1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?
Since I write and compose everything I can only speak on my behalf.
I have a full time job as well as my wife and two kids that keeps me busy enough but since the album has been completed I have been working on the next album that will follow this new one, as I normally do. Always burning.
The writing is done, so I now have been working and really focusing on nailing the new guitar tone and recording the guitars.
There is no time to slow down, as I have many more fresh and pungent ideas that must be taken down and realized before their authenticity is lost.
2.You have a new album coming out towards the end of March, musically how does it differ form the stuff you have released in the past?
The music is becoming much more personal and exploring influences is also much more apparent. I want the music, the rhythm and the whole "sonic" approach to be what moves people most so I'm focusing more on what affects the listener in a subconscious manner than on first listen. Something that sticks with you inside rather than just blanketing you with common expectations of what you know from said genre. But who the fuck really knows what I'm talking about anyways...
I would say that each and every Vredensdal album manifests itself very uniquely so it's better described with a feeling than words however with this album, a goal I had was to write it in a way that will push further the development of what the signature Vredensdal sound is or could be and also what separates it from others.
The difference for me is mostly in the recording process and how over the years I've learned a lot about mixing and mastering on my own. Just the general knowledge stuff and though it may not sound like pro studio quality im proud of the time, work and energy Ive put in. I'm hoping the sound really emphasizes the organic nature of the music.
3.A couple of the band members also play in a stoner doom metal, how would you compare the black metal stuff from this project with the other group that you perform in?
The band's have no relation and there is nothing to compare.
I have officially killed all side projects and removed from my mind the desire to do anything other than Vredensdal.
The expenditure of energy used on those projects was a most necessary process of elimination. Shaking out the bugs so to speak.
What's done is done and is also done.
For me, it's Vredensdal only.
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music and also how would you describe your progress as songwriters over the years?
Again, I write all things including lyrics and lyrically my main goal always has been to write things that are thought provoking. Things that help you question your existence and challenge you.
In saying that, the lyrical content generally falls into a philosophical approach, most times combining the perspectives of Satanism, Heathenry, shadow work and even some of the most mundane fay to day things but dissected at a microcosmic level. Nature and connection to it is the roots of it all (pun intended) and to be clear I am a Satanist but NOT a theistic Satanist, there is no such thing in my opinion. I don't believe in deities or worship anything other than myself, I also don't believe in supernatural hocus pocus that has infected the black metal scene. Yet I digress, I'll leave the "Satansplaining" up to Magister Bill.
I may reference Odin from time to time but that is also metaphorical, symbolic and for atmosphere. I have also since the beginning have done one song in Norwegian as an ode to my origins blah blah blah but I think moving forward I might take a break on that. We'll see.
I like to make poetic references to things from varying perspectives to try and convey my personal understanding of life but I try to keep things within an active thinking realm, with exploration and wonder as building blocks for critical thinking. Sometimes it's very simple and other times it's absolutely not.
I may write about anything really but the words are very importantly directed to the listener just as much as they are apart of myself. I want people to pickup the booklets and actually read the words, contemplate them and reflect and all that.
I don't want people to just interpret the words "in their own way", I hope they find what they are looking for in them. Whatever that may be, just open your mind.
5. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name Vrendensdal"?
The name is roughly translated from Norwegian as "Valley Of Wrath". The purpose of Norwegian being in my ancestry and making up half of what I am by heritage.
The idea came from sitting and thinking of what some might call the "soul" or "life essence" that inhibits us. The valley being the meeting place of all things mental, emotional, physical, even metaphysical and what have you... whether or not you believe in that sort of thing.
It begs the question, what do you believe in and the ever more tantalizing, why?
I should clearly state that this does not mean I believe in the existence of a soul but recognize the all encompassing energy that makes up my mind and its illusions.
"What and where is your valley and what current wrath might it be experiencing?"
6. Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
On first glance the artwork is a straightforward look into the abysmal eyes of the Goblin Reaper. Is it me or is it just a painting? No one really knows. But what everyone does know is what it feels like to stare into the mirror you wish wasn't looking back at you.
The eyes are the window to the soul? What if there is no soul? Fuck all that even, it just looks badass and now the Goblin will be immortalized muahaha!
The back cover was the first draft of what was supposed to be the front cover. Initially I had the idea of a dragon rising from the smog of a ghostly looking factory as I have always loved the industrial aesthetic a factory can give off.
Here in Green Bay Wisconsin, there are plenty of them around and I also work in an industrial building myself for my day job. I find the orchestral hum of machinery and windowless work rooms to be a strange portal to some spot in the mind.
But... that didn't work out like I thought, it didn't have the pull I wanted so it ended up as the perfect back art.
After this I spoke a bit with the artist and we agreed to refocus on his strengths in portraits and shadowing. I mentioned to him my love for... well, Lovecraft when he asked for the new direction and he basically said, in one way or another, "say no more." and took it from there.
So here we are and I have to say that I am immensely pleased with the final product and with the amount of delectable texture he was able to mold into it.
7.Has the band done any live shows or open to the idea?
No and no. Live shows is not what I'm about.
Vredensdal is music for the mind, a headspace for the damned so to speak and I will not tarnish its energy with performance mimicry.
8.The new album is going to be released on 'Soulseller Records', how would you compare working with this label to other labels that you have been a part of in the past?
Personally this was a whole new experience for me, as I see it, this is my first time with a big label. So regardless of what I thought I knew, I have learned a lot more since working with this label and as mentioned before, I am more than honored and grateful to now be a part of the label who's bands have mostly has affected and influenced the origins of Vredensdal.
9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal?
Vredensdal, being from the states, it was never my goal to be associated with just the American fans, I dont feel like the american mentality really suits the expressionism in the music. So immediately I shot for European exposure and in doing so I was able to get my first album pressed on a German label and then second on a Norwegian label. I have made real friends through these labels in these places and it cannot be understated that I am much more "in tune" will the mentalities presented.
The history of metal in Europe carries more weight for me personally; quality and styling alike. If you know your metal history you might agree with me...
And some may say Vredensdal has a more European sound than other American bands, which I hope is true but not for the sense of mimicking such bands, I'd prefer to be known as having an adept understanding of the development of styles and riffing techniques but more importantly the REASON behind the metal. The music speaks for itself.
In any case, the truth is... Vredensdal does have a much higher presence in Europe more than the Americas, namely Norway and Germany. But that list is rapidly expanding to many other countries which was both unexpected AND is celebrated by me.
And if I'm reading anything from the fans throughout the world, from USA to Europe many more; by which I'm hoping I'm reading it correctly, i just want to say that the feeling and respect is mutual.
Thank you to all, I sincerely appreciate everything.
10.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?
Mortkin and myself are solely devoted to Vredensdal. I cut all ties to any desire of doing another project.
Myrvandrer has his own self-titled personal project. Go check it out.
11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
I am always looking to push the sound as much as I'm capable at that time of writing. I want it to be the most stimulating music I can create and I want people to be sure that they cannot get this specific feeling of Vredensdal anywhere else.
I believe that the sound is furiously heading into a varied landscape of sounds starting with heightened technicality, heavy metal, groove and heaviness but STILL remaining black. This is not heaviness in the sense of brutality (speed and volume) but the "weight" of the music, if you can think a bit deeper on the definition.
I am mostly working towards an uninhibited approach to songwriting while also keeping the focus to purely metal. I wouldn't like to say that the music is getting more technical, I'd prefer the word progressive while also not be classified as progressive, including an advanced level of songwriting and very specifically riffing techniques and combinations.
It sounds wild but it's really not and maybe I don't know what I'm fully doing but what I do know is that it's first and foremost what I want and not what I "think it should be".
12.What are some of the bands or musical styles the band members are currently listening to nowadays?
Truthfully I don't know what others listen to.
For me I am listening to such varied styles of music that it would not make sense to mention anything specific. I deeply believe that not all ARTISTIC things are created equal, that we should keep it that way and that we should not feel hesitant to discriminate on those things that don't need recognition or should downright not exist to begin with. Thin the herd.
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
I hope you hate the new album so much that you actually want to buy it just to set it on fire and then cry over the fact that you, in a bitter rage of internal battle, begin to weep and furiously masturbate over destroying the one thing in life that ever meant anything to you.
HAHA No but seriously...
Stop over thinking life and bang your fucking head. Hail Satan.