HAGALAZ (H): I’m curious as to what inspired you to take all three of these projects out on tour simultaneously? As this year commemorates the tenth anniversary of Valfar’s passing, a memorial Windir tour makes sense, but what was the reasoning behind doing all three projects together? And will you be performing three full length sets on the tour?
STEINGRIM (S): Well, there were several reasons to do something special in 2014. The 10 years since Valfar died & the demise of Windir was one, but actually not the main reason to do the project. We started playing in 1994, both Ulcus & Windir, so in 2014 we celebrated 20 years since the first rehersals in Sogndal (s you may know, we grew up with Valfar, closest neighbours and best friends), so this was the main reason. Also, we formed Vreid in 2004 so that was the third anniversary to mark. The tour was not three full sets from all bands, but more of a mix. 60% Windir, 30 % Vreid & 10 % Ulcus.
(H) Of course, it has been a long time since Windir has performed. How will you approach the live performances on the tour in terms of performance? Will members of the band cover Valfar’s parts, or will there be guest performers?
(S) As for preparations we tried to prepare like we usually do with Vreid, but we could sense more expectations – both within the band and in the audience. Vegard (Valfars brother) joined us on vocals and did most of Valfars parts, with some assistance from Sture. We were also very pleased to have Righ joining us on keyboards – and also Stroms brother Espen (Mistur). The keyboard & extra guitar helped us come closer to the Windir sound, and also they are both the nicest guys so it was a pleasure working with both of them (again).
(H) How are the three projects (Windir, Vreid, and Ulcus) related, and how do they differ? Are the bands each meant to evoke different atmospheres or feelings? Also, as someone who does not speak Norwegian, how do lyrical themes vary from band to band?
(S) The obvious relations is how close we’ve been since – pretty much since birth. Me, Hvàll, Valfar and Vegard grew up within 100 meters. Sture is Hvàlls cousin, and Stian is closely related to me. One big family!! Musically the bands do differ a lot. Windir is closest to the old Black Metal with obvious inspirations from old norse folk music and hymns/psalms. Ulcus was, originally inspired by pretty much every band we listened to. Old Metallica, Sepultura & Death to name a few. When we started Vreid in 2004 we wanted to go back to our musical roots, closer to the rock n’ roll groove and so on. The choice of “moving away” from the Windir-sound was made by purpose, as was the development of more (and more) melodic elements in Vreid later on.
Lyrically the bands also differ in many ways. The Windir-lyrics were based on old history from our region, mainly from the Viking-age. The Vreid-lyrics were early on based on historical events, many of them from 2nd World War. The two-three latest releases have been more in a philosofical-direction – closer to how the lyrics were told in Ulcus.
(H) Are you hoping to reach new audiences through taking all three bands out on tour? If so, who?
(S) No, not really. Not to be misunderstood, we always want to reach out to new audiences, but on the Sognametal-tour most people come to hear the old stuff
(H) I’ve always been a big fan of your bands’ music, particularly, I think, because of the classical influence. My mother has a piano degree, and I was largely raised on classical music. Who is your favorite classical composer, and does that person have strong influence in the music you make?
(S) Of course we’re influenced by classical composers as well. Mozart & Beethoven must be mentioned, but my to personal favourites are Grieg & Prokofiev. Especially the Ulcus material had a lot of classical elements, and it can also be found in the Windir material.
(H) What albums are you playing right now in your own personal collection? Do you have any good recommendations, black metal or otherwise, that are new this year?
(S) Right now I’ve been listening to the new Marduk (Frontschwein) & Solefald (World Metal, Kosmopolis) albums. Great stuff from both bands. Also the latest Foo Fighters album has been spinning a lot, together with norwegian band Black Debbath. Releases later on in 2015 I’ expecting great records from Enslaved, Krakow, Leprous, Faith no More & last but not least… Vreid!
(H) I am a big geek for the ways in which the black metal genre is constantly evolving. What is your opinion of the current black metal scene, in Norway as well as in general? What role do you feel like your bands play in the scene, and how do you hope to inspire continuing experimentation and progression in black metal?
(S) I agree, the evolution of the genre is essential for it’s survival. You see new bands delivering great stuff, and also the “old dinosaurs” like ex. Enslaved constantly developing their music in new directions. I feel the “scene” is more alive than ever before. I feel we’ve found our place in the scene, and we’re also focusing on renewing our music constantly, but also relating back to the 70’s/80’s which will always be our fundament.
(H) And finally, does the Sognametal tour make up simply a first leg of the tour? Or if not, how likely is it that you will be taking Windir, Vreid, and Ulcus all out on the road again?
(S) Never say never, but I think this was the final rounds of Windir on the road, from now on the focus will be 100% on the new Vreid-album and following tours.
Hagalaz and BurningFist would like to thank Steingrim for his time with this interview.
INTERVIEW BY: Hagalaz