For those of you who have wondered what Fejd would sound like if they ever went heavier, your dreams have come true with the pending release of their 4th album “Trolldom” on May 27th. They have opted for some heavier music this time around while still incorporating their trademark folk stylings. Drummer extraordinaire Esko Salow answered some questions for us regarding the new album, the heavier direction and a few other items. Check it out!
“Probably our most important album”
Congratulations on the pending release of “Trolldom”…. have you been getting some reviews and feedback on it yet and, if so, what has been the response?
“Thanks, Yes, yours was the first and it was nice reading, now the reviews are starting to come and so far everything looks very good, only top results so far and we really hope it continues that way. “Trolldom” is probably our most important album up to date and we are excited to see how the response will be.”
It has been 3 years since your last album (2013’s “Nagelfar”). When did the writing process begin for the new album? How did the writing process differ if at all from previous albums?
“The song writing process is an ongoing procedure that never really ends. We always have a bunch of things and riffs that we don’t think is right for this or that song or moment and we leave it for a later event where we hopefully can remember it and do something new from it.
This time around we knew that we were to add an electric guitar, so what we actually did was to go back to our previously released albums and convert some of the existing songs just to find out how the result would be. Adding an extra member is something we talked about since the start so the idea was not new, but it was time for a change.”
“a conscious and natural move”
I think the biggest difference that listeners will notice is how much heavier this album is compared to previous efforts……would you care to elaborate on this change? Was this a conscious decision to go heavier or more natural?
“We know that our music has been right in the middle of two genres, not that it really matters when it comes to our writing but when it comes to opportunities to play live that thin line can be a problem. When we started we didn’t really plan to play live, we didn’t plan to release albums, we only wanted to try our wings in something that was quite different and new to us and that gave us space to experiment with our musicality. Our biggest problem in the past was to capture the sound and heaviness we have live and get it out on a CD, something we never managed to do, adding the guitar takes us to that level in a studio album and will hopefully make us even heavier in a live situation.
The fact that there is no doubt anymore on the subject if we are classified as metal or not shouldn’t be a problem and that should give us a shot on festivals who thought we were to folk before. We actually always played more at Metal events than on Folk ditto. So… This was a conscious and natural move for us.”
Is the writing process a democratic one with everyone involved in bring ideas to the table? Are there ideas that are brought that you know will or will not work and are dismissed?
“It’s all very democratic, we all contribute with ideas and different angels but the foundation is often very clear. We are six in the band now and everyone gets their own picture in the head about what direction the song should take, we use pieces from everyone, not consciously or to be fair, but everyone usually has quite interesting ideas.
Sometimes it happens that we feel that a certain song might not be what we are looking for right now, we have songs recorded, complete studio versions of songs that didn’t find the place quite yet, the positive thing with a recorded version is that you can listen to it at any time and think of changes or just to see if our opinion has changed.”
“a unique way of approaching our songs”
With the heavier material on the new album, will a live setting or a future recording allow for a heavier treatment of previously released tracks?
“We rearranged the old songs that we play live to suite for a six-piece band, the difference is actually not that big, at least we don’t feel it that way, but of course, adding an instrument makes it heavier. I believe Ewo (Per-Owe Solvelius) contributed in so many ways, not only that he is a brilliant guitarist with ability to play many different genres and styles, but he has a unique way of approaching our songs to get the best out of them and at the same time make us happier and better. If I got to choose a live album would be the right way to go.”
How much of Swedish traditional and folk music influence are we hearing in a Fejd album? Is it more of a hybrid sound you created to be more contemporary and accessible?
“I think the Folk side is always present, we try to keep the melodies more on the folk side and let the foundation be tougher. We actually never thought on playing it this or that way, just let the song tell us how it wants to be played. I believe playing things the way we do makes it kind of hybrid.”
Has there ever been a thought of recording vocals/lyrics in English as opposed to Swedish? Are there limitations to words/concepts translating to English that just don’t work or feel right?
“No, we never considered singing in English, Swedish is the natural language for us as most of the subjects in our lyrics deals with matters from the areas surrounding us. It’s so much easier to describe things in our own language, as you can see in my formulations and answers ;)”
Sweden has been at the forefront of folk, pagan and Viking metal this year with amazing releases by Amon Amarth, Utmarken and Grimner amongst others, how up to date are you on the current scene in Swedish music? Any other bands that are up and coming?
“I feel it’s impossible to keep up with everything around us. Of course you know about what happens to the bigger acts as Amon Amarth but otherwise, I try to check out the bands we’ve met at festivals and stuff, it’s quite a handful anyway.”
What sort of support will you be doing for the new album as far as promoting and touring?
“As the album was delayed, in our point of view, we missed almost all festivals around us in Europe this summer so we have to look at other options, we are talking about a South American tour and hopefully we manage to establish contact with promoters in North America as well, as for now it’s only a dream, but hopefully we can make it come true with some support.”
Is playing live a big priority for the band? How big of a commitment is it to tour and do you feel it is necessary?
“As the music business and world looks today, the only way to sell albums is by touring so it’s more important now than ever before. Live is where we really get the opportunity to see how our new materiel is accepted, it’s where we see the result of all the hours we spend writing and rehearsing, I would say it’s a big priority. And it’s fun ;)”
How do you feel about the state of the music “business” these days? Is it a financially viable business anymore or do you know that it is a difficult way to make a living from?
“For our part we never played that much live that we should need to, to be able to live on the money it brings. We still have day jobs, old cars and no money, not that glamorous but very real.”
“We really hope we get lots of opportunities to see our fans and all of you others who might be curious about our music out there live, somewhere.”