Folk music doesn’t have to be old and crusty. Folk music can be vibrant and happening. Norwegian ELIWAGAR should appeal to all those of us into folk metal (while not being very metal at all). ©2015 Anders Ekdahl
How hard was it to come up with a band name and how does the name fit the music?
-Coming up with the band name wasn’t that hard really. I remember exactly that moment, I just knew what I wanted the name to represent and I closed my eyes, felt the energies of the ancient lands, felt the wind on my face and the name “Eliwagar” came from deep within, like an echoe from the past. In the Norse mythology, the Eliwagar (literally translated to ice waves) are 11 rivers freezing in the chaos called Ginnungagap. Life arose from them, from their frozen heart, when the fire came to warm up the ice and gave birth to giants (who for me represent the primal energies of nature, untamed and wild). The music I write take inspiration from everything in nature, also from the wildest energies, it connects to our roots and to the roots of life, so that’s how the name Eliwagar was perfect and I still feel the magic within its sound and how it echoes in my spirit.
As I am new to your band perhaps a short introduction might be in order?
-Eliwagar is first based on folk melodies I write myself, the use of folk instruments is what dominates although I also like to mix into it some electric guitar sometimes and more rock like drums to give more energy and intensity to specific songs. The lyrics are mostly related to nature, to a life in harmony with nature and to heathen spirituality. I describe it as Norse Heathen Folk / Folk Rock.
As I am no musician I have no idea how it works, but how do you make your own music based on what influences you? What parts do you pick?
-Well, sometimes I just am in a special mood and start to play on an instrument, or we start to jam together with Bjørn (my husband and Eliwagar’s guitarist) on a nice evening. Sometimes I know what I/we play will only be there and then and only meant to be ephemere, but sometimes I can hear this is gonna be a song I need to record. It’s really all about feelings though. When I don’t follow that feeling and anyway try to record a melody I didn’t feel was right, it usually doesn’t work in the end anyway. So following my inner feelings is truly the key, when I mean a song should be recorded I get a very special emotion. It doesn’t mean it is a stronger emotion because sometimes what I know will only be played once is what can lead me into a kind of trance but these energies just cannot be captured, they are too wild and should remain wild.
When you are in a band does it feel like you are a part of a worldwide movement?
-In a way, I guess I can say so. The energies we express and release through music is connecting us to other people anywhere on the planet who have the same call to similar energies and who are seeking them. It can be other musicians or individuals. Music connects us no matter the distance, it reaches beyond material borders. We don’t only record music for the sake of recording, we wish to bring the energies and magic of nature back into this world that has gone too far away from its roots. With everything we do (from organic farming to music) we are part of a movement that goes toward a brighter future in harmony and respect for our mother nature. In this way, we can feel that by creating music and sharing it, we can strengthen this will within the spirit of like minded people, just like other people give us the inspiration and good vibes and bring us hope that not all is lost and that we can find the way further in the middle of this darkness and destructive world ruled by greed and power.
How important is it that you look the part in promo shots and stuff? How important is the graphic side of the band?
-The graphic side is very important. I take a lot of photographies, I capture special moments in nature all the time, I am always observant to the magic and beauty every day brings, the sunrise and sunset, a burning and colourful sky, the fog dancing through the trees, epic landscape… etc That’s one of the first thing Bjørn recognized with me, seeing me anytime, even early morning, running out with the camera because such moments are very ephemere and if I am too late… the moment is gone. I take a thousand of pictures and I select the best of them to illustrate the booklet which is usually 20 pages. Those pictures represent the inspiration of the music and are a part of letting your spirit wander… offering both the sound and the visual. When it comes to band pictures or pictures of myself, I usually have an idea how it should look like to represent special atmosphere from a specific CD and I try to realize that. Then when I have all the pictures I need, I use to listen to the music and look at the pictures to see and feel if it fits and if there is harmony between them.
What would you say influences your lyrics? How important are they?
-Life influence the lyrics. What I see, what I experience, the way I chose to take, the people I meet. All of this can either be negative or positive, but I usually get stronger inspiration from negative feelings and from times of despair when I look around me, just really don’t feel I belong to this world and to the people. I cannot understand how people can do so much harm to mother nature and to themselves and how this system is enslaving them into this lifestyle. But although I take inspiration from this deep darkness and solitude, I always (or most of the time) write poetry to strengthen the beautiful aspect of life. Writing music but especially writing the lyrics is my way to take light from the darkness, that’s why they are so important for the energy of the music. I often hear that a lot of my music sounds melancholic. That’s probably because of how I feel when I am composing the melody, but then I always write lyrics after the melody and if you read them, you’ll see there is not much negative there… usually at least.
Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
-This digital era is both good and bad. Sure, we don’t sell much CDs anymore and too many people want everything for free. But on the other hand, in the 70s, you had to be signed by a good label if you wanted to record with good equipment, and release your music to reach people and share your music. So unless you were lucky and got there, then you would pretty much remain in your basement. Today everybody can listen to your music and you are not so dependant of a label anymore. I guess it is different for every artists but I believe sharing is the most important for some of us. That other people can relate to what you are doing and can get something out of it, very special emotions, either pure bliss and happiness or it may just be their best compagnion in dark times. Anyway, even though lesser people buy CD, it is still important for us to have a full artwork to offer to those who will be buying it, for those who want the full package, who want to hold it in their hands and enter fully the artist’s world.
Where will the future of format end – digital verses physical verses whatever?
-Well, we cannot count on the digital world, it is working at the moment, but is it trustable forever? The physical world will always overrule the digital one. As an example, money on your bank account can disappear anytime if internet collapse for instance, or there is a huge bug into the informatic system but the vegetables and fruits in your garden they will always be real. Well, you can ask what has music to do with bank account and vegetables… The point is that music will always survive, it will always be real no matter how it is being released and that’s what matters in the end.
How much of a touring entity are you guys? What is a live experiencevwith you like?
-We love playing concerts, but we would not like being on tour, playing in different cities every night isn’t for us, at least not now. First of all, we have our farm and that requires a lot of work so we cannot be away for very long periods. Then, especially in my case, I don’t know if I could deal with it as I am very introvert and need extremely a lot of time on my own and in the nature. After every concert we have had so far, I always need quite a few days to balance my energies again. Concerts are very intense for me, as I wish to bring the people into the energies of nature, or to say it more right: to bring the energies of nature out to people. You can say it is like a kind of invocation of the spirits of nature and the ancestors. A great concert is a concert when I can let those energies take me into a state of trance and where I can feel music transcending also the people there and connecting us together. It’s not about just being there on stage and making a performance, it is really about experiencing a spiritual journey where everybody’s spirits can dance on the vibes we create. Then again, this is up to the public to enter this world.
What lies in the future?
-We are now about to release our ninth CD “Heidr” with our own label Nordafolk Records in may 2015 and so far we have a few possibilities of concerts in Norway this summer/autumn and are open to more propositions. I have many ideas regarding other things but I don’t like to reveal too much now as nothing is certain at this point.