Following the release of Vintersorg’s excellent new album Naturbål (our review of which can be read here), we caught up with Mr V to find out a bit more.
Thanks for the interview. Could you introduce yourself and tell me a little about the band?
Hi there! Well…I started this band for about 20 years ago with an intention to mix the harsh elements of black metal with acoustic parts and a large portion of Scandinavian folk music. Nowadays this is not that odd in any sense but back then it was something new and unique – especially as a good portion of the vocals are sung with a clear voice – it was quite ground breaking back then. I recorded some albums as a one-man-band and later on I invited my long time friend Mattias.
You recently released your new album Naturbål, could you tell me a little about the writing and recording process?
It’s the same procedure as we’ve used for many years. I write the music and the lyrics and then I record a pre-production of the songs and show Mattias, then we discuss things over and record the album. We record at my own studio and during this process the songs may change a bit as we add stuff and take stuff away. We also mix and master the album, so the songs may not be totally completed until the day we decide to master it. It took me about a month to write the framework for the songs but it took us quite long to record and mix the album as we mostly worked on it during weekends.
I particularly liked the vocal delivery on the album, was it difficult to get the balance between harsh and clean vocals right or did it just flow?
It did flow very smooth and it all comes very natural to me. I always go by heart and passion and don’t really calculate that much while writing the songs. It kind of reveals itself to me like “ok…this part needs more harsh vocals and that part is obviously the epic chorus” and so on. I’ve written so much music so my mind has I guess programmed itself to have that mix already at the writing stage.
Were there any songs that were more of a challenge to perfect than others?
Not that I can think of. All the songs are their own entity and have their difficulties as we tend to have so many layers and details – so the mixing is the most difficult. Everything needs to be there in the sound picture but many times different sounds compete about the frequency spectrum, so it’s quite some job until we get it right. But we didn’t ran into any huge problems…just these things when you have to find the right balance and find out what’s going to be at the front and what’s going to be a bit more in the background.
If you could go back and change anything, would you?
I don’t know…for now I feel it’s great but maybe in two years I’ll have stuff that I want to change or add…but every album is kind of a time capsule. It’s where you are at the specific point in time and the album is the carving that you leave of that process.
Are there any interesting tales from the studio?
Not any breakings news or any dubious stories but it was great fun to do this album and I feel it is a leap up when it comes to the production and the sound. I guess I’ve become a better sound engineer and am getting a wider grip of the whole recording-to-mixing-to-mastering steps that are needed to be done. So, we’re very much looking forward to the next session.
What’s been your best experience in the industry?
Hard to tell. I’ve played at huge metal festivals and that’s of course great, but what it all comes down to is actually the writing and recording of the songs. For me that’s the best part, it’s like a bolt of lighting when you get that inspiration out of nowhere and just compose songs out of the blue, not really knowing where it’s going to end up, that’s the best part of doing music for me. And therefore I’m very open- minded as a person to have that window open and not lock myself into a specific corner of music.
What are your goals for the remainder of 2014?
Just continue to talk about the new album and record more albums.
If Vintersorg could put its name to a product, what would you choose?
I’m not that into using the Vintersorg brand on other products, but of course if it’s the right product and we can stand behind it 100% it could work out. But what kind of product? Well…it should be something that has to do with man and nature as a concept or something more historical or existential. I could imagine something like food or beer but on the other hand I’m a curious space freak so if someone offered us to do a Vintersorg-telescope that could also be interesting!