Ahead of the release of Woland’s fantastic new album Hyperion, we caught up with vocalist W for an interview. Check it out below.
Could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about the band?
I am W and I’m the vocalist. I’m also responsible for the lyrics, artworks and such. Woland is a four piece band from Helsinki, Finland and we’ve branded ourselves as a post black metal band since we have a very modern viewpoint on what we do, and it can not really be said to be “just” black metal. Our roots go back to old school BM bands but Woland represents the other side of the same coin, being more forward looking and boldly Luciferian instead of corpsepaints and longing back to the 90’s.
So 2014 is now fully underway – what’s in store for the band this year?
As I am writing this, we are waiting to release our second single from our debut album Hyperion, which is due to be released worldwide on the 24th of February via Indie Recordings. At that same time we’re going to perform at Blastfest in Bergen, that has an amazing lineup. After that, we’re looking at doing a Finnish tour. It was already planned for January with Shining, but it got postponed when Niklas got some severe issues with his back and hence could not perform. During the summer whe then have some festivals here and there and hoping for a European tour in the autumn. There’s of course also stuff going on behind the curtains, like writing some extra songs and planning the next album etc. All in all it will probably be a quite a busy year.
You’re currently getting ready to release your debut album Hyperion. Can you tell us about the writing and recording process for it?
We did the first songs for the album a couple of years ago, those were Conquer All and Live Forever. They were kind of test tracks where we were searching for the kind of sound and style that we wanted. From there we then just continued forward until we had enough material for a good album. Some songs we left out and some songs were heavily re-edited. Our guitarist LXIV does most of the writing and then sends it over to me, and then I give my opinion or ask to change some parts or melodies until we’re both satisfied with the song. He has a private studio so it’s was quite easy for us to work in this manner. Everything was recorded and mixed there by ourselves.
Hyperion is going to be featuring three guest vocalists (Geir Bratland, Mathias Lillmåns and Janica Lönn) – what’s the story behind the choices and how did they get involved?
Well Geir I met in Oslo last autumn when we were at this afterparty and started discussing music and projects and such. I knew he has a nice clean voice so I asked I he would be interested in recording a small passage for the song Ecstasy and Rapture, and so he did! As for Mathias and Janica, they are both my very close friends and I wanted some extra grunt on some vocal parts and then some female accents on others so it was just a question of handing them the microphone and the lyrics, really.
Similarly, if you could collaborate with anyone else for a future release, who would you choose?
Oh, there’s so many talented people that it’s impossible to say at this point. I’ve once before worked with Rune Eriksen from Ava Inferi/Aura Noir/Mayhem and I love his guitarwork, but I’m not sure if his style would suit what we’re doing at the moment, but who knows. We’re fortunate to know a big variety of people from jazz musicians to electronic artist so we’ll just wait and see what kind of material would fit in and where.
I particularly love the track None – the guitar line at the start is absolutely incredible. Could you tell us a little more about that piece?
Our guitarist would maybe have better insight to this concerning the riffs and the slightly atonal approach to the song. But I know for a fact that he had been out drinking absinth the whole night before and when he came home he wrote that song in a terrible delirium. It’s probably the most different song on the album because of that. Lyrically it follows a drug fueled madness that starts with divine strength and insight and then ends with a loss of identity and a spiritual death. The master giveth some and taketh some, or as the lyrics in the end of the song say: “My glory walks hand in hand with my doom”.
Were there any tracks that were more of a struggle to complete or record than others?
For myself the pre-mentioned None was a tricky one because I was having some trouble with the theme and ran into a writers block, so I left that song to last. There’s also other parts on the album that brake away from the click tracks or change tempo in the middle of a part, so those require some extra attention to get right both in the studio and when you play live. The end of the album seems to be a pain in the ass for our drummers too since it’s basically a several minute drum solo that needs to pace itself with some slow guitars and piano.
Any interesting tales from the studio?
Some of the vocals were recorded nude.
What’s your favourite track from the album?
Living Water is my personal favorite, not only because it has this flamenco style classic guitar middle part followed by a epic guitar solo, but the lyrics are heavenly perverse and it’s also the slowest song on the album. It will actually be our next single so it will be out quite soon.
Moving onto live shows – how would you describe your live performance to someone who hasn’t seen you yet?
We drive a very black and white style throughout everything we do, so expect crowdblinders and strobelights. We’re also believers in the word performance, so hopefully we can also provide a good visual experience to go together with the music. Standing still in a corner of the stage with a hood on is not performing. I would not say we are very animated per se, but one should still be able to feel and see the power of the music that is played.
If you could play a show anywhere, where would it be?
The moon. I just bought some land from there.
And my last question – if Woland could put their name to any product, what would it be?
Champagne, of course!
Hyperion is out on February 24. Check out our review of it here.