After a very prolific year, unleashing no less than 3 releases upon mankind, it was about time to again catch up with Ragnar (R.U.) again. This second interview goes into all three of those recent releases, the involved labels as well as to future plans. And Ragnar takes us to some his personal favourites of his local scene. As always: enjoy!
Hello! How are you? Its early 2008 now, how do you look back on 2007? It seemed like a rather productive year for you with three releases…
Hello Felix, I am fine at the moment, thanks. Well, you are right, it seems as if 2007 was a very productive year for Ulfsdalir. But “Jera -Im Weltenkreis” was recorded in 2003 and “Wolfszeit” in 2005/2006. The only released recordings from 2007 was the split CD with Throndt. The two “older” releases just take their time to finish. I had some mixing problems with Wolfszeit (I wasn’t satisfied until now) and some delays with the label of Jera. Jera was planned for 2005 or 2006, but we had some shitty money problems.
If you look back on the last, let’s say, four releases it is rather clear that all of them sound a bit different. What do you think is the reason for that? I mean, an album like “Christenhass” sounds very much different than “Jera – Im Weltenkreis”
As I said many times before, one idea of Ulfsdalir is to sound different on every album. I thinks its boring to record the same Album 4-5 times again and again. But on the other hand, the so called “musically developments” of other Bands are the wrong way as we all see with our favourite Bands. Ulfsdalir is my Band, so I can do what I want and sometimes I am in a mood to record harsh grim stuff, sometimes more slow, depressive stuff. But there are some other changes too, since the Split and Wolfszeit, I record in a better Studio and we are two persons in the band now. Malthökk of Myrkwid play the drums for me and is a full member of the band. On some releases in the future, we will work with a bass player too, so one can call Ulfdalir a real “Band” now. But: NO live gigs in the future.
Yet, someone who has been following your musical career a little would be able to recognize Ulfsdalir. What do you think is the recognizable part in your music? What’s the red line in your career?
Oh, that’s a hard question. I am not sure if there is a red line on all my releases, but maybe my vocal performance or the kind of riffs I use are recognizable. I would say, that I have my own style of playing the guitar. But I think its not that unique.
This latest album, “Wolfszeit”, is also a bit of a ‘back to the primitive’ kind of album, which means that it’s a lot more harsh sounding and has a rawer production. Is this a matter of feeling or is there some sort of an idea behind it?
I always try to get the sound I have in mind for every release. On Wolfszeit, I have the best sound I ever had, so I do not understand why you thinks its more harsh or rawer. But on the other hand you are right, the sound always fits to the mood and the lyrics, but no, there is no special idea behind it.
The last three releases were done by different labels, like Ash Nazg, Stunde Des Ideals, Heretic Wisdom Productions. What’s the reason for working with different labels. And, what happened with Christhunt Productions?
In the future I want to split my releases in two groups: the limited and the unlimited. I work with Stunde des Ideals for all limited and special editions. The next releases are a 3 Mini CD concept release in an edition of 200 and then finally all this 3 MiniCDs in one special bookcase in an edition of only 100. Also a 4way split CD with Zwischen den Welten, Hrimthursen and one other band will be released on Stunde des Ideals Prod in 2008. But most of my fullenght album releases will be released by Dunkelwald/Heretic Wisdom. Dunkelwald is the label of the Ulfsdalir drummer, Heretic Wisdom Productions is my own label. At the moment I am looking for some interesting bands for a release on Heretic Wisdom. The first one I found is a Band called Rauhnacht. Christhunt Productions is a good label and Marco is doing a great job, but I think Ulfsdalir fits more to a more “underground” label. I also do not like the other bands on Christhunt very much, so it was the best to leave them. But there is no problem between us, our relationship is still good. Ashg Nazg is only the partner of Heretic Wisdom for the distribution of our releases.
Are you a follower of the black metal scene at all? Do you consider yourself a part of a scene?
Yes, of course I am a follower of the black metal scene at all. I still buy many releases, read underground magazines … But black metal lost most of its atmosphere and feeling in the last years. To many bigmouths, too many “internet warrior” and so on. I am not that much part of the so called scene, maybe I am to old now (I am 30 years old now) to behave like most of this kids. I know some people all around the world and I am not interested in more contacts with people who started to listen to black metal later than 1995 because most of them can’t understand what black metal is.
There seems to be quite a black metal scene in the Kassel-area. Can you introduce some of the active bands from this area that are worth the effort of checking them out?
Yes, there is a big scene around Kassel today, but most of them are pretty unknown.
The best known Band is EWIGES REICH. Fast and aggressive Black Metal. The new album, which will be released in 2008, is more in the black/thrash direction like the second Dødheimsgard album (Monumental Possession – FS).
MYRKWID is one of the oldest band from Kassel. It’s a solo project of Malthökk. He plays some old school but melodic black metal.
PANZERFAUST is the most “old School” sounding band from Kassel. Very much influenced by Darkthrone and Bathory.
TODESWEIHE is very “darthronish” too, but a bit more technical and also influenced by old Immortal I would say.
SCHATTENHEER is the most unique band I think. Mostly slow, but with some very fast parts, more like a “soundlandscape” with deep guitars.
THRONDT is a band you should know from the Split with Ulfsdalir. Melodic, fast with a freezing guitar sound, a bit similar to the Norwegian bands Frostmoon and Troll.
IDHAFELS, a project of Throndt and Ulfsdalir sounds like a mix of Summoning and Limbonic Art. Future releases will sound like old Satyricon/old Dimmu Borgir.
WEILAND, the newest band, is very close to Ulvers at the time of “Nattens Matrigal”. My favourite at the moment.
SARGNAGEL is a drunken project of some people of the Bands Ulfsdalir, Panzerfaust and Todesweihe. We only rehearse one night and record the demo. Influenced by Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Bathory and Darkthrone.
One older band, split up years ago, but with some unreleased upcoming material is called RAVENSFJORD. They sounds like the first Gehenna (Nor) or very old Arcturus, but not that technical.
WINTERGEWITTER is a Band, that most people would call NSBM, but I think the best description is “Historical War Metal” or something like that. Simple Black Metal with some keyboard parts in the vein of Knacht (Kristallnacht – FS).
MYGHTY GOATHORNS is the rawest Band from Kassel. For me a mix of the Dutch band Heretic and Beherit.
FIEND are from Göttingen, but they rehearse in Kassel, so they are from our scene too. Their new stuff is more depressive and sounds a bit like Shinning. The older stuff is more influenced by Darkthrone and Carpathian Forest.
Last band to mention is PESTNEBEL. The members are from Göttingen and Kassel. Old school like hell, but faster than the average Darkthrone clone, with a very special vocal performance.
Your last full album, “Wolfszeit”, seems to be some sort of an concept album on, guess what, ‘wolves’. What does this mean to you and what made you choose for making this album around this animal.
To be honest, I do not know, why it happens. It just happens. You are right, many songs deals more or less with the topic wolves. Only the first two songs “Folge dem Ruf der Eule” and “Frost” deals with other topics. I am not that much interested in Wolves as you might think, but this animal seems to be the right one to express my feelings the best.
As you know, even the band name ULFSDALIR deals with wolves.
As far as I’m concerned this is also the first album that is made with a human drummer, what made you chose to get a drummer of flesh and bones to do the trick instead of doing everything yourself?
I was always unsatisfied with the drum sound. I never liked drum computers, but when I started, it seems the only way for me. At that time I wanted to do everything myself, so I never thought about a new member. But with the time, I became more and more unsatisfied. With Wolfszeit I wanted to try to work with Malthökk, he also did the mix of the album, so we just tried it out and it works. He recorded the drums in 3-4 hours and as I realized that it was that easy, I smashed my head against the wall, because I released an album like Grimnir with drum computer. From now on, I will always work with him, he is a full member now.
An interesting question for me as a vinyl collector… A few of your previous albums have been released on vinyl as well, the “Baldurs Traum”-album and the split EP with Myrkwid for instance. Is that something we can expect from the other releases as well?
It wasn’t the Baldurs Traum album, it was Grimnir (oops, F). But that’s the only one until now. I would like to do a vinyl version, so if someone is interested to release for example Wolfszeit, he or she can contact me. But for me the CD release is more important, I am not too much into vinyl.
In the past you’ve been involved in different (side-)projects and other bands. Is this something that you are still up to or has this been a part of the past?
Yes, I am still active in some other bands now, but the most imported for me are Ulfsdalir and Ewiges Reich. All other project take not too much of my time.
What can we expect from Ulfsdalir in the future? What are you up to lately?
The next releases are some splits. One with Hrimtursen, Zwischen den Welten and one other band, and one Split CD with Nordreich. Other releases are the mentioned 3 MiniCDs “Bilsteinfeuer Kapitel 1 – 3”, The Bilsteinfeuer Boxset and an album called “Der vergessene Turm”. But this won’t happen all in 2008.
Ok, this was it. Feel free to add something that I might have forgotten to mention… These last words are for you. Thanks for the interview!
I have to say thanks for the interview Felix! Take a look at myspace.com/ulfsdalir and listen to the uploaded tracks. I am very satisfied with Wolfszeit and normally I am not that easy satisfied with my own music, so Wolfszeit seems to be a good album. You can also find links to some of the mentioned bands from Kassel.