Emilio: Hi, thanks for having us. Well, the band started with all of us being fantasy fans and also really loving nature. We wanted to make a style of black metal that suited this, and that's what we did.
2.Recently you have released your first full length, how would you describe the musical sound that is represented on the recording?
Emilio: Epic, atmospheric, sad, triumphant, angry at times, etc.
Mike L.: There is a very heavy dose of folk metal within the overall atmospheric black metal framework of our sound as well.
3.Your lyrics cover nature and fantasy themes, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in these topics?
Emilio: As I stated above, we started the band because of our love of fantasy and nature. Every time I write a song for this band I imagine battles, or maybe even made up sequences that just pop up in my head and expand upon those. We all love fantasy books (Tolkien, Kingkiller Chronicles, Malazan, and many more) along with fantasy games and movies. So we felt that this is exactly what we want to portray lyrically as well as musically.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Sojourner'?
Emilio: The word sojourner actually means someone who doesn't stay in one place for long periods of time. We felt this name was fitting since we are heavily fantasy based and in books, movies or games, the protagonist or other characters normally continue their journeys throughout various lands. Some of our songs actually depict this quite often.
5.The band members are from both New Zealand and Sweden, how does this work in the recording process?
Emilio: Easily. We send files back and forth until we reach a finished track and then vocals are recorded and sent back to Mike L. for him to put them into the song.
Mike L.: The music is all written by myself and Chloe who live together, and we’re currently based in St. Andrews in Scotland. So it’s very easy for us to write and record the music, then we send the finished song to both Emilio in Sweden and Mike W. back in New Zealand who lay down the vocals and bass before sending the files back to me to mix in. It’s quite a smooth and easy process, which works mainly because the music is all written in the one location which allows us to have a more organic flow.
6.Are there any plans for live shows or is this band strictly a studio project?
Emilio: We will become a live band one way or another. Maybe not so much touring but doing one-offs here and there. We don't discard maybe one day doing a tour but the logistics of it aren't exactly easy. In September I will be visiting Mike and Chloe in Scotland and we will most likely be playing live then.
7.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
Emilio: Overwhelming! Nothing we could have ever imagined. We are extremely happy with the support everyone is showing us, be it sales, messages, etc.
8.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
Emilio: I have Nangilima, a death/doom band which you have covered here in the past. We are currently finishing up a two track EP to be released this year via Xtreem Music.
Mike L.: Mike W. and I have Lysithea, our Melodic Death/Doom band, which we’ll begin writing a new album for over the next while. My other project, Cailleach, is on hold for the foreseeable future. I’m starting a heavier sort of Progressive Metal band with some friends in Dundee, which will be fun, that’s more a live-focused thing. Other than that, for the next while I’ll just be helping Chloe produce a folk metal album she’s written for her project Aoroi. That's sounding absolutely fantastic, so keep an ear out for that.
9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Mike L.: The core of the sound that you hear on the album is basically what we’ll continue doing overall, however there will definitely be elements on the next album that might surprise people a bit. Overall the core of the band is very much solidified, but next time it will be bigger and better.
10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Emilio: Personally, Summoning, Caladan Brood, Gallowbraid, Elderwind, and quite a few more bands but these are the main ones. I'm really listening to tons of Katatonia, Eldamar, Darkspace, Ashbringer, and Mesarthim the past couple weeks. I try to spin a lot of what I own and especially releases from the present year.
Mike L.: A lot of our influence musically on the album comes from things like Agalloch, Moonsorrow, Borknagar, Enslaved, The Morningside, Valkiria, Summoning, Caladan Brood, and Katatonia among many, many others. As well as a fair amount of influence from some of my favourite Doom bands like Mourning Beloveth, Draconian, Warning etc.
11.What are some of your non-musical interests?
Emilio: Going out and taking in all that nature has to offer. Forests and streams have to be my favourite.
Mike L.: Chloe and I travel quite a lot, whenever we can afford to really. I’m a huge Weird Fiction / Horror Fiction fan so I spend a lot of time reading that kind of thing. Other than that I just plenty of time gaming and watching TV shows and films.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Emilio: I would like to thank you for the interview and give thanks to all of you that support Sojourner. Also, our amazing label Avantgarde Music for being there every step of the way.
Mike L.: Thank you for the interview! and thanks so much to everyone for the support and kind words we've received since the album came out. It means a lot!