Sounds from the deep forests of Sweden – interview with ’Ursprung’

Hi Andreas, I was really glad when you agreed to do an interview with us since I find your music very inspiring and want to dig in more with how it is born and what kind of thoughts and feelings it brings up in you as a songwriter! But first things first, how’s it going?

Andreas: Hello! I am equally thankful for being asked to do this. Hows it going… I’ve had my first four week vacation ever, where I thought I would write out many new musical ideas, but that didn’t really turn out as expected.

I wrote some music and finished two-three songs and then it seems I just took a break from absolutely everything. Which has been well needed.

You are from Sweden, right? How did you become interested in writing nordic influenced folk music in the first place?

Andreas: Yes, I live in Värmland in a small place called Munkfors. I’m not sure how this type of music turned out to be what I went with. I guess it has always been in me, to write folk influenced tunes.

I started out as a one man black metal band, due to the lack of musically interested people where I live. And playing instruments seem to slowly die off lately, so I knew if I wanted to do something its gonna be on my own.

I tried to gather people to play different styles of metal in Karlstad but that didn’t work out either for many reasons.

But during that time in 2015/2016, I had this idea I wanted to bring to life as a side project next to these failing bands of mine.

And that idea turned out to be Ursprungs early ambient demo called Skugglekar. And I had absolutely no plan of putting a nordic theme on it, it just came along as I created during sleepless nights.

To answer the question shortly, I feel very much at home with these instruments & music.

Do you find it’s one way to connect with your ancestors?

Andreas: I suppose it is one way. Atleast to honor them and continue creating new where they left off.

What kind of instruments do you use when writing music for Ursprung?

Andreas: I use alot of tagelharpa, a bowed instrument dating back to around year 1200-1300. And it probably is my absolute favourite instrument, it is a big challenge to get creative with such a limited instrument.

I built a bunch of 6-stringed lyres, where I kept one for myself and have been recording with since Urminnen. It is such a lovely, delicate sound. I use a lot of different boneflutes made from sheep, and they give off such a light yet intense melodic sound. And recently since the release of Líf – Dauði, I have gotten myself a ”bukkehorn” or a goathorn if you will, built by the great Magnar Storbækken and it sounds absolutely beautiful. I used it alot on the song Fuþark.

I also got my hands on a cows horn built by Per Runberg, also a very great musician! He has a youtube channel, go check him out. I also use Mouthharps in different tunings. Shamanic drums, bonepercussions. I’m gonna show you a work in progress, where I put together a lot of moosehorn tips with a deers skull, making a kind of ”crash”? You can hear it on Fuþark as well. My newest addition to the instruments and probably one of my favourites: Nyckelharpa, a swedish traditional instrument. Throatsinging is also something I do for Ursprung.

How did you learn to play these instruments?

Andreas: Out of pure inspiration and willpower. Endless hours of practise and practise and when you’re done practising and are able to create something you still practise.

Playing guitar and knowing some theory also gets you a long way fast when you start learning a new instrument.

From which kind of themes are the lyrics of your songs born? What kind of stories do your songs tell to the listener?

Andreas: Alot of Hávamál, a combination of numerous shorter poems presenting advice for living, proper conduct and wisdom. It is our most important source on Old Norse philosophy.

And alot of Völuspá is used, the story of how the world came to be and how the world would eventually reach its end. I wrote my own ”lyrics” for alot of songs, for example Tíð Takið Allr, this track is about the cycle of life itself, to die and come back. I believe there are wisdom to be found within the old sagas and that its important that we do not forget them nor where we came from.

How does the songwriting process work for you?

Andreas: Since I am absolutely thoughtspread all the time, I can have ideas pop up out of nowhere being anywhere. I write them down in that moment and get back to it later.

Many times I’m just playing one of the instruments and when I find a melody or riff I believe in, the rest kind of just comes with it like, this nyckeharpa melody will go perfectly well along this drum, flute or horn, maybe lyre.

I Just know exactly what to do when I get a melody I like. I have no songwriting system like alot of people seem to have, I create as I go too. I can begin a song with a drum and sort of know what to record onto that from there. While most people would begin a song with melodies and other riffs.

What inspires you to write new music?

Andreas: I like stories & mythology. But I do believe I get inspired by places and events. Certain sounds from nature can get me thinking creative… There is a place called Verdandi close to where I live, where I’ve gone fishing alot.

The place can be seen on the album cover of Líf – Dauði. That place can be magic. Other than that, I can only say I have been a musically creative person as long as I can remember.

Are you doing gigs at the moment?

Andreas: I actually had plans to do my debutperformance this summer, but due to Covid-19 and some other difficulties I could unfortunately not go through with it. It would be a halfhearted attempt. I will probably do it in the future though.

What’s next for Ursprung? Any upcoming releases, collaborations or so on?

Andreas: Upcoming releases hehe, yes there are four full albums in the works. Three of them will contain elder futhark songs & poems. Something I wanted to do when I first began with Ursprung.

And I am so grateful for having the chance to work with my super talented friend Sigurboði Grétarsson. Sigurboði just released his own first solo album called Kvæðamaðr. I fully recommend looking up that masterpiece.

I also recently got in touch with Will Hunter from Vévaki, also a very insanely talented musician. He’s releasing his debut albumt called ”Edda” 9th August. We decided to do a collab together, so he’s going to sing one of the elder futhark rune songs.

Any wisdoms you’d like to share with the world?

Andreas: I’ll leave this: ”No such things as spare time, no such thing as free time, no such thing as down time. All you go is life time. Go.”

You find Ursprung’s music at:

https://ursprung.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/UrsprungOfficial

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