Over the course of 11 albums within the past 20 years, Unleashed have positioned themselves as one of the leading lights of the incredibly vibrant Swedish death metal scene. After taking a break from the machinations of the music industry in 1997, the band returned with full force in the early 2000’s, and have recently released their 11th album, ‘Odalheim’, through Nuclear Blast Records. M3 got in touch with drummer Anders Schultz to talk about the benefits of vinyl, growing up in record stores and the challenges facing the bands of tomorrow…
What inspired you to form Unleashed? What are your own musical backgrounds?
We formed Unleashed as kids more or less, but with serious intent. We wanted to write and play and thats all we wanted basically. Just take all that inspiration through the young years and do our own thing with it.
There’s something about growing up with metal and punk etc… so many actually become players themselves compared to other genres it seems. It’s like it’s just something you have to do, and be a part of.
What would be your preferred medium to listen to music (eg. Vinyl, CD, tape, MP3 etc.), and why?
Personally I will always prefer vinyl. I mean it’s just how I grew up and it’s special in some way. Nothing like flipping through the collection and just putting on records. And the sound I think is superb. It’s just alive in a way other formats can’t handle.
But of course I have an equal collection of CDs as well. I admit I do have lots of doubles though haha one vinyl for home and a CD for the car, for instance.
Being grumpy and old school I have still to conform to most of the newer digital media. I understand the idea of MP3 players and putting your collection on USB sticks for the car etc. But it’s rather useless to me as I don’t keep my music on my computer in the first place.
Do you feel the idea of an album, as a piece of art that people will listen to from start to finish, has been undermined or forgotten about in the digital age?
Yeah some of those aspects for sure are totally different nowadays. Things move faster and people seem to have a very much shorter attention span. It’s like if they dont like the first riff on a song they just move on to the next. It’s not really a good evolution I think.
On the other hand, again, people into more extreme forms of music like metal and death metal for example, still seem to have pretty much the same attitude and seriousness towards music as in the past so I think in that respect the heart of it so to speak, will never die.
Much has been made of the supposed death of the record store in recent years. Do you believe the digital age has killed the record store, and if so, do you think that this is a necessary part of progression, or a tragic loss?
Well it’s definitely looking that way. Still there are some stores left, and I do think there will always be a market for it. But it will maybe just be small stores with second hand records for example. Either way, for sure, to me personally and a lot of people like me it’s a great loss. But I guess soon noone will know how it felt as a youngster heading into town and meeting friends going through the record stores. There was something
about that for sure.
Many people have claimed that there is no longer any money in record sales, and that touring is the most efficient way to earn an income as a band. How much truth do you think there is in this sentiment?
Yeah this is the truth no doubt. I mean sure, for bigger, mainstream acts there will always be income in the form of sold music in one form or another. Someone selling a million records will still be making big money selling half a million with sales going down to half. However for someone maybe selling 50 thousand, halfing that makes a difference in another way.
But it’s been like that for a long time and for smaller acts definately touring or playing live in any way and selling merch is what makes it possible.
Do you think that the abundance of easily available record music online has led many people to view the live experience as the ‘authentic’ way to experience music?
I’ve never thought about it in that way. But I do personally believe that that has always been the case, so there’s no real difference. Music is best experienced live period.
Do you think traditional copyright laws are still enforceable in the digital age, or do you think we will have to rethink the concept of copyright itself?
Enforceable they are not and have not been for a long time. The idea of copyright is good and makes sense I believe but indeed there will have to be change in some way or another. Unfortunately I have no real idea on what that would be…
What would you say are the main challenges facing an up-and-coming band in today’s cultural climate?
Well it’s quite hard to say since times are very different since we started. It’s a two sided sword I think. On the upside, there are endlessly more ways to spread your music at more or less no cost. Downside is, there is endlessly more music available and out there for more or less no cost. So you will be pressured to create something really special to stand out.
Which in itself I guess is not a bad thing but with all this music all over the place it’s easy for good things to go unnoticed.
Finally, what does the future hold for Unleashed?
We will keep going strong no matter what format will be in the future!
Just put out our new album “Odalheim” and look forward to a summer and autumn supporting that!