1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?
I have to digress a bit for that. FIMBULVET has not been able to play any concerts since the end of 2017 because two members left the band. However, I already had most of the material for the new album ready. After some changes in my private life, I made the decision at the end of 2020 to finally record the new album. Everything was recorded in mid-2021 and I held the Master in my hands. Happy, proud and satisfied, I didn't have the urge to hand it over to the public. I kept it to myself for about a year before I made the further decision to release it in 2023, the year of the band's 20th anniversary, in cooperation with EINHEIT PRODUKTIONEN and TROLLZORN. Until then it wasn't even clear to me to reactivate FIMBULVET for the stage at all. This thought only came up in autumn 2022. Steffen on bass is still on board. For the free guitarist position, I was able to enable Christian again, who had left in 2017. Max from SURTURS LOHE and VARUS supports me on the drums. From the rehearsals so far I can say that the live set has never been better than it is now.
2.You have a new album coming out towards the end of April, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
It's decidedly darker. This is certainly due to the accompanying lyrics and the influence of bands whose music I've been listening to for about a decade. In addition, I played drums in a progressive metal band (THE UNCHALLENGED) from 2014 to 2018, which was certainly also formative for the new album.
3.This is also your first album of newer music since 2014, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during this time frame?
In fact, I already started composing the first riffs for "PORTALE" in 2014. However, shortly afterwards our debut album "EWIGER WINTER" was sold out and we released a double re-release together with our second album "DER RUF IN GOLDENE HALLEN". This compilation is called "HEIDENHERZ". On it you can find some re-recordings of songs from both albums. This interrupted the process at PORTALE. The compilation came out in 2016. At the end of 2017 my guitarist and drummer left the band. As I mentioned at the beginning, there were some upheavals in my private life that made it difficult for me to keep up FIMBULVET. Additionally, I'm also the frontman of SURTURS LOHE, which is where I've continued to put my energy. Those were the reasons why FIMBULVET didn't go on at first. Nevertheless, I kept working on the new album and beyond. In 2020 we recorded a new album with SURTURS LOHE. And as a result, I decided to record PORTALE as well. By then, however, the lyrics hadn't even been written. Nevertheless, I already recorded the songs there. The vocals I recorded about 2 months later after I finished the lyrics.
At this point I would also like to mention again that in autumn 2022 it turned out that the new album will not only be released by EINHEIT PRODUKTIONEN, but also by TROLLZORN. That was an extremely fortunate coincidence, for which I am very grateful.
4.A lot of your lyrics cover Paganism and Heathenism themes, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in these topics?
I dealt with the subject of paganism and its customs very early on. The first thing that I liked was the idea of multiple gods. So everyone has the possibility to possibly identify with or believe in one or more gods. The humanity and fallibility in the deities appealed to me greatly. Furthermore, paganism is (at least to me) much more than believing in old gods, emulating them and living their traditions. It means to be free in spirit. And that is something that is not so easy in modern times. But I digress...
In the past I wrote a lot about these deities, their experiences, traditions and adventures. But sometime between 2014 and 2020 I realized that I have my own "adventure". It's called "life". And that's exactly the crux of the lyrics of the new album. It's not that I've lost interest in so-called paganism. No, just the opposite. It's just that it's much more important to me now to celebrate this paganism based on my thoughts and experiences. As I said, to be free in spirit. Nature still plays a very important role in this, which is again shown to advantage in the new song "PATRON DES LEBENS".
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Fimbulvet'?
FIMBULVET is a term from Norse mythology and means ETERNAL/ HUGE WINTER. The Fimbulvet consists of three winters, each more severe than the previous one, and is one of the omens of the Twilight of the Gods, it‘s called Ragnarök.
When I was thinking about a name for the band back then, I wanted it to have something powerful in its meaning, but not be immediately obvious.
6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
The cover shows a person walking towards a portal. A creature hovers above it. It looks like it wants something bad. But creature and person are one and the same being. Through the portal, the person can see another self, but does not recognize it as that at first.
The person as such is a human being adjusted to the system of society. Someone who does things as they are told. So the creature shows that person's alter ego. Strong, free, independent, impressive. If the person is brave enough to go through this portal and face their alter ego, they will be able to gain all that strength. He will realize that you don't have to be subordinate to any class and that you are ultimately responsible for your own happiness.
The burning forest, the dark branches and the night on the cover are meant to represent the difficulty of finding such a portal. It is one of the most difficult undertakings to go into yourself, to reflect and to make decisions that are drastic. Dealing with yourself, your past and present.
7.With this release you recorded everything by yourself but had a whole band on previous releases, are you open to working with other musicians again or do you prefer to work solo?
In fact, I've always mixed in with the other instruments on past albums. That's because I'm interested in all the instruments and have also played each of these instruments in different bands. That's why when I'm composing, I already have a relatively precise plan of how which instrument should be arranged. So now I determine the composition for each instrument myself. And since I've been able to develop my skills on every instrument over the past few years and I didn't have the right companions to record anyway, I made all the recordings myself.
However, I also like to accept input from other musicians. For example, it was very important to me that the producer "Markus Stock", who recorded, mixed and mastered PORTALE, always gave me his feedback. Not in the basic composition, but in certain parts it made the songs even more rounded. Also "Hannes", who was still on the drums until 2017, gave me valuable input and helped design 3 songs of PORTALE.
Basically I have to say, too many cooks spoil the broth. And PORTALE shows me that it's better if I basically take the compositions into my own hands. As I said, a certain input from the outside can also be refreshing – to a certain extent. As far as playing the instruments is concerned, I will act alone in the future as well. It just makes me more independent.
8.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance/
The first thing that always comes to mind is the 2009 show in Glauchau with Turisas. Turisas were on tour and had a club gig in Glauchau. They were looking for a support act for this. Then we were allowed to do it. That was very special. Otherwise, the 2012 EU tour with MENHIR and THRUDVANGAR was very memorable, as was the 2013 EU tour with FINSTERFORST and ODROERIR. On this tour we also performed our song "Heidenherz" live for the first time together with "Natalie Nebel", who also sang the song in the recording studio. We were also allowed to headline the Barther Metal Open Air in 2013. That wasn't the plan at first. We were supposed to play there anyway, but when the then headliners MENHIR canceled at short notice, we got the slot. For us it was a great thing.
We've been told many times that we're a live band. Our concerts are always very energetic. We always give everything for a good show and of course we want to reach the audience with our music and our performance. That's why we think a lot about stage outfits and stage decorations. This also applies to our upcoming shows for 2023. Playing live is a lot of fun for us and I think it shows.
9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of pagan black metal?
Pagan Black Metal is a subgenre. A “worldwide” response is difficult to trace. We already have listeners from all over the world, which also makes me very proud. But as a German-speaking band, most reactions focus on Central Europe. We come from the state of Thuringia and are therefore located in the sub-subgenre "Thuringian Pagan Metal". This division is a kind of brand name. Similar to bands from the "True Norwegian Black Metal". So it is already a term for many people when it is said that this band comes from Thuringia. Nevertheless, of course we do our very own music. Having a unique selling proposition is difficult in a time when there are more bands than fans. But I think we've been able to work that out over the years and I've often been very enthusiastic about the reactions. The current reactions to the upcoming album, which hasn't even been released yet, are already outstanding in my opinion.
10.What is going on with 'Surturs Lohe' these days?
Just as there was a time of upheaval for me, when one concentrated more on private life, there is also that at SURTURS LOHE. But that doesn't mean that work isn't going on in the background. There are concerts planned for 2023 and maybe one or the other new piece will already be composed. There are definitely plans and we are already working on the implementation.
11.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician during the future?
I would like to play more abroad to increase the international awareness of the band. Other than that, I'm pretty happy with where I'm at right now. I've tried a lot in the last 15 years. So today I know what I want and where the journey should go. I am very happy with my two bands and would like to continue writing music for them.
12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that you are currently listening to nowadays?
As I mentioned above, I've been dealing with melodic death metal and also progressive metal for the last 10 years. However, from time to time I also make “excursions” back into pagan and black metal. Just the other day I was in the car listening to a couple of albums by the sadly defunct “MOURNING ENDS”. Still great. Otherwise, I'm currently listening to In Flames, Nevermore, Ne Obliviscaris, Septicflesh, Arch Enemy, The Spirit.
Due to my job, I also deal a lot with pop, RnB and rock music, as I am a music teacher. There are also some pearls to be found there, even for fans of the harder pace.
13. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
I am very happy that I was able to bring you closer to me, FIMBULVET and the new album PORTALE. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I'm waiting for things and I'm very excited about the further reactions to the new album, which will be released on April 28th, 2023. Also, I would like to thank all the fans and listeners of FIMBULVET for the support and also everyone who took the time to read this interview.