Vintersorg Dives Into The Themes Of New Album "Orkan" And Announces Plans To Resurrect Otyg
Sweden's Vintersorg is nearing the release of an eighth full-length album titled "Orkan," which follows last year's "Jordpuls." The new folk-laden metal opus is set to drop at the end of the month in Europe and early next month in North America through Napalm Records.
With the official release just around the corner, the band's namesake spoke with Metalunderground.com to talk about the air and nature themed album. In the full interview below, Vintersorg discusses the differences between this new album and his work in the latest Borknagar release, as well as his plans to resurrect the earlier folk metal outfit Otyg.
xFiruath: How’s your day going so far?
Vintersorg: Just got home from work, took my kids to soccer and I’m back home now.
xFiruath: For your English speaking fans, what’s the story behind the title of the new album “Orkan” and what themes are you exploring?
Vintersorg: The title is translated to something like “Hurricane.” With the previous album “Jordpuls,” that was translated to something like “House of the Earth.” So we’ve started a kind of sequence of albums. I was planning four albums actually, so this is the second part. The first one was the earth album, and now this is the air album, so it’s kind of the four elements. The lyrics have a kind of a scientific view but also a nature and romantic side to it. I’m totally a nature freak, and I always write about the relationship between man and nature and I always try to find new angles. This time around it’s more focusing on the air element and different aspects of reality.
xFiruath: Who did the cover with the tidal wave image and how does it tie in with those themes you mentioned?
Vintersorg: That was Kris Verwimp who painted it, he also painted the previous album. I always like the way he paints waves, so I knew for this album on the hurricane theme I wanted this kind of storming sea type of imagery. I explained what I wanted to him and he came up with this idea for a sketch, which we thought was perfect so he painted it in full color. It fits the album perfect. I feel it’s a whole product from song writing to lyrics to the packing, so I’m very satisfied with the whole thing.
xFiruath: On the song writing, how did that process work for you this time around and when were the songs written?
Vintersorg: It’s always really the same, not that I write songs in the same way, but I write the lyrics and the music and then I record it and show it to Mattias. He’ll have some ideas regarding arrangements and we talk things over. Usually we don’t have to talk about it that much, we have the same musical ideas, we’ve been friends since childhood and have a friendship over 30 years. In all that time we’ve never really had an argument, we really understand and respect each other. So I write the songs and show them to him and we go from there.
xFiruath: Was it just you and Mattias or were there any guest musicians on this album?
Vintersorg: We have on one track a female vocalist doing a little bit of a duet. It’s an old friend of ours, she played in another band of ours we had 10 years ago called Otyg, it was kind of a folk rock based thing. She was a violin player and vocalist in that band, so we invited her to do a song. I really like her voice and the way she works when it comes to music, so we have a really great relationship.
xFiruath: I’m glad you mentioned Otyg, because I actually just covered that band in our “Unearthing the Metal Underground” column. Do you think you’d ever revisit Otyg and release another album?
Vintersorg: Yeah, actually we decided to raise that old troll again. It’s been like 12 or 13 years since we put that band to sleep. We always thought the band wouldn’t be vanished from the face of the earth, we always had this kind of open door to it. For the last 10 years I’ve felt like I didn’t have the inspiration to write that kind of music, because I wrote all the music for that band as well. Lately me and Mattias, he’s also in that band, we started to discuss it and he was really keen on doing a third album. We actually wrote a third album and did some pre-production on it but we never made it anything more than that. So for him he felt it would be nice to complete the saga. We’re actually recording the third album now, and I don’t know if we’ll be doing anymore, but it feels nice to get this one out. It’s a little bit in a new direction, but still very much sounds like Otyg. It’s interesting for us because we haven’t been touching that ground for so many years.
xFiruath: The new Borknagar album just came out, which you are also on. What are the major differences between the new Borknagar and Vintersorg and what sets those apart?
Vintersorg: I think Borknagar’s music has some similarities with Vintersorg, but there’s very specific differences. Borknagar is more chord based when it comes to the guitar, Vintersorg is more heavy metallish but also with black metal edges. We both have folk elements, but in Vintersorg the element is much more obvious. When it comes to Vintersorg, it’s hard for me to tell the differences and similarities, but it has a different feeling from Borknagar and it’s more of an esoteric band. In Vintersorg I write all the songs, so for me they are very clear, but with Borknagar I don’t write everything, so I have to investigate those songs more when it comes to recording and everything.
xFiruath: Will you be doing any live shows to support the new Vintersorg album?
Vintersorg: Actually not at this point, because we’re only a two-man band, so we don’t have a live lineup anymore. We did a lot of shows in Europe years ago, but at the moment it’s hard for us to do it. I have a really hard time getting time off from my work as a teacher, and I have a family with kids. Mattias works as a sound engineer at a local theatre, so it’s hard to get time off.
xFiruath: What’s happening in your local metal scene and do you get out to shows often?
Vintersorg: I live in a very small town, very far north in Sweden, quite close to the polar circle actually, so the metal scene here is only a couple of bands. There’s not really much happening here out in the woods.
xFiruath: What sort of music are you listening to these days?
Vintersorg: I listen to some metal of course, but mostly I listen to symphonic and progressive rock from the ‘70s. I’ve been doing that for so many years now and I like the attitude they had back then. Every time they wrote a song, they didn’t have any fixed formula for writing with the verse/chorus/verse thing. They just wrote the song. They could open with a chorus and then go into an interlude, it’s so open minded and interesting. I like music to be an adventure, so I like that kind of approach.
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