Colorado USA’s epic The Flight Of Sleipnir have once again leveled everyone with their newest album “Skadi”. Being their 6th full length album for new label Eisenwald, “Skadi” is TFOS at their heaviest and still having a connection to a retro style. Confounding genre tagging and crushing boundaries is what makes TFOS a breath of fresh air. Founding members David Csicsely and Clayton Cushman answered some questions regarding the new album, the new label, the “new” members and a few other things… check it out…
Congratulations on your crushing new album “Skadi”. What sort of feedback have you been receiving regarding it?
DC: “Many thanks! We’ve been getting an amazing amount of great responses to the album and it’s been most humbling to say the least.”
Your last album “V” was released on Napalm Records. “Skadi” has been released on Eisenwald…. how did the change of labels come about?
DC: “Our time was up with Napalm and it wasn’t quite a good fit I think. It was actually through our good friends in Velnias that suggested we try Eisenwald. After some correspondence it felt like Eisenwald was going to be a great fit for us and now we really couldn’t be happier. Nico from Eisenwald has been great to work with and truly knows how to make your vision a reality.”
What did you want to do differently this time around if anything with the new album? Have you perfected a “formula” when it comes to writing material for a new album?
CC: “The only big difference was having Justin and Dave in the studio with us. Everything else was business as usual. There is no “formula”—we just try to let the music emerge as naturally as possible.”
I found that “Skadi” was less psychedelic and electronic oriented than previous albums…..is there any specific reason for this or just coincidence?
DC: “I think as the album came to fruition it just naturally ended up that way. There’s always the psychedelic element present within the music but it’s never forced.”
There are 5 tracks on the new album averaging about 9 minutes in length…..were there other tracks that potentially were going to make it to the album and were omitted for one reason or another?
DC: “No, that was all the material we had for the album. However, Tenebrous Haze was a work in progress and almost made it to “V.” But after a little more work it was ready to take its rightful place on Skadi.”
“We all instinctively know if something is working or not.”
While I would never say you record “concept” albums is there a central concept behind “Skadi” or a common thread besides potentially being based in Norse Mythology?
CC: “We’ve done a few true concept albums (Saga being the most notable one, Algiz & Berkanan also followed a concept)—but Skadi was not a concept album. However, we thought the songs spoke to a winter atmosphere and that is why we agreed Skadi would be a good title.”
David Borrusch (bass) and Justin Siegler (guitar) are now officially members of the band. Were they integrated into the writing process with the new album at all?? Was it just a formality in making them members officially?
DC: “The decision to officially welcome Dave and Justin into the fold was something me and Clay were discussing for some time. They’ve been with us since day one and we wanted to include them in the writing process so that we’d be stronger playing these songs live. The music was still written between the two of us but they definitely added their own element to the songs. We really couldn’t be happier with the outcome and I think moving forward they’ll be even more involved with all aspects of the band.”
Can you point to certain bands or albums that are the biggest influence on your sound if possible?
CC: “At a very high level, Pink Floyd and Ulver are probably the most obvious. You might also say Black Sabbath, Sleep, etc….”
Piece of Art
The artwork once again is super killer with a retro vibe and style to it. How did this particular piece come to fruition and become the album artwork? (David I am assuming you painted the cover?)
DC: “Thanks, yeah I think that came together very nicely. I actually started the artwork shortly after “V.” came out and once we decided on the title of Skadi it all kind of fell into place. All the artwork is illustrated and then coloured in later. I think a big part on the look and feel to all the designs was the decision to replace all the black outlines with a dark brown. Gave it a real “vintage/earthy” look to it I think.”
I still feel you have a “hard to describe” sound….. do you feel that you need to stay within certain guidelines when writing/recording TFOS tracks as to keep your identity so to speak? Have you ever discussed maybe taking tracks in a totally unexpected direction from the norm?
CC: “We all instinctively know if something is working or not. That said, we have always had a spirit of experimentation, but we always blend it with the core of what we are doing. It is hard to describe because we don’t really sit around and discuss it, we just get to the studio and play. If we were to take a drastic turn in sound or style it would have to occur naturally.”
In your 10+ year history you have managed to put together 6 full length albums plus some splits and EP’s… are you constantly pushing to put music out as quickly as possible? How do you manage the pace which seems to elude more artists these days?
DC: “We’re always writing music. It’s just what we’ve always done; it’s never been about trying to push out releases. Typically when one album is released, we’ve already begun work on the next album.”
How has the digital age affected you positively or negatively as far as being musicians and making a living as such?
CC: “We have never been able to make a living as musicians. We have always had jobs to pay the bills. This has more to do with the way things are in the United States, where music is considered a mere commodity—and people still have the expectation and behaviour that it’s OK to take digital copies of albums for free, or just listen on Youtube. The digital distribution channels such as Bandcamp have been a great way to reach more people who are serious about independent music, so there is the good and the bad.”
What do you anticipate your tour schedule being this year? Anything specific set up yet?
DC: “Nothing set in stone for this year, there maybe a few out of state shows here and there but nothing concrete. We’re hoping to do something a little more extensive next year.”
Any favourite releases from 2016?
DC: “I really enjoyed the last Wolf People album “Ruins”.”
CC: “Devoid of Light by Uada, Winter Thrice by Borknagar, Aphex Twin’s Cheetah EP, Glitter Wizard – Hollow Earth Tour.”
CC: “Thank you for the interest and support!”