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Breach are doubtlessly one of the most influential bands when it comes to heavy music. From 1997 on, the year they released their "It's Me God" record Breach started to create their very own style of music: there may not be many bands that managed to create such intense songs, that are indeed more based on harmonic heaviness than on “physical”. Every record moved the view to “rock music” a little bit, and the final release entitled "Kollapse" (2001) was maybe too early for the majority of European listeners. Not long after the release of "Kollapse" the band split up.
As I was talking about Breach with a friend I asked if he knows links to interviews with Breach's mastermind Anders Ekström, so he came up with the idea of doing one, trying to get the contact...

Breach's Anders Ekström anno 1997. Original pictures by Vincent of Shora

First of all: How are you?

Anders Ekström: I am finally heading in a nice direction after experiencing some rough times the last few years. Life is treating me better today tough. Thank you for asking!

What are you doing now? Are you still playing music?

Anders Ekström: I have just recently begun to fiddle on my guitar after having a break for quite some time now. I smashed my knuckles and had to have serious surgery twice. That event easily made it to my top 3 the "most stupid things I've ever done" - chart. But that was a while ago now... I was suffering from severe depression and that led me to some non-flattering behaviour. For a while now I've been feeling my curiosity awakening. I want to make more music. During the time I was injured (and a long time after I got better) my guitar felt like an enemy. I was litteraly afraid to pick it up. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't afraid of it in the sense that it was a seven headed monster kind of way. I was just worried about how I would feel picking it up again.

Breach broke up in 2001, what have you been doing the last 4 years?

Anders Ekström: I have been studying. I have been busy starting up my own business in motion design. (I have been shuting it down as well.) After that I got a job as a motion designer here in Stockholm. I have just been trying really hard to re-invent my life and make a living that is somewhat pleasing to me.

It's hard to belive that people who once did music on such a high level just stop with that...?

Anders Ekström: Thank you for the kind words. Well, yes, but everything comes to an end you know. Once I got the distance to it, it really didn't seem like a big deal letting it go. I am seiously doubting I would ever have picked it up unless Per (the drummer from Breach) started nagging me about it. I felt content just as things were right now. But he wanted us to try out something later on, and that's what we are starting to do now. It doesn't have to end up on a record... It's just a way of socialising and at the same time trying out some other views.

What was your general musical approach with Breach?

Anders Ekström: I had pretentions... I wanted to experience music that I could not find elsewhere. I wanted uglyness to make out with beauty. Pretentions and big visions is really what advances things... but also the hardest things to pull off, because they are often fragile and need to be in the right context to make sense. We got luck I think, luck, circumstances (i.e. context) and hard work is what made us pull it off.

In the past, Breach were often compared to Neurosis, nowadays your music is perceived as some kind of reference to newer bands, as it might have been to Breach with Neurosis... are you "proud" of that?

Anders Ekström: Yes and no.. Yes in the sense that a lot of people appreciated our work. No in the sense that they (the bands that really copied us) often got the wrong idea. It was not about being angry 24-7. Other bands did that much better.

I actually think that, beside the fact that both bands do/did "dark" sounding music, the comparison of Breach an Neurosis was never the best, were you ever tired of being compared to them?

Anders Ekström: I think highly about Neurosis and I have a lot of respect for that band. I can certanly see why people make/ made that link, but I agree, it is not the best description. Then I am very biased of course. It was kind of tiering, but I can not really blame people for seeing some similarities, it is comfortable. A lot of people like to make things comfortable. Me included.

Are you still listening to this kind of music?

Anders Ekström: Actually I have never had any insight in that genre, and even less now. I feel a lot of stress when I think about the massive amount of music there is to plow through. But it is really awarding when you stumble across something you like!

There are several younger bands coming up, playing the heavy-style of music, do you keep an eye on these developments?

Anders Ekström: No, I would lie if I told you so.

The "Venom" album was recorded in your own studio, were there further recordings in the Breachland studios and do they still exist?

Anders Ekström: I did some recordings for some friends but other than that there is nothing. No wait! We did a MCD released on Chrome Saint Magnus in Breachland as well. But it wasn't that much of a studio anyway, some mics and a decent 16 track portable harddrive recorder.

Many people out there want to copy Breach's guitar- or drumsound, and, actually I havn't heard anything comparable, so what kind of equipment did you use?

Anders Ekström: Our recording were done on so many different amps and stuff that I can not go trough it here. When we recorded in regular studios we liked to try out the stuff they had in there. I myself had a modified gem as amp head... the Hiwatt Custom 100.

One special thing always was the sounding of Breach records, there are few bands that were able to create their own "sound-color", do you agree on this?

Anders Ekström: Yes, but not really as intentional as it may seem in retrospect. A lot of it has to do with the chords we struck and our style of playing as a whole.

Furtheron the heaviness of the music was in my point of view rather build on (dis-) harmonic composition than in just building massive sound-walls and pretending to be "hard"...

Anders Ekström: That is a good observation.

How did the writing process happen in Breach?

Anders Ekström: On the very first records Tomas (the singer) wrote almost everything himself, and on the later records I wrote most and Niklas (other guitarist) some. We often wrote the songs on our own and presented them to the band, but me and Niklas have had some really fruitful collaborations. We understand each other very good in terms of music I think.

The title "Kollapse" comes from a early recording of Einstürzende Neubauten. Was the music of them an inspiration for you? To me, the mood of the record, and the way it is achieved, are way more similar to records of arists like Neubauten or Nick Cave, would you agree to that or is it just some kind of wishful thinking?

Anders Ekström: No, I think Niklas is very pleased to hear that as he has listened to them quite much.

4 years after the release of "Kollapse", are you sometimes still listening to the record?

Anders Ekström: It happens about 4-5 times a year maybe? It is a very nostalgic feeling.

Were there ever plans releasing "Kollapse" on vinyl? As there are still many people interested in Breach, is there any chance it will be re-released on vinyl in the future?

Anders Ekström: I dont know, I feel so detached from Breach now so I would not hope too much. Tim who runs Trust No One Recordings did some vinyl releases for us and from what I can remember he had some trouble when trying to get "Kollapse" on vinyl... but i'm just guessing here, I don't remember.

Could you imagine to hit the stage with Breach one more time?

Anders Ekström: No, I can't see that happening.

What was the last piece of music you listend to today?

Good question, hmmm.... It might have been something by Onurb.

Could you describe each breach record in one word?

Anders Ekström: I have one word for all of them, struggle.

Anything else you`d like to say?

No, just thank you. Hope i made myself understood in some way.

Interview conducted by Stefan Schauber in January 2006.