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Interview

Windir – “I definitively think Likferd is the most aggressive and darkest Windir album”

Windir is the Norwegian word for Warrior and one of the most amazing black metal bands I know. Recently the band released their latest masterpiece ‘Likferd’, yet Windir is one of those few bands that only release masterpieces. It all started out in the period of 1995/1996 when Valfar started a one-man band and released 2 demos; which received good reviews. In the beginning of 1997 he released the album Sóknardalr and 2 years later the in my opinion best album of the band ‘Arntor’. After the release of Arntor Valfar decided to make a complete band from Windir. Hvàll; composer of the band Ulcus joined Windir and also all other members of that band started to play in Windir. Together with the help of Hvàll, Valfar started to write songs for the new album ‘1184’. Due to this album the band more and more builds a good name and reputation in the Underground scene and with their newest album ‘Likferd’ the folkloric black metal of Windir is ready to conquer the world! An interview with Hvàll… (GeertVM)

Windir’s latest album Likferd is out for a few months now, how did people react on this album?
The response has been very good. We received a lot of good reviews and interviews. We will start on some live shows soon, and I think that we got one hell of a show going now.

What does the word Likeferd actually means?
Likferd does not have an English word to describe it. A Likferd is a transportation of your body going to the funeral place. On the cover of our album you can see this illustrated with the casket on the boat covered by a Norwegian flag.

The cover-art of Likferd looks beautiful, is it an old painting or is it special made for the cover of this album? Is there a story behind the artwork?
Yes, it is a famous Norwegian painting called ‘Likferd at Sognefjorden’. It illustrates a Likferd. The great Norwegian painters Tidemand and Gude did make it in 1855. The motive is taken from our home-place Sogn.

Likferd was released on 31.03.2003 in Scandinavia, yet in other parts of Europe the album was available almost a month later, do you know why the album wasn’t released through the rest of Europe on the same day?
I don’t know. This was decided by our record company, and I don’t know why the fuck they did it this way??

The last part of the last song on the previous album ‘1184’ called ‘Journey to the End’ was a great electronically experiment that gave me gooseflesh all over. On Likferd we can hear on the background of some songs also some electronic sounds, so the experiment on 1184 wasn’t just for once, do you think Windir will in the future use more of these kind of sounds?
Yes I think so. We will always try out different things to develop our sound. Valfar is very fond of working with electronic music, and has got a lot of competence on this area. I think the electronic elements used in the right way, and not as a key-factor, will be an important part of the Windir sound.

Is it correct to say that windir goes back to the roots with Likferd, because it’s a more agressive and more heavy album?
I definitively think Likferd is the most aggressive and darkest Windir album. But I don’t see it as a back to the root album. I think that it different from 1184, but also different from Soknardalr and Arntor. So I see it more as a development than a back to the roots album. But I can agree that it has a more old school black metal feeling to it, than anything we have done before. Especially songs like “On the mountain of goats” and “Despot”.

Is Likferd a concept album?
No it is not a concept album. The lyrics are based on ancient times, but not directed on any special events.

In the past the accordion played a big role in the music of Windir, now that instrument is totally gone, why?
Well, there is indeed no accordion on Likferd, because we didn’t find any place it fitted the music. But Valfar still plays the accordion, so it is not impossible that we will use it again in the future.

It’s hard to label the style of music Windir plays. Yet one thing is for sure, the style you play is quite unique. As from the first album Windir already got an own sound, yet during the years Valfar build out the style and I think we can say that the band discovered an almost new style in the black metal scene; at least an unique sound. What do you think of this?
Yes I agree with you that Windir always have had an original sound. It has developed with each album, and I hope it will continue to do so. Windir has always had an especial way of arranging the guitar melodies, often based on Norwegian folk music. But the essence of Windir has always been, and will always be Black Metal.

Since the album ‘1184’ Windir isn’t a one-man project anymore, but a real band. It does have many advantages, are there also some disadvantages Valfar discovered since Windir is a real band?
I think Valfar is very satisfied with it being a whole band now. This means that Windir can play live, there are very skilled persons on each instrument, and now that both him and I write music, it has become more challenging and opened up fore more possibilities in the writing process.

In the past Valfar wrote all the lyrics and music, is he still the main songwriter of the band, or do the other members also write songs?
For both 1184 and Likferd I and Valfar wrote 4 songs and 4 lyrics each. We will continue this way in the future.

Windir is an unlucky band, 2 times an European tour was cancelled. The first time the band should go on tour with Finntroll and Borknagar, yet just a few days before the departure of the tour everything was cancelled, because of problems with the tour-bus. Can you tell us something about this?
Well, the whole tour was booked and we had ordered tour merchandise and all kinds of things. The last couple of week’s things started to seem suspect, and 5 days before the tour was supposed to start, the Bus Company doubled their price. So Borknagar tried with some other companies, and everything just fucked up. A lot of promises, but no one could deliver a tour bus on such short notice. It was really frustrating, especially since we couldn’t do anything about it. But I guess this is the way it works in this perverted business of lying bastards. Finally Borknagar cancelled the tour since there were no tour buss, so the whole tour was cancelled.

The second time, about a month ago, Windir would play some gigs around Europe with Aeternus and Bolthorn, due to problems with finding venues to play also this tour was cancelled.
A booking agency in Holland tried to work this out. We made an agreement with Aeternus and our labels NAP and VME. Everything was ok. Several clubs where interested and everything was looking good. But then a lot of clubs just became quiet, and wouldn’t sign contracts. The whole thing became so uncertain, that the booking agency decided that they couldn’t gamble on this. But blame it on the shitty clubs, who just wants to book the same bands over and over again, and don’t listen to the metal public. Fucking conservative assholes.

So Windir still didn’t played gigs outside of Norway?
First gig outside Norway will be next week. 2 shows at the Metalfest in Milwaukee US. All contracts, tickets and everything are arranged. I am really looking forward to this, and we will do one hell of a show in the US.

Are there new plans for a European tour? When can we see Windir alive in Europe?
Now we are concentrating on the US show. Of course we want to do European shows, but we don’t have any particular plans at this moment. The problem is as I mentioned that the booking agencies and clubs just wants to work with bands that they have booked 100 times before. We will see what happens. First we will do the US and Norway shows anyway.

The lyrics of Windir aren’t just simplistic lyrics, they got profundity, is it hard to write the lyrics?
The lyrics come naturally. We are filled with this gloomy atmosphere as persons, and telling tales inspired by our ancient history and philosophy just feels natural for us. So I can’t say that it feels difficult for me. It is just expressions of our way of thinking.

Now most of the lyrics are written in English, yet in the past the lyrics where written in the old-Norwegian language, why are more and more lyrics written in English now?
Because of a simple fact, we wanted to try out something different. I don’t know how this will be in the future. But we will always have some songs with Norwegian lyrics on each album. We write the music before the lyrics, and the atmosphere in the music decides what kind of lyrics it will have, and what language it will be in.

Do the members of Windir only play in Windir or also in other bands/projects?
No. All members are totally dedicated/enslaved to Windir.

Next week you are going to play 2 gigs in the USA, do the people over there ‘understand’ the music Windir plays? Do you already build out a name in the USA? What do you expect of this experience?
I have no ideas what to expect, and therefore expects nothing. The US seems to be a good marked for Windir. It is one of the countries where we sell the most records. We receive a lot of fan mail from the US, and it seems as the interest is growing all the time. I am definitively looking forward to this trip, but have no idea what to expect from it???…

In my opinion Arntor is still the best release of Windir, although all the releases are masterpieces. What’s in your opinion the best Windir album?
Without a doubt Likferd is my favourite. Because it has by far the greatest songs, production, groove and it is the darkest album. Songs like “Despot”, “Blodsvik” and “On the mountain of goats” are the best we have ever have done. I was also very pleased with 1184, but I think Likferd is the definitive highlight of Windir so far.

What’s you personal playlist at the moment?
It differs from day to day but here are 5 songs that I have listened a lot to recently:

Hurt – Johnny Cash
Det som engang var – Burzum
Frantic – Metallica
Fuck the world – Turbonegro
Destroy – Emancer

Does Windir have a good contact with other Norwegian metal bands? Do the bands in the scene support each other?
I speak and drink with persons from different bands now and then, but I won’t say that the bands support each other. Windir has always been like a cult, doing our own thing, and we don’t really give a fuck what the other bands are doing. There are so many “rockstar” within the “black metal” scene, that we couldn’t be bothered. But I don’t mind hanging with guys from different bands, getting drunk, but most of the time we just keep for ourselves and drink.

Slowly Windir is building a good name in the underground scene, but in my opinion you still don’t get the attention you deserve. Isn’t that frustrating?
Sure it is. I feel that things started to happen after the release of 1184, and it keeps growing. In Norway things are really good, and we are among the top selling black metal bands in Norway, hopefully our distribution and promotion in Europe will get better in the future as well.

What can we expect in the future of Windir? Are there already plans for a new release?
We will play as much live as possible this autumn, and we will probably start recording a new CD early next year. Several labels have show interest, and we will probably decide which company we will sign to within the next weeks. Valfar and I have already started writing new material.

Do you have something to add on this interview?
Thanks for the interview man! I recommend everyone to drink some beers and listen to Likferd, I am sure that it will blow you away. To be updated on the future of Windir check out our website. Skål!!!