2016 has given us the gift of a new Grimner album entitled “Frost Mot Eld” due to be released later this month. With one of my top albums of 2014 (“Blodshymner”) and my top EP of 2015 (“De Kom Från Norr”) Grimner had set a very high standard and they delivered big time with this new album. Featuring all of the things we love about them… killer riffs, folky instruments, layered vocals and heavy catchy tunes, “Frost Mot Eld” is in the running for album of the year. Both Ted Sjulmark and Marcus Asplund Brattberg (both vocalists and guitarists) dropped in to answer questions regarding the new album, touring and a few other things… check it out.
Congrats once again on a killer new release with “Frost Mot Eld”, how has the feedback been prior to it’s release on March 25th?
Marcus: “Thank you so much! We have had a lot of awesome feedback. In fact, we haven’t heard a single bad review from anyone that has heard the material, and no negative comments on the content. That feels amazing since we ourselves really love the tracks on this album.”
My understanding is that this a “concept album” of sorts….could you please explain any of the basic ideas/meanings of the new album?
Marcus: “Yes, it is a concept album centered around Ragnarök. We do not follow the story with the avid orthodoxy we once might have, but we rather want to expand and add that touch of Grimner that we love. The basic idea is that the album is divided into two parts one where we follow the humans, Aesir and Vanir; while we follow Surt and his fiery sons from Muspelheim in the other. The first part is represented by frost and ice, while the other is represented by fire. We basically wanted to highlight the duality of these two warring sides at the end of this world cycle.”
How did the writing process differ from some of your recent releases (2014’s “Blodshymner” or last year’s acoustic EP “De Kom Från Norr”) if at all?
Ted: “It didn’t differ much at all, not from Blodshymner anyway. It differed a bit from “De Kom Från Norr” since that one was acoustic and a bit more improvised in certain parts, but otherwise there wasn’t much of a difference. I always writes the music first, and then the rest of the band gives him feedback on it. If Marcus comes up with a concept for the lyrics, the music may change slightly to represent the concept more.”
Was there a conscious effort to not write a “Blodshymner Part 2” and take the music in some different directions this time around?
Ted: “Both yes and no. It was a conscious decision to experiment and take some risks with this album, but at the same time, it felt like the natural evolution of Grimner. We want to do something different and stand out with our music, and we will most likely continue to add new influences and concepts, as long as we don’t stray too far from the basic idea of Grimner.”
How quickly did things come together for “Frost Mot Eld” from the first ideas and riffs to studio/recording? Were there tracks written and ready to go prior to the EP last year?
Ted: “The songs were finished before the EP came out, yes. In fact, the first song from “Frost Mot Eld” was taking shape not too long after Blodshymner was released, though it is hard to estimate after how much time. We were rehearsing the first versions of the songs quite some time before the EP, but the final versions were not ready until a few weeks before we started recording the album. Then we worked hard on rehearsing and it all came together smoothly in the end.”
What do you think is the secret recipe is in creating the Grimner sound? Are there tracks/riffs/ideas that you know immediately will work while others definitely won’t?
Ted: “In the beginning there was maybe more of a base formula for our sound, but recently, experimentation and influence from many different kinds of music has proven to be a more successful recipe, based both on ourselves and on the feedback we have gotten on the new material. But there are tons of stuff written down that we revisit regularly to see how we feel about it at different times, that’s most often how we pick which ideas are worth to proceed with.”
Is the intention to play live more often in the near future? I see that there are a few dates coming up this spring and summer….will there be a more extensive tour perhaps???
Marcus: “We certainly want to play more in the future. That is really why we do this at all. We do not have any real problems with being booked for shows, but since we are six members in the band working with very different day jobs, it can be hard to fit a tour to our schedules. You can bet that we would love to do this full time though.”
What are the main pros and cons of performing live if any? Are there some members of the band who are more inclined to want to and others not so much?
Marcus: “As stated in the previous question, the main con is to fit our schedules together. A lot of personal sacrifices have been made, and more will come. We usually travel quite far in a short span of time in order to perform. Everyone in the band wants to play live as much as possible, but as always, everything is regulated by time and money. The pros are of course that we get to spread our music even further, meet some awesome people and do what we love.”
I guess Grimner is considered “Viking Metal” for lack of a better expression… is there an intention to always keep the look/sound/direction always Viking on some level?
Ted: “We most often describe ourselves as folk metal, but it doesn’t really matter to us what one calls our genre if one likes it. And yes, we will always mostly base our sound, lyrics and image on Norse mythology and Viking history, with our own twist and perspective on the concept.
We are less than 3 months into 2016 and there have been some amazing albums already put out by the like of Borknagar, Varg, Utmarken and others… are you driven by any newer releases or apathetic to what others do?
Ted: “Well, to begin with, we all listen to different kinds of music in the band, which of course gives us a wide array of influences, but we are mostly not driven by any of the new stuff. There has been some great releases by many awesome artists recently, but we are still driven by our own passion and the idea of a unique sound that is ours.
Any favorite releases from 2015 and 2016 so far?
Marcus: ““The Greatest Show On Earth” by Nightwish was a truly inspiring album for me. As was “Attitude City” by Ninja Sex Party. Other than that, I have a hard time keeping up with releases. I also do not listen to folk metal that much, since I myself play it everyday.
Sometimes I find an awesome release though! I always keep up with Finntroll, Korpiklaani, Turisas and Týr.”
Ted: ““Attitude City” by Ninja Sex Party, for sure. Månegarm’s new album was also a kickass release, and “Bara Tiden Är Ny” by De Lyckliga Kompisarna. Like Marcus said, we don’t listen that much to folk metal except for the bands he mentioned, among others. I am sure hoping for a new Týr, Finntroll or Turisas album in 2016!”
Ted: “Thank you so much for the questions, it was a blast! Thanks also to our fans and
anyone else taking the time to read this. We hope to see you on the road sometime!”