There are so many cool bands out there that have yet to be discovered by me. VINDLAND is one of these bands. A black metal band with their own take on the genre. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
Every band has to introduce their music to new people. What is it that you want people to get from listening to you guys?
-I like to think that the music we have produced so far with Vindland – and especially on our latest album, “Hanter Savet” – crosses the boundary of the typical black metal etiquettes: it features the typical elements of black metal – namely blast beats, harsh vocals and overall roughness in the sound – but draws inspiration from many others styles: dark-folk for the many acoustic/clean interludes, early vinking/pagan metal for the melodies, melodic death metal for some of the guitars rytmics, atmospheric metal for some of the melodies and some of the songs’ structure and even shoegaze for some of the clean guitar parts. However, if you would really have to label our music, I guess that “melodic pagan black metal” would quite adequately reflect the music featured on Hanter Savet.
Thus, I think that anybody interested in those various styles mentionned above is likely to find something inetresting and new in our sound. Beyond that I think that anybody with a taste for extreme metal with melodies at the same time catchy and melancholic would probably find our music at least interesting. However, I don’t write music to please the listener’s ears. I like to think that music – and art in general – has to be something exigeant that has the capability to make its audience reach out to a higher level. Therefore authentic music should not be “easy to listen” but should have this part of deeper and ideological quality that translate into a sound that is difficult to approach and understand. That is why authetic music needs a lot of attention from the audience. I believe indeed that good black metal always demands an undivided attention – or at least a wandering spirit that is ready for a mystical journey outside of our material world. Thus I think that anybody who has this kind of approach towards black metal and metal in general is a potential listener.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
-Picking a name is something quite difficult, especially if you want the name to reflect the sound and the themes developed by the band. When we picked the band’s name we were still in our teen’s years and we did not really know where the band was going in terms of sound and also in terms of future ambitions. We only knew that we wanted to play black metal with an epic/pagan feel to it. Fortunately, although our sound has greatly evolved, our current sound still reflects this ambition. Also the band’s name allows us to connect the Scandinavian heritage – which is important because it is where the music that inspired us the most came from – and our own heritage. Indeed the Vindland (or Vindland, Winland) is thought to be located approximately at the same location that our ancestors from paimpol used to go fish the cod (“morue” in French) and which is known as terranova.
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 believe that you cannot really put the finger on your deepest influences because it is related to your epoch, the place you live, your social surroundings and your subconscious. However, when you start making choices in your life you are also able to choose your influences. Although that is not entirely correct because music mostly comes to you as you choose what art reflects your personnality and your social leanings. As for Vindland I think everything started when we started listening to the 1990’s black metal scene. It had a great inflence on us and I instantly knew that it was made for me. Windir was also a great revelation for me: when I first listened to it I was astonished as it was the music that reflected the best my being, and still does. Since that day I have tried in my songwriting to convey the same amount of emotions that Valfar did with Windir. Nowadays I listen to a vast array of bands, but I could hardly refer to them as “influences” as the music you listen to as an adult don’t imprint the same way it did when you are growing up. Recently, to name the most famous bands of the scene on the top of my head, I really liked Der Weg Einer Freheit, the latest Deafheaven, the latest Keep of Kallessin and the last album of Be’lakor.
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?
-I believe that the reasons I started to write music are still the same ones that make me write music nowadays. As such, the music has evolved but the same musical intention is behind. Therefore the band’s name already reflected a musical intention that was – at least subconsciouly – clear. I think we all implicitely agreed with the kind of music we wanted to play, so we did not “settle” on anything, it was more of a natural process.
I believe that digital is killing the album format. People’s 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, when we started listening to music it was the emergence of the digital age of music diffusion. At the beginning music piracy felt that we had finally the possibility to discover new bands and have access to much more than we could afford, although it was still stammering (due mostly to the low internet speeds) and each piece of music downloaded was therefore valued and listened to carefully. Nowadays it has gotten much worse, even though the music’s economic model has adapted to the new digital paradigm. Indeed, as I mentionned above, the scene is flooded with insignificant releases and people spend less and less time to dive into an album and process it. I don’t think there is anything good with releasing single tracks, and I think that black metal has nothing to do with that kind of diffusion: single tracks have been put forward by the mainstream even before the digital format. Keeping the album format is I believe a necessity in order to resist to the devaluation of music caused by the technological progress that is associated with our capitalist paradigm.
What part does art-work and lay-out play when you release new recordings? How do you best catch people’s attention?
-Artwork is for me something that comes after you have written and recorded the album: it is supposed to reflect the sound you have crafted on a particular album and not the opposite. I believe that a good artwork does not try to catch people’s attention but if you have original music to propose to the public you will have also an original and differentiated artwork, thus catchy.
Has social media re-written the rules on how to promote your music? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way?
-It is obvious that social media (as well as – more fundamentaly – the internet) has had a great influence on the way we discover/promote/listen to music, and relatively underground music such as black metal has not been spared. Nowadays you cannot ignore that this kind of promotion that has grown to be indispensable in order to reach more people. Nonetheless, I believe that it has been mostly a bad influence: we are flooded with bands and releases but people take less and less time to listen and immerse in a record. However I do not think that the internet and social media are alone reponsible of this situation. Indeed, less and less releases manage to capture the “spirit of our time” and translate it into music. For instance, it is quite ridiculous to see that most of “pagan/viking/folk” metal bands nowadays write about the same used-up topics in the same manner with the same recycled riffs. Many bands out there are just happy to put out insignificant music that just barely manages to copy the work of other bands. Good releases are flooded amongst them. The internet and computers have allowed bad music to be released because the necessary barrier that existed before between the songwriting and the release – mainly the studio’s costs and the need to find a label and distributors – has been taken down. As for social media it has enable individuals to wallow in mediocrity because they have a few good comments from friends and a good review from an obscure website.
When you play in a band, does that make you feel like you are a part of a scene, of something bigger and grander?
-It is hard to ignore that black metal is partly built on an ideology of elitism. It means that even if it not really anymore an underground scene it prides itself to be difficult to access and as such being part of the scene and recognized as such is important. Beyond this mundane dimension I think that any relevant music should make people glimpse at how an authentic life – meaning a life in which you have an influence on your collective History – could look like. The feelings, long gone for the vast majority of people (including ourselves), that we try to recreate with Vindland are those that relate to a non-materialistic world, away from this hectic society we live in. Nowadays notions such as war and honor have lost their true meaning because they became the capital’s attributes. Only a deep and violent revolution could awaken the true meaning of an historic life, in which war, violence, legacy and honor have their rightful and meaningful place.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
-Since the reformation of Vindland we haven’t gone back to the stage. The recent line-up change has set us back a bit but we are confident that we will get back on the stage in the coming months! I think that playing music live is very important to exist as a band and is also the opportunity to deliver something else than your compositions to the public. It is also a great way to spread your music as you offer another experience to the public. You can also benefit from the popularity of the other bands you are gigging with to make new people to discover your music.
What will the future bring?
-As mentionned above we are currently working on our new live act. Otherwise, some new songs have already been laid down so we should be able to release the next album in a reasonable time!