Folk-metal.nl had a nice chat with Gianluca Tamburini and Hildr Valkyrie of Folkearth and Folkodia.
The whole project Folkearth started with an idea of Ruslanas (Metfolvik), their beloved band mate that lost his battle against cancer earlier this year. He could have better answered the questions about this subject, but since he’s not with us anymore, Gianluca and Hildr will try to do that. The idea was to unite musicians from all around the world, and in that way join the traditional music influences of each country.
And the idea behind the project has never changed during the years, it just happened that different musicians have been involved in the project throughout the years, but all of them tried to do their very best in full respect of the basic idea.
Ruslanas, being the leader and the creator of the project, was taking care of finding suitable musicians for this project. Some volunteered for the cause and he decided whether to let them in or not, some others joined at his request. Since he passed away, the line-up will probably remain the same. But they are always open to let new, good and willing musicians in, in the chance they are needed!
Gianluca and Hildr don’t know of all members why they want to play in one of the projects. But they’re pretty sure, each one has his own reasons for joining the bands and different expectations. ‘But we think that it’s not really important in the end. What counts is that we have always found a way to collaborate in harmony, despite the different background and the fact we live far away from each other.’
While there are so many musicians working on this project we at folk-metal.nl would like to know if they get a lot of offers from musicians, but this will remain a secret, this question could only be answered by Ruslanas. He didn’t share this with the other musicians.
At some point there were so many members Ruslanas decided to split the large group of musicians in two. He created Folkodia besides Folkearth, in this way they could all work on the songs. And in addition to this, Ruslanas wanted to give a more PanEuropean touch to the lyrics, since Folkearth’s lyrics are based on the Nordic Lore.
Which brings us to the diffences between both projects. There are two main differences:
1) The lyrics in Folkearth are more focused on Vikings and Nordic Lore, while in Folkodia they are more focused on PanEuropean themes.
2) The music, which turns to be more Epic in Folkodia, while in Folkearth it is more Viking.
The music in both projects is the result of the collaboration of all the members. The guitar players compose the songs, then the other musicians add their own ideas/instrumental parts until the song is completed. Marios Koutsoukos is the “master mind” of the lyrics and writes most part of the songs. The lyrics can be modified (if necessary) by the singers, according to what they consider fits the music best. Michaël Fiori writes the lyrics for the other songs.
Ruslanas decided who was going to play what pieces and Michaël Fiori did this as well. Things will of course change now that Ruslanas is not with us anymore. We suppose that the decisions will be taken in collaboration.
Living this far apart, must be a hell of a job to let let all members know what and how they should play. After the music and the lyrics for a song are created, each one of the members adds his/her own ideas in freedom. ‘We trust in each others’ work.’
The parts are recorded separately in the musicians own country. ‘But, as we said before, we trust in each other’s work and a build-up job is done after the material from each member is collected. We may be from different countries, but we are a united band.’
When you listen to the albums, you’ll notice the earlier albums sounded more like compilations on which several bands
played a song. On the younger album it’s more one sound, the reason for this is quiet simple: They use a sound engineer nowadays who’s taking care of the sound!
Do these folks ever actually meet each other sometimes? ‘Well, we know that some past members had the chance to meet up.
For what concerns the current members, a couple of us (Michaël Fiori and Anaïs Chevallier) play in the same band (Black Knight Symfonia) and of course they meet up, other two (Hildr Valkyrie and Marios Koutsoukos), living rather close to each other, had the chance to meet up once. The others never had the chance to, but maybe in the future, who knows…’
One name is almost inevitable in the folk-metalworld, and yes, we see artwork from the gifted hand of Kris Verwimp in both projects as well. And the ‘band’ feels incredibly honoured about having his magnificent drawings as cover arts.
We wonder if he can do whatever he likes with the coverart and while Hildr want to answer this properly, she asked Kris about htis and Surprise, here you are his words!
“I’ve always had a lot of freedom. Ruslanas just sent me all the lyrics and then asked me to choose the song title that inspired me the most. Then I would make an artwork and layouts accordingly. So in a way, I also got to decide the album
title.” And Folkearth and Folkodia are grateful for this, ‘Thanks, Kris!
We also asked Gianluca and Hildr how it’s possible the projects have become this much better over the years, and this while they hardly see each other. They think the reasons can be many. Time passed by and brought new things: more technology became available to musicians, there came different members, there where other ideas, other influences, a sound engineer, etc. They’re glad, all these changes led to a good result and listeners can hear this in their records.
A lot of musicians feel the urge to perform their songs live on stage. And this isn’t different with these musicians. ‘Anyone of us would probably like to perform live. Unfortunately this collides with reality: we live far away from each other. Travelling costs a lot and we should meet up to rehearse in addition to the gigs. Someone should support us in this. If there’s a chance this could happen, we think it could be done.
With ‘normal’ bands we see they’re more popular in some countries then in others. But Gianluca and Hildr have no idea about that. ‘We do not get charts of our sales, since we do not gain any money from our music and this is the last thing we care of. We just hope our fans enjoy our music, no matter where they are and why they do so.’
There are no major changes planned, but of course they don’t have a crystal ball and Hildr and Gianluca can’t foresee if there will be problems or unexpected things in the future. ‘All we can say is that we confide to go on working the way we have lately done.’
So, they will still go on trying to create music for the ears and the mind, maybe providing a small get-away in these troubled times. ‘We are moreover working on an additional thing: follow us and you’ll know what we are talking about!’
Well we always wonder if there’s anything else they like to say to our readers.
‘Thank you for dedicating us time reading our interview. We hope we cleared you up some things about Folkearth and Folkodia. Join us on our new FB and YouTube pages!