J.N.: Hails, first of all I want to thank you for granting us this interview. Signalfeide was conceived back in 2012, more specifically around May or June if I remember correctly. I give all the credit to J.H. for making the whole thing happen, because he approached me with the idea of composing and recording a black metal-sounding demo and releasing it on tape. I remember us discussing that Norwegian band named Forgotten Woods and the brilliance of their “Sjel av Natten” EP and the whole sound and atmosphere surrounding that particular record. From there we simply started working on a few songs together, but they ended up sounding nothing like Forgotten Woods at all ha ha. In late 2012 we had 5 songs in the can, and for quite a while we were toying with the idea of releasing them on tape, but eventually we decided to release the whole damn thing digitally as a free download. It feels great to finally have those songs out and I'm psyched about the whole thing.
2.How would you describe the musical sound that is present on the demo?
J.N.: Well, the easy way out would be to simply state that the “Fornjot” demo is a mixture of extremely lo-fi black metal and minimalistic ambient music, but I guess it would be fair to say that there is a sense of melody to the whole thing and quite a few layers of guitars and vocals and so on, so the songs aren't as one-dimensionel as some would probably think. You can discover a lot of subtle nuances and details hidden in the background when listening to the demo with your headphones on. Mixing simple, melodic black metal with ambient music is hardly anything new or groundbreaking at all, but the songs and lyrics are 100 % honest to us and that is what matters.
3.What are some of the themes and concepts the band brings out with the music?
J.N.: Norse Mythology, military history related to WWII, and desolate nature are the themes, subjects, and motifs present in and covered by our song material. One could argue that all three of those subjects are related in one or more ways, but to cut a long story short our songs focus on and bring to life things that interest and inspire us. Of course, Norse Mythology and military history are such vast subjects that one will never be able to cover everything related to them, thus they serve as endless sources of inspiration in my opinion. I love reading the old Icelandic sagas and the stories of the ancient Norse kings as well as all manner of things related to WWII, namely in relation to Scandinavia during the occupation, but I also love taking long walks in the mountains and woods and sensing the wonders and beauty of nature. There is a sweet sense of melancholy and longing to the latter that I embrace wholeheartedly. All of these things we have tried to channel into the music and lyrics of Signalfeide. J.H. and I have a lot in common, that's for damn sure.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Signalfeide'?
J.N.: That is a very good question. The term relates to military history in that it revolves around allegiances and loyalty and pacts and so on in times of war. There was a discussion going on in Norway back in the 19th century involving the famous writer Bjoernstjerne Bjoernson that revolved around the Franco-Prussion war and who the natural allies of Norway were. From what I remember Bjoernson was of the opinion that Norway should support and ally themselves with France, but he eventually changed his view-point and argued that Germany and Norway were much closer in spirit and that they should gravitate toward each other. Somebody named the whole thing “signalfeiden”, which can be taken to mean “switching allegiances” and I think Bjoerson was mocked and became somewhat unpopular for a while because of the whole thing. Nevertheless, I think it's a great name for a band such as ours and quite original if I may say so myself. Signalfeide is not a political band by any stretch of the imagination, so for us the name is mostly interesting in a historical perspective.
5.Currently there are only 2 members in the project, are you planning on expanding the line up in the future or do you choose to remain a duo?
J.N.: No, we have no plans whatsoever to expand the line-up. I hope that we will always remain a duo, because there is a certain chemistry present in Signalfeide that I have never experienced before when working with others in a musical setting, and since we can handle pretty much all the instruments ourselves (for better or worse:), I see no need to bring others into the fold and change things around. Having more people in a band usually results in more problems and shit like that, so unless we have to play live someday we will remain a duo.
6.One member lives in America and the other in Norway, how does this work when it comes to the recording process?
J.N.: We mail files and recordings and so on back and forth between the US and Norway. The ambient pieces on “Fornjot” were pretty much done at my place, but J.H. started out by recording the drum tracks for “Miles from Home” and “Black Sun Insignia” at home and then mailed them to me so that I could put the instruments on top of the drum tracks. It's a strange way of working, but it works for us ha ha. My parts were recorded on this cheap little Boss 4-track micro recorder, which is all I had at the time, so I am mostly to blame for “Fornjot” turning out so crude and ugly ha ha.
7.The demo came out on Floodgate moons Productions, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
J.N.: Yeah, Floodgate Moods Productions is a label-but-not-really-a-label-of-sorts that I finally launched not that long ago. I have tons of different recordings lying around by my previous outfits and projects (Vornoff, Sagntid, and Picture Ann) and I was just so goddamn tired of having all these MySpace and ReverbNation and YouTube accounts and whatnot for each and every project, so I simply decided to collect some of the releases that I have made or taken part in making under one roof and banner. Floodgate Moods Productions is a direct consequence of that decision. Vornoff and Sagntid do not exist anymore and have not done so for quite some time, but I try to keep alive some of those old releases that I am proud of and make sure that they're available to the public in one or more ways. I asked J.H. if he was cool with me releasing the digital version of “Fornjot” via Floodgate Moods Productions and he said “Go for it!”.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
J.N.: So far people seem to like it, but I suspect that people will either love or hate our music. At least that is what I'm hoping for ha ha. I like the idea of it provoking strong reactions, but maybe that's just me.
9.Are any of the band members involved with any other musical projects?
J.N.: J.H. is busy running Regimental Records and is involved in a couple of other musical entities apart from Signalfeide, and the only other active band I have beside Signalfeide is Picture Ann, which is strange and moody music indeed. Listening to that will ruin your day, so I cannot recommend that you do that. Like I said earlier on, Vornoff and Sagntid no longer exist.
10.When can we expect a full length album and also what musical direction do you see the band heading into during the future?
J.N.: We're currently working on a new 5-song release entitled “Occupation Poetry”, which is similar to “Fornjot” in the sense that it will contain two black metal-sounding songs and three ambient pieces, but let me just make it clear that these new songs of ours truly rule compared to “Fornjot”. Musically, I think some of our new material as well as future material may well turn out a bit more melodic and melancholic, but we shall see how things turn out. Those new ambient pieces that we are working on contain a lot of acoustic guitars for instance. For now there are no plans to make a full-length album, but I'm not ruling out the possibility that one may well surface one fine day.
11.What are some bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
J.N.: Ugh, I just don't know where to begin as I am a junkie when it comes to music and I listen to so many different styles and genres. Everything from black metal to country music and further on to electronica and horrible dungeon synth records. In relation to Signalfeide I have been inspired by bands such as Grafvolluth, Burzum, Taake, Forgotten Woods, and early Gehenna. I'm listening to “Transilvanian Hunger” by Darkthrone as I write this, but apart from that I have been listening to different records by Mayhem, Rainbow, Iron Maiden, and Nebelung lately.
12.What are some of your interests outside of music?
J.N.: Apart from music and family life my days are filled with literature, movies, art, comic books, and the outdoors. It's a damn shame the day only holds 24 hours.
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
J.N.: Thanks once again for granting us this awesome interview and for letting us spread the pagan gospel that is SIGNALFEIDE! I strongly urge all you moody suckers out there to check out and support Regimental Records and Floodgate Moods Productions. Don't forget that “Fornjot” is free to download, so there is no excuse not to check that one out!