In 2001 Torbjorn Sandvik began, at the age of 16 with the onemanproject Glittertind. In 2010 this project was extended and became a full band with Olav Aabø (guitars/vocals), Bjørn Nordstoga (bass), Stefan Theofilakis (flutes/vocals), Geirmund Simonsen (accordion, samples, vocals), Geir Holm (drums) and Torbjorn (Vocals/guitar). Folk-metal.nl spoke with Torbjorn about Glittertind’s start, lessons of life and the new album.
When you began with Glittertind you were quite Young (16). How did you start and end up with the current style?
I began on my own because in my neighbourhood there wasn’t anyone interrested in this kind of Music. And so I learned how to record things and I made a fem demo’s with Ultima Thule Records. Until Karmageddon wanted to add me to their label back in 2003. There came a couple of releases and then Glittertind came to an hold really. Until Napalm wanted to help me out in 2008. I think this was related to the rise of folk-metal in those days. They wanted to record an album full of songs sounding like Rolandskvadet. But at that time the band just expanded with one member, Gerimund Simonsen, and we didn’t want to go in that direction. That’s why Landkjenning became different Til Dovre Faller and Evige Asatro.
During the beginning of Glittertind you were an psychology student. Is Glittertind still a hobby? And when you write song, do you think from the perspective of an psychologist?
I am still a psychology student. Next album will be more subjective and sort of neo-romantic. I was quite depressed after a tough time while my girlfriend were suffering from leukemia (cancer) and many of the lyrics were written as sort of therapy for me. I have tried to relate this darkness to folklore and use metaphores describing the mood I was in and the lack of meaning I felt. To study psychology at the same time was quite absurd so the next album will be colored by this.
You haven’t done so many gigs yet. What are your ambitions? And future plans for the Netherlands?
We have tried to be added in a roster for booking company, but so far they only want 100% dedicated bands. I can understand that, but where I am at the time touring can not be a full time job. However, with the release of the next album we plan doing some tours. We will definitely tour in Netherlands, Belgium, etc. We also want to do play in the rest of Europe and our ambition is to support a bigger band.
Går min eigen veg was even played on the radio although it is a calm and sensitive song. How do you explain the popularity of this song?
It is a melodic, well-produced song with lyrics many can relate to. It is sung in neo-Norwegian has genuine flutes and I think many experience the song as very authentic music. The lyrics describes a lonely wanderer, choosing his own path in life. And although no one can chose for him and this gives him freedom, this also makes him feel lonely. He tries to relate to the nature around him as a friend and companion on his way, but still he bears a sorrow because of his loneliness. I really think it describes the biggest disease of modern Europe – loneliness, and many can relate to that.
For the next album Glittertind is searching for a new label. Why has the corporation with Napalm come to an end?
We’ve chosen a folk-metal style of our own, which didn’t suit to Napalm. We never reached the charts in Germany, only in Norway. That’s why we will release the next album with an new label, which will soon be announced.
What can we expect of the new album?
Musically it will be folk, so there will be flutes, violin and accordion, it will be very varied. There will be heavy parts, but also softer ones, speedy and slower parts. It’s difficult to give such variety a name or label, but it will be typically Glittertind! But first and most it’s folk, and second a lot of other things.
Who is your biggest influence or inspiration for songs?
Oh, difficult question. I’ve got a lot of inspiration from many artists. At the moment I am listening to Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and I think they are great. I want to play banjo! From metal my influences are amongst many Finntroll, early Vintersorg, Otyg, Einherjer. And from folk there has been several such as Bukkene Bruse, Hedningarna etc..
On your latest album there was one song written in English. Why is that?
Good question. We were reviewed by Norway’s most popular radio channel NRK P1 and we got 8 out of 10. They said this was the worst song on the whole record and just shit. However, Napalm Records loved this song and put it out on every sampler. I actually agreed with the reviewer and from that moment I felt that Thomas at Napalm did not understand our music. Why did we do the song? It was Geirmund who tried to write a folky song and because this is not my style of writing, it turned out to be a pirate metal, sea shanty sort of thing, and I thought, it is impossible to write Norwegian lyrics here. So it turned out to be a quite humorous thing. But it sure is very fun to play it live! It rocks!
In the past, you felt very angry about the christianity of Norway. Do you Feel now that you have things explained and put right?
Yeah, I guess I was angry about many things at the age of 18. I have gotten more peace in my soul with more life experience and learned some lessons about what really matters. I am really not very religious and quite secular, so I have never been into “pagan” stuff either. I think I am quite ordinary and think it is interesting to connect with history, ideologies and ponder more on the question “what gives us meaning and what is the consequences of that meaning we ascribe to ourselves, others and the world?” rather than “why are we here?”. There are no answers for the last question, but we can work on the first one..
Have you had many negative comments on your work?
There has been some comments here and there. Rock Hard in Germany really hates Glittertind for example. It is the same guy that have reviewed all our/mine albums and he is really hateful for some reason. There are also some guys in Norway that wonder if we are biggots because we are interested in our heritage, but that is quite common for people dealing with folk-metal.
Is there something you would like to say to the Dutch fans?
I really look forward to see you guys out there when we will do touring after our next record! The gig we did in Roermond was really awesome although Geirmund got beaten up by a guy that mistook him for a Russian and thought he was a hippie because he played folk songs with Russian “Troll bends fir”. The whole thing turned out to be a fucking mess..haha..I also remember the headliner that day was a catastrophe because the guitarist had smoked to much pot (he was a Norwegian with a bad habit I guess..) At least it was not our fault, and actually it was quite fun to think about when we got our feet back on the ground in Norway.. Also, if you know any who do events like the one I just described, send me an email on email@example.com we will be happy to play!