Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Interview with HULDRE by Alex

You have been in business for a while now, to be exact from the beginning of 2006. But do you still know how it started?

Bjarne: Some details are a bit hazy by now, it was a long process, but a looong time ago me and Nanna got to talking about our dream of making a folkmetal. We got some people together for one meeting and realized that it wouldn’t work haha.
So little bit later Nanna got to talking with people in the medieval band Gny (where Laura plays violin) and she also wanted to try this folk metal thing, so the three of us started getting a band together. Between 2006 and 2009 we went through a couple of various lineups and exploring the musical style that we wanted,  with people releasing they weren’t that into the style before we finally found the right people, that shared our vision and ideas for a great folk metal. But even though we had those years of exploration it wasn’t really until our 2009 lineup that Huldre was truly created and things started taking off.  

What does the name of the band – Huldre, mean and how does it reflect what you’re about?

Laura: Since a Huldre is a forest creature (primarily female) from Nordic folk lore that lures men with music and kills them if they don't satisfy her I think it's very suitable for our band 

Bjarne: Yeah, we found the name fitting for a music group of our kind, since elves generally, in nordic folklore, were also known for luring people into neverending parties inside hills and underground, besides the specifics of the Huldre. 

Band’s member played in other bands before Huldre... How did you get into your first band or bands? What was the name of this band and what music did you play?

Laura: first ensemble was a chamber orchestra playing classic music as well as traditional Danish folk music. First "real" band was called Fenris - a band where we played Irish Folk Punk

Bjarne: My first band was called “Suicide Something”… I think. We were very very young, played in my parents barn and did a valiant attempt at mixing grunge and metal as only 14 year old angry teenagers in the mid 90’s can do. 

Nanna: I have played in some folk/rock/metal/trash bands before and I was co-founder of my first metal/rock band I had in highschool.

Is it hard to get out of Denmark singing in the language you choose instead of the almost universal English?

Bjarne: I don’t think the language is any barrier when you play folk metal. If you look at other bands in the genre you see all kinds of bands using their native languages and still going on big tours

Nanna: Now I think about it, I have actually never thought that singing in Danish could be an issue for playing in other countries. It is very naturally to sing and write lyrics in Danish. Especially with our folk inspired genre, singing in our mother tongue will maybe give it even more authentic atmosphere. 

It took you a long time from 2012 until 2016, how hard was it to get it all worked out and start building up?

Nanna: We have spent a lot of rehearsals working on new songs but also give life to songs we started on a long time ago. Sometimes we can put a song away for many years or change a song many times before we all agree. From we start and till we finish a song everyone has to be satisfied with the result. It is very interesting but it also takes a lot of time. The result is that we all lay our hands and hearts in the songs 

Bjarne: I think a lot of stuff happened and time kind of just slipped. We always try to be very active live and when you are rehearsing for gigs all the time, you sometimes forget to spend time on composing. Our debut album was also very well received which helped the gigs happen, and especially in 2014 and 15 when we got third place in Wacken Metal Battle, we became very active live. So in late ’15 we decided to do a focused effort on getting Tusmørke finished and recorded and get it out there.
Some of the tracks on the album have even been played live for 2-3 years before we recorded them

How pleased are you with your previous record ‘’Intet menneskebarn’’? What has it done for the band so far?

Bjarne: Quite pleased still, yeah. We learned a lot about a lot of processes involved with writing and releasing an album like that ourselves. The album has gotten us quite far, farther that most bands might get on the debut album. As our bio tells we managed to somehow stay relevant for 4 years following that release so we must have done something right, haha. 

Nanna: We were all pleased with our debut album, but I remember we were very curious about the public’s reaction to our music. But we couldn’t have wished for a better reception from the audience and we got very fine reviews. Hard work and self-promotion, and people who believed in us lead us to where we are now.  

How do you define the metal you play ?

Laura: Genuine Nordic folk metal

Bjarne: Yeah, to sound like a kliche: Trve Nordic Folk Metal haha. We do our best to merge the two genres 50/50 and find the synergetic effect of both genres on each other, rather than sprinkling stuff over melodic death metal and calling it folk metal. 

What band(s) have been the most prolific in shaping your sound? Where do you draw influences from?

Bjarne: None, really. It may sound boring, but we compose music as a consensus and as such there are not any music that influences us as a group. There are a lot of influences on an individual level, and you can probably find some of those influences in sporadic traces on our albums, but as a group we don’t draw inspiration from any single sources. 

Nanna: We all have different influences, I am inspired by Doom metal and old ballads and Nordic folk. And nature 

Do you as a band follow a specific musical ideology?

Laura: Every bandmember should be content with a track before we declare it for done but except for that we don't have any dogmas or other strict rules about our compositions or creative processes.

Nanna: I mentioned it a bit in one of the questions before, but it is important that we all have a part and heart in the music and the composition. We also agree that we work with the inspiration of folk, metal and folklore and the expression in the moods of the songs can change a lot from part to part.

You have released a new album this month, ‘’Tusmørke’’. What was the creative process?

Bjarne: Very long hah. Well, as mentioned elsewhere the creative process for us is quite long. Some tracks were done quite soon after the release of Intet Menneskebarn and have been with us live for years, while others were done closer to recording the album. Some ideas were jammed out, then put away for years as well, before being brought out again and made into full songs. I think it was towards the end of 2015 we decided to finally finish the album and get it recorded, so we booked a studio time, created a deadline for ourselves, and started focussing on finishing and polishing what we had.

What are the themes in your songs? And do you write the songs themselves? What comes first: melody or text?

Nanna: There are many lyrical themes in the songs, but many of the themes are the same: death, sorrow, love, sadness, changing from human to beast, or beast to human.
We write all our songs ourselves. Sometimes one of us comes up with a melody or a riff and we all bring our ideas to it, or we jam and something comes up and we continue working on it more focused.
Most of the time we make the melody first and I make the lyrics afterwards. There are two songs where the lyrics are taken from old Danish ballads and we made new melodies based on the lyrical content.

Let’s talk about your brandnew album ‘’Tusmørke’’... can you talk us through the album, track by track, and explain what the songs are all about?

Nanna: There are many themes in the songs and sometimes people get something different out of the lyrics and I think it can be dangerous to tell too much about the meaning of the lyrics. I have tried to illustrate some short expressions and keywords instead. 

1.       Jagt
“Hunt”. Ancestors walking north following the reindeers, hunting and searching for adventure, loneliness, wilderness

2.       Hindeham
“The Maiden Hind”. A brother shoots a deer with his bow and arrow and recognizes that it is his sister who has been changed into a deer. He cuts off his fingers, she drinks his blood and turns into a human again.
3.       Varulv
A woman is going to be married, but she is cursed and told she will meet a wolf on her wedding day. Her groom give her his sword and let her ride alone through the forest. On her way she meets the wolf. Her Groom hears her screaming and rides out to rescue her, but he only finds her bloody dress
4.       Underjordisk
Underworld streams and lakes, soil, depression, sunlight
5.       Skifting
“Changeling”. Old beliefs and advice about how to you avoid a newborn child is taken by the trolls and replaced with one of their own.
6.       Fæstemand
“Husband” in old Danish.
A young newlywed girl cries a lot because her husband just died. The dead husband hear her crying and step out of his grave to visit her. She let him in and ask him if she can come with him to the grave.
7.       Mørke
“Darkness”. Old pagan gods riding through the dark
8.       Tæring
Old Danish word for Tuberculosis. A woman stands at the hill waiting for her boyfriend, a sailor she is going to marry. When the ship reaches the coast all on board are dead.
9.       Nattesorg
An elvish woman falls in love with a human man, the love is shortlived and not requited and she kills him

Can you still remember your first concert, which you played with the respective band?

Laura: Yes - it was at a metal venue in Copenhagen with the most prominent Danish folk metal band at that time (Svartsot). It was fun but we had a lot of fuck-ups so got really drunk afterwards

Nanna: uh yes it was a support for the Danish folk metal band Svartsot at a Danish club called “The rock”, (oh I miss that place, which doesn’t exist anymore). We were so excited and had no idea about how the audience would react to our music, and we were lucky, they liked us ;-)

Describe to me how your music has changed in recent years and how it has changed you personally.

Bjarne: From Intet Menneskebarn to Tusmørke I think the biggest change is in our approach to composing. We used to be slightly anarchistic and have a lot of melodies fighting for attention in the mix of the first album, but we learned from that and as we composed new material we really focused on giving each melody the space and support it needed.
Personally, I think we have gotten a lot of experience in dealing with various situations, be it live or in the rehearsal space and a lot of us have gotten quite a lot of management and booking experience by now 

What equipment do you use? Do you have some endorsement contracts?

Laura: I'm playing an electric violin from Bridge Instruments in England and use a Boss pedalboard for the sound FX. I'm currently testing whether I should be part of a violin mic endorsement so that I might be able to use my acoustic violin from time to time.

Bjarne: No endorsement contracts (yet) but I have a semi-custom Sandberg California TT5 bass, a (classic) Hartke HA3500 workhorse of an amp, with a Hartke 2x15 cab and a  Markbass 4x10 cab. On the pedal front I got a vintage “Morley Power Wah Fuzz”, A Lone Wolf “Plague Rat” distortion, and an Electro Harmonix Deluxe Bass “Big Muff Pi”. 

What is the Danish metal and rock scene? Can you recommend a couple of bands and rock metal clubs ?

Bjarne: hmm let me think. Well on the club front it hasn’t been quite as good as back when “The Rock” existed, but we have some quality watering holes in Copenhagen like Voodoo Lounge, Zeppelin bar, High Voltage and Escobar (also found in Århus).
On the band front it’s always hard to point at any specific bands, but if you are into black I would recommend bands like Solbrud and Eldjudnir and if you are into thrash maybe bands like Velociter and Impalers. If you are into death metal you might like Baest, although they drank all of our beers last time we played with them haha J And if you are into doom, stuff like Hamferd (from the Faeroese Islands) or Woebegone Obscured, or if you are into oldschool rock, bands like SEA, but really, there are too many to recommend. The quality of the Danish scene is fairly high. 

What’s next for Huldre?  Any plans for any European dates to support the album’s release, for example?

Bjarne: Currently we are doing as many gigs as we can get our hands on. There are always plans for gigs 

Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions.  The last words are yours.

Bjarne: Thanks you for your time and hope to see you around 

No comments: