When you watch a video clip or listen to a song on your streaming devices, you only witness the finished product. When you visit a concert or a festival you witness the live music and the stage performance or your favourite artist! But before all that can be enjoyed, there are a lot of things taking place to make it all happen. Artists, musicians, bands, venue directors, they all have their own story to tell!
Music comes to us in all shapes and forms possible. A wide range of musical styles are presented to the listener on a daily bases and with services like Spotify and Deezer, music is within reach for all. Metal music in general uses a lot of influences from other genre’s, but some genre’s themselves are fairly close related to metal music.
In this series I’m going to talk to several different people, to find out what the stories are behind it all! From a “big shot” artist, all the way to promotion and record companies and today I had the chance to meet up and talk with Robin Malm.
Swedish native Malm is a founding member of Vanquisher. A fairly new band that has arrived, quickly gains momentum and is here to stay. With the release of their first official music video just recently, a load of shows played and several (international) shows planned, I found the time had come to sit down and learn some more about this energetic 5-some!
Hi Robin ! First of all, Thanks for taking the time for Maizter Underground and this interview! How are you doing?
Happy to be part of it! Thank you and the rest of the Maizter Underground crew for your hard work supporting artists. I am doing good, busy as usual but for good reasons.
To kick things off. What can you tell me about yourself?
I grew up with rock music. I come from a family with three elder brothers and when the family went on vacation we usually travelled parts of Sweden. During these trips my father would play lots of classic rock bands like KISS, AC/DC, Scorpions, Queen, Deep Purple etc. Apart from music I’ve always had a big interest for video games, playing since as far as I can remember. Today I work as a gameplay programmer, and my free time is spent with family and music. Music and band matters really occupy my mind about every day in some way.
Before we dive into your own music, what are bands/artists that influence you and which bands/artists are (if any) your favourites?
Early on I got my main influences from my older brothers. It is really what made me pick up the guitar in the first place as one of them also plays guitar (and drums). To mention some bands and artists from that time that probably influenced me the most back then I would say it started with The Ramones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix. Becoming a teenager it progressed into more extreme music like Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel and especially influential to me even now; Death. One of my biggest influences and really a favourite band is Megadeth, I think this is where my guitar interest really took off, so many inspiring songs with riffs and melodies that really resonates with me.
Nowadays I am personally influenced by band such as Megadeth, Death, Ayreon (and anything Arjen Lucassen puts out really), Dream Theater, Symphony X, Hulkoff, Hammerfall, to name some.
You are a founding member of the band Vanquisher. Before we go a little further into that, what made you decide to create your own music?
It seems I’ve always been one who likes to create. Since as far as I remember I used to make video games on pen and paper (today I work as a gameplay programmer), later when I learned guitar I wrote my own songs, guitar and lyrics. For childhood dreams I remember the first thing I wanted to work as was an inventor.
What made me pursue being in a band was when I went and saw my first concert, which was Metallica. I can remember that moment very clearly. We were running a bit late to the concert and made it in time for the first song starting, which was Battery, and that intro and the audience energy, it gives me Goosebumps just thinking about it, but that heavily influenced me wanting to be on the stage (and I used to have a bit of a stage freight before this band).
How did Vanquisher came to exist and where did the name come from?
It all began with Niord wanting to learn guitar. But after some time we got bored of that, so we thought “why not create a band instead?”. We had both been in bands before but there had always been things keeping those bands back. Even though Vanquisher was officially created already in 2014 we mainly wrote the songs found on our old demo Ep ‘A Demonstration of Power’ back then. Wulfhere also joined in the early days. From that point it was a long search before the band was really a full band. 2017 we found Horsa an Gorm and the plans for rehearsals, playing live and recording an album began.
The name was really Niord thinking of the coolest most metal sounding word that embodies all that Conan the Cimmerian is – since this is from the start what we decided to theme the band and music around.
Can you introduce the band-members one by one?
Niord of Nordheim – Our powerful voice and front figure. He makes sure the songs stay true to the theme of the Hyborian Age and writes basically all the lyrics. Co-founder along with Heimdal.
Heimdal the Warlord – Well that’s me, playing solos, leads and rhythm guitars (also the acoustic guitar on Cimmeria), blowing the warhorn and owner of our very own Stronghold Studios. I try to handle our mails and bookings in general.
Wulfhere the Executioner – The rumbling earthly bass. Wulfhere also likes to ensure logistics for driving and transport to the shows is handled.
Horsa the Untamed – Blazing solos, leads and rhythm guitars. Also does smithing and leatherwork occasionally.
Gorm of the Pounding Hooves – Thunderous drums. The backbone of our music. We enjoy playing raw without a click and making the show feel alive, and the drums really play a big part of that.
We all are very involved with the song writing and everyone is open to voice their ideas which we usually try out to see if we like better or not. For a barbarian band we are very democratic about the band as a whole.
What kind of music Vanquisher is bringing to the world?
Storytelling in a kick ass package. The epic heavy metal tells a variation of stories from the Hyborian Age. The foundation might be heavy metal but the theme can still make the music stray in different directions as we please. Main mission being heavy epicness.
What can you tell me about the musical journey so far with Vanquisher?
(shows, album release, the beer, etc)
Networking is a strong tool, do not underestimate it. We’ve seen time and time again how every moment has potential to connect with someone who opens up new opportunities in some way. It is not always obvious and the opportunity is not just given to you, but needs to be found and nurtured. Our best shows have been because we’ve connected with people and try to give back to the scene and don’t just expect to get served. This is also how we’ve found and got in touch with Stormspell Records, Heavy Metale and much much more. I am always excited to see what the next collaborations we will have with people are.
Is there any news regarding new releases that we should know?
Latest release is now the music video for our song ‘Battleborn’ from our debut album, go check it out!
In-between our live shows we are fully in song writing mode, and we have a very clear picture of what we want this next album to be. But let’s just say one song has already been played live.
Like all artists and bands, you hope your music will hit a soft spot with your listeners and that they will appreciate and love the music you create. Obviously that is not something you accomplish overnight. Do you have a “perfect picture” in your mind, about how your musical career would look like in say 10 years, if all goes the way you imagined?
A perfect picture is hard to say, as you don’t know how perfect it really is until you are there. But I suppose that is part of it, I hope we never lose a vision and common goal as a band and always see some new thing we want to pursue. Becoming an acclaimed act people request for festivals and that when people see announced for festivals gets them really excited. Beyond that perhaps reaching a point where we could tour and actually bring some kind of our own crew going around with us. Also having the music make it possible to not work 100% on the side of the music.
As upcoming and aspiring artist, you probably come across a lot of (unexpected) challenges. What did you encounter so far that blew you of your socks?
We have had a lot of learning experiences as a band, recordings that has gone wrong in various ways for example. I like to flip the negative around however. While it sucked majorly in the moment and were for sure negative, we are now wiser from it and the positive side is that we have learned a lot about what we value and how things work.
Otherwise time and time again live shows keeps blowing my socks off. The energy we get from the audience and the reward of playing, while there is a lot of time and energy spent before and after shows, those 30-60 mins of show it is always worth it a 110%.
Or the experience when we had the final mix of “An Age Undreamed of” and once it arrived physically in CD form.
By the looks of it, you guys have a good idea what your future must look like and you have encountered enough to know what potential issues could be.
Thanks Robin, for your time and willingness to disclose this much and on behalf of everyone at Maizter Undeground, I want to wish you all the success in the future with all you guys put your mind and energy too!
Vanquisher is not only playing shows in their native Sweden, but they also show themselves on stage in other countries. Come 2024, Vanquisher is already confirmed for two shows in Germany! Headbangers Open Air ’24 will see Vanquisher perform a mighty show but firstly Vanquisher will share a stage with Don’t Drop The Sword. Together they organise the Night of The Sword Bearers Vol II.
To make sure you won’t miss anything VANQUISHER announces or releases, make sure you follow them through the following links!
IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT VANQUISHER PLEASE CLICK THE FOLLOWING PLAYLIST!