Interview with Esko of Fejd
Fejd always was a strange band among others. Wether it was folk, or metal, that wasn’t completely sure. What was certain was that they have an unique sound, and they’re able to please fans of folk as well as metal. Since they’re finishing up their new album, we thought it was time to gain some insight in Fejd. Folk-metal.nl interviewed drummer Esko Salow.
Could you tell something about Fejd, for the people who don’t know you?
Fejd is a Swedish folk band who combines the heaviness from metal in the foundation and the melodic language from folk music as the frosting, unique music for unique people
You are a band with an unique sound, how did you create this typical sound?
We didn’t start playing with the intension of making a sound that no one else has, we use instrument that has quite clean sound but yet with a rough edge to it at times. When we started, everything sounded terrible, we used the same small PA system for all instruments except the bass. Even the drums we had in the beginning were electronic and played through a PA.
We worked hard to refine the instruments to sound right, making instruments ourselves, finding the right microphones to each instrument and amplifiers that keeps the sound clean.
Even today if we find something that harmonize with our ideas we use it in our music, we have some new creations coming up on the new album, 5m steel pipes played with fire, sound cool and will be a nice feature on the album.
Do you see yourself as a metalband?
At times, if we play at a Metal based festival maybe not but if we play at a more folk music based event we can feel the Metal side of us. I think it’s all in the ears and mood of the listener.
I believe the new songs are leaning more to the Metal side compared to what we have done in the past. But we still use the same instruments as before, and for most people Metal is synonymous with distorted guitars, which we don’t use (it happens but not that much) so, yes I do. A different Metal band, but still Metal.
You formed in 2001 by fusing the folk-metal duo Rimmerfors and bandmembers from the metalband Pathos. How was this initial start? Was it hard to combine both influences of folk and metal?
Actually not, as we didn’t try to force the music towards an un natural direction. We just played what we felt was right for us, what we enjoyed playing, not considering if it was Metal or not.
All this started for fun, we wanted to find the joy of playing, without the borders we were used to from “usual” Metal. The fact that whatever came out from our musicianship would lean against Metal was natural for us as we all have been listening and practising Metal all our lives.
You make use of a lot of different, unique instruments; how do you learn to play such strange instruments?
It’s basically by curiosity. You find a instrument that interest you and want to get as good as you can playing it. Patrik (Main vocals) and Niklas (Nyckelharpa) are both very gifted when it comes to playing and they complete each other good as well because of the fact that they are very good at different things.
Are there some instruments you definitely want to integrate in your music during future releases?
We are not actively searching for “new” instruments to integrate to our music as we are quite pleased with what we have. The more instruments we use the more complicated everything gets in a live situation and we like to keep it simple. But.. If we find something we like or feel suites a certain song we wouldn’t be afraid to use it.
We have some Metal guitars and some steel pipes and Cello coming up together with some nice voices and cool songs.
A new album is coming up, what can we expect from it?
In my opinion you can expect an album that is harder than anything we have done, it’s still very Fejd, we’ve found our style and don’t really see any reason to change anything too much.
Today when we write songs we think more about live situations than we did when we started and didn’t think live at all. We want to give people the most in concerts, where I feel our music works the best, it’s hard to capture that “live” energy in a studio environment but we’ve tried our best already in the writing process to catch that energy.
How went the recording process?
We are right in the middle of everything right now. I guess all studio sessions has ups and downs, but so far we’ve had a harmonic time in the studio. We’ve used split times in the studio, working one day here and one day there so it takes a long time even if we have been working really intensely and fast. It’s really cool to hear everything take shape, hear all the ideas come to life and all the effort everyone put down on their parts.
For the new album; what was your main source of inspiration?
Musically it’s hard to point out any specific bands as the music is composed during such a long time.
For my own part, I could namedrop some bands and most people would never find any connection between the bands I mention and what we play. Opeth, (early) Mötley Crüe, Accept, Gåte and Dimmu Borgir :). And we’ve run into some amazing bands the past years at festivals that inspired me or influenced us, by appearance or soul more than musically.
We’ve all gone through some life changing situations the past years and I’m sure it has colored our music in some terms. At many times our music is our breathing hole, both through joy and sorrow, playing together is spending time with friends, breaking away from the ordinary life spending some time in a bubble where no one else can get to us.
What are the main themes you sing about?
It’s basically fantasy or mythological stuff. We didn’t intend to write a concept album so there isn’t really a red line running through the lyrics. On this album we have songs about kings, lost love, medieval punishment, mythological ships and stuff so it’s really a mix.
How do you write the songs for this album? Was this different from previous experiences?
Nothing has changed actually. We used to have more time arranging the songs and writing the lyrics and stuff than we have today, but I don’t think it affects us in a negative way, we only have to focus more and decide when a song is finished and in our opinion a song is not finished until it’s recorded and on an album. So we might as well try to record them as soon as we can, to get them out of the system.
What are your main influences? Do you listen to folk-metal yourself?
I don’t categorize music that much. I listen to good music whatever it might be. But of course there are some bands that gets extra attention but it’s a thin line between genres. Bathory are and will always be one of the main bands in the Folk Metal genre, Amon Amarth is another, there are really too many bands to name drop, and you’ll always miss one and get pissed at yourself.
What can we expect from Fejd in the near future?
As of now we are still working with the new album that should be finished in time for the Eisheilige Nacht Tour we do in Germany and Switzerland in December together with Subway to Sally, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter & Russkaja.
We are planning to shoot a video for at least one of the songs from the new album, and soon enough the gigs starts again. So it’s really to play a lot live, make new music, and enjoy ourselves and the moment we’re in as long as we can, because you never know how long it will last.
Is there still something you want to say to the Dutch fans and the readers of folk-metal.nl?
We really have some great friends and people who comes to our gigs in Germany from Holland. We would love to play for all of you and hope that the opportunities will appear. Maybe through festivals or other events, no matter what, we would love to come back to Holland.