In for a Fest with Baldrs?
One of my most anticipated album for 2017 was the acoustic album by Friesland’s favorite sons, Baldrs Draumar. After being in my top album list in 2015 with their last electric album “Aldgillissoan”, the boys decided to go unplugged for their next release and it doesn’t disappoint at all. “Fan Fryslâns Ferline” is all new material written specifically for this release (with one exception in “Hadagrims Fertriet” from the last album making it’s way on). I sent some questions over regarding the new album, the process of writing and recording as well as the big release party for it….check it out……
Congrats on your epic new album “Fan Fryslâns Ferline”….what has been the reaction to it so far?
“Reactions are beyond our imaginations. Everyone seems to like it very much.
Reviews are also very positive!”
How long has the idea of doing a full acoustic album been kicking around?
“The idea of making acoustic music has been kicking around for a long time and we already put some acoustic songs on our previous metal albums, so it isn’t something completely new. The idea to make a whole full length album however is rather new. We first started to think about it probably a year and a half ago, when realizing that we actually had the first couple of songs and tat we could easily make this into a full length.”
Did you have tracks written well in advance of doing the album or was everything written specifically for this album? Were there tracks that were electric based that you converted to acoustic versions?
“We only made brand new songs for this album, no conversions from metal songs whatsoever. We did have some songs though, we wrote a lot of songs sitting around the campfire with acoustic instruments only. Every song was written for this album, apart from “Hadagrims Fertriet” which is also on “Aldgillissoan.” We decided to record this song once again, better, and put it on this album as well because it is a substantial part of Frisias past.”
How did your song writing process differ (if at all) from your electric material?
“It differs as we jammed more, came up with ideas spontaneously as we were sitting, drinking, partying. It was more of a group process with a lot of beer, campfires, barbecues and parties.”
In some respects, even though this may not be as technical, is doing acoustic far more challenging to pull off? What were the hardest aspects of doing an acoustic album for you?
“In some ways it’s rather technical, even though it’s not that ‘fast’ as our metal albums. It was hard to master new instruments in a relatively short period. We didn’t want to use samples, we didn’t want to use a drumkit or electric instruments and therefore some instrument changes were required. Our drummer mastered the Bodhran and the Cajon, the guitar players changed their way of playing on an acoustic guitar and our bass player mastered the flute, the accordion and also some percussion instruments like cajon and bits of frame drum. Also the emphasis came more and more on the vocal and multi-vocal parts so we all needed to practice a lot of singing.”
“more of a group process with a lot of beer, campfires, barbecues and parties”
I think the vocals are one of the major highlights on the new album…..did you work together to figure out vocal melodies and backing vocals?
“Yes we wanted the vocals to be the most important aspect of our new album as we are telling the stories of old. We are the skalds and the bards that travelled the halls. We needed to practice a lot together and we are now that harmonious that we are even working on acapella stuff.”
Is there a possibility that you will take some of the acoustic tracks and make electric versions or take electric material and do acoustic versions? What would be the pros and cons of doing this?
“No, we want to separate these two styles as good as possible. When we play metal we need metal songs, brutal songs, we are the bloodstained warriors on the battlefield. If we play acoustically we need songs that fit this setting, tender songs with deeper emotional layers but also some party songs which you can laugh about and sing along drunk. They are not interchangeable. Also a lot of bands want to do “acoustic stuff” as well and just play their metal songs acoustically (some even copy the riffs and just bash it on an acoustic guitar haha) we don’t want to be a band like that and rather come up with something brand new that fits the story we’re telling.”
You had your release party on October 7th for the new album featuring other bands, food, warfare and drinking….. how did you organize all of this and have this sort of concept in the first place?
“Yes and it was quite a party that took a lot of organization. We had this idea to combine everything that was connected to Baldrs Draumar somehow: medieval stuff, fighting, folk music, metal music. We therefore contacted this beautiful venue called Iduna that wanted to cooperate immediately after hearing the idea. We chose and contacted the bands, gathered a group of skilled fighters, found volunteers and friends willing to help and thus as a big family we created this beautiful release fest. Which will return next year as a Baldrs Fest again by the way!!!”
How will touring work for the new album? Will you strictly be doing acoustic sets over the next few months to support the album?
“There will be a lot of acoustic gigs but also metal gigs, from now on we start working towards the new metal album again! Concept plans have already been made and hopefully you’ll hear something from that very soon.”
Any favorite music from 2017 for you guys?
“The new album of Wintersun was in our touring bus for almost one week, so we got to know that one inside and out haha, for the rest we are looking forward for the new Einar Selvik release and regularly hear to bands like Moonsorrow and stuff like that. Primordial is also busy with some new music and a couple of guys here can’t wait to hear that. For the rest we have different music tastes so the new Thy Art is Murder is being played next to Soilwork, Teethgrinder or some weird new hiphop tracks and Russian hardbase for that matter. It can really go in all directions with us.”
“We would like to thank everyone who supported us, you enable us to make our music and we love drinking beer with you guys and partying all night long!”