Frode, let us start by asking you about the name Einherjer, what does it mean
to you and why was
it chosen as the name of your band?
Einherjer is a vikings life after death. When a viking was slained in battle, he was brought up to Valhalla by the Valkyries, for then to join the army of Einherjers and help the Gods in their clash against the Giants in the age of Ragnarok. We chose Einherjer as our band-name simply because it fit our musical and lyrical intentions perfectly.
you give a brief history of Einherjer ?
Einherjer started up in January '93 by me and Gerhard, and in December the same year we recorded our first demo called "Aurora Borealis". After that we got a deal with Necromantic Gallery Prod./Damnation and recorded the 7" "Leve Vikingånden" in May '94. Both releases were well recieved in the underground scene, and about a year and a half later the "Aurora Borealis" demo was released as a mini-cd through Necropolis Rec. Later we signed a deal with Austrian label Napalm Rec. and during the summer of '96 we recorded our first full-length CD "Dragons of the North". In January '97 we rcorded the mini-cd "Far,far North" which was our first release on Century Media, followed by our second full-lenght "Odin owns ye all" introducing our new vocalist Ragnar Vikse. This album was in many ways a turning point for Einherjer, and some felt we were heading in the wrong direction - among them Century Media. That was one of the reasons why Einherjer and Century Media decided to terminate the rest of the deal. As some would know, Einherjer have had some major line-up problems from the start, but I won't go into them now 'cause they are to damn extensive.
bands have been influential in your music?
The members of Einherjer listen to all types of music, black/death/thrash/heavy metal, you name it. I think that is distinct in our music. I think that it's good with some variety in the viking metal style. Viking metal is the only fit description for Einherjer as we pay homage to our past and our ancestors. Our lyrics mostly deal with our ancient cultural heritage, such as the vikings and the norse myths. To me, that is what viking metal is all about. We also try to give our music a viking feel as well. Medieval, epic and pagan.
4. How do
you see Einherjer in 1993 and today ?
you describe if Einherjer has a philosophy ?
7. Your new release, "Norwegian Native Art". Tell us about it... How are the divulgation and reception of your new CD ? What do you feel it has done for Einherjer ?
“Norwegian Native Art” is by far our best release so far, I think it’s better than our previous releases in every way. The songs are better structured, the lyrics are darker and the sound is superior. “Norwegian Native Art” is somehow the opposite of “Odin owns ye all”. The “Odin…” album probably seemed a bit “jolly” for some, and I think most people was expecting something else, more in the vein of “Far Far North”. Now, a couple of years after the recording of “Odin…” it is easy to see what we did wrong, but now we’re back on track and I think our new album is a very good proof of just that.We are doing interviews all the time and the reviews has been really great. Magazines have written things like “..there’s no way highlight, but only to say that we’re in front of the best album of one of the bands that reign in epic metal..”, “..Einherjer create art, and it’s amazing what one can come up with when the energy is focused towards the creation of such art. Absolute brilliance..” , “..Should I be using a scale from one to ten, no doubt this album gets a sharp eleven…” , “..Einherjer" is one of the most special groups that’ve existed for a long time and, their music is the reason for that! EPIC, and most of all, VIKING METAL..” & “By Odin and by Thor, just fucking listen to this one!”…….. so I must say I am very pleased.
8. Are you satisfied with the final result (production and mix) of "Norwegian Native Art" ? And with the
recordings at the Los Angered Recordings in Gothenburg/Sweden ?
Yes, I'm very happy with the production of "NNA". Andy LaRocque is a very competent producer and Los Angered Recordings is a very well equipped studio. The rest is up to us as musicians. Andy had a good understanding of what we wanted. I think the outcome of "Odin.." was a result of our failing judgment. This time we entered the studio with a more serios attitude and a more sane state of mind. Unlike last time, we got enough sleep which is very important to work good and effective, instead of getting waysted all the time. Another new thing we did this time, was to record the drums using a metronome. This was completely new to us, so it took a bit more time than expected, but I think that it helped us to make the songs a lot tighter than before. We also used Stein Sund (Thundra) on bass this time, which added some of the depth in our music that lacked on "Odin". It shows how important it is to have a pounding bass in Einherjer.
9. What led you to choose "Norwegian Native Art" as the title for the new album?
The album is entitled “Norwegian Native Art” because of what we are. We’re proud Norwegians, we’re proud of our origins, we’re patriots and what we do is art. The art of our genre. The art of viking metal.
elements are going to be different for this release as compared to the older
probably referring to the artwork inside the booklet. It’s basicly reprints of
ancient ornaments. The cover of “Norwegian Native Art” is a bandphoto which was
taken by a friend of ours named Trine Henriksen.
12. New members and some guestmusicians recorded this new album. Why this influence Einherjer and on their
new album ? How was the relationament in studio ???
Stein Sund (Thundra) was hired as a sessionbassist. He has done three recordings with Einherjer earlier so we knew what he were capable of doing. Hanne E. Andersen did the female vocals and, of course, the big boss Andy LaRoque did the guitarsolo on “Doomfaring”. All of them are “high quality” people, very easy to work with and very nice individuals.
is the involvement of each individual member during composing? What do you
prepare to get into that
frame of mind when composing "Norwegian Native Art" ?
GS - We usually sit at home and write for ourselves. These days we use computers to program our ideas. That way it's easier to get the right impression of what it will sound like in the end. You also get some distance form the music, so it's easyer to hear if something needs to be changed. Personally when I make music, I prefer to make a complete arrangement with drums, guitars, bass-lines, synth and preferably the vocal-parts as well. I usually have an idea in my head how to arrange it. Once the music is finished, it's usually Frode who writes the lyrics. It's impossible for me to do any kind of preperation before I start to make music. I just have to wait until the inspiration and creativity comes. Usually that's during the night. I'm always most creative and productive during the night.
are the lyrical themes in particular, are they different from those covered on
"Wyrd of the Dead" is about Odin and his "crucifixion" on the world-tree Yggdrasil. His sacrifice to himself to gain the ultimate wisdom from the dead. "Doomfaring" deals with Hel, the goddess of death in the Norse myths and her banishment to the darkest depth of Helheim where she ruled all those who died a natural death like sickness or old age. A dark atmosphere with an insane groove. "Hugin's Eyes" is about Odins view on the world through his two ravens Hugin and Munin (thought and memory). "Burning Yggdrasil" is about Ragnarok and all the horrors that come with it. When the sons of Muspell torch the world, and everything is layed to waste. "Crimson Rain" is a typical slash 'n' bash, slice 'n' dice Einherjer type of lyric. The romantic violence combined with the Einherjer that we glorify. "Howl Ravens Come", "Draconian Umpire" and "Regicide", stands out from the rest of the album with a calmer and more medieval expression. They deal with the myth of Sigurd Fafnirsbane, based on the Edda poem. The most important fragments of course, because the story is far too long in itself.
15. What is your source of inspiration when you create your music, and lyrics ? What do you want to express
or pass in your songs ?
We've always tried to make our music sound like Viking Metal and not just use the Viking Metal label because of our lyrics. We try to find the powerful feelings combined with the vikings and northern mythology. As always our lyrics deal with the Norse myths and contents of our cultural inheritance. This time told more visual and with a darker surrounding than earlyer.
16. How do
you usually write a song, do you usually write together or do you prefer
recording the stuff on
demo tapes that send to the one another?
GS - As I said, we normally write all the music and lyrics by ourselves and then we get together and present our ideas to the other members. All of us live in the same area, so it's no problem for us to get together an put something together.
has your touring situation been?
We did a tour to follow up the "Odin" album along with Cradle of Filth & Old Man's Child that lasted for about five weeks. That was a very good experience for us, first of all because we had never been on a tour before and it was very interesting visiting all these countrys. And we’ve also done some festivals in Europe and in Norway.
are your shows ? And your performance on stage?
Loads of blood, mud and bombs. Total mayhem !!!
were the most memorable shows that you played? What sort of good and bad
experiences have you had
on your tours? Any interesting road stories to tell ?
GS - We kicked off the Cradle support-tour in Tilburg, and it wasn't exactly a successful gig. For the crowd it must have seemed as if we fell over our instruments. Plain terrible. In Essen we didn't fall over as often as we did in Tilburg. But awful!? Oh yes.. After these catastrophes, fortunately things turned to the better. The best gig we did must have been our last gig in London, but we also did some cool gigs in France. Another problem with this tour, was that we played too much new stuff from the "Odin" album, instead of stuff that the people had heard before. For future gig's and tours we will play alot more of the older stuff that people are more familiar with. We are also much a stronger and experianced live-band when it comes to both performance and appearance. There was an insident in Marseille, when Cradle of Filth's bus stranded that endangered the show severely. It was in fact a matter of minutes. But I wasn't really worried until we woke up one morning and our vocalist Ragnar wasn't on the bus, and nobody knew where he was. We had been out the night before, and all of us were completely wasted. It turned out that Ragnar had ended up in the Cradle bus and woke up in some workshop in Belgium. The rest of us were in Germany. On top of everything else his girlfriend called us and wanted to speak to him. He was, so to speak, unavailable.
terms of label, are you happy with Native North Records, do you feel they have
done well for you so far and do you intend to stay with them for the next
albums, etc ?
Native North Records is actually our own label. Me, Gerhard and Ragnar are working full-time with the label these days. Even though we created it first and foremost to release Einherjer material, there are an opening for other bands as well, and we’ve just signed Ulvhedin & Angelgrinder. Ulvhedin is a viking metal band and they're about to enter Grieghallen Studio in September to record their forthcoming album. It will be great viking metal with a vengance.
Talking about sales, how was "Odin Owns Ye All" done for you ?
“Odin…” did ok, not overwhelmingly good, but ok. I don’t think Century Media would’ve let us go if the salesfigures for “Odin…” was totally over the top.
22. If you
could sum up Einherjer in a word, what would it be?
23. How do
you spend your spare time? Hobbies, interests?
When you have your own band and run your own recordlabel there’s not much time for other disturbances.
there a particular song you've written, old or new, that you are most proud of?
If so, why? In contrast, what about a song you dislike the most, and why?
I don’t think I have a specific Einherjer “favourite-song”, I’m very proud of nearly everything we’ve done. If I should mention some songs in specific it must be Doomfaring, De Sorte Sjøers Land & Far Far North. The song I’m probably least proud of must be “Einherjer”, from the demo. It’s just not my “cup of tea”.
tell you a topic and you'll give me a few words describing your thoughts about
the saga of Sigurd - We’ve already made triology about the saga of Sigurd, “Howl Ravens Come”, “Draconian Umpire” & “Regicide”.
Kongeriket Norge - Home
Arthur Schopenhauer - Pessimist
Kalmar Union - Bloodbath
Leiv Eirikson - An adventurer
Glittertinden - Beauty
Edvard Grieg - Great composer
the Long Dragon the biggest warship - Dragons of the North
Olaf Tryggvason - Fucking moron
the Gulating Law from Western Norway - Jail
Richard Wagner - Great composer, but not as great as Grieg
nuclear weapons - Dangerous
Charles Darwin - A wise guy
form a new project, Angelgrinder, a black/death metal band. Give us a brief
history of how Angelgrinder came to be formed? What do you expect about this
new project ?
Me and Gerhard decided to form an exteme metal band several years ago. Actually, I think it was as early as ’95, but we never found the time to fulfill our plans until now. Angelgrinder was originally formed under the name Everflow, but it was already a German band with that name so we changed it to the much more suitable Angelgrinder. The line-up with me - guitar/bass/vocals & Gerhard - drums. I expect this band to be one of the heaviest and darkest bands around. Our main influences are Norwegian black metal, old-school death metal and thrash metal.
Angelgrinder have signed with Native North Records. Tell us about your upcoming
CD. What you're working on for the Angelgrinder future.
The Angelgrinder debut will be a lesson in pure sinister aggression and it’s scheduled for release in november/december 2000. It will probably be titled “The Grinding of Angels”.
Explain the differences and similarities between Einherjer and
The only similarity between Einherjer & Angelgrinder is that both bands are metal. Einherjer is much more melodic. Angelgrinder is more extreme, a lot “blacker” metal than Einherjer.
you anti- or pro- European Unification ? Don't you think that's prejudicial to
the national culture ?
I’m definitely anti - EU.
you tell us one person of the past whom you personally respect, and why?
Peter Slippers and Jonathan Bulb, simply because of their brilliant inventions - the slippers and the lightbulb.
31. How do you see this new bands which mix
metal with folk music, nationalist thought, aliens... ? How do you see the
future of metal ?
It’s always interesting with new bands with fresh ideas. There are so many bands today that you have to be original in some way to recognized.
32. Who are some of your fave bands on the
metal scene right now and who are the best newcomers?
I don’t have any particual fave band, but some bands that I really enjoy are Slayer, Emperor, Mayhem, etc. As for new bands, I really like Arthemesia & Ulvhedin. Both of them has just signed with Native North Records and their records will be released later this year. Arthemesia - Devs-Iratvs will be released 25. September and Ulvhedin - Pagan Manifest will be released sometime this winter.
33. What language do you prefer to speek in
Norway: bokmaal(riksmaal), nynorsk, landsmaal or samnorsk ?
The only true way to speak is DIALEKT…..
34. What three books and movies would you
consider essential ?
Books - Edda, Lord of the Rings & 1001 Svenskevitser
Movies - A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi.
Explain your future plans for Einherjer. Are you already working on a new
release? Are you recording
anything or planning to record?
Yes, we are currently working on a new album and a mini-album. We are actually not quite sure what we will do first. News will be posted at our website (www.einherjer.com) as soon as it’s confirmed.
conclude, if there's anything in particular you'd like to say, about the album,
tour or Einherjer,etc... then you're welcome to do that now.
Be sure to check out our new album “Norwegian Native Art” for some REAL viking metal.
Frode for this interview .... Your final message...