Traditional storytelling from Iceland – interview with ’Sigurboði’

It’s great to do this interview with you Sigurboði and to dig a bit deeper into your music and how it is born, thanks a lot for making this possible! How are you feeling today?

S: Splendid thank you!

You are from Iceland, right? What is it like to be an independent musician in Iceland?

S: The music scene in Iceland is booming but it’s still intimate since we are a small nation. Everyone sort of knows each other or are familiar.

You have released one album and a single under your name. How long have you been writing music as a solo artist?

S: I’ve been writing music pretty much since I started out at 11 years old. I joined my first band at age 13 and i’ve been in a few bands since but I’ve always enjoyed more being alone and in charge. I think I’m a bit eccentric when it comes to music and working with others proved to be more of a difficulty than enjoyment for me. Still I do enjoy working with other musicians occasionally and I’ve done a few collaborations with some great artists.

Your latest album ’Kvæðamaðr’ consists eleven songs. How were these songs born?

S: My interest in Eddic poetry has always been strong and when I realized that performing these poems as a skald was a natural combination. Sadly there are no other musicians that I know of in Iceland performing Eddic Poetry in a skaldic form even though we have the advantage of speaking icelandic so I feel I’m not just singing the Eddic poems but also doing something more important.

When it comes to writing music what kind of things inspire you? Do your songs have a certain kind of theme?

S: Norse Mythology and Ásatrú practice are the heart of my music and bringing the old poems back to life as they might’ve been sung hundreds of years ago.

Many of us know you as a multi-instrumentalist. What kind of instruments can we hear in your music?

S: I tried to stick to the basic instruments you might hear a skáld use and have been found in the Nordic Countries, namely Lyre, Taglharpa and Skin Drums.

Do you have any favourite instruments that you like to play most?

S: No not really, I go through phases where I love playing a certain instrument and then a few days or weeks later I move onto another one and sort of go through all my instruments. But I would probably say that I play my Lyre and Bouzouki the most of all.

You have collaborated with many other musicians in the past, Danheim being one of them. Are you planning to do more collaborations in the future?

S: Yes! I’m currently working on a few projects with different artist but I’m also working on something different for myself.

Do you play live?

S: Yes I love being on stage but sadly due to Covid not much is happening. But I hope to travel and do some gigs around the world.

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

S: I wonder if whales can yawn with their blowholes.

You’ll find Sigurboði’s music an more at:

Melodic tales about warriors and rituals – interview with ’Herknungr’

Hello Alex, I am really glad to feature your story at Dark Folk Nation so a big thanks for making this happen! Would you like to tell us a bit about ’Herknungr’? Is ’Herknungr’ a one man project or a collaboration?

Herknungr is a one man UK Viking/Germanic project started by Alex McCree in 2018. I started writing nordic music in 2016 under my name but production wise, it wasn’t the best.

What does ’Herknungr’ mean? Is it Old Norse?

Herknungr means ’Warrior King’ in Old Norse, there isn’t many sites to clarify this but it’s got a nice ring to it.

Do you have some specific instruments you use when writing music for ’Herknungr’ or does it vary?

I would say it does vary, you have the usual use of the tagelharpa or horn running through a lot of the songs. I use a lot of sounds such as animal sounds, human shouts / breaths and nature and distort / twist them into something different. I am trying to be a lot more organic in future, to try and get more of an authentic sound but I use a lot of VST’s like Danheim’s Asgard sampler or Eduardo Tarilonte’s Dark Era.
I do like using plucked lyre’s and intend to buy one in future. I like using animal bones too.

Some of your songs are quite experimental, how are these ideas and soundscapes born? Do you find it difficult to put them from a thought to sound?

You are right that I have the sound in mind and try and come up with a soundscape that is somewhat very close to it. It can be difficult,there’s a lot of free stuff out there you can find and manipulate it to the songs. There’s a myriad of resources out there now and it’s amazing what you can find.

When it comes to writing songs do you have a certain pattern of how to do things or does it vary?

I definetely have the pattern in mind and sometimes there’s an alteration midflow. Like exaggerating / extending a bit of tagelharpa / jouhikko in the song a bit more, if it’s too short. Giving it more of a atmospheric or synth bridge between instrumentation parts with percussion. Little decisions like that.

What emotions would you like your music to pass onto your listeners?

A high level of intriguing wonder and a sense of strong musicality I think. I do have a bit of a mysterious sound for the most part. Listeners get a huge sense of atmosphere and nordic / germanic instrumentation, you can go on a trip with it and sounds other worldly.

Your music seems to be mostly influenced by the old nordic and the viking culture. Are there some specific themes from which your songs are born?

For sure that a lot Poetic Edda like Völuspá has influenced the project, the stories behind each rune and each nordic god. There is usually a lot of war themes in a lot of Herknungr songs. A lot of ritual / shaman aspects of norse paganism are considered for a lot of compositions too. I do like using a lot of battle themes in percussion, such as Son’s of Ragnar. I’m into a lot of Anglo- Saxon culture as well, which UK is known a lot for and where I’m from. I’m really getting into slavic paganism and Suomenusko recently also.

Have you done any collaborations? Any collaborations you would still like to do?

I have worked with both Vidarr members Corey and Arn but each member on different songs and was fun. I would love to work with a lot of the people who have released stuff on Fimbul like Fuimandane, Rúnfell, Munknörr or Heldom. I really like Nemuer too.
The ultimate dream of working with Danheim, Heilung or Wardruna as they are a lot of people’s idols.

You have released a good amount of material so far. Are you working on some new material as we speak?

Yes I am currently working on a new album, it will be a continuation of the ’Herknungr’ style in terms of experimentation with sounds and nordic instrumentation. I really like a lot the percussion I’m using in this new one and tagelharpa. I used to use metal string ones but got a horse string one now. There will be more collaborations in future too.

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

Just be nice to everyone and help people and then people will help you out too. Anything is possible when you put your mind to it and everything is accessible. As long as you have vision, everything else falls into place and doesn’t have to be expensive.

Storytelling through sound – interview with ’Torulf’

Hi Fredrik, I am really excited to do your interview and to hear the story behind your music (which I find very original)! How’s it going?

Hi Amanda, it is my pleasure. Thank you for setting this up and for your kind words. I am keeping well, thanks. I am enjoying the few sporadic days of sunshine here in Scotland where I am currently living. On this particular day there is clear skies and it is very beautiful, perfect weather for this interview.

How did you become interested in making nordic influenced folk music?

It was during my time at University in Sweden some years ago. I studied Sound and Music Production so I was already set on living a life intertwined with music, and my interest was mainly in knowing how to shape music from concept to a master, going through the entire production process by myself, so as an artist to freely convey my emotions and ideas. By then I had written and produced songs in many various genres, but there was a growing feeling that something was missing. At University I made mostly electronic songs of science-fiction, space-related concepts and genres. Almost every day I created new songs, one after the other. Gradually I felt more and more lost in my creative song-writing. In retrospect, I understand that in this moment in my life that I was up somewhere floating aimlessly in space just like my music was.

One day, one of my teachers was going to have a lecture. We were waiting for him in the lecture room. He arrived and he had this strange wooden instrument with him. Without saying anything, he began to play it. And immediately I was captured by its sound. Every note and every texture was so alive and honest. It made me feel so many emotions, some reawakening from the past. The waves of soundscape my teacher created with it was unlike anything I had heard before. It was ancient, proud, and mesmerising. I knew then that was missing in my own music – a sound that is a spirit, or soul so to speak. Afterwards he explained that the instrument was called a Hurdy-Gurdy and that he used to play in this band called Hedningarna, which since the 1980’s made Nordic folk music but with their own creative freedom. I had no idea something like this was possible, to be so inspired by the ancient and yet create something so free and new. Suddenly I had found exactly what I was looking for. Roots. I left that lecture feeling incredibly inspired, hopeful, and so happy to feel I had begun a creative path of my own back on Earth.

What kind of instruments can we hear in your music? Do you play them yourself?

You hear a mixture of instruments such as percussive and electronic drums, Tagelharpa, Hurdy-Gurdy and synthesisers. These are the main ones. I play the Tagelharpa and some percussion, and the others including percussion and soundscapes are recorded samples over the years and I made my own sound library out of them. Furthermore, I am fond of using synthesisers and exploring how to combine their sounds with traditional instruments.

What kind of things inspire you when you are writing new music?

My music is a story. My songs are chapters and an album is a journey. When I was a child my father told me and my brother his own fictional bedtime stories about a Viking explorer named Torulf that travelled the world. Each story was a different journey to some ancient part of the world. The sense of exploration and adventure undoubtedly left a mark in me. When I started making Nordic influenced music that’s what inspired me: to invoke Torulf from these childhood stories, memories and imagination. When I moved to Scotland a few years ago, I realised I was going in the footsteps of Torulf as he also went to Scotland. That’s when I made Västerled. I merged my father’s character with my own personal experiences as an adult, and thus channelling inspiration to my music. I am writing a story just as much as I am writing music.

Do you have a specific way of writing songs or does it vary?

The general way does not vary, as the songs should always fit into the overarching story and journey of the album. Each song is thus carefully conceptualised. I write down what a chapter will be about, where we are, and how it will feel like. Then I create the soundscapes, the ambience, the environment, and so on. Within this atmosphere I let the music grow somewhat organically. Anything specific about the song-writing is not planned ahead of time or thought-out. I set a frame for me to explore in. At this point, having the story is like having an anchor. It is something to always hold me in place, as it is easy to lose myself in these atmospheres.

What kind of a role does the nordic mythology have in your music and in your personal life?

As with most Scandinavians we grow up with the sagas, myths and folklore of our ancestors. These are a heritage and belong to us just as much they belonged to them, and will belong to our children. They might inspire, be channelled, awake emotions or ideas. I believe in some way they are manifesting in our lives, like myths tend to do to a people. I have this in mind in my personal relation to our mythology. It connects me to an ancestral heritage, a custom and tradition in a world I feel is exponentially heading in the other direction, whilst breaking off the roots. I feel there is wisdom in our mythology, often coded and filled with riddles. This inspires my music and the way I construct my own story, or saga. When I read a myth all my senses become active, and my mind makes it very visual. This also inspires my music, as I aim to make music that is also visual for the mind.

If you would have to describe Torulf’s music yourself how would you describe it?

I describe it as Nordic Tribal. My intention with this term is weaving together ancient Scandinavian heritage and spirituality with electronic and modern sounds. I seek novelty and experimental elements in everything I do. When I made Västerled I was inspired by other artists and bands in this emerging Nordic Folk genre, but afterwards I found it too saturated and too many artists sounding the same. It is important for me to create my own music, not to ride the wave I believe many do. By naming what I do Nordic Tribal, I have set myself free to explore what soundscapes and music I can create without feeling I am within someone else’s frame, which in turn hampers my creativity.

In some of your songs there are very strong ambient like atmospheres. How important it is to you as a songwriter to create those kind of atmospheres and how are they born?

Atmospheres are essential to my music. They are a part of the story by setting the tone for the song, or setting the scene so to speak. Sometimes they are the actual atmospheres and soundscapes that we hear in the story. It is the first and last thing the listener feels during a song. It is the bridge in between chapters in my albums, the wave that carries the listener onwards, further and deeper into the story. My hope is for the listener to feel immersed and at the same time go into their own mind and explore, to fill in some spaces themselves with their own experiences, memories and imagination.

Do you have a personal favourite Torulf song?

I will, soon.

Do you play live shows as Torulf or do you plan to do so in the future?

I have played live by making sets of my own Nordic Tribal Techno tracks. This project is not part of the multi-album story. I do sometimes mix in a couple of these songs into the set at appropriate times. I enjoy merging concepts and ideas in order to manifest something new. Nordic Tribal Techno is one of those projects by combining the Nordic pantheon with Techno. I have currently no shows lined up in the foreseeable future. When I do a live show, I aim for it to be different from the albums. I strive to make people experience something they could not by listening to one of my albums, making each and respective experience unique.

Have you done any collaborations? If not, would you like to do one and with whom?

I have done no collaborations, but I am slowly opening up for it. Writing music is always a personal journey, and the kind of music I make is also storytelling. Thus it is difficult to feel this can be worked with other people easily. Collaborations would work for me with someone I feel a strong comradery, as artists and as individuals, and that we create something together with our own finesse and experiences, to meet in the middle in creative balance.

Can we expect new music from Torulf in the future? Any specific releases in the making at the moment?

Absolutely. I am currently producing my next album, which will be the second volume of the Saga of Torulf. This album will be a bit different from what you have heard from me before, but nevertheless continuing the story that began with Västerled and Midsolsblot. With this next album, I am making the line between traditional instruments and electronic elements more illusive. Västerled was about the dawn of a new age, a journey and spiritual rebirth. The next album will be an inner journey rather than an outer, carrying the listener on a less stormy ocean into the depths. I have finished coming up with the story of the album and it continues where Midsolsblot ended. I am composing the last songs and what I currently have is very exciting to me. I very much look forward for people to experience this next release.

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

It doesn’t matter what you do as a creative project, whether that be an album, a novel or a painting, to me all of what you do is part of the ‘process’. The ups and downs, the side-tracks and even if you are going backwards at times, all will lead to a path and place that is natural and meaningful to you. It might not seem like it at many times, but in my experience I can account for every decision, mistake, and chance that make up who I am, what I do, and where I am today. In a creative project, all is eventually connected and intertwined. For example, when I make a mistake, I tend to say to myself “it’s all part of the process”, turning a specific momentarily negative thing into something part of a greater, and constructive, creative entity.

You will find Torulf’s music and more at:

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:

Dark tunes from the North – interview with ’Ruumisto’

I am very excited about our interview with ’Ruumisto’ and to hear the story behind your music which I find very atmospheric and unique in its’ genre. Since we are all Fins, lets do this the other way – eli kuis kulkee?

– Ihan jees.

How was your band ’Ruumisto’ born and how long have you been making music?

– Before Ruumisto we have been working on some projects together and in late 2017 an idea popped up that it would be fun to try making some ambient music. We came up with the ’Sotakesä’ EP and decided to put it on Bandcamp. We have since made an album each year.

What inspires you to write this kind of almost doom like nordic folk music? Where do you get your inspiration?

– We like the sound design aspect and if we have an idea of some feeling / place / atmosphere, we will try to recreate it with sound and then the music itself becomes the inspiration. We think that we both work in such different ways that we fulfill each others’ ideas on the go. Inspiration can be a story, a place, some folk instrument with a melody etc.

What instruments do you use in your music?

– Acoustic guitars, kantele, jouhikko, some percussion instruments, synthesizers, sampled instruments and so on. Pretty much everything that just produces sound can be used. We like to experiment with instruments and find interesting sounds – not just from the acoustic instruments but on digital as well.

You are from Finland, how do you find the darker folk music scene in your country?

– As far as we know, the scene in Finland is fairly small, and we don’t really pay much attention to it.

From which influences are the lyrics of your songs born? Do you sing in Finnish?

– Our songs are influenced by Finnish folklore, history and stories. All of our lyrics are in Finnish.

What kind of bands and artists have influenced your sound as a band?

– Our main folk influences include Wardruna, Forndom and Tenhi. Traces of black metal may also be found within certain tracks.

When it comes to songwriting how does it work? Do you write your music together or do you have a certain way of doing things?

– As we mentioned earlier our approaches to making music differ slightly between us. One idea may start up with a percussion pattern, another with melody, some song with lyrics etc. Each track has its own unique story and creation is a part of that story. With previous albums we have always created the tracks together. We usually experiment with sounds, and when we come up with something we like, the sound/music just starts taking the song to some direction.

Do you play live?

– Not at the moment. We have been thinking of ways to perform live and it would be interesting to try it at some point. With only two members and a whole lot of things going on in the songs it would be a challenge to make it work.

You have released two studio albums and one EP, can we expect new material from Ruumisto in the future?

– For sure. We are just getting started.

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

– Stay true to your roots, and hail Ukko!

You can find ’Ruumisto’ on:

Soundscapes from the soul – interview with ’VIDARR’

Hi Arn and Corey, I am very excited to do your interview so many thanks for making it possible and sharing the world behind your music. Where are you from?

A: I’m from France.

C: I’m from Chicago.

Your three song EP ’Travel’ was released in May 2020, how long have you been writing nordic influenced folk music under the name ’VIDARR’?

A: The composition and recording process of the album took 6 months and 1 month for mixing and mastering. Build and polish!

C: Yeah it took half the year to get Vidarr born into the music world. Looking forward to creating more.

What inspired you to start exploring the world of darker folk music in general?

A: Nature, mythologies, gods. Lot of vibes and elements.

C: Yeah I have to agree with Arn. Nature is a big impact on our spirits and this is our only way of expressing what nature does to us.There’s a lot of spirituality that goes into music. I feel like this is another form of communication to where we can express our spirit to everyone. I found that pagan folk music really hit that spot of what I’m all about. It’s the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard and I grew up on a lot of different kinds of music and for some reason this music really speaks to my soul.

What instruments do you play? How did you learn about these instruments?

A: Shaman drums, talharppa, lyre, jaw harp, flute. I have learn it alone by feeling and with lot of work.

C: I’ve always played guitar ever since I was a child. My father taught me how to play it because he was a guitar player as well. So now I’m older and more curious about other instruments. I just purchased an instrument called a tagelharpa. It’s pretty popular in the Pagan folk world and I like being the rare one so I’m going to be moving on to other instruments in the future like a flute, which will be in my possession really soon…

Is there a specific theme from where your songs are born?

A: Not specially. All tracks born like they do. . It’s a kind of old soul voices who use your body for sing and create.

C: That’s an interesting question to ask because songs are born from within us. I suppose when we we’re composing the song or writing melodies on any instrument we put ourselves and a place outside this world and what the imagination and inspiration gives us is a feeling and this feeling becomes a song itself.. so I suppose the theme is how we feel during the time of writing a song.

You sent me some pictures of your studio and based on that it seems that the interior where your music is created has a big role to you as a songwriter. Is this true? If so, how does it show?

A: Studio ambiance is very important for creating. Cause we need to feel at home in our spiritual place for give the best on all tracks.

C: Location is the most important thing when it comes to writing music in general. This is just my opinion but there is a major difference from writing a song in a professional studio as opposed to writing a song that’s in your own home and surrounded by things that comfort you. I’ve been in many professional studios and it feels like you’re on the spot. So writing music in my own home I feel like I can put my true potential into it. I feel privileged to say that I constructed my own studio made to look like an old cabin with fine detail carvings and an alter. So when I begin to write music, my soul will be in the music entirely.

What inspires you most as a songwriter? What kind of atmospheres would you like to create with your songs?

A: It’s always by feeling, with heart, soul and spiritual vibes.

C: I guess it depends and how you feel about writing a specific song and this is where you will know what kind of setting would be most appropriate for this composition. What inspires me the most is being able to create something out of nothing. It’s all soul. I find that looking at specific elements such as rain or a windy day, running rivers or what have you can inspire to write a song of that time.

Do you plan to release more music in the near future?

A: Yes we are ready to create a second album. Vidarr’s travels will continue.

What about liveshows? Is ’VIDARR’ a studio project or do you plan to play your music live?

C: Yeah we’re looking at festivals around the United States as well around Paris. Hopefully by 2021 everything will be back to normal.

How would you describe your music in three words?

A: Spiritual, powerful, beautiful.

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

A : We are all connected when our spiritual eyes are open.

C: If anyone ever wants to create something that they dream of doing, just do it. Once you take that first step it feels amazing. We are all a creator.

Listen to VIDARR’S music on Spotify:

A journey to the underworld – Interview with ’Járnviðr’

Our first ever interview is going to be with Járnviðr – a neofolk music collaboration between the Italian artist Vindur and the Finnish artist Amanda Aalto. Járnviðr released their first EP in early 2020 which consists three songs that together tell a tale about a shaman’s journey to the underworld and back to the world of the living.

How was ’Járnviðr’ born?

V: Járnviðr was born from the encounter between two artists, Vindur and Amanda. I, Vindur, in particular, asked Amanda to participate in this project. I noticed our affinities and towards the pagan Nordic world, with different ways of interpreting this reality, but which when merged together give a unique musical experience.

What does ’Járnviðr’ mean? Is it Old Norse?

V: Yes, it is Old Norse and it means “the iron wood”. In Norse mythology Járnviðr is a forest located east of Midgard, inhabited by troll women who bore giantesses and giant wolves.

What musical instruments and elements does your music have?

V; I mainly use percussion, keyboards and electric bass. But I also add elements of electric guitar. I prefer the search for evocative sounds. I love to create atmospheres. I really like artisan percussion, or tribal shakers, which can make the right pagan atmosphere.

A: As a singer I like to experiment things a lot and with this EP I definitely found some new aspects about my voice. Vindur’s music sounds always very magical to me and I try to keep that atmosphere going when it comes to my vocals.

What made you want to start writing nordic influenced folk music?

V: Literature in the first place, I love to read the ancient Nordic Sagas. But my direct experience in the woods and long walks in the mountains are also very important. places where you can experience ancient Nordic knowledge firsthand.

A: For me writing this kind of nordic influenced folk music is a way to connect with the past, with the nature and with my ancestors. Most of all I feel connected when I write music like this. I don’t think about it too much, it just kind of happens. Probably like things happen in the nature – all elements there are in a perfect kind of a flow together. I’ve always been interested in ancient things and mythologies, so I guess it’s kind of natural that I ended up writing this kind of music in the end.

What kind of things inspire you when writing songs?

V: I am inspired by many things at once. Especially traveling, getting to know new places and different people is a great source of inspiration. the world is full of both suffering and beauty. This mix is my mood that makes me create.

A: I love that phrase ’the world is full of both suffering and beauty’ – because it’s true! I have this thing that I use music as a way of dealing with my (mostly) difficult feelings and that is one reason for my lyrics being mostly quite dark. With this EP I wanted us to tell a one specific storyline through all the three songs, a story about a shaman who needs to enter to the world of the dead to help some one and then come back with some answers to provide. So I took a lot of long walks in the forests, listened to the wind in the trees and made some pretty long journeys inside my mind.

Do you have a specific way of writing songs or does it vary?

V: I have no fixed patterns. I can start from the lyrics or from the music. Freedom to follow your instincts is my strategy.

A: I can totally relate to this. Every song is a different kind of a journey.

Is there a certain theme from where your lyrics are born?

V: The main theme is a spiritual journey that leads us to reconnection with the earth and finally with ourselves. We were born from the earth. Maybe we have forgotten our deep connection with nature, in my opinion this is an error. Our music wants to bring you back to this ancient connection.

A: This is very much true and I do agree with Vindur. Like I said before, the theme of our EP ’Manatar’ is a shamanic journey between two worlds but it’s also a story about nature and how important its’ role is in our lives. But I don’t know what our next lyrics are going to be about, we’ll just have to wait and see!

What bands and artists have influenced your music?

V: My musical training was born from black metal of the 80s. But I have followed with pleasure the birth of important Nordic folk bands such as Wardruna, Myrkur, Forndom, Nytt Land, Sowulo… Moreover I am open to many different types of music, without prejudice.

A: With this project I think main influences for me have come from bands like Heilung, Nytt Land, Wardruna, Skáld and so on. I have listened a lot of different kind of music during the years, from metal to whatever, and I think all genres have influenced me one way or another and made me the songwriter I am today.

How do you feel the dark folk music and neofolk music are doing today? Are there enough platforms to showcase this type of music online?

V: Today the panorama of this musical genre has greatly expanded. Many very interesting realities were born that make dark folk music alive. I don’t think there are many platforms dedicated to this genre. It would be a great luck to have a space for this kind of music, like this site!

What is coming next, any upcoming releases?

V: Yes, we plan to return to the studio in late autumn, or winter. We feel the need to create new musical experiences. Stay tuned!

You can find Járnviðr’s music on…