I am not the greatest fan of Tolkien. I’ve only read one book and seen the Ring trilogy. But there are others that are far more initiated. Like ITHILIEN. Answers by Ben. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
You have one of these names that do not really tell what kind of metal you play. How hard was it to come up with the name?
-Not that hard to be honest, the name Ithilien comes from the Tolkien books. We liked the name and it represents us quite nicely. But honestly our music and themes is totally not related to The Lord of the Rings.
As I am sure of we are quite a few that are rather new to you guys could you give us a short introduction to the band?
-Of course, Ithilien is best described as FolkCore Metal, which is a blend of metal and typical folk instruments such as Hurdy Gurdy and Bagpipes among others.
The band started 10 years ago, founded by Pierre (singer, lead guitar, bouzouki). It first was a “garage band” and things really started in 2011 when Jerry (drums & percussions) and I (Ben, bass) joined the band. From then on, the band evolved a lot quicker on every aspect. Since then we’ve signed with Mighty Music (DK) for our first album (From Ashes to the Frozen Land) and now with Wormholedeath for our upcoming album SHAPING THE SOUL, we’ve also been several times on tour in Europe and Japan with, among others, Eluveitie and Skalmold.
We all carry baggage with us that affects us in one way or another but what would you say have been the single greatest influence on your sound?
-For Shaping the Soul, it is influenced by our respective experiences of grief. As you may know, Shaping the Soul revolves around the concept of grief theorized in five stages such as depression, denial, … (The Kübler-Ross model). The whole album explores those feelings. Grief is universal and yet so personal in the way you live it. And that’s what makes this album unique for any listeners but yet accessible to everyone.
What is the scene like in your area? Is it important that there is some sort of local scene for a band to develop or can a band still exist in a vacuum of no scene/no bands?
-We are lucky enough to have a small but yet dedicated metal scene in our area. I think it is indeed very important in the metal world to have a local scene for bands to grow and have the opportunity to try out their songs in front of their crowd. As you grow bigger, it is always a good feeling to play “at home”, in front of the people who were there and supporting you since the beginning.
With today’s tools such as YouTube, soundcloud, … I think it is possible for newer bands to exist without being in an active area. But still, I wouldn’t want to.
Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
-I truly think so, yes. I see Ithilien as a second family to me. First of all we share a lot of moments and sometimes several weeks of our lives when on tour. Playing music with people you consider as such is a great feeling of accomplishment. On another level, metal is also a big family. Metalheads are the kindest and most dedicated persons!
When you play the sort of music you play I guess you cannot have birds and bees on the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
-Haha that’s for sure. To me a great album cover needs to be a visual representation of what the album is all about. It also has to be sober so everyone can find it’s own meaning when looking at it. The symbolic representation is also a factor I care about, Shaping the Soul’s artwork is a mandala which is often used in therapy to help and cope with grief and depression. In most cases, less is more for an artwork.
What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
-I don’t think so, the world is meant to evolve and change. Digital music makes it possible for people all around the world to listen to your music, which is awesome! I still love physical CD’s. The object in itself. If I have the opportunity I would always chose the physical but I don’t think a lot of people are still thinking like that. Fortunately, both can exist together!
What kind live scene is there for bands like yours?
-All in all, the folk metal genre we play is easy to blend with pretty much any kind of metal and more traditional folk bands. This opens up a lot of opportunity and makes it so we can reach a metal crowd as well as a more folk oriented crowd. Mixing different genres to make your own is always a good thing.
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
-Both! If the show was great and the crowd enjoyed themselves then you can bet there is one hell of a party waiting to start right after!
What would you like to see the future bring?
-The opportunity to keep on touring all over the world, and to play at some of the best festivals all over Europe!
Thank you for the opportunity and the support, and don’t forget to check us out on social medias and on www.ithilien.be If anyone has questions for us, just click on the link www.ithilien.be/faq.html and ask us anything you want. We will answer all of them with videos in the near future!