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Hi Freddy, welcome to Aristocrazia Webzine. May we have a short presentation of your band?
Voluspaa is a band I started in 1994. It soon was a band with four members, Uruz from Urgehal as the most known one (this was before he started in Urgehal). We released two demos in 94-95, the first as a band, the second with me and the other guitarist, Thomas Støen. Soon after that Voluspaa became a one-man-band. It was no problem for me or Thomas who wanted to do other things and I wanted to be alone. We are still good friends and he stills comes to Voluspaa shows. Voluspaa has been my toy since the very start. I have had no visions and no hurry to give out more music. I just wanted to sit at home making music. I make music for myself, the feeling and the joy it gives me. So now having a cd out is very strange…but I'm very pleased and proud.
The choice of the name of a band is very important, how did you choose "Voluspaa"? Does it fully embody what your music and beliefs are?
Voluspaa can also be written Voluspå, and is a old Viking poem were Odin asking Volva, easy explained as a witch, about the birth of the world, Ragnarok and the new world arising. This is kind of the way Voluspaa has lived their life so far, with Åsa as the new world arising. So in that way it fits like glow. But yes the name was very important. Vikings and or ancient history has always been a big and strong part of me, so choosing the most important Viking poem from Edda was very natural thing for me. I was also thinking about the name Håvamål, which is one of my favourite poems, explaining how to live your life here in the north…how we are as people. But I think Voluspå fits more into how Voluspaa really are in music.
The project has been around since the first half of the nineties, four demos, and finally the arrival of "ÅSA". It has been a real effort, what made you wait so long before releasing your debut?
As mentioned in the introduction I had no rush to give out any music. So I used my time until everything felt right. I have always had belief in both the old songs and the new ones I made. I felt that the old songs could do it well, still sixteen years later. So I wanted to give them a chance. But I got more and more tempted to give out music since people started contacting me about Voluspaa. When I re-released the demo from 95, "T.Å.E.M.E.N.", in 2006, it got sold out pretty fast and labels started asking me for more. At the same time I started a MySpace page, which also made it easier for me. It was strange showing people my music but at the same time fun and made me even more creative. Another reason was when I started a sideproject with a good friend of mine, Frode Løken, called Røst. We played a gig in 2007, and this was my first time on stage since 1995…and damn that was fun. I think that maybe this was the kick-starter for showing the world more Voluspaa.
There is an epic atmosphere that seems to be inspired by Quorthon and Bathory. Besides him, which were your other inspirations musically or artistically for its creation?
You are not the first to mention Bathory but I must say I had no inspiration from him at all. I haven't heard much of his music, just bits and pieces at parties and record stores. But since many say that there is a link between Bathory and Voluspaa, I think I have to check it out more… it must be good [laughs]. Hmm, when I started Voluspaa I really liked Ac/Dc and Satyricon's "Dark Medieval Times". I liked the melodic parts in their black metal. Later in the 90’s it was Storm and Ulver. And with time Anathema and Antimatter has had some influence maybe.
One of the most beautiful and noticeable points of this album is the link between the tracks and nature that continuously intensifies. How is your relationship with Mother Earth and what can your lyrics teach? Are man and nature still one thing?
It's important. This was one of the things that I wanted to express. I feel like we, the humans, are destroying this beautiful but important nature. With out it we will die, but still we are fucking it up. Nature for me is freshening for the soul. Send depressive and stressed people into the woods and they'll come out in the other end with a better feeling of the world they live in. Their head is clear and the body is ready for more [smile] My lyric’s has a wide range of what it means and what you can get out of it. But the most of it is my love for the nature here in Norway and how I feel about my home land. If you can get this feeling by listening to Voluspaa, I'll be on the right way and very proud [smile].
Songs like "Djupet", "En Hymne Til Våre Udødelige Forfedre" and "Ei Folkevise" emphasize their structure, besides with the well-orchestrated guitar parts (personal and different in each track), with some variants provided by inserts of flute, violin and female vocals that enrich them. You are the mind of this project, what is the main difficulty in placing different solutions in your songs?
That's a good question. I really don't know what the most difficult thing to put in music is. I have a clear picture on how I want it inside my head. Oh, now I know, the female vocals. This is hard since I can't do it myself and I have to explain what kind of female voice I want on the track. But Hildr really makes it easy for me coz she's so fucking good. But I work long and hard with my songs, so in the end I'll figure it out. Some places there are things I want in a riff but it doesn't work at all. Then I have to try different things or just drop it. I use a lot of time just listening to the song over and over again. A cliché here, the song does the work, I just follow the song.
How did you choose the artists who contributed to finish the arrangements of this output? More specifically, how did you come in contact with Hildr Valkirje (already appeared on our site with Folkearth) and Sareeta?
I did choose Lars Jensen coz he pushes me forward and he makes me more creative. He is really skilled so I knew that I would get what I wanted out of him. He was the best producer for Voluspaa! I he lives in the mountains on the front cover, he born and will certainly die in Åsa…so he knows what’s it’s all about. I wanted to record "Åsa" as a band. Since I had live members I wanted them to do their part on the album, to make it more complete. That was not that easy, so I had to do changes during the road to getting "Åsa" the way I wanted. So it's a mix between them and me on this album, and I think this is one of the coolest thing about the album. Our mix makes the album more dynamic! As for Hildr I did meet her on MySpace and I asked her if she wanted to help, and she did. I'm really pleased with her and I wanted more. Hopefully she wants to work more with Voluspaa in the future. She has been an important in the new picture of Voluspaa and how I wanted the future to be like. Sareeta is the wife of my earlier drummer Tommy Kaare, known from Åsmegin. He is by the way my favourite drummer in the world and I really miss him. I asked if she wanted to help and she was more than willing to do so. She is really skilled and a good person to work with. She has collared the "Åsa" album in her own ways!
The lyrics of "Åsa" are only in native language, perhaps because many people use English for its more commercial or just more communicative features. Why did you choose to use Norwegian language? Is it the only one who can really deliver the best feelings related to the stories of the lyrics?
Yes you right. If I'm gone to sing my love for my homeland and my pride for it…yes I have to sing it in Norwegian. This is the most natural thing for me and the easiest way to express what I really feel! And this makes Voluspaa more authentic, both for me but also for you as the listener.
In the booklet, in every lyric there is a caption that describes the roots; can we say that this work wants to achieve a dream that began in 1994?
I have always wanted to do that. For me, interested in other band I like, I would like to have more info about the song than just reading lyrics…which can mean a totally different thing for you than the man who wrote it. Many people has been like where the fuck has Voluspaa been all this time. Some don't even believe that Voluspaa has been alive since 1994. There has not been much information out there about Voluspaa, so this is a good thing to get it out to the person that has bought a copy of the "Åsa" album. Since I have songs from 1994 to 2008 on the album, I wanted people to know more about the wide in the songs…and that it's still Voluspaa and get the real feeling.
What do you remember about the nineties melodic black era? Do you think that there is something really genuine which can breathe life into this genre today?
I think the nineties are long gone and lost forever. All we have is the good memories and very fine music in our collection. As very few among my friends that liked the melodic black metal in the nineties, I was pretty much alone with that. All the others were more into corpse paint and Satan. I have never really seen the issue with having Satan in the music. Why sing about a creature created by a belief you don't believe in? Well let's leave it dead, I don't want to bore you with my way of life.
Do you belong to your national scene in your opinion? Are there any bands that you would recommend to listen in both your genre and other ones?
I should be on the top but since I'm not there, I don’t give a fuck [laugh], just kidding. I don't know if there really is a scene here? If there are I'm not invited, coz I'm in the forest here all alone [smile]. You should check out Lars Jensen's band, Myrkgrav. Other band's from around here, Åsmegin and Kvist. If you go to www.voluspaa.com I have a list of great bands from the same area as Voluspaa. Fortíð you have to check out. Eldur who has created that band did some vocals on "Åsa". I'm a fan of the two Liverpool band’s Anathema and Antimatter… check them out if you already haven't.
What do you think about the modern Metal scene?
Too few bands make it with out kissing ass!
About the promotion of the album, how is it going? How did you come in contact with the Australian label Aurora Australis? How did it support you?
At the beginning it went slow. But as more and more people got eyes up for Voluspaa, it got easier. More shops wanted it and it was easier to sell. But it wasn't until now, when we signed a deal with Twilight Vertrieb in Germany, it really got good. They distribute all over Europe and seem to have good promotion and network. And the album is going real well! Twilight is already selling the second press of the album. After one week they needed to order more cd's from Aurora. So I’m pleased so far Aurora Australis Record contacted me, asking if they could buy a copy of "En Tid Tilbake" and "Norwegian Metal"… yes buy cd! I was kind of fed up with small labels asking for copies and offering me stupid ass offers. So a small label asking if they could buy copies kind of surprised me. After some weeks AAR asked if I had any plans on releasing more music. They wanted to know if I was interested in letting them release my demos. AAR has been really genuine interested in the music and not about the money… yes believe it or not! He has supported me with almost everything. We agree and think the same way on how we want things to be. So for me being with AAR it’s really easy. I think it's harder for Simon having sign Voluspaa, than for me being signed at Aurora Australis Records.
Will you play gigs with Voluspaa?
Yes! We have played some show earlier this year but we are now at home rehearsing and searching for a new guitarist. I and Oscar, the guitarist that still plays in Voluspaa, have started to make new music for Voluspaa. So far this has been very interesting and cool, both for me and Voluspaa!
Can you tell us the best things that happened you on-stage? Do you have a live performance you would like to repeat?
Voluspaa had some cool gigs when we started in '94. But the first gig Voluspaa had since '95 was in 2008 at my birthday party. This was the best gig for me and Voluspaa. Here I had invited Koldbrann, Svarttjern and Bömbers with Abbath from Immortal and Tore from Battalion. Standing on stage after thirteen years of silence was pretty wired and fucking cool.
Do you have other projects or bands where you play?
As of right now I don't have any other bands. When I started to plan "Åsa" I stopped all my contributions in other bands as Somewhere Beyond and my side project Røst. If I had more time I would still play more with these bands…
Are there any confirmed live dates? Will you ever see you in Italy?
No other dates as of today. But hopefully soon there will be more live dates added! And I would love to come and play in Italy. Invited me over!
Thanks for the time you spent with us; the last message for our readers is up to you.Thanks for the time you spent with us; the last message for our readers is up to you.
Thank you so much for your time with me and Voluspaa! For the reader and the people that have the album in their hand. I really, really I'm thankful for your time to check out Voluspaa. Being a small band from the woods of the cold north, it's special to see that the world cares for your work! Thank you!