Konkhra | Interview with Anders Lundemark

It’s been a long time coming, six damn years to be accurate, but the sixth full-length work from Denmark’s Death-Metal veterans Konkhra are finally arriving on 26th January 2009 thru their own label Chopshop Records and Target Distribution. Following a period of inner turbulence with a wide number of revolving line-ups and record label hassles, Konkhra’s leader, guitarist and vocalist Anders Lundemark returns with a revamped line-up and a strong comeback record entitled “Nothing is Sacred” that coincidentally or not will also marks the celebration of the band’s 20th anniversary. I guess the obvious thing to enquire about is exactly what the band has been up to for the last six years?

“Well, we broke up again. “Reality Check” was done with the “Spit…” line-up, and I think there was some disappointment with those guys, that it could be at all possible to write and release a record that fucking good, and get those reviews and STILL get fucked on tour, with statements, no tour support, no promotion, fucking just nothing, except what we could scramble for ourselves. I don’t blame them, although maybe our past exploits had created an expectation of a certain standard, when touring and so on, but as you know the competition has been ever increasing and if a band from Poland can tour for 10% of what would even half pay our rent in this expensive country your bound to get less than what you got in the past. We had a little heyday in the 90’s, and I think some of that spoiled us a little. Johnny was facing tribulations in his private sphere, matter of fact, so did I, and eventually we left it alone. We could not tour and we could not write. So, I forgot about it for while, as I moved my studio twice, and started a new company, also in music, that has spaces for studios and rehearsals in Copenhagen. This was a lot of work, and it kept me busy and grounded for a while.”

With a total of five studio albums spanning over their twenty-year career, Konkhra despite the constant instability around their line-up, have conquered a strong following outside their native Denmark and experienced the highs and lows of the music business. A particular high was their “Weed out the Weak” release from 1997, which displayed the talents of Chris Kontos formerly of Machine Head on drums and James Murphy of Death/Testament fame on guitar and revealed to be major success on an international level. However, due to various circumstances things didn’t evolved into higher leagues and the following two works “Come down Cold” from 1999 and “Reality Check” from 2003 although both exhibited a better and improved song-writing skills, haven’t quite reached the levels of success garnered by “Weed out the Weak”. Do you think the status gained with that work exercised any kind of pressure on Konkhra’s shoulders to top that record and reach similar lengths of notoriety?

“We are an underground extreme metal band and I have no problem with that. Actually sometimes, I had some serious problems marketing myself, and I’m not a good business man when so emotionally attached as I am to this band. I've been doing this my entire adult life and some as a kiddie too, haha. I consider myself fortunate that KONKHRA has become what it is, and honestly I don't concern myself too much with our level of success compared to other bands or other people. I am very happy that things are they way they are and even the tribulations and downtime has been very fruitful to me on a personal level. I got scared when I found out that some of my biggest idols were small and ignorant little people. I got wiser when other idols once known on a personal level were incredibly "human" and in so many ways just like me or the next guy. James and Chris are fantastic people, we made a great record together, James is on “Nothing is Sacred”, and I count both of them among my few personal friends. The label situation when we released “Weed…” was full of touring promises and such, and we had a fair share of recognition with that record in the States too. Maybe it could have been bigger, and I often hear that from people. However, given the level of promotion and touring activity I don’t think we could ask for more than what we got, really.”


During all these years dealing with labels and management companies, etc you have obviously gained the perception that the ugly side of music resides in its business part. Looking back on the band’s career, is there anything you would do again differently if you had the chance? Those dubious relationships in the past were the principle motives that lead the band to release the upcoming work on their own label under license to Target Distribution?

“To take the last question first, yes. It’s definitely nice to be holding all the reins, and essentially be the final decision maker. As far as looking back, it’s not the constructive you know, I am prone to be looking forward, and to be honest I really think the tribulations we have been through has been educative and evolving for me personally. You could say that the downs are actually more rewarding in some ways than the ups was.”

Judging by the themes already heard on the band’s MySpace page, “Nothing is Sacred” is neither a return to the pure Death-Metal origins of Konkhra nor is it a repetition of the sonorities explored on “Reality Check”, so I guess it seems pertinent to ask what can we expect from “Nothing is Sacred”?

“It’s a new thing for sure. It got tempos far exceeding the old stuff, at the same time we try and maintain the heritage so to speak, and there are conventions we are not going to fuck with but at the same time new stuff will definitely something different from the past. It’s a fine line we are balancing and it’s like we’re fighting the ghost of Christmas past here a little bit while trying to maintain a fresh and new approach. Lyrically, I've been through some things that made a lot of what I talked about in the past a little clearer. However, the further you get down that rabbit hole the more questions you are bound to ask, and finally it becomes a bit spiritual. It’s a bridge building between science and spiritual as it would naturally have to fit like Legos in order to coexist.”

As its title suggests, the lyrical theme of “Nothing is Sacred” revolves around religion and its institutionalized dogmas, subjects that are not new ones to Konkhra. The new album however was influenced by a particular episode that provoked an international conflict between Denmark and the Muslim world. I’m referring to the cartoons published by a Danish newspaper satirizing the Muslim prophet Muhammad that enraged Muslims and stirred up fierce and violent protests all over the world. How do you recall those incidents, did the people in Denmark felt threatened by the escalating conflicts that broke out in consequence of the cartoons?

“People here are fucking dolts, man. They willingly join the "coalition of the willing" and start sending kids off to be slaughtered. The people that mandate a war on false principles or start believing the bullshit of exporting philosophy and a specific form of government are sadly uneducated and ignorant. IF you are picking a fight with people that take their inherited religious bullshit dogma so seriously, you are guaranteed war to the bitter end. That means pretty much, eternal war. The controllers like war. It is the engine of the profit maximizing economy, which is in my view, equal to slavery. These days, there are no excuses. Information that will set your mind free is readily available and to me that erases all excuses and if you find these words offending, frankly, you need to read up on some homework. There will be links to eye opening material on the Konkhra page soon, and I hope that we can maybe make people curious enough to go watch “Soldiers of Conscience”, “Zeitgeist”, “Loose Change” and tons of material like that will hopefully make people realize that time is running out. WE are in the 2nd of the five stages of collapse and I sincerely think people need to go find out what interest rates, inflation, financial speculation and control really does to everybody's lives. The cartoon crisis taught a wise man that there is integration the day there is religious emancipation. I think we need to make religion a personal matter, so much as freedom of religion also means freedom FROM OTHER PEOPLES religion. WE cannot have a discussion if anybody patents the TRUTH with pretty much excerpts any religion from an adult conversation. Your priest, guru, father, teacher, leader, president needs be FUCKING excused from this global peace talk right the fuck away, as they are the uneducated kids fighting over a corner of the sandbox. Excuse me fuckers, there are 2 billion people starving right now, and you talk about overpopulation when some of the most educated people of the planet say we can feed 60 billion people here on this planet with current technology, given that peace and coexistence existed? Should I trust the physics professor from MIT when he questions 911 or the born again Baptist pro life "left behind" believing religious president when he says anything?”

Although Denmark has produced its fair share of top-class metal acts throughout the last two decades, the Danes contribution doesn’t reach the torrential flow coming from their Swedish neighbours. However, the scenario seems to be slowly changing in the last few years with a great number of aspiring metal bands like Crocell, Exmortem, Dawn of Demise, The Cleansing, etc making some significant waves in the underground along with the contributions from well-established acts like Submission, Hatesphere, Koldborn that are coming in the following year. Due to their longevity and impact, Konkhra are now considered true veterans of the Danish Metal scene and an influence on the upcoming and aspiring metal bands from Denmark. What do you think of the current crop of Danish metal acts? Which bands do you stand out right now?

“I would mention Corpus Mortale as they are fucking cool and have been for a while. The Cleansing sounds very promising, so I'm happy!”

What is the best piece of advice you could give to those who are just starting out and considering making a career in the music industry?

“Get the fuck out while there is still time, hehe."

More info at: www.konkhra.com