The cheering gets noisier for Skálmöld
When it comes to Iceland far as music goes the first thing that come mind is Bjork. Latest musical import Skálmöld came into a year ago. Two years young the band got signed a year after they formed. They released their debut "Baulder" on Napalm Records. While on the road the band was busy writing material for second album "Börn Loka" which based old Icelandic folk tale about two brothers.
Hello there how's it going?
It's going great, thank you. You catch me in middle of the Iceland Airwaves music festival, so there's a lot happening right now. We're playing two gigs at the festival. So exciting days ahead.
It's been about a week since the release of the new album "Börn Loka" in the U.S. what's the feedback been so far?
So far the feedback has been excellent. The people who knew us from our last album have been more or less pleased with the new album, Börn Loka, so that's positive. The reviews I've seen for the new album have also been very positive. And that's great. We are very satisfied with how the album ourselves and pleased to know that our fans and the media are also.
Musically how this album differ from the debut album "Baldur"?
Our debut, Baldur, was recorded only 8 months after we formed the band. When we started Skálmöld we always had this plan of releasing a decent metal album for once in our career and we didn't care at all if it was to succeed or not in any way. It was more for ourselves really. So how it all turned out was an adventure in itself. I feel that we are more confident on the new album. More confident as individuals, as songwriters and as a band. And in my opinion this album is stronger. It's closely related to Baldur musicwise, but it has just more of everything. Bigger riffs and bigger melodies.
The first song of the album 'Odinn' has a real heavy guitar sound?
Yeah, I find this to be a really powerful opening to our album. We got 6 of Iceland's finest classical singers to sing on this song and they delivered an excellent job, as expected. And the arrangements were done by Gunnar Ben, our keyboardists. Gunnar arranges all the clean vocals and the choirs in the band and this is definitely one of his best moments so far.
Was the decision to write and compose the songs after the tour was a sponationous decision or it was more thought out and planned?
We are constantly throwing ideas around. But in January this year we decided that we should just focus on writing new songs. Then we just sat down, gathered all the riffs and really concentrated just on writing. So it was planned, we decided not to take gigs unless something very special would come up.
Can you tell the readers the source and inspiration behind "Börn Loka"?
Snæbjörn, our bass player, is the mastermind behind the concepts for both of our albums and he writes all the lyrics. This time around he wrote a story about the siblings Hilmar and Brynhildur. It's an original story but Snæbjörn uses tales of the old Norse gods and mixes them with his own. So there are a lot of references to the old stories, but the concept is still original. If you are familiar with our first album, Baldur, and have read the stories you find some similarities, Snæbjörn has kind of created his own world were his stories take place.
Whatever happen to the two brothers?
I guess it is up to the readers to find out for themselves. An English version of the story is included in the booklet. I believe it's more fun that way.
So far it was a busy year for the band how long the band was on the road before coming home to starting to write songs for "Börn Loka"?
We didn't spend that much time on the road actually. We signed with Napalm Records in March 2011. That year we did the Heidenfest tour, a month long tour across Europe. Apart from that we only played in Iceland except for a few individual gigs abroad. But you know, we take what we get and I hope that we'll find some more tours and shows to support the new album.
Have you played any of the new songs live yet?
Yeah, we have played most of the songs live and they have turned out really great. It much more fun after we completed the second album. Lot more songs to choose from and we can rotate the songs in our setlist. And it can be hard to choose which songs to play, in a positive way.
Have you written some of these songs during the band's time ion the road?
Some of the ideas and some of the riffs were written on the road. But we work each and every song out on the floor as a whole. We all contribute to the songwriting and work very close when we are writing those songs.
You had any problems winning the crowd over on tour?
Yeah, sure. We are such a small band and very few have heard of us. So in that sense it's difficult. But it's challenging at the same time and really motivates us when we're playing live. We are there to show people what we have to offer and try to win them over. And usually the cheering gets noisier the longer we get into the setlist.
Name some of the bands Skálmöld tour toured with?
So far we have only done one real tour, the Heidenfest in 2011. It was a month long tour over Europe where we played every single night. And there were some great names on that bill. We had Finntroll, Wintersun, Turisas and Alestorm to name some. It was a great tour. I hope we will get a chance like that again somtime really soon.
You also have to rely on merch sales to keep the band going you guys sold alot of merch on tour?
Unfortunately, no! We were by far the smallest band on the tour we did. And very few if any were there solely to Skálmöld to be honest. We didn't get rich and fat from that tour I can tell you.
What are some things the band do on a off day on tour?
Just try to see something of the town or city you're in at that given point. See some things, try something new. Visit some local pub, drink the local beer and such. It's great to be able to travel to new countries and cities while playing music so you better get as much experience out of it as possible.
When the band expected to hit the road in support of "Börn Loka"? Is there a possibility of some shows in the States?
We'll probably won't do a tour until April 2013 and that will be in Europe. Then there is the massive festival season in Europe next summer, and I sure hope we will get as many festival gigs as possible. It's always an experience to visit those festivals, tons of great bands and great atmosphere. As for the states... we sure would love to come to the states but we have to find the right time and circumstances. But we are surely very interested.
As before it's a pleasure interviewing you again. I love the new album, I got synced to my phone. In my own opinion Skálmöld is one of the best new refreshing pagan metal bands I heard in awhile. Is there anything you like to add?
Pleased to hear you like the album. Let's hope to see you guys at a gig in the nearest future. It would be a pleasure.