Genre: Progressive Metal
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
The Didact (2013) "Bandcamp"
1. Can I get a short backstory on the band (Biography)?
We started in 2010 when a couple of guys wanted to make a band that was progressive in more ways than just technically and rhythmically. Means End was meant to explore harmony, melody, and themes beyond conventional progressive metal.
2. What lyrical theme does Means End use in their music? And what message do you guys want to send?
Each song has a very clear and predefined theme. Lyrics are written in complete sentences and although they may be ambiguous from time to time, they’re never intentionally vague. You won’t find any lyrics about falling through dreams, lizards taking over the government, or (a favorite in djent) entering the twin-spectral lattice of my inner void. The themes we touch on are related to things like ontology, epistemology, history of ideas, metaphysics, mathematics, and the sort of thing that generally interest us.
3. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?
We are influenced by Eric Whitacre, Yellowjackets, Meshuggah, and Devin Townsend, among others.
4. What has been your best concert experience?
Our sweetest show was playing at a Microsoft conference where we scared away all the 80 attendees. There were 3 left in the audience at the end. It was awesome.
5. How would you describe Means End live performance to someone that hasn't witnessed the band live before?
Oh my god. Literally. God. The choirs just scream at your face. We try to head-bang to the beat.
6. What is your opinion on the current state of metal, and also how do you feel about the different classifications in metal and how some get a negative rep?
Classifications can be useful when trying to describe how music sounds, but it’s not so important what band IS a certain classification. It’s fun to tease about these types of things among friends but a lot of people really need to lay off the Haterade and focus their energy on something productive. Who cares what something is called? That being said, for us progressive metal has always stood for pushing the boundaries of composition and being avant-garde. Many singular bands have spearheaded things like rhythmic expression, or the use of technology in recording, but there are many more areas left to explore like intricate melodic patterns introduced in baroque music, chord structures not belonging to the diatonic scale, and more. We want to try and fill that gap.
7. What is your opinion on Piracy, and how it has affected the metal scene?
Piracy has become so ubiquitous that people forget what it even means. Technology allows the spread of material and information in a way makes it impossible for a content creator to have 100% control over what is distributed, how, when, and to who. It’s worth considering if a band kindly asks, “Would you kindly purchase our music if you want to listen to it?” that it’s a slap in the face to pirate it. Don’t distribute people’s music, images, poems and other material without asking first.This principle of respect is what has given us good relationships with content owners from video game series, literary authors, and more. If the service of a hard working content creator (i.e. band) is not worth your time (i.e. money) then respect their wishes and don’t pirate it just because you can. It’s about being nice to people. Common courtesy, you know?
8. What would you say separates Means End from the rest of new and up and coming bands?
This is a trick question. Choirs are a main instrument for us, which means they’re not just a “pad” but the harmonic center-point of all our music. Other than that, songs usually have several key-changes, polyrhythms, dynamic vocals, and jazz fusion type walking-bass lines.
9. When not doing things with the band, what can you be seen doing in your free time?
Rob: I work full-time as Technology Strategist at Microsoft so naturally computer-related activities take up a lot of my attention. Otherwise I dedicate a lot of time to my wife and newborn son. In the small spaces between everything I like to read books, exercise, and play on my Xbox.
Chr: I’m studying at the Royal Institute of Technology finishing up my computer engineering degree, and work part-time as an IT architect at a firm here in Stockholm. Other than that I tend to spend a lot of time with my girlfriend.
Raz: I do ad-hoc jobs mainly as a sound-engineer.
Leo: I’m studying media production and photography. Otherwise I spend time jamming or with my girlfriend.
10. What made you guys decide Means End as your band name?
Means End is just a band name, though it alludes to philosophical idioms. I’ll let you speculate :-)
11. Can you guys explain the writing and recording process for Means End "The Didact"?
Generally speaking, each song is written by one person and vocal melodies and lyrics are added post-hoc. After that each person interprets their instrument and we all give each other feedback before deciding on the final arrangement.
Rob: On many occasions I’ve received a song where a section has fast chord changes with very few notes in common, and thought to myself “this is simply impossible to improvise to.” So I’ve had to read the notes, find pathways through, anticipate key changes, and design a melody that sounds given instead of forced.
12. What has been the bands biggest moment?
Finishing “The Didact” and holding the CD in our hands.
13. Can you tell the fans more about the new album "The Didact" and how would you describe the music on the album?
We’re very proud of it for many reasons. One thing worth mentioning though is that, as opposed to many djent bands, everyone in the band has been intimately involved in the composition and recording of every song. We really feel like a team. With regards to the music, we really pushed ourselves technically to record the album. Robert nearly died in his closet while recording vocals. Both Leo and Rasmus got carpal-tunnel syndrome. Christian is a beast so he’s fine. What we have composed is a really nice blend of all our musical influences. Even though the tracks can vary quite a lot thematically, it’s obvious to us that they are part of the same concept.
14. Can we get a one sentence breakdown of each song meaning on the new album?
Candle in the Dark – a tribute to the pursuit of knowledge and Carl Sagan’s legacy
Omega Barrier – describes why we shouldn’t think of ourselves too highly seeing as how we’re really just meat-robots
Crimson Interloper – what constitutes identity, specifically in situations where there is no metaphysical “background”
Aeronaut – a song about existentialist anxiety
Prometheus – dedicated to the virtue of selfishness and individuality
Mourning Star – looking through the eyes of the tragic hero from “Paradise Lost”
Magnanimous – describes Aristotle’s ideal man
Lied von Leid – inspired by Faust and his lack of fulfillment in life
Nox Aurumque – a poem by Anthony Silvestri
Sun Wukong – describes the unyielding willpower of the Monkey King
Arbiter of Time – questions the value of human life as such
To Love – a song dedicated to the love of my life
15. What can the fans expect to see from Means End in the future?
Our next musical undertaking is big, like borderline ridiculous. It’ll probably be released in 2015.