Glittertind are a folk band from Norway that have recently put out their excellent new album Blåne for blåne – you can see our review here. Ahead of its release, we caught up with bassist Bjørn for a chat over Skype to gain a greater insight into the new album, and we some of what we discussed was writing and recording it, their change in direction and single choices – and we also took the time to chat about live shows, dream Glittertind concert lineups, soap and much more! Make sure you check it all out below.
First things first, you’re about to release your brand new album Blåne for blåne. Can you describe the writing and recording process?
It was very quick! We decided at about Christmas 2013 that we wanted to start writing a new album so we wrote songs for about six months and finished them during the summer of last year. Then we went into the studio for…well, I don’t quite remember but I think it was about ten or twelve days. Then we tweaked it and mixed it for maybe ten days or something like that, but it went really fast compared to our previous album, which we spent about four years on! It was quick and kind of stressful, but it worked out okay in the end!
Speaking of your previous album, was this one easier to make compared with Djevelsvart, as it’s now your second album recorded as a full band?
I’m not sure if it was easier…the last album was very comfortable as we didn’t have any deadline for it – we just wrote music and it was finished when it was finished, but this time we wanted to have it ready in a year’s time, so it was really intense, I would say. It was just different I suppose – but I don’t think we’ll make another album in the next year! (laughs) But it was fun and a nice experience to have.
Blåne for blåne is also very different genre-wise to Djevelsvart. Was that a change that progressed naturally or was it more of a conscious effort to do something different?
It was definitely a conscious one. We didn’t want to do the same thing all the time, and we’re six different guys who listen to rather different music, and we thought this would be a good way to show another side of us that isn’t so dark and heavy. So that was the choice we made when we started the writing process. It was really fun to try something new and different – we just hope our fans will enjoy it as well!
Well I really loved it! Just as much as I loved Djevelsvart, in fact.
You’re welcome. So when it came to the album, were there any songs that were more of a challenge to perfect?
Well, there was a couple that just clicked right away but there was also ones that we really had to work on. The first song on the album, Ukjend land, went really quick for example, but Soria Moria, the third song, went through a few different phases. It started out completely acoustic but it didn’t really work so we decided to change it around and add a couple of synths, which is how it ended up with a sort of 80’s feel to it.
I feel the 80’s vibe added so much character to it – it’s such a fun song!
Yeah! I’m really happy with that one, so I’m glad you like it. We also struggled a bit with Draumen as well; it was kind of different with that one because we didn’t quite know what to do with it but we made some last-minute changes that really made it a lot better, like adding a couple of synths again. You can’t really hear the changes that well unless you really know the song from before, but it really helped to elevate the sound. Except for those two though, I would say it went well with the other songs but as things went so quick, we had to do a couple of things on the fly as well. We actually went to the studio not 100% sure what we were going to do and tried playing some different stuff to see what worked and what didn’t work.
What made you choose Høyr min song (Til Fridomen) as the first single from Blåne for blåne?
We kind of wanted the first single from the album to be upbeat and we thought that song had potential to be played on the radio here in Norway, and it started being played on the radio a couple of months ago, I think. We thought it was the most catchy song and as we wanted something like that to be played now that Spring is coming!
Will you be sticking with this more acoustic-folksy style from now on?
To be honest, I’m not really sure what we will be doing in the future. I think we will at least make another album that has an acoustic sound to it. We’ve talked a little bit about it, not too much, but we could maybe combine the new sound with the old one, but nothing is set in stone so we’ll just have to try out and see basically! But it won’t be…well, we’ll keep playing acoustically for at least one more album and then, who knows?
I really love it! I particularly like how even though the style has changed, as a listener there’s no doubting it’s still Glittertind, which is great.
Cool! Yeah, we’re a little nervous about what people will be saying when they hear it but the feedback has been really good so far.
If you could rework an old Glittertind song into this more acoustic style, which song would you choose?
We kind of already do in our current live show, as we play some of our older songs as well. One of the ones that works the best is maybe Nordafjells from the Landkjenning album and one of the really old ones, Flaumen Går – if you’ve ever heard that one?
(laughs) That one works really well acoustically.
When will we all get the chance to hear these songs? Have you got any plans for some tours or for now are you just going to be playing a few Norwegian shows?
We’re working on getting a tour in place. Hopefully it will be in May, before the summer, but if it doesn’t work out then we will do it after summer, so we definitely have plans to tour at some point.
So what would you say the best show you’ve played has been?
Hmm…the best show…I’d say the first one! That was pretty incredible and it was back in 2010, I think. Me and three of the other guys joined in late 2009 – because of Landkjenning‘s success, Geirmund and Torbjørn wanted to take it live. We were asked to join but we didn’t really know what to expect when we came but it was really good and plenty of people came to see us. It was a festival and I think it was about 700 people, so that was really fun. I think that’s a memory for life.
What about strange or weird shows – has there been any of them?
There has been some strange ones! We had a fun one last summer where we played in a small town in the Western part of Norway. I think there was only about 200 people that lived there, or something like that, and we were the first band to ever play in the town, so the entire town came, we played our show and then we played some cover songs afterwards. It was so much fun! We have played some not-so-fun shows in front of maybe twenty people, and stuff like that, but that’s just the way it is in Norway when you play. But it’s always fun to play, so I definitely can’t complain!
So if you could tour anywhere, on any lineup, where would it be and who would you play with?
Hmm, that’s a good question! It would be fun to go outside of Norway, at least – maybe the UK or America! That would be fun. And we could maybe play with a band similar to us, so a folk act. I’m not sure, I don’t know that many bands…maybe Mumford And Sons?
Good call, I think you’d fit well on a lineup with Mumford And Sons but you’d totally blow them off the stage though!
(laughs) That’s nice of you to say! But yeah, playing with Mumford And Sons would be nice but I can’t really see that happening.
Never say never!
Well, you never know. (laughs) I’m also thinking about America…maybe we could tour with one of those bluegrass bands like Nitty Gritty Dirt band or something like that would be fun.
Sounds like a plan! So, moving onto some more random questions – if you could replace a movie soundtrack with Glittertind’s music, what would you choose?
Hmm…(there is a long pause) Wait, I have one! I don’t remember its name, but it’s from the director that did Drive…Valhalla Rising, that’s the one. Something like that, or maybe Vikings, the TV series. I think that could work as well. Maybe not the new stuff though! (laughs)
You could always have the newer stuff in the ‘quieter’ moments of Vikings though?
Yeah that’s true, I guess there are a couple of occasions where we’d be able to fit a couple of new songs in!
On a similar note, if there was going to be a movie released about Glittertind, what actor would you want to play yourself?
(laughs) That’s a great one! Hmm…Ryan Gosling, maybe? (laughs again) I’m not sure! Who do I like…hmm…Christian Bale! I really like him! That would work, yeah.
And my last question – if Glittertind could put its name to a product, what would it be?
Like something you’d sell in a store? That’s another good question. Maybe a soap, because you’ll feel clean after listening to our new album!