I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the bands that are out there. Trying to keep up with them all is a full time job but I do my darnest to at least bring you a fraction of all cool bands, like Swedish NORRSKÖLD. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
Every band has to introduce their music to new people. What is it that you want people to get from listening to you guys?
-Norrsköld offer the listeners an unique mix of black- folk- and death metal (mixed with classical guitar) also known as “multi-metal”! In worldwide reviews, we’ve been compared mostly to acts like (old) In flames, Dissection and Amon Amarth. We want our fans to know that there is STILL melodic metal being made out there that is uniquely fresh, while still “flirting” with old classical melo-death!
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
-Honestly, not hard at all. “Norrsköld” was the stage name for me (Henrik) when I played in my previous band Irrbloss. It’s basically a blend of my origin (Norrland in Sweden) and last name (Sköld). We wanted a name that sticks out and is easy to memorize (not neccessarily easy to pronounce).
Everybody is influenced by certain things. What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of music you play? What inspires you today?
-I guess large parts of our music is, more or less subconsciously, inspired by the early 90´s Scadinavian metal scene. That is, Dissection, In Flames, Sacrilege, Opeth, Dimmu Borgir to name the greatest ones. But metal is only a part of the inspirational palette. Also, classical pieces, traditional folk music and jazz is appreciated.
When you formed did you do so with the intent of knowing what to play or did you do so from the point of having a band name and then picking a sound? How did you settle on the name/sound combo?
-The forming of Norrsköld was originally exclusivelly for studip project purposes. The name was naturally chosen to be “Norrsköld” since it was a one-man project from the beginning, using session members to complete the additional instruments. The initial aim was to create a kind of metal that is not bound to specific genres or “styles”, but could be mixed in a new way. By the time of the debut EP (“Blessings of winter”), most lyrics concerned folklore with harsch Nordic climate. Then I guess the name Norrsköld (“northern shield”) was quite suiting.
I believe that digital is killing the album format. Peopleís changing habit of how they listen to music will result in there being no albums. Is there anything good with releasing single tracks only?
-Well, there are many downsides of the global devastation of the physical album format. It´s so much more difficult for an artist to express a holistic lyrical storyline when there is no chronological system of the songs, like on a classical album. On the other hand, the challenge of marketing single songs/music videos could also cause the artist to put even MORE effort into creating independently good and dynamic songs compared to if you have a whole album to rely on (with “transfer songs” etc). I guess there is no turning back with the digital music development, so we just have to adapt to this and be as flexible as creative. Interestingly though, is that the vinyl format has made a huge comeback, which enable to release at least a limited edition of an album in (über) classical format. That’s what we did with our previous album “Withering Virtue – The second chapter”.
What part does art-work and lay-out play when you release new recordings? How do you best catch people’s attention?
-Well, since it’s becoming increasingly rare (at least in northern Europe) to buy CD’s in store, you don’t really get into the situation as a listener to “find a cool looking album” anymore (except for vinyl, as has been stated above). The way artists get attention these days is rather connected to cool looking music videos, or by getting promotion on Spotify (“similar artists”, playlists etc). However, when an artist eventually HAS caught the attention of the listener, I thing the album artwork is an delicate way of elaboraitng the feeling of the album concept. That’s been a much valuable way of expressing for Norrsköld especially since we’ve been lucky with super talented artworkers (f.ex. Niklas Sundin from Dark Tranquillity) for our albums.
Has social media re-written the rules on how to promote your music? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way?
-Definitly. It’s become a highly crucial fact that you need to put a LOT of energy into all the possible types of social medias, in order to reach out to the audience. Present time marketing for artists requires the “fast, simple and conspicuous” approach. The average music consumer of today is so overwhelmed with information and culture that the above approach is the only thing that can break through the mainstream barrier. Even though a band pay a lot of attention to various social media, it’s also fundamental to have expertise support in management, since you usually need a hefty music network to make it beyoud the “reahearsal space level” as a band.
When you play in a band, does that make you feel like you are a part of a scene, of something bigger and grander?
-Being in a band is like being in a family. I’ve always considered myself creating music together with my “4 boyfriends” (nowadays though, it would be 3 guys and 1 girl), since we share almost all of our spare time, money and passion. As Norrsköld has successively become more of a live band, we’ve also got a good taste of the beauty in belonging to the global metal community. Sharing the love for music is a remedy to many problems in our world, and it’s great to be a part of it.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
-I’d say we’ve quite rapidly grown from being a studio project to a full-blown live act in only a couple of years. Last year we toured with NIGHTRAGE on our premiere European tour, and this summer we’re touring with AMON AMARTH in Eastern Europe. We’re really geeting the feel for it, and we’re doing our absolute best to offer the audience a memorable live show!
What will the future bring?
-We’re still working hard on promoting our latest album “Withering Virtue”. The nearby tour together with AMON AMARTH will definitly be a big milestone in our carreer, and will hopefully push us a bit further into the serious metal scene. Since we recently started cooperating with Alpha Omega Management, we’ve been presented some REALLY cool live stuff offers in a not to distant future, so hopefully we’ll be setting out for some epic adventures during this fall and winter! We’re also in an intense creativity process as we’re currently writing new songs for our next album, hopefully released during the beginning of 2019. We’ve got some truly epic songs in the making, that will make the fans loose not only their minds, but their pants as well!
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