Ahead of the release of their upcoming album Djevelsvart, we caught up with Glittertind’s Geirmund Simonsen to ask him a few questions.
Could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about the band?
My name is Geirmund Simonsen, the producer of the Djevelsvart and Landkjenning albums. In the beginning, before Landkjenning, there was no band, only Torbjørn. In 2009 on Landkjenning, there was still no band, only Torbjørn and me, but we expanded into a band in response to a concert request in 2010. It really changed the dynamics of Glittertind, and the new album reflects this, I think.
I’m so excited for your new album Djevelsvart – could you explain the writing and recording process of it?
Thank you! Djevelsvart is a very inwards looking album. It reflects our own struggles, and we wanted to express that somehow – through the lyrics, through the music, through the artwork. It was also very long in the making – roughly thirty months from concept to final master. Perhaps the darker nature of the album made us more critical. But now we’re finally done. Most parts were recorded and the album was mixed in my apartment because I have a small studio there. Luckily, we live in times where an album can be done this way. It means we can use the time we need until we are happy with the results.
Djevelsvart marks Glittertind’s first release with a full band – what prompted the decision after remaining a one-man-project (and then subsequently a two-man-project!) for so long and how’s it going so far?
When Landkjenning was released in 2009, Glittertind was asked to headline one of the great metal festivals in Norway – Karmøygeddon – the only problem being that Glittertind weren’t a band. If we were to accept the offer, we had to find some musicians quickly. We figured that the best band would be people we already knew and liked – that counts for more than pure technical skill, in our opinion. So we are basically a band of friends, who just happen to be skilled musicians as well. And each contributes to the album in a special way, making it markedly different from the earlier albums.
The artwork for Djevelsvart is absolutely stunning – who did it? Is there a particular story behind it?
The artwork for Djevelsvart is a fascinating story. Linda Røed, the artist, were there on our first concert ever – being a long time fan, I believe. She had an exhibition at that festival, and since several of the band’s members are interested in art, a connection was made. Fast forward two years, and we asked if she could make the cover artwork. She was given the lyrics, but no music, as the music was largely unfinished. When we looked at it one month after, we were amazed. She painted the album, so to speak, at a point when the album was far from done.
What’s your favourite song of the album?
Boring answer: I like them all, in their own ways. But I might be partial to Sprekk for sol, because I like the madness in it. And I love how the ending falls apart. But really, I like them all – almost equally.
Which was the most challenging one to write and record?
Nymåne was tough. Stefan had originally made a flute theme, which was great, however it was not easy to use as a vocal melody and some difficult compromises had to be done to make it fit the lyrics while keeping the rhythmical oddities. In Nymåne we also had to reverse the expectations for the chorus, making the verse the more powerful part. It may sound analytical, but it was mostly feelings-based – something wasn’t right, and all of a sudden, we found the key and everything locked into place. Sundriven was challenging, recording and mixwise. In Sundriven (which means “torn apart”), there are many musical elements going on at once – and it was quite tricky to blend them correctly and give each element space.
Djevelsvart is billed as being your darkest album so far – did you set out to write it that way or did it just happen?
I’d say we knew where we were headed. But it’s not pitch black. There are always some light sources, no matter how dark, and I think the album is about that, too.
Your previous release Landkjenning is probably one of my favourite albums of all time – one of the tracks that really stood out was the track Glittertind. Could you tell me a little about it and why you chose to make the track self-titled?
It is primarily because we identify strongly with the lyrics and the energy – and the urgency – in the song! Both Torbjørn and I are pacifists, we don’t like violence – there is always better ways to resolve conflict between individuals, groups, or nations. That’s easier said than done in many cases, of course. But it is still necessary to uphold as a virtue.
If you could go back and change anything about your previous releases, would you? And what would you change, if so?
I cannot speak for the releases before Landkjenning, but as a producer I have problems settling with a final version of anything. But then again, the budget for Landkjenning was extremely small, and we probably couldn’t have done it better if we tried a second time!
And what are your plans for 2014?
We have no specific plans, it all depends on how the album is received. But we hope to play in as many different and exciting places as possible. And if a request comes from Wales, we’ll be on the next plane!