I’ve sent some questions to Åsa Netterbrant, the Vocalist of Zephyra, and he’s taken the time to answer to them all. What an arsenal of music comprised of metal of all flavors! Åsa Netterbrant tells us insights about band.They truly are beacons of professionalism, conscientiousness, devotion, passion and an endless vision for the art of music. Enjoy our talk about the new album, how Zephyra evolved over the years and their future plans!
1. First classical question: How did Zephyra come into being? Give us a bit of band history.
Tony and I started Zephyra just for fun back in 2009. Officially, we consider that we started around 2010/2011, since it was then that we began to take it seriously. In the beginning, we were only playing cover songs with a bit of our own written material. We did a couple of smaller shows and got hooked. Tony had been in bands since he was a teenager, but for me, Zephyra was my first band. I didn’t even sing-up in a professional way before all this. I blame Tony, he was the one who discovered me!
We are married and have been a couple since 2006, so he has heard me hum and sing in the kitchen for all these years.
Over the years, we have released a couple of EP’s and three full length albums. We have played at shows around both Sweden and Europe, and we are really confident in a live act. The lineup we have today makes us feel like a real family. We have so much fun together, and we are working hard towards the same goals. For us, that is a very important thing. Personal chemistry is a must in a tight band.
2. The name Zephyra is intriguing; where did it come from and does it have any meaning?
The story behind the band name is actually pretty simple. Our dogs name is Zaphyra, and I simply did a re-writing of her name when we needed a band name. It stuck, and we have no plans of changing it.
3. I listen to you and your band on YouTube, and to me you sound like warriors in the depth of the war.How would you describe your sound? true, traditional, epic or something else?
Great to hear that you discovered us on YouTube.
Our sound is a bit unique in the metal genre. We don’t have any boundaries when we do what we do. Labeling our music under a specific genre is hard, so we prefer to just call it melodic metal or melodic death metal. In reviews, we get to hear that we are everything from symphonic metal to melodic metal-core.
4. What bands do you guys listen to?
In the band, we have a very varied taste of music when it comes to that we listen to. Everything from Pantera to Savatage,Iced Earth and Kamelot. Kujtim might be the one who listens to the heaviest, most brutal bands, while I might even listen to pop and classical music sometimes.
5. Zephyra’s third studio album, ’FALL. RISE. CONQUER.’, was recorded, produced and released by Mikael Andersson, on SOUNDPORT, inthe beginning of April this year. From what I have seen and heard, people overall think it’s your most coherent, solid and ear-pleasing work to date, which I personally agree with. Do you see this album the same way?
Yes, we do. With each album produced, we find ourselves even more to the point. This album; ’FALL. RISE. CONQUER.’ really has all the elements that come to mind when we think of Zephyra. Varied, clean, heavy, harsh and diverse are some of the words to describe it. As a band, we think that you need to keep evolving both the sound and yourself, and never stop working forward.
6. Who writes the songs for Zephyra?
Tony does the main songwriting for Zephyra. He writes full songs, instrumentally, including a melody, and the lyrics too. After that, I usually add some pre-production vocals to the recorded song. The rest of the band then adds their personal touch to the music and we begin rehearsing the songs until we are pleased with the result. This is how we have worked since the start, and it’s a way that works really well for us. We are not a band that writes songs in the rehearsal room.
7. After your three Albums “MENTAL ABSOLUTION” (2014) and “AS THE WORLD COLLAPSES” (2016) & “FALL. RISE. CONQUER” (2019) and first single ” THE DARKEST BLACK” (2017), what are your plans for the future? Do you plan on recording any more albums?
Not at the moment. We have a great collection of songs to play at shows, and a lot of music out on the media. Right now, the focus is to be a great live band and to keep touring both in Sweden and abroad.
8. How many copies were released and which medium was used for this new edition (CD, digital, vinyl, cassette)?
At first, we only released the new album on all digital platforms. Releasing a physical album involves a huge cost, and we weren’t able to take it. Our fans convinced us though, and about two weeks after the digital release, they were able to get the album on a physical CD. We are happy that we made that decision, and we are also happy that our fans understands how the music industry works. It ain’t millions of dollars flowing.
9. Do you have any plans to shoot a professional video for one of the songs off this new record?
We have already done three music videos which are from the new album, and they are all released on YouTube. The videos were made for the songs ’Fånge i Frihet’, ’Dreams Denied’ and the cover of ’Nothing Else Matters’.
10. What’s your outlook on the record industry today in Sweden?
I guess Sweden is going in the same direction as most countries. The record stores have been closing down since at least 10 years, and there has been more focus on digital platforms. Some really nerdy record shops are still open though, mostly in the bigger cities.
11. What is your view on the bands (Rock/Metal) in North Africa and the Middle East? Have you ever met any Arab bands at any festival?
I have the same respect for all bands and musicians. I know how much work it takes to follow your dream. In some countries, the way of work is more difficult than others due to their laws, but we all have to walk down the same alley of passion and stubbornness and keep the motivation along the way. I don’t know if we have encountered some bands that are specifically Arab.
12. I met with some melodic death metal from Sweden (like ARCH ENEMY and DARK TRANQUILITY) in Morocco, and as a Moroccan fan of this kind of music, my question is: what’s the magic touch of the Swedish melodic death metal bands?
Haha, good question! In Sweden, we happen to have that magical “Gothenburg sound”, that has inspired a lot of bands over the years. It started back in the early 90’s with bands like At The Gates, Dark Tranquility and In Flames.
13. Through your participation in many concerts and festivals in Sweden and abroad, have you noticed a difference among the fans’ reactions to your performance outside of Sweden?
We feel that the crowd abroad is more willing to go to concerts and shows every day of the week. In Sweden, it is harder to find good clubs that will take in smaller and middle sized bands for good shows. As a band, it is also easier to get a fair payment for your shows abroad. I cannot answer why this is how it is, it’s just something we have noticed while working with bookings and performances.
14. How and where can your fans contact you? Can you provide with some contact information?
Of course! We are on social media like Facebook , Instagram and YouTube, and we are also reachable via mail. Check out our website; zephyra.se for more information. The music can be found on all digital platforms, such as Spotify, Apple Music, etc…
15. To finish up the interview, please add anything extra that you would like to have our readers see.
First of all, I’d like to thank you for serving some really nice questions.
For the fans, new and old out there, I’d like to say keep following us. Help us out by sharing the music, spreading the word and telling the world about us. In today’s music industry, bands need to be seen! Thank you all for supporting us! Never hesitate to contact us or come up on a show and say hi!
Band photo (Photo by: Henrik bengtsson/Imaginara.se)
Live photo (Photo by: Philip Deacon)
Live photo (Philip Whitehouse)
Edited by: Zee Ismail.