, because that’s what we’ve been defined as. But if you listen to our last couple of records I think they don’t have that much to do with that genre. At the same time it’s been part of this scene that we’ve been attached to. It’s a little insulting as it isn’t the most accurate description, but we have roots in that scene. That’s home for us. It’s where we play and where we come from.
GRIMM: Definitely. Speaking of which, Elder would fit right in at Desertfest 2020. Any concrete plans for that?
Yeah, we definitely would hope to be playing this Fall. But I’m not at liberty to say more.
GRIMM: Fair enough. But that would at least be one of those festivals where you’d be most appreciated.
Totally! We could go play at the biggest festivals, like the Hurricanes or what have you. But I think our very few forays into the mainstream festival world have not been successful, so we’re not going to complain about having a great audience at what’s considered a stoner rock festival. If you go to a mainstream festival people often aren’t willing or just don’t get it. We don’t want to shit where we eat. The Desertfests and the Roadburns are cool festivals with open-minded people. And that’s the fun of it.
This interview continues on page 3.