Trollband Talks Sophomore Album "Samsara"
Following "In The Shadow of a Mountain" (reviewed here), Canadian folk metal outfit Trollband has now released sophomore full-length "Samsara" (review forthcoming).
With the album out now, all the members of Trollband - including new recruits Dan and Nick Wilberg - caught up with us to discuss how the band has changed inbetween the releases. Check out the full interview below, along with a stream of "Samsara."
xFiruath: What’s been happening with Trollband in the intervening time between “In The Shadow of a Mountain” and “Samsara?”
Matt: In between May 2011 and 2013 we shifted the main operation from Vancouver to Edmonton. At the time there wasn't much of a "band" per se, it was just two guys working out of our homes. Since then we’ve recruited a full lineup for live shows. Firstly David, whoring the extended range guitars, interestingly enough was a fan of the band in Vancouver, stayed in contact until we were preparing the new album and in need of new members.
Sam: We acquired Josh from Villainizer after expressing his interest drumming for Trollband after that project was put on hiatus. I found the brothers Wilberg, specifically Dan, through Kijiji. He had an advert posted looking to start a folk metal project. I asked him to join ours because Matt couldn't make the tour. Nick, the keyboard playing brother, naturally came along for the ride. Acquire minions, disregard the constabulary.
xFiruath: When were these new tracks written and how did that process go?
David: The majority of the material was written between 2011 and 2012, we took our time because we didn't have any set time for our release date. We initially were planning on recording in December of 2012 but it was pushed back and pushed back.
Sam: Writing for this album started before we had finished ITSOAM. It took three years to record that album, and disillusioned, we started writing a new one.
Matt: We`ve always used Guitar Pro as a way to share ideas. Since we were now spread from Vancouver to Edmonton we just had a tried and true combination of Skype, Dropbox, and GP that kept us all in the loop with new ideas. Now that we had Josh, for the first time the composition of the drums was done by a real drummer, and not a guitar player.
Sam: Initially we had enough material for two albums, but we axed five songs. It didn`t all flow properly, and releasing a double album seemed a little ambitious.
xFiruath: Was the recording process the same this time around, and did you have any particular challenges to overcome during the recording?
Sam: Distance was the main challenge, having four of the six members in Edmonton. Luckily the internet allowed for fairly painless transfer of DI or project files.
Matt: This time around we were reamping the guitars using David`s Engl Savage, instead of Guitar Rig. We were also capturing live drums so there was a lot more production work for Sam to do.
Sam: Yes… Also we had more people with different musical tastes and backgrounds to appease and compromise for the arrangements.
Josh: On the first album the drums are a machine, so I cannot really make a comparison. But for the new album, we just set up some mics in our jamspace and went for it. The album sounds great, and is a definite improvement from ITSOAM as far as composition and sound are concerned. And for challenges, I did have to work a lot of my blast beats and playing in other time signatures, two things which I had not really worked on before that point.
xFiruath: For those who haven’t heard it yet, how do you feel this album differs from the previous release?
Nick: More mature.
Dan: “Samsara” is definitely the sinister brother of ITSOAM. There's a tangible dark atmosphere that is conveyed not only through the songwriting, but in the lyrics as well. The scale is grander overall. I find that when most people hear an album described as having a dark atmosphere or something to that effect, they will assume that the songs will slow and brooding, potentially disinteresting for some. This is false, foolish assumers! The songs presented on this album are as diverse sonically as they are in their tempos.
Sam: “Samsara” is the cycle of life, death, and rebirth which ultimately leads to the same life again. Through healthy collaboration, the album was composed by Trollband and the concept was envisioned mostly by my Nicole-Breton Ewing. The lyrics revolve around life and death, and if the album is set to loop it demonstrates the concept.
David: The new record is heavier, with more death/black metal influences. Overall I feel as if we were getting closer to our sound.
Josh: “Samsara” has a blacker sound compared to the more lively and drinkable folky sound of ITSOAM. Having real drums gives the album more of a rounded feel as well. It’s a sign of the bands progression, which isn't stopping with Samsara.
xFiruath: Tell me a bit about the artwork – who put it together, and how does it connect to the music?
Sam: Having worked with Moga before, he was the obvious choice to bring our concepts to life. While browsing for ideas, Josh came up with the idea of basing the cover art off Throat of the World. Nicole then had the idea to make the artwork circuitous as well. If you lay out the album art end to end, it repeats.
Josh: Personally I love the album artwork, I can't describe why using words, it’s just a beautiful piece of artwork and I think paired with the first albums artwork, it helps to show the maturity and growth within the band and in the new music. I'm hoping we continue to have Moga do the artwork on our upcoming releases.
xFiruath: Has the band been out performing in the live scene lately, and what’s your upcoming schedule looking like?
Josh: Yes definitely. A small Canadian tour hitting the big cities, a direct support spot with Finntroll, Armstrong Metalfest, and another few shows with Mestatoll and Finntroll are just a taste of past gigs in 2013. We have no plans to slow down over the next few years as we support “Samsara,” ITSOAM and begin to write, record and release another album; in due time. Expect to see Trollband more often in 2014 and onward!
xFiruath: What are your picks for best releases of 2013?
David: Tesseract – “Altered State”
Sam: Voices – “From the Human Forest Create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain”
Matt: Sigur Ros – “Kveikur”
Dan: Falkenbach – “Asa”
Nick: Tennger Cavalry – “The Expedition”
Josh: Amon Amarth – “Deceiver of The Gods” and Fleshgod Apocalypse – “Labyrinth”
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