Well, Vananidr is continuation of a band i was a member of that was called Hydra. Hydra was active between -99 to -06 and played a pretty melodic type of black metal. When members started to quit i continued writing the same kind of music and took over the vocal duties and eventually changed the name to Synodus Horrenda. In 2010 i released an album i had been working on for 5 years under that name but i never really pushed it and then the years went by.
Then in 2016 i started to write lyrics again and recorded vocals on 6 songs i had written in 2007 and had started to record with Thunder on drums in 2010. This record was finished in 2017 and released on Bandcamp in 2018 under a new name that i think fits me better, Vananidr.
2.So far you have released a full length and single with this musical project, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical style you have went for on these recordings?
Well, the debut album is a reaction against the very busy, riff-packed and semi-technical album with Synodus Horrenda, with fewer riffs, less tempo changes, less rhythm changes and less death metal inspiration. I wrote all the songs in quite of short period in 2007 and early 2008, a time when i was very much into Transylvanian hunger by Darkthrone, stripped back and mid-paced. I don’t think the album sounds anything like Transylvanian hunger but i think if you compare the debut of Vananidr with Synodus the difference is quite clear.
After i wrote the songs for the debut a new reaction came along, which can be heard on the last song on the debut, Enter Eternity, i grew tired of putting blast beats on every song, so i made a bunch of songs without blast beats. Some slower and some just with other beats. One of these slower songs is Beneath the glimmering surface from the Bleak and desolate single.
Then came a musical break, this is in maybe 2012 or sometime near, i had kids and i didn’t feel motivated to write music. The lack of an audience made me stop writing i guess.
In 2016 i suffered from mental illness which in the end made me start writing lyrics again and i began to at least try to write music again although it took some time before anything worth saving come out of me. I think the first song i wrote was Bleak and desolate, the blast beats were back and it felt almost like a summary of all my music, plus a Bathory tribute guitar solo at the end.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you have explored with this musical project so far?
Most of the songs paints a picture of pain, despair and thoughts of death and suicide, with a touch of Armageddon too. These lyrics is very much what i had to endure and go through when i was ill back in 2016. Abomination of evil is the one song that has nothing to do with myself, i heard of a new movie the other year that was about a monastery in ww2 Germany that the red army paid a visit. They mass raped all the nuns and several of the nuns gave birth to children gained from the raping's. It’s kind of a philosophical thought of how to be the child of a nun raped by the enemy, an abomination.
On the single there is more death/suicide thoughts in Beneath the glimmering surface and in Bleak and desolate i can’t actually remember exactly what it’s about. I picture a hell at least, whether it’s in my head or a future Armageddon i can’t remember.
4.Originally the musical project was called 'Synodus Horrenda' what was the cause of the name change and also the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Vananidr'?
I never really felt comfortable with Synodus and i didn’t feel that it had anything to do with me. It sounded more like Spanish or Italian, which is fine if you’re Spanish, but i’m not so that’s why i wanted something more nordic sounding and meaning. Vananidr has a connection to me and my ancestors and says something of where i’m from.
It’s a figure in nordic mythology, also called Njord. He was one of three Vanir that came to live in Asgard after the warring gods laid down their arms.
5.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the full length cover?
It’s a photograph i took when hiking in the north of Sweden, at a place called Helags. It’s the most southern glacier in Sweden, though i can’t remember if this is Helags or a mountain next to it. I really enjoy hiking in the mountains of Sweden, it gives me peace of mind and a lot of energy and feelings.
6.With this musical project you record everything by yourself but also have experience working with other musicians how would you compare the two?
Well when your alone you can record whenever you want so that’s nice, but i miss the energy that a group generates. You also have to manage everything by yourself which can be tough but at least you can’t blame someone else for not contributing enough. I think my goal is to hook up with a talented drummer, i can manage the rest by myself and possibly in the future get one or two guitar players to do gigs.
7.You also have a history playing in bands dating back to the 90's, what are some of the changes you have seen in black and extreme metal over the last 2 decades?
That’s hard to answer, i guess the level of musicianship has raised a lot especially in black metal. In death metal there’s always been technical musicians but black metal was very much a reaction against that in the beginning. There was also a bigger gap between death and black metal in the 90s, Dissection were one of few that people had trouble labeling. Nowadays you have dozens of sub-genres and cross-genres, which i think is a bit tedious, but i guess people need to put a label on everything.
Production has also changed, nowadays everyone can get a decent sound with just a computer, and the big bands often sound like machines when the drums are supertriggered and edited and everything is polished to insanity. I’m not a defender of the raw necro sound that Darkthrone and Burzum developed but i like the organic and acoustic side of it. My biggest influence when it comes to production and my favourite sound is the semi-early Mastodon albums like Blood mountain and Crack the Skye.
8.Purity Through Fire is re-issuing the full length on physical format in April, how did you get in contact with this label?
I emailed a bunch of labels and PTF got back to me and was interested in releasing the debut and the upcoming album as well, and so far they’ve done a god job! Looking forward to see the release of the debut on vinyl, which will have a slightly different mix with a more organic drum sound. What i’ve heard is that the upcoming album will be released i june.
9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal/
It’s been really good! That is also why i could find the energy and persistence it takes to search for a record label and be active on social media promoting Vananidr and just push forward. I was quite surprised after releasing the album on Bandcamp that it got such a good response and people wanting to pay money for my music. That made me even more committed!
10.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?
It’s hard to say, it depends on Vananidrs success, if people like it i would love to do some gigs abroad if i can find some decent musicians. As a musician i don’t think i will change that much, i’m not young anymore so i make the kind of music i’m familiar with, melancholic blackish metal. Hopefully i can release a bunch of albums, it’s such a nice feeling to write, record and finally release the music that’s in me.
11.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?
Well i guess it’s not hard to hear that i’ve been influenced by the early norwegian black metal scene, with bands like Satyricon, Emperor, Ulver etc. I also think that in some way my early heroes Iron Maiden and Slayer has left some marks in how i want my music to sound like even though i don’t make that kind of music.
Nowadays my favourite band is Mastodon and has been the last 15 years. Kyuss is a band i’ve listened to a lot as well. Other music is often the same records i listened to back in the 80s and 90s, like Slayer, Sabbath, Ozzy, Emperor, Satyricon etc. And if any of those ”old” bands release something new i’m interested, Mayhems Chimera is really good and Satyricons Satyricon as well. I think one of the few new black metal records i’ve discovered and really listened to a lot is Wolf father by Nidingr, a real masterpiece!
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Just keep your eyes open for the upcoming album Road north!! Super proud of that one! Release is set approx to june.