EBM legends Covenant live in Malta

Ramona Depares interviews Eskil Simonsson ahead of the band's performance.

Covenant. Photo: Frank Machalowski

Covenant. Photo: Frank Machalowski

Covenant – what is the story behind your name?
First of all, hi Malta! We are so excited to come and visit for the first time! Covenant means spiritual brotherhood and is the bond we had when we started the band.

Use three words to describe your music?
Electronic passion with a message.

2016 saw the release of The Blinding Dark, with a sound that is darker than the more recent material. To what do you attribute this return to classic form?
Thanks, we are very happy with the latest album. We always had a dark side to our songs but maybe the times around us have changed. Many people are worried about the future, much of what we felt when we were kids growing up during the cold war era before the Berlin wall came down.

What have been fans’ reactions?
We are blessed with great fans and all our releases are very well recieved. Actually, our first three albums, now considered classics, were met with a lot of criticism at the time!

Who are Covenant nowadays?
In Malta there will be Daniel Myer, Daniel Jonasson and myself. We are very fortunate so have such passionate and talented guys in the band. My founding member and colleague Joakim Montelius stopped touring five years, ago but we still work together in the studio.

Do you feel that EBM and ‘goth’ carry a stigma, or have people moved beyond being scared of the dark?
No, I think gothic is even chic these days! But dressing in black and having strange haircuts is always going to worry parents.

What did you listen to when growing up and did this have an influence with the sound your music took?
Yes, definitely. We love electronic music and there has never been so much good, new music around. When we were kids we listened to a lot of Depeche Mode, techno and so forth, and then created our own mix from there.

You’ve seen the EBM scene evolve. What changes have you seen?
It is just growing stronger. And there are more bands than ever.

And what are your thoughts about the current scene and its following?
The industrial gothic scene is a big famliy and, if you visit the big German festivals like WGT or Amphi, you are going to have a lot of fun with more than 20,000 like-minded people.

What do you think of the general music scene nowadays? Would you say the digital revolution has helped or hindered – especially with a niche genre like yours?

I love that you can create music on your laptop or even your phone, and are not limited to buy expensive synthesisers. Thats a very democratic evolution.

Sweden is very eclectic, music-wise. How did growing up in this country help shape your music? Any particular memories?
Swedish schools offer a lot of musical education and I learned to play many intstruments. But, more imporantly, successful groups like Abba or Ace of Base showed that it was possible to reach out with your music even from a very modest background.

What attracts you to the darker side of life?
We all love arts and litterature. I don’t know if you can call that dark, but many artists reflect over our existance and our time here given.

Have you ever had negative reactions for your choice of themes?
We always have people wondering what we are doing. That’s good, otherwise we would be doing somehting wrong.

How important is image within the EBM sphere?
Image and music go hand in hand! I love the extravagant side of the gothic scene ,and we are all a bit of exhibitionists.

What can we expect from your performance in Malta?

I hope that, together with the audience, we can create a space where we can all loose ourselves in music. Dance, close our eyes and elevate our spirits for a little while.

Covenant perform on February 3 at The Garage, Żebbuġ. Tickets available online and at the door.

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