As if being a member of symphonic black metal legends Borknagar, Fission, AND progressive/folk rock band Watercline isn't enough, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Vintersorg also fronts his own two-man project, also titled Vintersorg, with guitarist Matthias Marklund, and some session help on drums and bass. Solens Rotter is the seventh and latest release, and continues the tradition of the band, which mixes black metal with symphonic 70's styled progressive rock and Swedish folk elements. Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo had a chance to catch up with this busy musician recently to discuss the new CD, his hectic schedule, and new happenings in the Borknagar camp.
Read on for the full interview with Vintersorg!
Sea of Tranquility: Solens Rotter has a myriad of different influences on it, some prog, some black metal, and some folk. What kind of music did you grow up listening to?
Mr V: I grew up with various music and various genres…I was very into heavy metal as well as progressive rock/symphonic rock. Folk music was also something that I really appreciated and I guess all this together is somewhat the core of my own compositions; I've always been into composing adventurous music. As I see our music as a very serious form of art I really try to express something through it without thinking of how people will respond to it, and that make us free do really do what we want to. I also listened to blues and jazz in my younger day as well as nowadays, so I'm into many types of music and that's why I have so many bands going.
SoT: How long did it take you to put together the new CD Solens Rotter?
Mr V: The writing process was really fast but we spent a lot of time with arranging the songs. I guess writing the basics took me 3-4 weeks or thereabouts. It has been three years since the last album but all this time has been necessary to understand what kind of album we wanted to do and we're very satisfied with the outcome of this new album. The arrangements were something that we worked on to the last day of the mixing actually, (laughs) as I always find things that I want to try out and it was something that benefited the album.
SoT: Was it difficult to get this one finished amidst work with Borknagar and your other side projects?
Mr V: Naaahh, it's all about priorities I feel. My life is about my family, my music and my studies. I don't play computer games of poker online or other things that I feel is just wasting time, I need to get something back from everything I do and I put my energy into writing and recording music. The recent Borknagar album was a very fluent thing as I just went to Norway to record the vocals, even though I had worked out my melodies at home. But I really feel that all my bands are essential to make me happy and at ease. I have so many ideas that I want to make into a musical reality, therefore all the different bands.
SoT: Was there any thought to perhaps delivering the vocals on Sollents Rotter in English, or was your native language always the intention?
Mr V: For this album I was very inspired to write in Swedish but the intention was to have some lyrics in English as well. So I wrote some in Swedish, and then some more until I had a lot of them. At that point we were then asking ourselves how we should address this and came to the conclusion that we should make an entirely Swedish album. Next time it may be different. We don't know ourselves how the next album will be but we really like the way that Solens Rötter turned out so I think that we'll keep some of that atmosphere.
SoT: Can you talk about who performs what on the new album as far as the instrumentation goes?
Mr V: I do vocals, rhythm and lead guitars, keyboards, organs, mellotron, and the FX. Mattias Marklund handles rhythm and lead guitars, and a guy called Johan is doing the bass. Still, we're only a two piece band and have hired Johan in as a session member for the recording.
SoT: What types of keyboards were used on the album? There are a lot of vintage sounds in the mix...
Mr V: It's a lot of different kinds of keyboards, many of them are software stuff and some are the real deal with analogue synths like Korg's MS 20, etc. Flutes, harps and the other more organic instruments are through sample libraries that I play with a keyboard. We wanted a more organic feel this time so I'm not using that much of spaced out keyboards sounds, instead I tried to keep it more close and intimate but still dramatic. I guess it's a mixture of many sides of my personal interest in how sounds can be used.
SoT: What's new on the horizon for you-any live shows planned in support of this album?
Mr V: No, we're not a live act at this point as it has become too complex to arrange it. I have a family, studies, bands, work, and Mattias works as a guitar designer and is very occupied with that of course.
SoT: When can we expect another Borknagar release?
Mr V: It's a little bit hard to say exactly but we'll start the process of working on the songs now. Öystein has written some really good songs that we all will work on and then we'll see when we can record the album. It's a metal album this time and we're very eager to make it something really special so it may take us some time. But don't worry; it'll be very Borknagarish, but with some new perspectives. I'm very excited about it.
SoT: Any plans to do another Watercline album?
Mr V: Yes, it's recorded and ready to be out in a very near future, just some layout issues that have to be completed. The title is Imaginative and it's so much better than the first album. The first album was kind of an experiment and this one is more thought-through with better arrangement and better songs, simple as that! (laughs)
(Click here to read our review of Solens Rotter)