Interview: Huldre

mit Jacob Lund und Troels Dueholm Nørgaard vom 5. November 2012
Was macht eigentlich die Folk-Metal/Rock-Musik solcher Bands wie Schandmaul, In Extremo oder auch Subway To Sally so richtig „folkig“? Ist es die für unsere heutigen Ohren doch recht exotische Instrumentierung der Truppe, die Art ihre Songs zu schreiben und zu performen oder einfach das ganze Ambiente, dass eine solche Band mit ihrem Werk zu erzeugen vermag?
Für den einen oder anderen Fan werden sicherlich aus der Folklore ins Metal - oder Rockgenre übertragene Melodien sowie Texte wichtiger sein, als zum Beispiel so etwas wie ein „folkloristischer Kleidungsstil“ - wie auch immer sich dieser definieren lässt - und die obligatorische Drehleier, welche für jemand anderen wiederum das Entscheidende am Genre sein können.
Dass die Genregrenzen trotz unterschiedlicher Ansichten über die Authentizität der jeweiligen folkloristischen Elemente zwischen all der Pagan-, Folk- und Mittelalter-Mucke fließend sind, steht außer Frage. Doch insgesamt scheint die Szene doch oftmals relativ geschlossen zu sein. Zumindest sieht man solche Packages, wie jetzt aktuell bei der Swedish Empire Tour, wo die Power-Metal-Band Sabaton und die Folkmetaller von Eluveitie zusammen durch die Landen ziehen bei uns relativ selten. Doch ist das überall so oder eher ein deutsches Phänomen?
Was es mit dieser angeblichen Verschlossenheit des Genres auf sich hat und was diese Musik ihrer persönlichen Meinung nach folkig macht, berichten uns Jacob Lund und Troels Dueholm Nørgaard von der gerade durchstartenden dänischen Folk-Metal-Band Huldre. Außerdem sprachen die beiden mit uns über die Produktion ihrer Debüt-Scheibe „Intet Menneskebarn“, welche gerade frisch erschienen ist.
Viel Spaß beim Lesen!

The Interview:

Alex: Hi Troels and Jacob! Would you please introduce yourselves to our readers?
Troels: Yes of course. I am Troels Dueholm and I play hurdy-gurdy and flutes. I have been in the band for about two years.
Jacob: Hi I’m Jacob and I play drums and percussion and I have been playing in the band for about three years.
Alex: You first studio album „Intet Menneskebarn“ has been released this year. What can you tell us about that?
Troels: Its been a long way coming. We have poured a lot of time and energy into this music so it has been great to be able to present the results of this process. It was a pleasure working with all the people around it and we learned a lot from it. We have sunk a lot of money into the album to get the best result. We are very pleased that we made the right choice when we decided to work with Lasse Lammert as producer who really made the production stand out. Kristina Tandrup Gittesdatter really came through for us in creating some unique and interesting artwork. We are very proud that the cover artwork is a little piece of art in itself.
Jacob: It was a great kickstart of the band as a project that we could take seriously.
Alex: What reactions about the new album did you get from the fans and press so far?
Troels: The album has been very well received by both press and fans. It has gotten only positive reviews and we are naturally very exited and overwhelmed about that.
Alex: Generally, how is you songwriting process done? Is it like actually composing them or more like having a large-scale jam session?
Troels: It varies. Sometimes we have a long jam session which we record, and afterwards we listen to it and extract the bits we like. Other times one of us brings an idea, like a melody, a riff, or text, and then we work on it together.
Jacob: Yeah, but there is never one single person composing a song. Its always a collective effort.
Alex: What do you find to be most difficult in writing or coordinating the whole process? What do you like most?
Troels: Well we are a group of very different people with different musical backgrounds, with lots of different ideas, tastes and preferences about music. Sometimes it can be really hard to reach consensus about how our music should be, but we usually work these things out and reach a compromise that everyone likes. It can be a long and painstaking process but I really think that our music gets better and more original as a result.
Jacob: I agree. Its a real joy when a song finally takes form and comes to life.
Alex: What’s the intention behind your music? Do you want to transport a certain message – or different ones in different songs? Or is it more like pure entertainment?
Jacob: One of the intentions is to not be locked down with one certain genre, or subgenre but use this band as a playground for our collective nerdiness towards ancient times and metal. And of course there is always a great element of entertainment when playing live for people, as with any band.
Troels: Combining the tradition of the old with the new allows us to create musical imagery with roots that goes back to our ancestors. Bringing the old Scandinavian folklore and musical traditions into a modern age by mixing it with metal is a main focus for the band.
Alex: What makes music “folk metal” for you? The language? The lyrics? The music? The instruments?
Jacob: To me its the instrumentation and the mood of the music. Personally I think a band like Fejd does it really well in the way they utilize instruments like keyfiddle and bozuki.
Troels: To me its more the way the music is played. The scales, harmonies and overall feeling of the music. Of course the instruments has an important role but its really about how you play the music that defines whether or not is folk metal. Unconventional instruments are not necessarily needed but they help.
Alex: Some bands might say that to play “Folk Metal” one would have to use the classical instruments from the old days, too. What would you say to them?
Troels: As I said before; In my opinion its not necessary but they add a great deal to the music and its of course always better to use the proper instruments as opposed to electronically mimicking them.
Jacob: I agree on that.
Alex: What would you say has been the most enlightening moment in your history as a musician? Any especially memorable stories (anecdotes) you would like to tell us?
Troels: I’ve played folk music for many years but the first time I performed live with Huldre was the greatest moment of my career in terms of live performances. It was my first time performing metal for a live crowd and people tend to be a lot more into the music and going crazy as opposed to playing folk music. It opened my eyes and now I'm totally hooked.
Jacob: I once forgot to bring my hihat stand to a gig in Sweden and had to improvise one out of mainly duct tape and sticks. Our release party also stands out as we had expected around 75 people but 300 showed up which was extremely overwhelming.
Alex: What was the driving force for you when you started to make music? Is it still the same today?
Jacob: I always liked metal and have played a lot of medieval music as percussionist. In Huldre I saw an opportunity to not only combine the two but also an opportunity to combine a traditional drum kit with medieval percussion and drums and explore those musical possibilities.
Troels: I have always played traditional folk and medieval music and thought for a long time about how it would be great to be able to combine it with music that was more hard hitting so I was happy when I got the offer from Huldre to join them. The ambition to combine the two genre universes stays the same and has only grown from there.
Alex: How is your experience in concerts? Is it only a small elite of fans coming, or are the people quite open to your musical approach when you’re playing like at a festival?
Troels: I was surprised to see how broad our music hit. We have fans from both the world of folk and the world of metal. The festivals we have played at so far have been a pleasant surprise as well as people have really taken a liking to our music.
Jacob: People that show up at our concerts without prior knowledge of our music is often pleasantly surprised that they actually like our music. We seem to appeal to a broad spectrum of personalities.
Alex: The scene seems to have opened up a little bit genre-wise. There are a lot of bands touring with a support from a completely different style of music, for example. Still, the Folk scene seems to rather stay in private. Would you agree?
Troels: Not necessarily. We have seen examples here in Denmark of folk metal bands playing gigs with power metal bands. We have played gigs at medieval music festivals and have had traditional medieval bands play as support. We have also played gigs with black metal bands. It may not sound like much but it shows that folk metal bands isn’t just playing with other folk metal bands.
Alex: Currently, a lot of bands have a quite hard time to get their concert halls sold out, especially in rock and metal music. How do you make people come and watch you live on stage?
Troels: By being different from more or less anyone else I guess.
Jacob: We try to make a real event out of our concerts. We have had market stalls, art exhibition, free mead, Viking fight shows, firebreathers and firejugglers, brought half a forest on stage, had people dressed as trolls mingle with the audience and Laura regulary throws candy at the audience to mention but a few of the things we find funny to do at concerts.
Alex: What can you tell us about the current development in the Danish rock scene?
Jacob: The unfortunate closing of the Copenhagen venue “The Rock” has meant that a lot of other, more mainstream venues, has started to embrace rock and metal bands into their places and host specific events for that. This has of course also yielded an opening for Danish folk metal.
Alex: So, what’s up next for Huldre? What can the fans expect?
Troels: We are currently working hard to get gigs outside of Denmark in the coming summer, on festivals etc. We are also in the middle of a songwriting process and we tentatively aim at being able to record a new album some time next year.
Jacob: Yeah and we are also currently looking into some very limited vinyl editions of “Intet Menneskebarn”.
Alex: Would you like to leave some final words to the fans out there?
Jacob: It has always overwhelmed us how much support we have received and it is greatly appreciated. It means so much to us that people are into our music.
Troels: We are very grateful for your support and hope to see you at our concerts.
Alex: Thanks for taking the time for this interview and all the best for your future!
Moderation: Alexander Kipke

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