Tolkien in Northern Italy
Barad Guldur Interview
Sometimes you stumble on a hidden gem. Lately a band called Barad Guldur from Italy was brought to our attention. We took the opportunity to ask them a few questions at once, so we can get to know them a little better.
Hi, I think a lot of our readers don’t really know Barad Guldur. Can you tell us a bit how the band started?
“Hi to all of you at Folk Metal.nl and thanks for this interview! Barad Guldur were born from the desire to merge metal, folk and epic music with tales, horror stories, paganism and Tolkien’s writings. Our band started a few years ago with some cover songs that were shared on YouTube with the aim of finding the right sound.
Was it clear from the beginning what instruments should be in the band?
“It was clear the desire to have the bagpipes in the band at the beginning, because we didn’t want any synths, but only real and folkloristic instruments, typical of the old taverns. Then we added the violin and the hurdy-gurdy to harmonize the bagpipes, in order to have an orchestral and complete sound.”
Was it difficult to find those musicians?
“It’s always difficult to find musicians, in particular if a band has such number of members as we do, because there is nine of us. We started with the singer and a bagpiper and the other musicians joined us over time. They found our project thanks to the songs we shared.”
I can understand bagpipes and hurdy gurdy are instruments which are not commonly played by lots of people. Are there quite a few in your region?
“The bagpipe we use is the baghèt, an instrument typical of our region (the valleys of Bergamo and Brescia in Northern Italy). Despite this, it is an instrument played by few people. It was even more difficult to find someone who plays the hurdy-gurdy, because it’s a typical instrument from the Occitan region, not so close to us, and it’s played by very few people.”
How did you find all these bandmembers?
“Some are friends we met at metal concerts, others we met thanks to the covers, while again others by finding videos of their performances.”
Frammenti di Oscurità
I thinks it’s extremely difficult to play which such a number of different instruments. How do you keep it all clear, let everyone do something without creating a great mess?
“We recorded and, thanks to the guide and the support of a sound engineer, understood how to equalize and mix with simple tools. It wasn’t an easy and quick work. We had to take time and be patient learning and experimenting. We are far from an optimal sound quality, but we tried to do everything possible to give a quality product. It was vital to have the technical support of a professional sound engineer. Without him, it would have been like having a heart surgery done by a butcher.
How did you record all these instruments?
“Yes, we actually recorded all the instruments without using plugins or programs. The acoustic guitars, the bagpipes, the whistle, the fiddle and the hurdy-gurdy are real.”
Did you use an experienced person to mix this all?
“We mixed everything by ourselves, under the direction of a very good musician and sound engineer. His advice was always gold, considering that we did all the work with an old home computer. We are getting ready for the next album with better tools. The quality of the sound will be better for sure to grant more clarity and strength.”
Did it take a long time to make ‘Frammenti di Oscurità’?
“We made the album in about two years, considering the writing of the tracks and all the recordings. We didn’t work in a hurry to avoid the risk of gross songs or a raw mix.
How did you came up with the name Barad Guldur and how does this name reflect in your music?
“The name of the band is dedicated to the tower of Dol Guldur, the Necromancer’s fortress in The Hobbit, perfect for the dark themes that we offer.”
Can you tell a bit more about the lyrics of the songs?
“The lyrics are inspired by pagan myths and folktales of our land: creepy stories from the Alps. Ghosts, spirits, monsters, dragons and strange creatures… There is so much more to tell about and we like to remember the tales handed down by our grandparents.”
Since your music is obviously influenced by bands like Folkstone, do you think it’s useful for you they are quite popular in Italy?
“Yes, Folkstone are famous in Italy and they are from our same province. We took inspiration from them a little bit, but not for everything. Our themes and our composition are different. However, we love their spirit and we are fans of them.”
I noticed you did acoustic concerts as well, do you still do this?
“Yes, we do acoustic shows with medieval songs. One of our targets is to play some of our songs from the electric set in the acoustic one. Hopefully we will record an acoustic album in the future.”
Do you feel you can play enough concerts in Italy?
“We don’t have electric shows for now. We hope to play live soon. We do acoustic concerts at pagan festivals.”
What are your further plans and hopes for the future?
“Our future plans include developing a new album. We know what will be the next theme and how to develop it. It will be tougher to work on than Frammenti Di Oscurità (Shards Of Darkness). We would love to play our songs live and feel the impact they could have on people. We are waiting to be called for shows and that someone wants to hear and see us on a stage. The hope is to continue this wonderful journey. Never stop dreaming!”